The Great Blackdragon Debate: Are Open Marriages and Polyamory Good or Bad For Society? Part Two
Here’s the second and final and part of the Great Blackdragon debate, me against Soul, on the merits of nonmonogamous relationships being beneficial (or not) for society. The first part of the debate is here, and the debate rules and structure are here. If you would like to debate me on this blog in the future under a similar format, you may email me and give me your topic. Any topic will be considered, as long as you believe it strongly and you know it’s something I would disagree with.
We last left at round five with my response. Now it’s Soul’s turn:
Round Five: Soul
Blackdragon, you keep avoiding the issue here. We can’t talk about traditional marriage as an option today, or compare it to OLTR. Traditional marriage is completely dead in the modern world; and that’s a big part of the problem we’re talking about. Traditional marriage depended on a social support network, and the support is gone. Traditional marriage was a contract between a man and a woman, and what’s the point of having a contract if it can be broken at a whim? And, it was a great contract for a man. Look what was in the vows: the man promised to love and cherish, but the woman promised to love, cherish AND TO OBEY. To enter into a marriage contract, a woman gave up her freedom to her husband. The Romans (before Constantine) had a system that was better still: Caesar’s wife was expected to be “above suspicion”, but it was OK for any man to go quietly to the temple prostitute for sexual healing if his wife was being difficult. The ancients understood what we have forgotten: if we are going to have long-lasting stable marriages for a stable, healthy society and a warm, loving environment for our children, then the women are going to have to sacrifice their sexual freedom. Simple as that.
You’re also missing my point about casual polygyny or “MLTR” as you call it. I’m glad you acknowledge that not every man is going to have as many 19-year-old women as you do. My point is, a lot of men are going to try for that, if society will stand for it. And only a few of them are going to succeed; but those few men will do enormous damage. How is a woman ever going to live happily, married to a truck driver or a garbage collector, if she’s had the chance to have sex with Blackdragon? You are ruining these women for life. Men want virgins for their wives, they don’t want women who are always remembering and longing for men who are better in bed than they are. These women you’re fucking and toying with have fathers, they have brothers, they have uncles. If you’re free to have sex with whoever you want, then they should be free to come after you with shotguns. As the very astute Mr. Banks says in the 1964 Disney classic film Mary Poppins, “Tradition, discipline, and rules must be the tools. Without them – disorder! Chaos! Moral disintegration! In short, we have a ghastly mess!”
And judging from your post on “moving out of the country”, BD, you would also agree with Mr. Banks that it’s a “ghastly mess” indeed, that our country has fallen into. You give a conservative litany of reasons for that: economics, government, taxes. And you’ve been looking to Ayn Rand’s philosophy for solutions, and you say that we should spend less time worrying about “society” and more time taking care of our own happiness as individuals. Ayn Rand edited a book about that: “The Virtue of Selfishness”, in which she proclaimed that the pursuit of a person’s own self-interest is sometimes the highest ethical good. OK, fair enough. But in the process, she denied the universally accepted definition of the word “selfish”. Ayn Rand wrote: “the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is concern with one’s own interests”, as opposed to what she admitted was the more typically understood meaning that “the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.” I don’t know what dictionary Rand used, but when I looked the word up, what I found is a lot closer to “a synonym of evil.”
At any rate, I submit to you that the biggest problem in our culture is not a surplus of altruism, or a lack of freedom, but the problem is rampant and virulent and unchecked selfishness. Look at Jon Corzine, who siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars in customer accounts into his own pocket. Look at George Soros, look at Mitt Romney, look at Barack Obama. Don’t get me started. And as a culture, we’re burning through the world’s heritage of oil and many other mineral resources in just a few generations, while polluting the planet with CO2 and nuclear waste and a myriad of other toxics, all to selfishly support our military dominance and our “non-negotiable way of life”. Compared to all of this, it might seem like there’s little harm in the pursuit of polyamorous lovemaking. But, could it be that the selfish nature of the sexuality we have accepted as a culture, is at the heart of all of our troubles? We as men are so busy coping with our women run amuck, and so busy trying to get laid, that we don’t have time or energy left to confront the disaster facing our civilization.
