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skeeter

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I am currently enrolled in a Cultural Anthropology course and we have to turn in a paper on Polygamy and Polyandry. This is an argumentative essay on why it should or should not be allowed in the United States. I'm working up ideas right now and I've hit a mental wall. Any Ideas supporting either side are welcomed.
Here is the Prompt:
The US Supreme Court outlawed marriage between more than one man and one woman back in 1879. For this essay I want you to reconsider the court’s decision on polygamy. Assuming it takes place between fully consenting adults who go into the polygamous marriage with eyes wide open, should we continue to uphold this law, or is it time it was revised?

Thanks,

Travis
 

Marauder06

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OK, since I had to look up the definition of "polyandy" I don't think I'm going to be much help.

That said, there are two things that might help. Asking members of the site to take a specific side (i.e. "everyone who wants to participate, please take the "pro" argument") and then switching it up and requesting the opposite point of view can really generate some interesting responses. I did this is a couple of thread in the Intel forum.

Also, something that might really help your paper is utilizing a case study approach. I'm sure with a little looking you can get several examples of polygamy and polyandy, hell I think they even have a reality show (not "Big Love," something nonfiction). Those case studies will probably have specific and implied rationale for both pro and con. Good luck.
 

skeeter

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Thank you for your response! I've been able to find many reasons for the "pro" side of the argument since it appears in many cultures around the world. I am however having trouble with the "con" side of the argument. One way I am addressing this issue is the evolution of roles by women in American society. I believe with most American women being extremely independent compared to women of other cultures that this system(for lack of a better word) wouldn't work.

What would you guys think would be some cons to multiple partners in a marriage?
 

Scotth

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What would you guys think would be some cons to multiple partners in a marriage?


One argument from the "Con" side might be the divorce rate of traditional marriages is very high and opening the nations laws to allow even more complicated relationships would doom the nation to even more unsuccessful marriages.

While there are many Mormons that can live that life style successfully. Can people living outside those religious beliefs and structures learn to live that life style successfully considering 50% of traditional marriages already fail?

Maybe argue how the Hippie Communal living of the late 60 and early 70's failed to sustain itself for long term success because they didn't have those religious belief and structures like the Mormons do. Similarly opening the nation's laws to allow polygamy would doom more children being born into those unsuccessful relationships. Leaving even more children damaged with the scares of failed relationships and forcing them to carrying that emotional baggage into their adult life.
 

skeeter

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Maybe argue how the Hippie Communal living of the late 60 and early 70's failed to sustain itself for long term success because they didn't have those religious belief and structures like the Mormons do. Similarly opening the nation's laws to allow polygamy would doom more children being born into those unsuccessful relationships. Leaving even more children damaged with the scares of failed relationships and forcing them to carrying that emotional baggage into their adult life.

You have some great points! I had not thought about the emotional baggage of the children from these families. I was looking more into the cost of raising children, and the effects the current economy would have on these large families. Great post!

Mara: Thanks for the links. The first one gave me a ton of clinical information I can use to back up my position.
 

HOLLiS

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Does anyone really go into a new situation "eyes wide open"? I would go on psychology and social psychology as the bases of paper. Consenting adults argument, does have it's imitations and problems.
 

LibraryLady

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... While there are many Mormons that can live that life style successfully...

Just a point of order on this statement. Polygamy is neither accepted nor endorsed by the Mormon religion, in fact they excommunicated all polygamists. It is practiced by some very small splinter groups/sects/cults from the main Mormon religion.

LL - Not a Mormon, just want the facts correct.
 

skeeter

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Just a point of order on this statement. Polygamy is neither accepted nor endorsed by the Mormon religion, in fact they excommunicated all polygamists. It is practiced by some very small splinter groups/sects/cults from the main Mormon religion.

LL - Not a Mormon, just want the facts correct.

The correct group would be the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS)
 

SpitfireV

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The concept of having only one wife is a Christian one, which is why it's entrenched in the laws of us in the West, as most Western countries were founded by devout Christians and so Christian values represent themselves in the law.

If you wanted an interesting angle (remember, just because you argue an angle doesn't mean you endorse it), you could argue that because of the separation of church and state that the state should not be enacting laws that put forward a Christian perspective.
 

