Sunday, April 6, 2008

Culturst Reaction to a Polygamist Compound

Could the authorities be wrong? Might the polygamists' lifestyle be moral? After all, who are we to judge? They want several wives per man. Is that strange? Lots of men would privately tell you they see some merit to the system. When Oprah had polygamists on her show, the women said they had chosen it. And isn't choice what is at stake here? Don't they have a right to choose their own lifestyles?

If you judge by the standard of individual rights, polygamy cannot be condemned. By definition, the individual rights model detaches the individual from any sort or level of social judgment. If I want to do drugs, drop out of school or become a stripper, that is my business and my business alone. Furthermore, no one dare tell me it is wrong. In our "don't disrespect me," "self-esteem" culture, you cannot judge anything but judging.

Culturism provides values where individualism cannot. Culturism would have us ask, "What if everybody in the culture acted as you do?" If we give Mormon polygamists the right to marry, they might be able to handle it. They do, after all, have some sort of moral code to which they subscribe. But what if a pimp decided to marry his harem? Soon we could end up in a culture where abuse and selling women constituted a moral good. Our laws should, as laws have traditionally, considered the impact on the wider society, not just the individual. Laws that only consider individual proclivities, encode anarchy, not government.

If you think some sort of innate moral code would stop this from becoming common, get real! Cultural diversity has included some stable cultures that treated women pretty badly. Machismo and the exploitation of women is a common norm. Culturism recognizes that man left unguided is at least as likely to adopt an inner-city gang ethic as to adopt what the Puritans called a community of saints model. If you take the individualist creed of not judging to heart, you can end up with some pretty ugly results. Just look at our schools.

Extending our "what if everyone did it?" critique; what if every did drugs, dropped out of school and became whores? Our economy would literally go to pot. College would become a pipe dream for most. Even those with a college degree would not have economic opportunities that constitute real choice. Instead of a system of mutual benefit, in a contracting economy, one person's gain can only come from another's loss. In such a world being successful and brutal would be synonymous. But your violence could only get you small pickings without much of a future. In such a world a "live for today" ethos would be the only one which corresponds to reality.

Culturist thought provides a basis for a moral existence and condemning polygamy. We judge on our traditional values and our morals on the vision of progress we value. If other cultures want to have polygamy they are welcome to it. But culturism, unlike multiculturalism, notes that Western nations do have a core culture. Polygamy is not a part of it. Everything from our laws to our insurance policies would require rewriting for us to accommodate it. Few of us would be comfortable living in the world that would result if everyone had the right to do whatever they wanted without any regard for the sustainability of Western culture. Polygamy is wrong because it goes against our values and undermines America’s solvency.
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