Sunday, June 21, 2009

Polygamy in West Texas

Atlanta's has the story.

Eldorado, Texas —- Until the raid on their compound last week, the women and girls of the Yearning for Zion Ranch spent their days caring for its many children, tilling gardens and quilting, dressed in pioneer-style dresses sewn by their own hands.

But it was no idyllic re-creation of 19th-century prairie life, authorities say. Since last week, they have interviewed members of the polygamist sect looking for evidence that girls younger than 16 were forced into marriages with older men.

Five miles off the highway, beyond a double gate, the group's members live lives that are isolated even for the scruffy West Texas prairie. Their 1,700-acre ranch is like its own city, with a gleaming temple, doctor's office, school and even factories.

My first reaction is that this is too much government intervention. Who cares if these people marry young? Isn't our idea of the minimum age of consent a fairly recent convention?

But, when we discussed the case of Warren Jeffs, the founder of this Eldorado compound, I came to a different conclusion. During his trial in which he was convicted of child sex abuse for having arranged marriages between middle-aged men and girls as young as 12, I came to agree with his critics who say it's too abusive to the women. Even if the girls don't know any better because they and their mothers were raised in this type of society, it's still unacceptable patiarchial abuse.

What's your opinion? Is the government going too far in interfering with the lives of these people? Or is this one of those cases where intervention is called for?

Please leave a comment.


  1. Both.

    Harassing people because they choose plural marriages is the .gov trying to inflict their morals onto others.

    50 yr old men diddling 12 yr old girls is child abuse.

  2. In other words, Mr. Third, you see polygamy as a legitimate life style with no social or psychological ramifications?
    Don't you think that the mentality which creates an environment where polygamy is seen as an alternative might also be part of a set of values which permit an older "elder" to force sex upon a "fertile" young girl.
    I am not arguing against the possiblity of a menage a trois type of relationship or for monogamy.
    Lord knows I've made my own life very complicated at times, but stand back and take a historical look at the type of theocratic despotic rule that Brigham Young used over the Mormon territtory of Utah.
    He held as much power religiously and despotically as any deranged tyrant in any history book.
    This is about a closed environment of psychological subjugation and control. Nothing wrong with being self sufficient, that's admirable.

    This is not about your personal life and if you choose to have a complicated existence with a few women.
    If you aren't chaining them in the basement and allowing them to make their own choices, then you are either a lucky man or soon to have real problems...

  3. Poor microdot. I wonder if he realizes that monogamy is actually in the minority in the world. He also then starts making suppositions about my personal life.

  4. The real problem is that they have all these "legally unmarried" women on welfare. These men have multiple wives that aren't married legally and force them to have a bunch of kids, which then increases the amount of welfare they qualify for.

    And the women are abused. They're not allowed to choose what they want, it's forced on them. And if they should summon the cajones to protest, they're beaten into submission. This is the United States, not Afghanistan. We don't allow that because we're a secular country last time I checked. You are free to believe whatever you like, until it infringes upon someone else's freedom. Then it's a violation of the law, and we are a nation of laws. Secular law.

    These people are the American Taliban. The only difference is, they don't blow shit up. Same thing otherwise. Women must know their place, must dress a certain way, are not educated, are expected to marry early, get knocked up early and repeatedly, and are merely chattel in the grand scheme of things. It's a shite state of affairs and it has no business being practiced here.

    IMHO, the only mistake the government made, was giving these bastards their children back.

  5. I just see him on the spectrum between jumping to conclusons,
    a despotically poor understanding
    of the working of negative archetypes
    and Genocide, and a sensitivity
    to propaganda that does poor souls
    no good.

    I was affianced to a fine man of
    43 when I was 19 and I should have
    married him. His first wife had died
    of a heart attack. I had the same disease.

    Never considered the possibility that I would be ill and need someone to take care of me. All very monogamous.

  6. Thirdpower said, "Harassing people because they choose plural marriages is the .gov trying to inflict their morals onto others.

    50 yr old men diddling 12 yr old girls is child abuse."

    Does that mean this is one of the times intervention is called for?

  7. Thanks Mad, I agree with you; the comparison to the Taliban is quite apt.