Polygamy should be legalized in the United States.
Debate Rounds (3)
Polygamy should be legalized in the United States.
Polygamy: "the state or practice of being married to more than one person at the same time".
Legalized: " to make (something) legal : to allow (something) by law".
1st round: Simply greetings and acceptance (i.e. Opponent agrees to the debate and terms of the debate).
2nd round: Main arguments only.
3rd round: Rebuttals/counters/additional points.
- No abuse of semantics.
(This is standard since I gave definitions)
- A forfeit is an automatic loss.
I thank my opponent for creating this debate and I am excited to see how things turn out.
Sorry for posting fairly late. Lets begin.
First off, polygamy would not be something new as many societies already have incorporated it into practice:
“According to the Ethnographic Atlas, of 1,231 societies noted, 588 had frequent polygyny, 453 had occasional polygyny, 186 were monogamous and 4 had polyandry.”
-There are more societies that have polygamy as a choice more so than merely a handful and these statistics are proof that a society can still function with a bigger family unit.
If polygamy were legalized in the United States, there would be many benefits for society.
Defining adultery in the context of my argument:
“Sex between a married person and someone who is not that person's wife or husband”.
Polygamy presents flexibility of choice for marriage partners.
-People that are already married could marry other people who are also already married. In other words, people would be able to marry the person they want rather than not being able to do so with monogamy. Adultery would likely become less of a problem as partners within the marriage would have alternatives for sexual desires within the family unit.
-Polygamy is not simply about fornication however, it would promote relationships between multiple people to spend their lives together in good company just like monogamous marriages.
Statistics for acts of adultery in the United States:
“Surveys show that 22% of married men have committed an adulterous act at least once in their life”
“14 percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives”
-Adultery is certainly a problem and legalizing polygamy would arguably result in less occurrences of it.
“90% of American believes it is morally wrong to commit an adulterous act…”
-This is a significant statistic as it implies that polygamy, if it were to be legalized, would technically be morally just under the law. It is a matter of what is and isn't condoned as an offence.
Family units that include group marriages with multiple partners would be much better economical than a house with only two partners.
-The family unit would be more efficient as the providers would earn more money and this implies that due to the economic scale, less money would be needed for each partner.
-There is more likely to be a person at home child-rearing and so there would be less difficulty maintaining a job.
People in the United States arguably must have the freedom to choose polygamy or monogamy according to the US constitution.
- Some religions promote polygamy, so not legalizing it infringes on first amendment rights.
“The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.”
-Polygamy may not be a religion in and of itself, but there certainly are religious people that include polygamy as a form of practicing their religion. Therefore, not legalizing polygamy would virtually contradict the rights provided by the first amendment.
Even without the constitutional aspect, people should have the right to pursuing happiness as stated in the US declaration of independence.
In summation, legalizing polygamy would arguably guarantee first amendment rights and would likely result in less broken marriages and stronger family units.
The founding fathers of the United States believe that rights were endowed by a God. It was Thomas Jefferson that wrote that rights were endowed by God in his Declaration of Independence.
a. In a 1794 letter to the Massachusetts Legislature, Samuel Adams wrote, "In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator"
b. John Adams said "Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
c. John Hancock said "Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."
d. Benjamin Franklin said "Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped."
All these men believed in a God.
That said, the Constitution doesn't directly mention the issue of marriage. But since the practice of polygamy was never condoned by the founding fathers, it is fair to say that the men were not for it. That said, to go back to my original point, the founding fathers believed that a God gave people rights.
And they clearly didn't believe that God gave them the right to marry multiple women. If they did, they would have put that into the constitution.
So the question is, why does my opponent believe that people have the right to marry multiple people? Is it just an opinion they have or do they really believe that this is a right endowed by God? If they do not believe that it is a right endowed by a God then all they have is their opinion on the matter. And their opinion is not a good enough reason to legalize polygamy in the United States.
So from a historical/constitutional standpoint, the United States has no reason to legalize polygamy.
Now lets address the issue from a moral point of view. We have to ask ourselves...is polygamy moral? I have to ask, "How does my opponent decide what is right/wrong"
Well, polygamy does cause problems. It "causes problems for the young, low-status males denied wives by older, wealthy men who have hoarded all the women. And those young men create problems for everybody...Monogamous marriage reduces crime, Henrich and colleagues write, pulling together studies showing that polygynous societies create large numbers of unmarried men" (http://www.slate.com...).
And polygamy also "increases the risk of heart disease by more than 4-fold" (https://www.escardio.org...).
