2004-02-15 Homosexual Marriage and Civilization/06

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Civilization Is Rooted in Reproductive Security

There is a very complex balance in maintaining a monogamous society, with plenty of lapses and exceptions and mechanisms to cope with the natural barbaric impulses of the male mating drive. There is always room to tolerate a small and covert number of exceptions to the rule.

But the rule must be largely observed, and must be seen to be observed even more than it actually is. If trust between the sexes breaks down, then males who are able will revert to the broadcast strategy of reproduction, while females will begin to compete for males who already have female mates. It is a reproductive free-for-all.

Civilization requires the suppression of natural impulses that would break down the social order. Civilization thrives only when most members can be persuaded to behave unnaturally, and when those who don't follow the rules are censured in a meaningful way.

Why would men submit to rules that deprive them of the chance to satisfy their natural desire to mate with every attractive female?

Why would women submit to rules that keep them from trying to mate with the strongest (richest, most physically imposing, etc.) male, just because he already has a wife?

Because civilization provides the best odds for their children to live to adulthood. So even though civilized individuals can't pursue the most obviously pleasurable and selfish (i.e., natural) strategies for reproduction, the fact is that they are far more likely to be successful at reproduction in a civilized society -- whether they personally like the rules or not.

Civilizations that enforce rules of marriage that give most males and most females a chance to have children that live to reproduce in their turn are the civilizations that last the longest. It's such an obvious principle that few civilizations have even attempted to flout it.

Even if the political system changes, as long as the marriage rules remain intact, the civilization can go on.


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