2015-06-30

The More Pertinent Problem With Polygamy

The Bleeding Heart Libertarians have a series of recent posts on polygamy (here, here, here, here...) With minor dissent, they are in favor of polygamy for all the same reasons most Americans support gay marriage. The lone dissenting voice presents a bizarre argument based on the idea that polygamy will create a society in which the rich and powerful men will marry-up all the eligible pretty young girls and leave an army of disgruntled beta males behind to plot their revenge.

Elsewhere on the internet, everyone else seems to be saying more or less the same thing: If gay marriage is okay, then why not polygamy, too? And the arguments all go the same way: As long as we're legalizing consensual marital relationships, why not go whole-hog? Otherwise, you're just a bigot.

I'm tempted to swing the same way. I don't really care who or what it is that people want to marry, as long as who or what is getting married is capable of giving consent. Fine.

But what happens when a plurality of shareholders of a company all decide to marry each other in order to become a family that is now the major shareholder of this corporation? Hostile takeover via marital bliss.

And what happens when the owner of a textile factory decides to marry 10,000 foreign men and women, who all then immigrate via spousal visa and go to work at his textile factory?

What's to stop the defendant in a court case from marrying the judge's daughter or son and having his lawyer declare a mistrial?

See, the problem with polygamy isn't that the people who want it will get it. No, the problem with polygamy is that people who would otherwise never consider it will have a long list of perverse incentives to abuse it.

The only solution is to "get the government out of the marriage business," but how could progressives give up a prize they fought so hard to win?