The Instigator
thekendon
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
RationalMadman
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Laws against voluntary polygamous marriages are just

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
thekendon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,627 times Debate No: 25485
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

thekendon

Con

Four rounds:
1-Acceptance
2-Arguments (and rebuttal by of 1st argument by 2nd debater)
3-Initial Rebuttals
4-Final Rebuttals and Concluding Statements

For Pro to uphold resolution s/he must show that laws against voluntary polygamous marriages ARE just and not simply that they CAN be just. For Con to successfully negate he must show that laws against voluntary polygamous marriage ARE not just and not simply that they CAN be unjust.
RationalMadman

Pro

I accept.

One thing though.

Just: guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness.[1]

Polygamy: the practice or condition of having more than one spouse,especially wife, at one time.[2]

Sources:
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...;
Debate Round No. 1
thekendon

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. As far as I can tell, the only mention of polygamy in debates here so far have been in passing, so I hope everyone can enjoy looking at it a little bit closer.

With debates concerning same-sex marriage currently taking over cable news channels, quite a bit has been said about "the sanctity of marriage." People have questioned whether marriage should only be between one man and one woman or if it can also extend to one man and another man or one woman and another woman. While a great amount can be said about this subject, I turn my attention instead to a single word used in the rhetoric; that word is "one." It seems that whether groups are advocating same-sex marriage or rejecting it, they believe that marriage is a commitment between one person and one other person only. On some level, this reflects the anti-polygamy sentiment of modern society. In fact, Edward Stein states "that polygamy has never been legal in any [U.S.] state." He adds that the U.S. Supreme Court "effectively denied that there is a right to marry more than one person at the same time" in Reynolds v. United States.[1] In this debate, I will argue that is no just basis for laws against voluntary polygamous marriage.

Before progressing any further, it would be beneficial to actually define polygamy. Generally, polygamy can be defined as marriage between more than two partners. Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa note that polygamy is often confused with polygyny. They add that "polygyny is the marriage of one man to more than one woman." On the other hand, polygamy can also include polyandry, "the marriage of one woman to more than one man."[2] It should be mentioned that both polygyny and polyandry require that the relationship be heterosexual; I will not give much consideration to homosexual polyamory in this debate because doing so would require even more complex distinctions than those already made and does not even meet the technical definition of polygamy. Additionally, I would no like to define an important term in my arguments, which is legal paternalism. In "Weak and Strong Legal Paternalism," William Talbott explains that "[a] law is paternalistic if it is enacted to promote the good of the target audience by overruling their own judgment about what is good for them." He adds that "[l]egal paternalism is the enactment and enforcement or paternalistic laws," which can be either weak (also called soft) or strong (also called hard).[3]

C1-I would like to first explore why some kinds of paternalism (strong/hard) can be considered unjust. In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill makes a convincing argument against legal paternalism being just. Mill claims that "neither one person, nor any number of persons, is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years, that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it." He explains that this is because "[h]e is the person most interested in his own well-being, the interest which any other person… can have in it, is trifling, compared with that which he himself has" and "with respect to his own feelings and circumstances, the most ordinary man or woman has means of knowledge immeasurably surpassing those that can be possessed by anyone else."[4] So, Mill suggests that a fully-capable adult is the most reliable judges on what is good for her because no other person is as interested in that person's good as she is. Of course, this means that other people as well as governments are less reliable judges. Thus, legal paternalism is generally not justified. Mill does provide some exceptions to this; such exceptions are weak/soft paternalism.

C2-Laws against voluntary polygamous marriage do not meet the standards of either major theory of weak/soft paternalism.

A-They do not meet Mill's standards. In fact, Mill directly addresses polygamy. He explains that the particular Mormon belief "which is the chief provocative to the antipathy which thus breaks through the ordinary restraints of religious tolerance, is its sanction of polygamy."[5]. Mill admits that he strongly disapproves of the practice, but he concludes that polygamy should not be prohibited. He notes "that this relation is as much voluntary on the part of the women concerned in it, and who may be deemed the sufferers by it, as is the case with any other form of the marriage institution; and however surprising this fact may appear, it has its explanation in the common ideas and customs of the world, which teaching women to think marriage the one thing needful, make it intelligible that many a woman should prefer being one of several wives, to not being a wife at all."[6] Whether or not the latter claim here represents an outdated worldview, the prior is certainly still relevant today.

