I lectured on polygamy this morning; then, by pure coincidence, I came across Gary Becker’s latest word on the subject. Highlight:

Some oppose polygyny because they believe too many women would be “swept off their feet” by smooth-talking actual or potential polygamists. If that were a great concern, women could be required to be older before they could legally marry into polygamist households, or a “cooling off” period could be mandated before they could do that. Yet isn’t it offensively patronizing to women to believe they cannot make their own decisions about whether to enter into marriages that contain other wives? We do not offer men any special protections against the “wiles” of women, so why do women need such protection? Indeed, I believe that in marital decisions women are more thoughtful and far-sighted than men, partly because marriage has meant much more to women than to men.

Becker closes with two pointed questions:

I conclude with two questions. Why the strong opposition to polygyny if it would be so rare? If modern women are at least as capable as men in deciding whom to marry, why does polygyny continue to be dubbed a “barbarous” practice?