Round Six: Blackdragon
You said, “How is a woman ever going to live happily, married to a truck driver or a garbage collector, if she’s had the chance to have sex with Blackdragon?” I think you’re overstating my sexual prowess, but I’ll take the compliment. The answer is A) she will fuck another Alpha while still remaining married to her beta garbage collector husband, since the beta provides things the Alpha will not (providership, obedience, etc), and/or in extreme cases she will B) divorce or separate from Mr. Beta to go have sex with Mr. Alpha…for a while. After that she’ll eventually end up with a beta again because when she demands monogamy and providership from the Alpha, he’ll say no. So she goes back to Mr. Beta (either the same one or a different one). No one is “ruined” beyond the amount of people being ruined now by a 63% divorce rate in most cities. (Not to mention the huge amount of married people who eventually cheat and the huge amount of old people in marriages that are monogamous and do last but are unhappy and soul-sucking.) This beta-to-Alpha-back-to-beta system is how women work, and nonmonogamy being accepted in society would not change that behavioral pattern (any more than monogamy has, which is to say, not at all).
You said, “Men want virgins for their wives, they don’t want women who are always remembering and longing for men who are better in bed than they are.” But that’s what men have NOW. Look at our new friend Malibu Mom for a perfect and typical example. How will my system somehow make this worse? Yet again, you’re worried about things that are already the case under the current system. You’re really reaching here. Give me examples that would be worse, not the same as now. So far you haven’t.
You’re going off on a tangent with this selfishness stuff. It’s irrelevant. All I’ll say is what I’ve said many times before: No one has the right to violate person or property. That includes John Corzine stealing your retirement money or a jealous needy husband in an OPEN marriage going after you with a shotgun if you fuck his wife, a wife who wanted to fuck you and fucked you of her own free will under the umbrella of an open marriage where HE can fuck other people if he wants to also. Both of these men are doing evil, obviously. But no more of the selfishness stuff. It’s a side point. Answer my points in the two paragraphs above.
Round Seven: Soul
You say: “Give me examples that would be worse, not the same as now.” Well, let’s think about what will happen when your “Alpha Male Lifestyle” book hits the stands, and becomes a runaway best seller. It’s a continuation of the process that’s already underway, but it will accelerate based on your message, for sure. More and more good men are going to throw in the towel, and refuse to even go through the motions of becoming married and monogamous. The jig is up, men understand that modern marriage is nothing but a cruel hoax. That means in the future we’ll have more casual polygyny, more short-term serial monogamy, and more broken and outraged single people who won’t go anywhere near any member of the opposite sex. A man can’t be held to any promises whatsoever under your system, least of all what any child desperately needs: a stable home life with both parents.
You say: “There will ALWAYS be a strong percentage of religious people, or needy people, or low-sex drive people, or hyper-jealous people who will choose monogamy over poly/open.” Right: and boring people, and stupid people, and people who can’t read their marriage license and figure out that it doesn’t say anything. How’s that going to work out, when those people are the only ones who can have children and stay together long enough to raise them? The genetics of the species will go downhill fast. Which brings up another problem I have with you, BD: you keep telling your Alpha Male heros to use condoms all the time. If everybody took your advice, the Alpha Males would go extinct!! Women would only be able to read about them in ancient romance novels! “50 Shades of Grey” will be revered as a classic!
So your solution for the future of the human race is the Open Long-Term Relationship, or OLTR. You seem to think this is a new invention, but it’s not. In traditional times it was called “Shacking Up”. And it worked fine until the woman got pregnant and hormonal. Then if the Big Alpha Male dropped the slightest bit of sub-communicated hint that he was going to spend time with his younger girlfriend to get his sexual needs met, watch out. Hell Hath No Fury!! What sort of Alpha Male wants to bring this sort of drama on himself? “Sedfast.com / Pua-zone.com” readers and posters take note, and learn from poster JWS’ sad experience: OLTR and pregnancy and babies don’t mix.