B-They do not meet Joel Feinberg's standards. In "Legal Paternalism," Feinberg describes a weak form of paternalism. According to Feinberg, "the state has the right to prevent self-regarding harmful conduct when but only when it is substantially nonvoluntary or when temporary intervention is necessary to establish whether it is voluntary or not."[7] Such an intervention is certainly paternalistic, but it is a weak form of paternalism and, as such, is justifiable. Feinberg describes a voluntary act as one that "represent[s] the agent faithfully in some important way… [and] express[es] his or her settled values and preferences."[8] If the agent is somehow ignorant, uninformed, or misinformed about the particular circumstances of his or action, that action would not be considered voluntary. So, another person would be justified in preventing the agent from acting if that person believed the agent is somehow ignorant, uninformed, or misinformed. However, such an intervener would be justified in intervening long enough to establish whether the agent's action is voluntary or not. Of course, the resolution deals with voluntary polygamous marriage, so laws against it certainly are not weak/soft. In Harm to Self, Feinberg addresses polygamy more directly. He asserts that "there are no convincing liberal reasons for the" prohibition of polygamy. Feinberg then makes the slightly stronger claim "that there should be no such crime [against polygamy] at all".[9] This seems consistent with his account from "Legal Paternalism." If an act is clearly voluntary, then paternalistic intervention is not justified.

C3-Laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just. To prove this, I offer the following syllogism based on my arguments so far.

1-Paternalism is either strong/hard or weak/soft (by definition)
2-Strong (or hard) legal paternalism is not just (by C1)
3-Laws against voluntary polygamous marriages are not weak/soft paternalism (by C2)
4-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are strong/hard paternalism (by disjunctive syllogism 1, 3)
5-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just (by identity 2, 4)

Sources:
[1] Stein, Edward. "Past and Present Proposed Amendments to the United States Constitution Regarding Marriage." Washington University Law Quarterly 82.3 (2004): 611-685. PDF. (Pg. 633)
[2] Miller, Alan S. and Satoshi Kanazawa. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters. New York: Perigee, 2007. Print. (Pg. 81)
[3] Talbott, William. "Weak and Strong Legal Paternalism." Which Rights Should Be Universal? Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. (Pg. 53)
[4] Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. New York: Prometheus, 1986. Print. (Pg. 86-7)
[5] Ibid. (Pg 103)
[6] Ibid. (Pg 104)
[7] Feinberg, Joel. "Legal Paternalism." Seattle: U of Washington. Print. (Pg 9)
[8] Ibid. (Pg 7)
[9] Feinberg, Joel. The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law. Vol. 3, Harm to Self. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986. Print. (Pg. 265)
RationalMadman

Pro

RationalMadman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
thekendon

Con

It is unfortunate that my opponent was unable to respond to my arguments, so I will try to make my arguments this round briefer.

I would first like to address my definition of polygamy, which has gone unrefuted. Talbott"s definition of legal paternalism is "the enactment and enforcement or paternalistic laws," which can be either weak (also called soft) or strong (also called hard).[1] This definition is important because it supports the first premise of my syllogism in C3.

Next, my argument in C1 went unrefuted as well. This Millian argument showed that a certain type of legal paternalism (strong/hard) is not just. This argument is significant because it proves the second premise of my syllogism in C3.

My opponent also failed to refute my argument in C2. This showed that laws against voluntary polygamous marriages are not weak/soft paternalism because they fail to meet the criteria of such forms of paternalism. This argument is important because it supports the third premise of my syllogism in C3.

Finally, with all of the premises of my syllogism warranted, my conclusion (that laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just) necessarily follows. As a reminder, the following is the syllogism to which I am referring.

1-Paternalism is either strong/hard or weak/soft (by definition)
2-Strong (or hard) legal paternalism is not just (by C1)
3-Laws against voluntary polygamous marriages are not weak/soft paternalism (by C2)
4-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are strong/hard paternalism (by disjunctive syllogism 1, 3)
5-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just (by identity 2, 4)

I have already supported 1-3. 4 follows from a disjunctive syllogism of premises 1 and 3. Because laws against polygamy are a type of paternalism, which is either strong/hard or weak soft and laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not weak/soft, they must be strong/hard. 5, which disproves the resolution, necessarily follows because of the rules of identity on 2 and 4. Laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are strong/hard paternalism, strong/hard paternalism is not just; thus, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just. This relies on the same reasoning that tells us that when A=B and B=C that A=C.

