Thursday, March 1, 2012

Monogamy and the Success of Western Civilization

The West has historically favored the monogamous family structure and has thrived as long as it retained its traditional values.

According to Karla Dial, a new multidisciplinary studypublished in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - a team of authors working in the fields of anthropology, economics and psychology:

  • Though polygamy has existed throughout history — and is still accepted in some pockets of the world — it doesn’t benefit children, women, individuals or cultures the way married monogamous relationships do. According to the study, monogamy yields four primary benefits:
  • It reduces crime. Numerous studies show that when they’re married, men are 35 percent less likely to commit crimes, and 50 percent less likely to commit violent crimes. The same cannot be said of polygamous cultures — or countries where men outnumber women. In China, for example, the overall crime rate doubled between 1988 and 2004 as the number of males outpaced that of females.
  • Monogamy leads to gender equality. In monogamous societies, women are generally considered equal partners in the relationship. But as the number of wives grows, the power of each in the relationship decreases.
  • Monogamy reduces household conflict. Research shows children raised in polygamous homes face far less household stability — and more conflict and violence — than those raised in monogamous relationships. As one author pointed out, “living in the same household with genetically unrelated adults [not counting adoption] is the single biggest risk factor for abuse, neglect and homicide of children.”
  • Monogamy improves children’s well-being through greater paternal investment. The more wives and children a man has, the less time he has available to spend with each of them. Even though men in modern polygamous societies tend to be wealthier, their children suffer from poorer nutrition and lower survival rates than those in monogamous households. 
More recently, the has-been affluent West has flirted with alternative family configurations. However, this flirtation was been strongly associated with many social ills, negatively impacting even the welfare and performance of children.

Ironically, those who are blowing the whistle against legitimizing alternative configurations are demonized as “bigots,” and “hate-mongers.” Is there any way to express our concerns without being “tarred and feathered,” even by those institutions that are supposed to safeguard the free and responsible exchange of ideas?

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