Fortunately, this madness is self-limiting. As the great Greek philosopher Plato explained in ~350 BCE, democracy inevitably fails because of the follies and selfishness of free people, to be replaced by oligarchy, and then tyranny. The Alpha Males will not go extinct, BD, in spite of your efforts!! They will eventually come back to power, and restore sanity and patriarchy and tradition. And tradition wasn’t so bad. Yes, in order to get married, men and women had to stand up in church and pledge to stay together, forsaking all nookie on the side, until death do us part. Under the Catholic system until Henry VIII, it took a special dispensation from the Pope to pretend it never happened (aka “annulment”, or “the devil made me do it”); otherwise, the marriage contract had real teeth — marriage really was for life. That tended to moderate the drama: men and women knew that no matter what they said to each other, and no matter what they did, they would still be married and living together in the same house the next day. So, a married society was a polite society. And that opened up plenty of opportunities: if Mrs. Banks was having threesomes with Poppins and the chimney-sweep, who knew? Just please don’t tell the children!
Round Eight: Blackdragon
The people who continue to be monogamous under a culture that accepts open relationships will still suffer breakups, cheating, and divorce like they do now, whether they have children or not, just like now. You’re falling into the standard trap of thinking that people who attempt monogamy-with-kids will stay together forever, and approximately 63% of them don’t do that.
Monogamy=broken marriages with kids. Poly/Open=broken marriages with kids. The difference is that breakups under a poly system will be A) more amicable, and B) less financially damaging. And I tell Alphas to use condoms with freaks and FBs and MLTRs, not with OLTRs or OLTR wives they want to have kids with. If you want kids, have them! Just don’t have them on accident. I think you know this distinction and are just trying to distract from the issue. Alpha males can and will have plenty of children with their OLTR wives (and other women, since “Alpha” does not necessarily equal “smart”). They just won’t plan on being with those wives forever. That’s not how wives work.
Quoting Plato won’t do much for me. Plato was a totalitarian and a sick bastard who thought loud laughter should be outlawed because it was “intemperate”. And if you think OLTR wives will explode any time their husbands want to fuck someone else, you should talk to the 40+ men I interviewed for my open marriage ebook who have open marriages and rarely or never have that particular flavor of drama. (Other occasional drama? Sure. Some drama is unavoidable in a long-term live-in relationship.)
You end by cycling back to how men/society/law should crush women’s sexual freedoms, and we’ve already covered that. Anything new? Or are we done?
Final Statement: Soul
Yes, BD, it looks like we’re done and I’m ready to rest my case. I want to remind the readers of the topic we’ve been debating: RESOLVED: A society in which non-monogamy and sexual freedom are accepted social norms for both genders, will fail because too many men & women will form unstable open relationships instead of nuclear families with stable pair-bonded couples, which will lead to social turmoil. Let’s look at all the points of my case that BD has conceded. He’s admitted that this is not some hypothetical society we’re talking about, but rather it’s the world we live in. Non-monogamy and sexual freedom are indeed accepted social norms for single people of both genders. He’s admitted that stable, loving families are the best possible environment for raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted and productive children. He’s admitted that under these presently existing social conditions, “Monogamy=broken marriages with kids. Poly/Open=broken marriages with kids.” Finally, BD is so upset about the social turmoil and chaos in our society, that he’s personally making his preparations to jump ship and go to Asia.
Another sign that BD has lost this debate is that he keeps repeating the same tired statistics, and now he’s resorting to ad hominem arguments. Yes, 63% of modern marriages end in divorce, but BD wants you to forget that in 1960 the divorce rate was less than half of what it is today. And BD is hurling insults at Plato!! Yes, Plato was not the kind of guy you’d invite to a party. What’s much worse, Plato’s student Aristotle was the mastermind behind Philip II and Alexander the Great, who put an end to ancient Greek democracy. I’m not very fond of Plato either! In fact I chose to quote him for a reason: a reminder that Ideas Have Consequences. None of this changes the fact that Plato’s prophetic description of the cyclical nature of human history has played itself out repeatedly, and it’s happening again NOW. Harrumph!! Next thing you know, BD will be calling the estimable Mr. Banks a “Beta” as if there’s something wrong with that — even though he had a nice townhouse and two beautiful children. So what if his wife was a suffragette.