[1] Talbott, William. "Weak and Strong Legal Paternalism." Which Rights Should Be Universal? Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print. (Pg. 53)
RationalMadman

Pro

Can my opponent counter ay of the following points in any way?

t’s glorified infidelity.

It would be difficult for the government to tax.

Relationships should be between two people.

Couples have to make decisions and compromises together, and it’s harder to agree when there’s multiple people.

Polygamous relationships can end up with too many children. The world is already overpopulated.

Polygamy is almost never polyandry. It’s not about women’s freedom to choose who they marry or how many spouses they have- it’s about women being owned by men.

Marriage is a partnership and a relationship. Polygamy turns marriage into a cattle drive.

Polygamy skews the natural ratio of marriageable men and women.

Most people agree that countries that practice polygamy live in an oppressive, abusive society with fanatical, religious men- especially when they marry young girls to older men.

Spouses can have animosity, jealousy, etc towards other the other spouses and it creates tension.

The established needs are impossible to meet in a polygamist marriage. These needs include- ongoing affection/attention, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support, and help around the house.

In all polygamous cultures, women have extremely low status.

True love is a bond that is only possible to be shared between two people.

Most North American “families” in polygamous situations are on welfare or food stamps.

Polygamy is a choice, while sexual orientations are not choices.

Legalizing polygamy would give more power to religions, and would infringe on women’s rights.

Legal polygamy would turn immigration into a nightmare. An immigrant can claim to be wed to half a nation of women and demand that all these women be brought to, say, the US. Polygamists can arrive at the border and demand refugee status because of persecution. Sorting out these claims would be impossible, since most nations refuse to give legal status to such marriages.

Debate Round No. 3
thekendon

Con

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for his response.

However, it seems that a majority of his points are new arguments rather than the rebuttals that we had agreed on for round 3. I will, though, respond to them anyway even though the arguments provided by opponent ultimately shouldn"t be given much weight (due to their not meeting the criteria set for the round). I would also like to note, that my opponent offers no evidence for any of his arguments. [For the purposes of space, I have included only the first and last few words of some of my opponent's longer arguments; the full arguments can be seen in the previous round]

1-"[I]t"s glorified infidelity."
This is not the case. Infidelity is described as "marital disloyalty; adultery."[1] Voluntary polygamous marriage (VPM) certainly does not meet the prior criterion; one partner is never being disloyal to a married partner by being with another married partner of the same marriage; it is the same marriage. The second criterion should probably be defined in its own right. Adultery is "voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse."[2] So, VPM also fails to meet the second criterion of infidelity because a partner would be having sex with someone who is his or her lawful spouse.

2-"It would be difficult for the government to tax."
Taxation is already a difficult process, but I suppose my opponent is suggesting that VPM would make taxation even more difficult. I agree that this would likely be the case, but I would also point out that this is merely because it is currently a practice that is not recognized by the state. Marriage reform tends to necessitate tax reform. Introducing either interracial marriage or same-sex marriage into a system that criminalized and discriminated against them would likely force some kind of marriage-related tax reform. My opponent"s argument here can only be taken seriously if s/he also discourages interracial and same-sex marriage.

3-"Relationships should be between two people."
This is entirely without grounding or warrant. To use an earlier example, it could be just as easy to say "relationships should be between two people of the same race" or "relationships should be between people of different sexes." Merely stating these things is not a good reason to criminalize interracial or same-sex marriage.

4-"Couples have to... there"s multiple people."
Following my opponent"s logic here would yield disastrous results. For example, families also have to make decisions and compromises together. It is harder to agree when there are more people. Having children increases the number of people in a family. Therefore, people should not have children. Of course, if everybody did this, it would result in human extinction.

5-"Polygamous relationships can... is already overpopulated."
Actually, because the female reproductive system can only create a single child at a time (discounting multiple births), any form of polygamy could not increase the population more than monogyny could (assuming a roughly equal proportion of men and women in the world).

6-"Polygamy is almost... being owned by men."
Remember, this is VOLUNTARY polygamous marriage. If the woman"s act is not voluntary, then it is not relevant to this debate.

7-"Marriage is a... a cattle drive."
A VPM can also be a partnership and a relationship; it is simply between more people.

8-"Polygamy skews the natural ratio of marriageable men and women."
This is true. I fail to see how this is necessarily disadvantageous.

9-"Most people agree... to older men."
Again, this is VOLUNTARY polygamous marriage. Joel Feinberg classifies the choice of a child as "substantially nonvoluntary."[3] I think many people would agree.