So the practice literally causes people some serious problems. Most people agree that if a practice harms a person, then the practice most likely should stop.
So again, how can my opponent possibly justify this practice as moral?
And if they can't say that the founding fathers supported polygamy, or if they can't prove that the constitution supported it, or if they can't prove that the practice is moral, then I argue that they really have no case to justify polygamy.
You should have cited sources for your initial quotes (i.e. http://prntscr.com...) , since I doubt you have those quotes memorized. Voters should consider whether or not to dock points from you for this, since I explicitly said “cite sources”as a rule. I did not specifically state what should be cited (i.e. quotes) though, which I should have done. If I had been more specific, the voters would not even have a choice since it certainly would have been against the rules.
Overall, good debate so far though.
“...the Constitution doesn't directly mention the issue of marriage.” (Con)
-It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t. For instance, just because the constitution “doesn’t directly mention” satanism, doesn’t mean people can’t worship satanism. People can worship satan because it is arguably condoned by the 1st amendment right: freedom of worship.
-You’re overlooking something very important. There are different views for how the constitution should be interpreted. One view is known as “originalism”, where the constitution is essentially based off of the founding father’s opinions and beliefs. Certainly, this must be the interpretation you are adhering to. There are several other ways of interpretations for the constitution though, implying that you cannot simply determine your view is right, since it's still a debatable issue for how to interpret it.
“If they do not believe that it is a right endowed by a God then all they have is their opinion on the matter.” (Con)
-What are you trying to argue??? Divine command theory? Hypothetically, what if God told you today that he changed his mind about the ten commandments. What if he said, “thou shalt kill” or “thou shalt steal”? Would you begin to think these are morally justifiable acts just because God told you to do it? Even if I have only an “opinion”, an “opinion” can certainly be justified through reasoning. You likely believe God exist and that he created the universe. You may say otherwise, but the concept of God existing is arguably an opinion and not a fact. It can’t be proven scientifically (yet), so it remains an opinion. My point: all you have is an opinion on the matter as well. It makes no difference.
“So from a historical/constitutional standpoint, the United States has no reason to legalize polygamy.” (Con)
-From a constitutional standpoint, there certainly could be reasons to legalize polygamy. As I said, there are different views for how to interpret the constitution. I would consider my view as “modernist”, basically meaning that I believe it's important to think about the implications on modern society and that the constitution should be interpreted in a modern context.
“...how can my opponent possibly justify this practice as moral?” (Con)
-As I said earlier, legalizing polygamy would arguably lessen divorce and adultery rates. There would also be stronger family units. I will go much further though in countering your points, in my next argument.
“Well, polygamy does cause problems. It “causes problems for the young, low-status males denied wives by older, wealthy men who have hoarded all the women”.” (Con)
-You’re right. Hoarding would cause problems. However, isn’t there a simple solution to this? There certainly is one that arguably would be plausible.
Solution: The law could limit the amount of wives to a number of two wives per husband and two husbands per wife.
-Technically, this would still constitute as polygamy since it would adhere to the definition I have provided for this debate (i.e. "the state or practice of being married to more than one person at the same time").
-This solution would certainly mitigate some of the other problems too, such as the increased risk in heart disease that you had discussed.
“...increases the risk of heart disease by more than 4-fold" (Con)
-That statistic only applies to men with 4 wives according to your source. Men with 2 wives have significantly less of a risk of all three vascular diseases, based on this chart: http://prntscr.com... (Thats a chart I found from a source you provided by the way, but I still made sure to cite it down below for my own sake).
-The difference in rates of disease between individuals who have 1 spouse and individuals who have 2 spouses really is negligible, considering also that polygamous families will most likely be in the minority. Even though there would be less spouses that one could have, it would still arguably provide flexibility and stronger family units in marriages than monogamous families, as addressed earlier.
“And if they can't say that the founding fathers supported polygamy…” (Con)
-As I said earlier, doesn’t matter since there are different interpretations for the constitution itself that Americans have.
“...or if they can't prove that the constitution supported it,” (Con)
-I’ve already explained how the constitution can uphold polygamy, and that is by denoting polygamy as another religious practice just as monogamy is a religious practice in religions like Christianity.
“...or if they can't prove that the practice is moral,” (Con)
-I’m certain that I’ve made arguments for polygamy to the extent that downsides, such as higher rates of disease and surpluses of bachelors, should be negligible.
In summation, why should polygamy be legalized?
-1st amendment rights: freedom of worship; religious practices.
-Stronger family units: economical ; lessens the burden of child-rearing.
