Strange Musings *hyuk*
Sunday, October 02, 2005
  4:01 PM — Eugenics, and the Slippery Slope
An HS discussion board I'm on recently got sidetracked into a discussion of eugenics. I provided the medium to get it started - I told my story of how I wasn't allowed to give blood b/c I was on antibiotics. A poster replied that since HS is "in the blood," it's not only wrong for us to risk spreading it by donating blood, but that we also shouldn't have children and subject them to the disease.

Just to clarify, HS isn't contagious, and though there may a hereditary component, it isn't yet medically confirmed. Certainly not the way things like diabetes have been confirmed to run in families. Obesity is another potential one, though I think it's socially "inherrited" as much as genetically.

There was a lot of rage at his comments, and it later turned out he'd been abused as a child, but it's an interesting thing to think about, where one draws the line, and it relates to the abortion issue and selective breeding.

Speaking of controvertial issues, there's a really good Wikipedia article on the logical argument of the slippery slope. The common version of this that we've been hearing a lot about in the media is gay marriage. According to the evangelicals, allowing gay marriage starts us down a slippery slope that will eventually lead to beastiality, pedophilia, and polygamy. I must say I see no connection whatsoever between beastiality and pedophilia, but there are potential connectiosn to polygamy. Dan Savage recently quoted in a column that homosexual marriage is being allowed to promote gender equality, while polygamy does the opposite:

"Traditional polygamy grows from exactly the opposite [of gender equality]," says Graff. "One man owns many wombs and grows lots of household labor. That is precisely the opposite of gender equality and of individual-based capitalism. It violates all our contemporary notions of fairness and democracy. Polygamy would mean heading backward into marriage's feudal history; same-sex marriage moves us forward into its equal and democratic future."

Which is a surprising viewpoint to me - while this may be what traditional polygamy was about, I am all for an enlightened polygamy (ala Heinlein). Is there a word that means legal marriage between three or more people of indeterminate gender? Polygamy refers to one husband, multiple wives, so that's not what I'm looking for. It also has such historical loading to it. Polyandry is the other way 'round: one wive and multiple husbands. Polyamory is closer in intent to what I want, with consentual multiple sexual/romantic partners and genders not specified, but the "amory" in the word implies love without the legal committments.

[info]rosefox points out that polygamy is the gender-neutral term, while polygyny means a man with many wives. It's unclear whether polygamy means multiple of both genders (ex: 2 women, 2 men), or an either-or term for polygyny/polyandry. Historically, polygamy is *usually* of the form polygyny. I'm also under the impression that it's historically multiple people married to ONE central person, rather than to each other in a group, though the wives in a polygynous relationship often have some relationship to each other as well.

Actually, "many wives" is polygyny, as "many husbands" is polyandry (the same roots appear in misogynist/misandrist). Polygamy just means "many spouses".
Thanks for the clarification. I've stuck it in.

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