Polygamy Now
The unfolding story of polygamy in the United States

Monday, August 28, 2006

Polygamy Youth Rally

A pro-polygamy rally at the Salt Lake City-County Building attracted around 250 young people, many from polygamous families. [Photo by August Miller, Deseret Morning News.]

From Jennifer Dobner, Associated Press --

The rally [...] is thought to be the first of its kind, said Mary Batchelor, co-founder of Principle Voices of Polygamy, a pro-polygamy education and advocacy group that helped organize the event.

All of the speakers praised their parents and families and said their lives were absent of the abuse, neglect, forced marriages and other "horror stories" sometimes associated with polygamist communities.

"Because of our beliefs, many of our people have been incarcerated and had their basic human rights stripped of them," said a 19-year-old identified only as Tyler. "Namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I didn't come here today to ask for your permission to live my beliefs. I shouldn't have to."

Salt Lake City Tribune's Brooke Adams also covered the rally -- Polygamists' Children Speak. Al Hartmann took the photo on the right, and many others to create a photo album of the event.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Walking through the Seattle Hempfest

This weekend we went to the Seattle HempFest. For photos, see our Facebook album.

The nation's leading cannabis policy reform event turns fifteen years old this year. Since 1991 Seattle Hempfest has been bringing you the nation's leading experts, activists, and advocates for industrial hemp and marijuana law reform, amid multiple stages of music and hundreds of food, crafts and information vendors.

In the photo to the left you can see thousands of visitors crowding Myrtle-Edwards park by Eliot Bay, a marijuana-leaf bedecked stage on the left, and a faint view of Mt. Ranier over Karen's hat.

Marijuana fairies mingled with Seattle's mounted finest. The dress code ran to prominent tattoos, Rastifarian dreadlocks, and colorful or revealing outfits. Karen and Lisa dressed as hippy wannabes and I dressed as a German tourist to mingle into the crowd.

While the official theme this year was the legalization of marijuana, the colors, textures, and odors of the numerous vendors made for a truly sensual event. No herb was openly displayed, although we were quietly offered a suspicious looking jar of green butter. We declined.

Karen and Lisa enjoyed poking through the booths, looking for exotic jewelry, scents, and clothes. They each bought the outfits you see them trying on in the photo to the right.

I stopped by the ACLU booth and asked the volunteer, "So when will you start working to legalize polygamy at the federal level?" "We think it should be legal now," she replied. Another volunteer asked us if we'd ever seen HBO's Big Love.

We left the festival at 5 PM and found ourselves by the Spaghetti Factory. Surprisingly, we were shown immediately to a table.

We ordered two dinners -- one spicy spaghetti dinner with sausage, and one baked lasagna. The dinners came with bread, salad, ice cream, and coffee tea or milk -- more than enough for the three of us to share. Our total, including tax, tip, and Karen's beer, was less than thirty dollars.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Peacekeeping Rule

You can find the peacekeeping rule at work in every ecological, social, political, and economic system. It goes something like this --

It's ok to compete to the best of your abilities, but it's not ok to deliberately destroy the competition.

Who enforces the peacekeeping rule? It enforces itself, and powerfully so!

Let's take an example from Daniel Quinn's excellent book Ishmael (not to be confused with the Star Trek episode by the same name).

Suppose you have a savannah ruled by lions. Normally these lions eat antelope and an occasional zebra. Hyena inhabit the savannah, and they eat antelope, too.

One day the lions decide to get together and systematically wipe out the hyena and all other animals that eat antelope. Fewer competitors, more antelope for the lions.

But why stop there? Zebra compete with antelope for the grass they eat. Wipe out the zebra and there will be more antelope for the lions. And grass competes with bushes. Destroy the bushes, and there will be more grass, and more antelope for the lions.

Eventually you wind up with an ecosystem with just one animal/plant in each niche. Such ecosystems are very brittle. I can't give you a real example, because any ecosystem that violates the peacekeeping rule destroys itself. A blight on the grass means no antelope, and no more lions.

In the business world, an example of such an aberrant system is a monopoly. Monopolies are brittle, unresponsive to consumer demand, and unmotivated to improve. Remember Microsoft going to court about whether it required new computer manufacturers to buy an operating system preconfigured to support Microsoft products? It's ok for Microsoft to put out the best operating system it possibly can, but the question was did Microsoft attempt to destroy competition with unfair practices (in violation of the peacekeeping rule)?

Almost anytime you find a group of people passing laws that tell another group of people how to live, you find a violation of the peacekeeping rule. Early Americans, afraid that they couldn't compete with the economic and political advantages of polygamous communities, tried to utterly eradicate them by law. This strategy cannot possibly succeed in the long run, and polygamy will eventually be sanctioned -- count on it!