Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Roots of Big Love


It was oddly coincidental to read “The Second Relic of Barbarism: The Crusade against Mormon Polygamy, 1862-1890” because my daughter and I have been watching the HBO series Big Love.

This is a fictional story about a Mormon polygamist family, and we just finished with season one. Yeah, it’s an exaggerated soap opera but it does make references to the origins of Mormon polygamy so the background in this article helped me learn more about it.

In this article Carl explains the history of the government’s attack on the Mormons in Utah. Mormon religious practices weren’t really the problem, the problem was that they had a lot of power in the Utah territory and the government wanted the power. As noted in the article:
“The crusade against polygamy was in essence a crusade against Mormondom because the United States government perceived it as a powerful rival and competitor in the Utah territory. There was not enough room for two governments, when at least one of them wished to exercise monopolistic control. Even though only 2% of the Church membership practiced plural marriages during the era, polygamy was used as the major focus of attack. Time and again, authorities within the federal government made it plain that what they were really after was the power of the Mormon Church.”
Those in power merely made good use of the bigotry people had against those who chose to practice polygamy. As is usually the case in matters like this, the hypocrisy of the control freaks reeked. The Mormons caustically (and rightly) pointed out that the objection to polygamy was "not to a man's having more than one woman, but to his calling more than one woman his wife."

The libertarians spoke out against the government’s persecution of the Mormons and added that the state had no business interfering in marriage at all. In 1882 Lysander Spooner wrote an editorial in Liberty, where he said:
"If Congress were really waging an honest war against unchaste men, or even unchaste women, or even religious hypocrites and impostors, they would not need to go to Utah to find them. And the fact that they do go to Utah to find them—passing by hundred of thousands of vicious persons of both sexes at home, and the religious hypocrites that are not supposed to be very scarce anywhere—is the proof of their hypocrisy; and of their design to make political capital for themselves, by currying favor with bigots and hypocrites, rather than to promote chastity on the part of either men or women."
Also in Liberty, Gertrude Kelly (a female individualist anarchist I have heard of for the first time) said the Mormons "have a right to any system of marriage that suits them, that they maintain at their own cost, and that they do not force upon others."

Libertarians also pointed out that government legislation is not the moral way to go about changing people’s minds. Gertrude Kelly again:
"The Christian rushes to the ballot, and, if necessary to the bullet, to force his system down the Mormon's throat."
I like this lady.

You can read the details of the 30 year battle between the Mormons and the government in Issue 13.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go watch what happens to Bill Henrickson and his crew in Season 2!

7 comments:

brother said...

"Citizens" are members of a political community who...have...submitted themselves to the dominion of the government..." ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 244 [Emphasis added]

Dominion. Generally accepted definition of "dominion" is perfect control in right of ownership. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 486

Anonymous said...

@brother - I have never 'submitted' or agreed to be anyone's slave or follower. Just because some statist says something and puts it into a book doesn't make it so.

BTW - why don't you use your full name? It is Big Brother, isn't it??

brother said...

Sorry, that "submitted" referred to anyone who voluntarily uses a Taxpayer Identification Number of some kind. If you don't, then you're right, you haven't.

BTW - Why don't you use any name at all; is that because you are an undercover agent for the government? LOL

And, for the record, I am not Big Brother, nor am I a member of the State, since I don't use one of their chattel numbers (a T.I.N. of any kind). Do you?

"Those who seek the truth are more than friends. They are brothers." ~ Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

brother said...

Still waiting for your answers, Anonymous.

Are you an undercover agent for the government?

Are you a member of the STATE, i.e. do you volutarily use one of their chattel numbers, a Taxpayer Identification Number? In case you don't know what these voluntary chattel number are you can find them here: http://tinyurl.com/3c6yb

Morpheus: ...anyone we haven't unplugged is potentially an agent. ~ The Matrix

brother said...

"Kings give to each other the title of brother." ~ Webster's 1828 Dictionary

Anonymous said...

Brother - tried to leave a response the other day and it didn't take.

I didn't know where you were coming from with your first post being that all you did was quote Black's Law Dictionary.

Now that I know all I can say is good luck to you. I knew a few people in the Patriot Movement back in the 1980's and '90's who put great stock in these legalistic arguments and if the State ever took an interest in them they soon became broke and a prison inmate. As long as you fly under their radar you're OK, but if they come after you for one reason or another they'll roll their eyes at your arguments and toss you into the joint.
Good luck.

brother said...

Greetings Anonymous,

Thank you for your support ("good luck to you"), and, if you are not an undercover agent for the government, I wish you well, in your chosen course of action, also.

The problem with the people in the Patriot Movement back in the 1980's and '90's, and, as far as I know, even today, is that they put their faith in the Constitution, which causes them to remain citizens, i.e. members of the political group, and as members they voluntarily oblige themselves to obey the private law of that corporation.

Withdrawing from membership in that political group/corporation and merely "flying under the radar" are two entirely different actions, I'm sure you will agree.

But that aside, for the moment, you are essentially saying, (if I am reading you correctly), that you believe that there is no lawful, and therefore peaceful remedy. If that is what you are saying, and if you are correct in your assessment of the situation, then that leaves us with only one course of action, if we do not wish to be criminals[1], does it not?

Thanks for your time and your thoughtful response.

[1] To join, or support, one [a political association] that would, in his opinion, be inefficient, would be absurd. To join or support one that, in his opinion, would itself do injustice, would be criminal. He must, therefore, be left at the same liberty to join, or not to join, an association for this purpose, as for any other, according as his own interest, discretion, or conscience shall dictate. ~ Excerpted from Natural Law or the Science of Justice by Lsyander Spooner [Emphasis added]

http://lysanderspooner.org/node/59