Regarding my alleged desire to crush women’s sexual freedoms, and eagerness to go after my wife’s lovers with shotguns: it seems that BD is unable to detect when I’m being facetious, or using humor and irony to illustrate my arguments. I love my freedom and I’m in a nominally open relationship myself. My wife is a free woman, and I ravish her in bed because she wants me to. When it was time to write our wedding vows, I convinced my wife that it was a bad idea to commit to a lifetime together. She agreed it was impossible for anyone to guarantee their feelings 20 or 30 years in the future. Neither one of us was willing to promise to be trapped in a marriage without love. So, “til death do us part” was out. The discussion about “forsaking all others” was more difficult, but we were honest with each other and we didn’t feel we really wanted to foreclose on the possibilities, or get caught in debating when some friendship was going too far, or risk blowing our relationship up because of some adventure. Our vows were so toothless that even my favorite Unitarian minister refused to do the ceremony. So, we embarked on our open marriage experiment. Unlike BD who is writing about OLTR as a keyboard jockey, I know what I’m talking about from experience.
The only point BD and I still disagree on, is that he’s expecting OLTR and MLTR to save the day. He wants you to rely on those forty guys who he spoke with on the phone, who are telling him everything is peachy keen with their wives. Wow, (almost) forty out of forty! That’s amazing! (Or rather, it’s no surprise: selection bias is a well-known problem with self-selected survey targets.) The people I meet in real life must come from a different planet. I’ve seen lots of people in my social circle try to do polyamory, and I’ve gone to plenty of swingers parties in my day, and I’m just not buying this story that there’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. As things have turned out, I’ve kept my freedom but I’ve used it responsibly. (Or to the extent that I haven’t, I’m certainly not admitting to anything!) So the notches on my bedpost are not sexual conquests, but wedding anniversaries. And isn’t that what we all really want??
Final Statement: Blackdragon
As the reader can see at this point, Soul and I actually agree on easily 90% of this stuff, including the core issues. He knows monogamy doesn’t work, understands the reasons why, but it still bothers him for various emotional reasons. Which is okay. A society where open nonmonogamous relationships would be accepted just as much as monogamous ones would be something we have never seen before in the modern western world. It’s unknown, and the unknown is always scary. The problem is if we let the scary unknown stop us from evolving, improving, and adjusting to modern realities, African-Americans would still be slaves and we would have never set foot on the moon. Hell, we Americans would still be in Europe under the yolk of a descendant of King George, and Columbus (or the Vikings or the Chinese or whomever) would have never discovered the Americas.
In this debate we’ve looked at three options for society:
1. The status quo, i.e. failed monogamy.
2. A society where both monogamy and open relationships/marriages are perfectly acceptable norms.
3. A society where monogamy is enforced with some success and where women’s sexual freedoms are limited.
Soul and I agree option 1 is not working. Soul favors option 3, I favor option 2. It might be good for society if the government forced us at gunpoint to eat nothing but meat and vegetables, but I still would not be for such a system, just like I would not be for a system where women were virtual slaves so that monogamous marriages had better odds of lasting. As society slowly moves to embrace option 2, will there be problems as society adjusts to new sexual realities as change takes place? Of course. The Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s was very painful for a lot of people, but it was right, and it needed to be done, and we are now better for it. It’s the same as a society that embraces a broken system (monogamy) slowly moving to an imperfect yet better system (nonmonogamy), a system under which old desires such as marriage and children are still not only possible, but safer and better.
I hope this debate has made you think, and I’ll leave the winner up to the reader. I had a lot of fun.