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Ethics 101 -- What If Everyone Did It? = an error in mathematics or to defeat of global peace.

Reader comment on item: Harems Accepted in the West

Submitted by GWK (United States), Sep 2, 2008 at 13:06

To greatly simplify ethics, the question to ask is what are the consequences of an action. As a male, I would find the idea of having legal in-marriage sex every night a joyful one. And if a 2nd wife would improve the chance for that, I'm in favor of my taking a 2nd, and if having a 3rd improves the chances, so then that's better; and the logic continues on and on.

Reality, not ethics, poses a few kinks and questions. 1. Polygamy isn't legal, so even though there are people who live double lives and have children with multiple women, being married to more than one woman at a time is against the law; 2. Polygamy isn't socially acceptable, so I wouldn't want to be ostracized by my neighbors and community; 3. Polygamy has to be a bit more expensive than monagamy. Sure Mohammad had multiple wives and concubines and one-night stands. He lived in a different era, and in his age his power and his 1st wife's wealth which he inherited before becoming a polygamist enabled him to afford the polygamous lifestyle. But now really big harems are usually the province of wealthy men like the Bin Laden family men or the emirs of the Persian Gulf or the Sultan of Brunei.

But, and this is the simple ethics questions. If having multiple wives were allowed what would result would be a surplus of men with NO wives. Imagine, if 50% of all MEN had 2 or more wives, and less than 10% of all child-bearing women were single, it is difficult to imagine the math and demographics to make that work) then you would have lot of men with virtually no chance of ever getting married, fathering a child in wedlock, or having heirs. What would that lead to?

Given that the male-female ratios are essentially about 1:1 in the first year of birth, the only way you could have widespread polygamy without social unrest from other men cut out of the equation, would be to have a shortage of men in the child-rearing years. That could only happen in a situation where a vast number of men perished before getting married, and in a war-like society where early death among males is common, then polygamy makes some biological sense. It also makes biological sense if you are trying to modify the gene pool so that only elite males get to mate, and second-class males get to serve the elites.

This unequal ethic seems to be what egalitarian Islam is endorsing. The elite males get the women, the below average male gets to become a suicide mass-murderer. (And he gets his orgy with 72 imaginary virgins and 16 eternally youthfiul dark-eyed servant boys in Paradise if his effort is deemed worthy enough! Ha! Ha! Unfortunately enough sad-sack males have bbeen brainwashed into believing such drivel that their radicalism and mental illness is more common than isolated.)

So, again, using the Aristotlean equation to ethics -- "what if everyone did it?", leads to an error in mathematics or to defeat of global peace. Either, (A.) Every child rearing male cannot today have more than one wife!, or (B.) The only way to be fair about this is to eliminate from competition other males from having even 1 wife -- that happens through tragedy or violence, neither of which is a pleasant prospect.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (48) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1dark ages returning [57 words]frankJun 7, 2011 06:06186045
1Polygamy > Monogamy [48 words]Vichy FournierApr 8, 2011 18:30184087
4Muslim Polygamy Threatens Western Women [109 words]GuyFeb 11, 2010 14:44168798
2All for Men ... Nothing for Women [50 words]RobinozFeb 9, 2010 04:44168694
5one more reason to ban islamists form coming to the west ? .... Feb 2010 [226 words]Phil GreendFeb 8, 2010 19:27168672
No they will not treat "we the people" that way...for several reasons.. [49 words]KattFeb 10, 2010 16:11168672
rather amusing [83 words]TariqSep 19, 2009 01:41161749
1Please use the term "Mormons" correctly. [72 words]John PruessJul 25, 2009 00:02159254
polygamy is not as bad as its made out to be by closed minds [350 words]sajjadFeb 25, 2009 22:34151189
Sajjad says that polygamy is not as bad as it made out to be. [150 words]Kurt BaskingFeb 16, 2010 02:42151189
Meaning [62 words]LynnNov 26, 2008 10:14143862
2Ethics 101 -- What If Everyone Did It? = an error in mathematics or to defeat of global peace. [564 words]GWKSep 2, 2008 13:06137849
1Ethics.... [128 words]donvanSep 3, 2008 11:17137849
1Well Said! Polygamy = Inequality [65 words]GWKSep 4, 2008 20:17137849
Double Standard [57 words]David W. LincolnAug 6, 2008 11:22136359
Harems in the US [30 words]CommonJul 24, 2008 07:56135620
2Deport them [50 words]JKeatsJul 16, 2008 11:27135279
Amen to that! [40 words]RaeMar 10, 2014 02:16135279
2So Adultery and fornication are ok but Polygamy is not. [78 words]TruthJul 10, 2008 12:15134782
2On polygamy [12 words]scrutatorAug 5, 2008 13:35134782
2easy... [108 words]donvanSep 7, 2008 15:50134782
8The Solution to polygamy [179 words]simplesolutionDec 26, 2008 14:48134782
Just another reason [34 words]Straight_Talk_LuigiJun 18, 2008 12:28132498
polygamy [33 words]Gabrielle CroftsJun 15, 2008 03:44132175
3The Harems- shame on you Governments for allowing this type of regression into our civilised countries [413 words]GabbyJun 20, 2008 05:30132175
1Polygamy in the West [345 words]RizAug 24, 2008 22:15132175
denial is not a river in egypt [121 words]mz ravin blackApr 8, 2008 14:15125075
Polygamy in the West [49 words]ThiaganApr 8, 2008 06:59125045
the logic behind slavery [53 words]Jerry MFeb 16, 2008 20:12120360
Polygamy is illegal only if there is formal marriage to 2 women. [81 words]RichardFeb 11, 2008 12:38119933
Can Women Have Harems? [102 words]NabiJun 13, 2008 14:35119933
But the story about the Canadian 'whistle-blower' said his wife was married to someone else--- [22 words]MimiDec 31, 2010 12:15119933
You have come a long way Baby! [105 words]Mike PrinsFeb 10, 2008 18:26119895
1NOW we know, Gloria Steinem is a fraud not a woman [93 words]J BurkeFeb 13, 2008 07:34119895
Harems in the West [67 words]tabingins911Oct 7, 2007 17:04110653
On the polygamy issue... [44 words]E. SernikJun 1, 2007 12:3795660
Polygamy [171 words]joeyindcJun 7, 2007 20:1395660
Wake Up, America! [129 words]Diana RushfordApr 18, 2008 14:3395660
Overlap or the lack thereof [149 words]David W. LincolnJun 1, 2007 10:2895643
6Bigamy itself is not illegal in New York [225 words]GriswelJun 1, 2007 09:4495633
1yes [36 words]Juan CamiloNov 12, 2008 10:0295633
Harems Accepted in the West [78 words]raviJan 7, 2011 00:0195633
1If homosexuals can marry... [17 words]AndyJun 1, 2007 08:5095631
1Harems Accepted in the West 710#comments [70 words]S.C.PandaJun 1, 2007 05:2995620
Israel's national anthem [184 words]Mike WoolenJun 1, 2007 04:3295616
1Sharia law [116 words]Michael KurtzigMay 31, 2007 22:5495605
I guess in this century we will have backward civilisation [163 words]OlieMay 31, 2007 18:1495581
1The solution is simple [159 words]CandideAug 7, 2008 09:0895581

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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