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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

American concubines

In which it is argued, contra my prediction of the brothel/burqah option, American women are rather far along in the process of abandoning marriage in favor of concubinage:
If one takes a close look at contemporary American society, it appears that concubinage is gradually reasserting itself in Western culture and law. This is an inevitable result of the idea that men have an obligation to financially support illegitimate children; an idea that was rejected by Christians because it fatally weakens the incentives for women without significant property to engage in monogamous marriage. In fact, Islam prohibits concubinage as well, and dictates that although a man may have up to four wives, each one will have the same status under the law. Abuses have always occurred, but the contrast between European and East Asian society (Chinese in particular) was stark up until modernization in Asia. Rich Chinese men often had a “first wife” and varying numbers of concubines, the Emperor would have hundreds of them, and lots of ordinary Chinese men had to make do sharing prostitutes or going entirely without a woman.

For young women, a life as a concubine is often preferable to being married to a poor man, and increasingly that option is open to them in the US. For the lucky few women – usually the exceptionally attractive and mercenary – a sexual relationship with a wealthy businessman, athlete or politician can guarantee decades of support if she manages to get pregnant. Rielle Hunter, John Edwards’ adulterous lover, is an example of a woman who pulled it off. Scores of women manage to hit the jackpot with young, unsophisticated athletes; thousands upon thousands of others we’ve never heard of take advantage of relatively wealthy men. In these cases, where child support will be enough to live on, the arrangement is concubinage in all but name. The only argument against equivalency is that sexual exclusivity is not guaranteed, as it usually was in ancient forms of concubinage, but given that sexual exclusivity is neither guaranteed nor enforced in marriage any longer and concubinage has always been held to be a lesser alternative to full marriage, it is fulfilling the exact same role the institution did in ancient times.
It's an interesting historical correlation, but I don't think the devolution into modern concubinage is so much an end state as a stage on the continued devolution into full female subjugation. The reality is that economics and demographics alike predict the unviability of any society with universal suffrage and concomitant legal favoritism towards women. Therefore, anything that naturally develops from that society is irrelevant, since the society is going to either collapse or be conquered and be replaced by a competing one.

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Blogger sulaimaan ahmad May 19, 2014 1:27 PM  

concubiage hasn't changed...they are just called common law or live in girlfriends now! ;-)

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