Polar Bear

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Did you pick the subject matter? I have a minor in Cultural Anthropology but I would have shot myself if I had to write a paper on this with the US as the culture.
 

skeeter

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The concept of having only one wife is a Christian one, which is why it's entrenched in the laws of us in the West, as most Western countries were founded by devout Christians and so Christian values represent themselves in the law.

If you wanted an interesting angle (remember, just because you argue an angle doesn't mean you endorse it), you could argue that because of the separation of church and state that the state should not be enacting laws that put forward a Christian perspective.

That is an approach I am looking into. Especially with other religious groups besides the FLDS allowing polygamy, from what little I understand about Islam they are allowed to have up to four wives. Which is interesting because Tunisia(a predominantly Islamic country) bans polygamy.
 

Polar Bear

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Unfortunately, I did not get a choice of topic.:(

That sucks. Pick a side and use every screwed up event to to support it. Don't forget about Jim Jones it was not the pure form of Polygamy like I have in my brothel but is a form of it.
 

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I would make the argument that the current ruling should not be revised due to the legal aspects. Marriage is a legal binding contract that is used to for legal purposes and not for simple “bonding or joining” of two people. Current marriage contracts offer the ability to gain benefits in areas of governmental allowances or allotments, governmental guardianship of children and personal assets. Adding multiple partners in a contract that involve these issue would requires new guidelines for the entire civil process of entering into the contract (marriage) and then exiting the contract (divorce).

What would happen if the individuals were on welfare?
What would happen if the individuals were in the military?
What would happen if the individuals had children?
What would happen if one of the individuals died?
What would happen if one of the individuals decided to leave the marriage?
How would assets be divided, how would legal ownership be decided, and how would this affect the current court system?

Example 1: A man and two women get married, one of the women is injured in a car crash and becomes unable to care for herself and is on life support. Now the man wants to take her off of life support but the other women wants to keep her on life support, so now how is this decided?

Example 2: A man and two women get married, one woman has 2 children and the other woman has none. Now the woman with children wants to leave the marriage (divorce), who is responsible for the child support and who is authorized visitation?

Example 3: A man and two women get married; the man decides he wants a divorce from the two women. Is the marriage completely dissolved or is the man only removed from the marriage contract? Can two women be married to each other?

It can go on and on, but the end result is that the entire civil legal system would have to be overhauled in order to accommodate multiple party marriages. Also it would leave a mass majority of the decision process up to a judge or jury over the use of or rule of law. This could lead to people’s personal rights being infringed upon by a majority or individual ruling.
 

Marauder06

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I was able to tie in a couple of the discussions we had here on SS to a paper I had to write for one of my classes. I'm posting it here as an FYI in case anyone's interested, I've already turned it in and gotten my grades back so I don't need any help editing it. Comments, questions, and disagreements are still welcome.

The Intelligence Community: A Return to Credibility

"If we are not believed, we have no purpose."
-former CIA Director Richard Helms
Over the last ten years, several highly-publicized missteps have ravaged the U.S. intelligence community (IC), undermining the IC’s credibility with policymakers and the U.S. public. In order to progress past the mistakes and misperceptions of the past the IC must recognize, remedy, and learn from its past failures to re-establish its credibility as an effective instrument of national power. This paper will examine six of the most-publicized examples of recent intelligence failures, identify possible remedies for each failure, and conclude by exploring some possible ways to return credibility to the IC.

 

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tmroun01

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Very well written paper, just a couple of comments. In my opinion:
1.I feel like you left out one of the biggest intelligence failures since the "war on terror" began. The suicide bombing in khost on dec 30 of last year which killed numerous CIA operatives.
2. The WMD argument; (if i remember correctly) the CIA knew there were no WMD's in Iraq however the Bush cabinet falsified documents to gain public/international support. I'll look for the national security briefing from 2003 to support my point.
 

Marauder06

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Thank you for the feedback. The Khost double (triple?) agent suicide bombing was definitely a failure on the part of the intel community, but I saw it as the failure of a small part of the community, not the systematic failure of the entire IC. Although it was public and tragic, I didn't really feel that it affected the IC's credibility as much as some of the other failures and letdowns, partly because the damage was confined to the IC itself. I don't say that to downplay the significance of the event or the loss of life, it's just to limit the scope of the paper.

