A friend of mine messaged me this morning wondering if I had any thoughts on the polygamy debate (from arguments of reason rather than those of religion). Not only was I glad to help, but I got interested enough to do some digging of my own.
Polygamy usually manifests itself in polygyny (one male with several females) rather than polyandry. While this might sound great for the guys, it only works out well for some men. While high-status men can gain several wives, men with lower status won’t be able to have any. Since the sex ratio in humans is close to 1:1, polygamy means that many men will be left without wives at all. Wives are like wealth – one may dream of a utopian society where everyone may take as much as they like, but the truth of the matter is that there’s only so much to go around. It sounds much better for everyone to be equal instead of the top 1% keeping the most to themselves, is it not? (Looking at you, Big Business.) Uncomfortable with that analogy to wealth? That’s the whole point – in polygamy, wives (or husbands) are made into mere possessions, rather than a partner to work with and to love. Polygamy objectifies people, rather than respecting their dignity.