10-"Spouses can have... it creates tension."
This is true. Marriage is difficult, but I fail to see how this justifies laws against VPM.

11-"The established needs... around the house."
My opponent has offered no evidence to support this. Even if s/he had, it would not provide a convincing justification for laws against VPM.

12-"In all polygamous cultures, women have extremely low status."
This seems unlikely, especially when you consider that there are societies in which polyandry is the predominant form of polygamy.[4] Even if this were the case, my opponent would also have to show that polygamy is the cause of this lower in each of these cultures for this argument to have much weight.

13-"True love is a bond that is only possible to be shared between two people."
Even if this were the case, it is not a good justification for laws against VPM because "true love" is not a prerequisite for marriage.

14-"Most North American... or food stamps."
That is unfortunate, but unless my opponent is suggesting that VPM is the cause of this, the argument does not hold much weight. If s/he is suggesting that VPM is the cause, then the argument seems to be guilty of a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

15-"Polygamy is a choice, while sexual orientations are not choices."
I agree.

16-"Legalizing polygamy would... on women"s rights."
This is completely unwarranted; I could just as easily say "legalizing VPM would not give more power to religions and would not infringe on women"s rights." Also, in terms of women"s rights, I would also like to remind my opponent that the resolution deals with VOLUNTARY polygamous marriage and that a woman has just as much right to marry multiple men.

17-"Legal polygamy would... to such marriages."
My opponent assumes that nations are obligated to grant citizenship to immigrants merely because they are married to a citizen of that nation. However, my opponent offered no reason for us to accept this assumption.

Some final notes:
I-While my opponent offered a larger number of arguments, a multitude of arguments should not be confused for acumen.
II-Though I have argued against my opponent"s new arguments, s/he offered them in a round dedicated to rebuttals, and because of this, I was given far less opportunity to rebut them.
III-My opponent did not refute my initial arguments. This is incredibly important because it means that my final syllogism, which firmly negates the resolution, stands.

1-Paternalism is either strong/hard or weak/soft (by definition)
2-Strong (or hard) legal paternalism is not just (by C1)
3-Laws against voluntary polygamous marriages are not weak/soft paternalism (by C2)
4-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are strong/hard paternalism (by disjunctive syllogism 1, 3)
5-Therefore, laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just (by identity 2, 4)

Also, any new arguments against this portion of my initial argument would be incredibly unfair to the spirit of this debate as I am now completing my final round and would be unable to respond to them. So, ultimately, my syllogism has been unrefuted and its ultimate conclusion that laws against voluntary polygamous marriage are not just must stand.

Finally, I would like to thank my opponent for his or her participation in this debate.

Sources:
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] Feinberg, Joel. "Legal Paternalism." Seattle: U of Washington. Print. (Pg 8)
[4] Miller, Alan S. and Satoshi Kanazawa. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters. New York: Perigee, 2007. Print. (Pg. 81)
RationalMadman

Pro

RationalMadman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
that is just a threesome porn
Posted by adontimasu 4 years ago
adontimasu
Yes it is, RM. The wife is practicing a polygamous relationship, as the man has two wives, and the wife has a husband and a wife, meaning that three people are a part of the equation.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
the second one isn't polygamy chaos.
Posted by Chaos88 4 years ago
Chaos88
To be clear, is the marriage in question:
1 man has two wives, each married to him, or
1 man takes a wife, and the two of them marry a third person

Are both of these polygamous, or is one called something else?
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I might take this
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
If I could argue con, I would as well...
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 4 years ago
Mathaelthedestroyer
Ah, I see. Well I'd definitely take this if I could argue con. Anyway, should be a good debate.
Posted by thekendon 4 years ago
thekendon
In this case I refer to "just" as it relates to the notion of justice (as opposed to, say, a synonym of only). Given the resolution, the use of just also has a governmental connotation in this case. Other than that, the definition of just can be a consideration of the debate.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 4 years ago
Mathaelthedestroyer
Hate to be this guy, but what do you even mean by "just"?
Posted by thekendon 4 years ago
thekendon
Strictly speaking, I would say sources are not required. However, if one were to say something that is either not common knowledge or of an otherwise questionable nature, then sources would certainly be beneficial. It really depends on what kind of argument is made; some types of arguments will require more sources than others. Other things being equal though, sourcing something would be better than not doing so.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
thekendonRationalMadmanTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: 2 FFs= Lose.