-Less rates of divorce and adultery.
-More flexibility of choosing partners.
Bottom line: Polygamy should be legalized.
My opponent starts off the debate by stating that societies have functioned with the practice of polygamy. This is noted but this fact doesn't really prove that it should be legalized in the United States.
The next argument made is that polygamy presents flexibility of choice for marriage partners. Again, this argument does not doing anything to argue for the legalization of polygamy. For example, this same argument could be used to argue for pedophilia. Adults should also have the flexibility in marrying children right? While the two practices are different, the same argument could be used to support both of them. So I don't think this does anything to show that polygamy should be legalized.
My opponent then says that "Adultery is certainly a problem and legalizing polygamy would arguably result in less occurrences of it."
The problem here is that they don't even try to support their claim. The argument doesn't make much sense to me either. If a person is married to one wife and wants another, he would have to cheat on his wife in order to meet the second woman. So the legalization of polygamy would actually increase the issue of adultery
Now my opponent claims that the families with group marriages would do well financially. Again, this is another bare assertion. More people in a house means more people to take care of. And the average cost a human pays every year to survive is around 20,000 dollars (http://opensourceecology.org...). This number does not even include the amount of college debt, and etc...a single person has to pay. So it seems that more people in a house would add to the costs.
They also mention that there is more likely to have a person at home to take care of child-rearing. I don't see how this point is relevant. It is an assumption, but people living now seem to be doing okay living with having multiple wives.
Now lets address the constitutional argument. My opponent claims that not legalizing polygamy infringes on some religious peoples rights. The problem here is that there are also religious beliefs in which sacrificing humans to a God is okay and that doesn't mean we should allow that practice. In other words, not all religious practices are allowed. So my opponent has to prove that this practice is protected by the constitution and I do not believe that they have done so.
As for the supposed right to pursue happiness, that right actually doesn't exist since it is not in the constitution. The Declaration of Independence doesn't give any American rights. And besides, the whole thing about pursuing happiness was about financial success and not about polygamy. So that argument doesn't hold up as well.
My quotes from the beginning are kind of well known so I didn't feel like it was necessary to cite them. But I did actually mention where the first one came from and the other three I wrote down a while ago and couldn't tell you where they came from. But I don't think points should be deducted since the quotes are used often.
My opponent starts off his rebuttals by saying that it doesn't matter that the constitution doesn't mention marriage. I happen to agree. But that wasn't my original point. Right after saying that I said that since the practice of polygamy was never condones by the founding fathers, it was fair to say that the men were not for it. This would in affect mean that polygamy is not constitutional.
As for there being different views of the constitution, this is also true. I have been basing my interpretation based off what the founding fathers believed. If my opponent thinks he can interpret the constitution better without the opinions/beliefs of the people who wrote it, I am willing to listen. But I doubt that it would be that convincing since the authors of the document usually understand better than other people who read it.
As for my God given rights argument, I did not even mention that rights came from the Christian God specifically. That said, I was merely stating what the founders of the united States believed. They thought that rights came from a God and since their God (whoever it was...though many were Christian), and since they never condoned polygamy, it is fair to say that they didn't think that polygamy was a right endowed by a God.
My opponent then says that not all people believe in God and seems to think this disproves my point. It doesn't. My point was about what the constitution writers believed and they never indicated that polygamy was a right endowed by God. I do not have to prove God's existence in order to show that. So my opinion on God's existence is irrelevant to this conversation. However, the founding fathers pinion on God's existence is quite important since God is where they thought rights came from (I just so happen to agree.)
As for the problem of hoarding, I would still argue that two spouses would still be hoarding. This might make the problem less of an issue but the problem still exists. So the solution might help, but the problem wouldn't even exist if polygamy was banned in the first place.
Heart disease increases when there are multiple wives as my original source showed. Yes, it does increase 4-fold with 4 wives. It becomes less of an issue when the number of wives lessen. So my point remains valid. polygamy is not good for the health of a human. And it wouldn't matter if polygamous families were in the minority. The bad health affects would still be there and that is reason enough to be weary of polygamy.
My opponent then says that it wouldn't matter if the founding fathers supported the practice or not. I disagree. The founding fathers made the constitution and therefore their interpretation of the document is better than any modern man's interpretation.
They claim that polygamy would be protected as a religious practice, but again, they not all religious practices are allowed. So this argument needs more to it in order to show that this religious practice should be allowed. This practice already harms the health of humans...so why should this practice be allowed?
In conclusion, I thank my opponent for this debate and I hope we each learned a few things.
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