Interesting point about the WMD. I'm not sure the CIA's position was that there were no WMDs in Iraq pre-invasion; in fact I believe the CIA's director was quoted as saying it was a "slam dunk" case (although I think he since distanced himself from those remarks). I think President Bush's administration definitely exercised undue influence over the process, but at the end of the day the intel community caved. I think the only part of the IC that flat out rejected the WMD argument was State Department's INR.
 

Scotth

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I thought it was a great paper and hope you got a nice grade for your effort. I thought you used good examples and covered a broad spectrum of failures. At least that is my view from an outsiders looking in.

One possible example for future consideration would be a look at the Iraq National Congress role in intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq War. It was publicily reported that the organization received millions in funding and was run by a guy named Chalabi. It was said his group of expatriates were able to gather intelligence from connections and family members still inside of Iraq. It was also reported that the CIA and State Department both cut the guy lose because they found his information unreliable but the INC ended up getting millions more in funding from the DoD.

IIRC Chalabi was at a State of the Union speech prior to the invasion and was held up as a great resource. When Chalabi and the US had there falling out the guy ended up going over to Iran and had meetings with them. I think this guy was another example of certain players inside the IC accepting his stories because it fit into the policy objectives instead of getting the unvarnished truth.
 

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The best work of the intelligence professionals is never known...as it should be.

September 12, 2001
Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet spoke to the CIA workforce this afternoon about yesterday’s terrorist attacks. Here are excerpts of his remarks:
Good afternoon.
Yesterday, the entire American people—joined by men and women around the globe—recoiled in horror at the barbaric acts against our country.
In my hometown of New York, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania, the bloody hand of evil struck again and again, stealing thousands of innocent lives.
As the devastating toll of terror comes into focus, we are sure to find among those who were lost friends, colleagues, and others we hold dear.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, with those searching and caring for them, and with those who mourn them.
I urge all of you to take the time to think of brothers and sisters that we, as Americans, have lost and to pray for those who survive them.
The images of fire and destruction are forever etched in our minds. And in our hearts, amid the numbing shock, there has been profound grief and renewed resolve.
As President Bush said last night, the search for the sponsors of these unspeakable acts has already begun. Our Agency is among the leaders of that search.
The fight against those who use the weapon of terror to menace and murder is necessarily hard. The shield of fanaticism—wielded by those ready to forfeit their lives to achieve their twisted dreams—is not easily pierced.
But it has been pierced before, and it will be pierced again.
Though we did not stop the latest, terrible assaults, you—the men and women of CIA and our Intelligence Community—have done much to combat terrorism in the past.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives have been saved by the brave men and women of our Counter-Terrorism Center, our Directorate of Operations, our analysts, our scientists, our support officers—all who work relentlessly every day against this difficult target.
I know that together, we will do even more in the future.
The response yesterday—from our Counter-Terrorism Center, the Ops Center, Global Support, our entire Security Staff, and many, many others—was absolutely magnificent. Today, I am—as I always have been—very, very proud of all the men and women in this organization.
The important thing for us now is to do our job. To run to ground a vicious foe—one without heart or pity. A foe who has killed Americans, but who hopes in vain to kill the ideals and values that define all of us as Americans.
The terrorists behind these atrocities—and those who give them shelter and support—must never know rest, ease, or comfort. The last word must not be theirs.
For the future must belong to the champions of freedom, not its enemies. That is our aim—today, tomorrow, always.
This is a time for us to come together. To bring all our talents to bear in a steely determination to do what we are called to do—protect our fellow citizens.
It is our turn again to step up to a challenge, and to meet it as we meet all challenges: With commitment and courage.
Put some spirit in your step, square your shoulders, focus your eyes…we have a job to do.
Many years ago, Winston Churchill—a giant of democracy—recalled his reaction on hearing the news of another surprise attack on America, this one at Pearl Harbor:
There were, he wrote, "many, not only in enemy countries [who] might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting."
But, Churchill concluded, "I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before—that the United States is like ‘a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate.’"
Indeed there is not.
I thank you all very, very much for your hard work. May God bless you all.
 
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