Ed West

Polygamy could be the next sexual liberation campaign

Polygamy could be the next sexual liberation campaign
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Back in the early 1990s when the kind old 17


Duke of Norfolk was special guest at prize-giving night at our school he remarked that in Islam one was allowed up to four wives.

‘What a nightmare,’ he quipped, ‘imagine having four mothers-in-law’ (or something to that effect). I think back at the joke as indicative of a more innocent age; if he had said that now, some little Pavlik Morozov in the assembly would have tweeted his outrage and by the time the Duke left the building he would have been trending on Twitter, forced to step down as governor and the ‘offensive comments’ would be the subject of an investigation by the police. David Cameron would have probably made a statement condemning him, after a bunch of hysterical eejits had tweeted ‘no, NOT okay #Islamophobia #misogyny’, perhaps with selfies of them wearing a hijab.

But anyway, four mothers-in-law; what a nightmare, and one that could be coming to these islands soon.

Many people have argued in the past that, once same-sex marriage had been passed, then polygamy would be next. I’ve always been highly sceptical, as the argument for gay liberation and ultimately gay marriage is one of equality and acceptance. The same can’t be said about polygamy, which many find offensive and goes against our western notions of the individual (of which gay liberation is a logical product).

But I’m less sceptical now; what is especially noticeable is that, whenever social justice warriors want to make a radical change to society, they first prepare the ground by changing the language, making it difficult to argue against them.

So note how there has been a slight decline in the use of the word polygamy since the mid-1960s and a huge increase in polyamory.

Polygamy strictly speaking means marrying more than one person, while polyamory refers to simply being attracted to or in love with more than one, but clearly the acceptance of the latter makes way for the former. Polygamy has a slightly unpleasant air to it, associated in our mind with harems and the subjugation of women; but polyamory is all about love, and anyone who disapproves of someone else’s love clearly must hate them and is also on the wrong side of history. In recent days we’ve seen various articles on the subject, found herehere and here.

Historically, of course, polygamy is far more natural a state of affairs than same-sex marriage, and has been found in numerous different cultures; all of them fairly awful cultures, but as a society we’ve partly lost our will to make such critical judgments of others. Another overlooked factor is that, post-sexual revolution, a large number of men are simply dropping out of the dating game, and as a result there is a huge shortfall in available, suitable males who aren’t weird or in a state of permanent adolescence.

I’m still doubtful because essentially social justice causes only win by presenting the beneficiaries to be victims, and I’m not sure how a man who wants to talk his girlfriend into having a threesome can really get away with it. But then that would be to underestimate the tortured logic people are prepared to entertain.

In particular many people will support radical ideas if they upset the established order, even if that Christian civilisation was itself liberating to women, children and other unprivileged groups, mainly by repressing the wishes of men.

The media reports will focus on the less common cases of empowered women with two men, or three same-sex partners, but the main beneficiaries are clearly heterosexual men.

And it is certainly the case, and without sounding too cynical, that most social justice causes now seem to benefit powerful, rich people - men especially; the socially liberal zeitgeist is led by the ruthless business leaders of northern California who support diversity and freedom and love when it’s good for business.

It’s almost as if making life more fun for powerful men is the whole point of social justice liberalism these days.