Why do we, in the land of the free, have a prohibition of polygyny, a victimless crime? Why does the law restrict people’s freedom needlessly? Why do consenting adults have many legal restrictions to their sexual liberty? Teenage sexuality is full of legal problems (Consult a lawyer before playing doctor. Perverse sex laws traumatize children).
Why do we feel a compulsion to meddle in other peoples freedom to form whatever form of marriage or sexual relationship they might want to engage in?
Many women would rather be the second (or fifth) wife of an attractive, rich, powerful man like Tiger Woods or Brad Pitt, then the first and only wife of boring, fat, jobless, broke alcoholic Joe Bloke in a Detroit ghetto. Even just being Tiger’s mistress is much more exciting then Joe Bloke. Why does our law restrict the liberty of these women, and of Tiger Woods?
Repression of other people’s sexuality is in the reproductive interest of older married women, of unattractive men. Even vor the successful alpha male it is advantagous to repress sexuality in others, while hypocritically pursuing his own promiscuous sexuality (remember Eliot Spitzer?).
In this post we show that evolutionary theory suggests evolution has created mental modules in our brains to repress sexuality in others, The gut feelings caused by these modules get rationalized into theories that give rise to repressive legislation.
Polygyny in birds
When good males are scarce, a female bird may prefer to become the second mate of a higher quality male with a bigger territory.
Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban $27.95 0691146748
(all quotes are from Kurzban’s book. This book is a must-read to really understand this topic here)
Morality for the birds?
To better understand how evolution could have formed modules for anti-polygyny morality, Kurzban analyzes a hypothetical bird population where moral rules prohibit polygyny. He asks
Which birds stand to gain reproductive advantage when polygyny is prohibited?
- "Clearly, female birds already paired with the best male mates will do better. Their mates won’t be able to acquire secondary females whose offspring would compete for the man’s resources." (Kurzban, p 209). Women married with good males have reasons to be feminists. Hillary Clinton only loses if hubby Bill gets entangled with interns. In contrast, Monica Lewinsky probably would have fared very well as Bill Clinton’s second or even fifth wife.
- "There’s a natural alliance between monogamously mated females and low quality males because they both gain by enforced monogamy". "low-quality males benefit, since they now might get mates who would otherwise wind up as secondary mates of high-quality males" (Kurzban, p.) In a polygynous animal, primate, or human societies, many low-quality get no wives and no offspring at all. "Low quality males would have a deep, abiding, even crucial interest in rules that force everyone into monogamy" (Kurzban, p 213). Remember, evolution selected for mental modules that gave us reproductive advantage in the EEA, in small groups of hunter-gatherers. It seems that for low quality males, monogamy is the only chance to get a wife, rear offspring and thus have reproductive success! Low quality males that successfully prevent the high quality males from monopolizing multiple females would have considerably more offspring then tolerant open minded men who would remain empty handed while the high quality males would get all the females.
- Almost all males "benefit from all other males being monogamous, even if they themselves are not [monogamous]? [...] "it’s best to constrain others’ sexual behavior. We’re all in favor of moral rule that prevent others from doing things that harm our own interests, but it is to our advantage to not obey our own rule.
- High quality alpha males can profit from imposing monogamy on other males. Powerful males have a better chance to remain unpunished if they violate these rules (at least in birds with no feminist dominated court system)
- The losers of polygyny prohibition are un-paired females who have to settle for a lower quality male (‘a loser’) because they are deprived of the freedom to choose to be wife #2 of a high quality male (with better genes, bigger territory, and more resources).
- The other losers of enforced monogamy are the "cads" the sexy good looking promiscuous players. They are attractive to women for having good genes, but they can’t win the battle over who brings the most worms. "Without promiscuity, sexy males can’t make the most of what they’ve got." (Kurzban, p. 211).
- "Dads, however, win if the sexy males can’t be promiscuous. (They also benefit from keeping their females at home, rather than searching for the good-gene cads)" (p 211) "Dads" are mated male birds that invest in their family and bring home worms for their kids.
We have an "interfere in other people’s private sex life" mental module.
"Humans are extremely social, and our survival and reproduction are determined in large part by how well we navigate the social world. Given this, it’s reasonable to expect that our minds are designed to compete fiercely-if not subtly- for the benefits in the social world: the best mates, the best friends, membership in the best groups, and so on. The outcomes of these competitions would have had massive effects on reproductive success over the course of human evolution."
So birds, mammals, and humans that increase their reproductive success by restricting other people’s sexual access will out-compete the democratic, personal-liberty-respecting tolerant liberal individuals.
We will post more about Kurzban’s theory of the modular mind, and the evolutionary advantages of internal inconsistency, self-deception, hypocrisy to explain this further. But to get a deep understanding one probably needs to read evolutionary literature
- Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban $27.95 0691146748 |Amazon paperback or kindle version
Humans have "moralistic modules designed to favor rules that promote their fitness interests".
"The hypothetical birds would vote for policies that prevent others from engaging in sex outside mateships and anything else that goes along with promiscuity. "they probably would not know why they were opposed to these practices. Their decision would be based on the output of certain modules designed to limit other people’s promiscuity. They would be insensitive to arguments about freedom and individual choice, and unaware of being inconsistent. They would probably rationalize this as being ‘pro-family", pro-life. Their resistance against abortion might be based in the desire to punish the females for having sex, and not in the desire to save embryos or in theories about the beginning of life." (Kurzban)
"They might be opposed to abortion -the availability of which by reducing the costs of sex, might well be linked to promiscuity" (Kurzban)
Feminist anti-promiscuity sex laws are also in the reproductive interest of most (hypocritical) males
- Human-Stupidity was always baffled at how and why feminists managed to impose their sexually repressive laws onto society as a whole. Here is the answer.
- Almost everyone is interested in repressing other people’s promiscuity and young women’s sexuality.
- Hypocrisy was the missing link that explains why most men would have built-in "repress-sexuality-in-others" sexual repression modules. So most men are actually natural allies in the feminist war against promiscuity. All less successful men are strongly in favor of anti-promiscuity laws
- married female’s self interest at monopolizing their man’s resources explains the extremely strong knee jerk reaction that demands draconian punishment specifically for older men who have sexual relations with younger women.
- Young attractive women are the worst threat to established relationships of older women.
- The main group that is not interested in monogamy and in repression of promiscuity, young women, is the target of strong repressive laws that curb their sex life.
- Young women are declared "victims" in consensual relationships.
- Human-Stupidity always found it strange that the "victims" often were vehemently opposed to being "protected". Just go and ask sixteen year old adolescents if they think they are "children" and need to be protected from their own sexual choices.
- in at least one case, the adolescent woman "victim" was jailed, for weeks, for contempt of court, because she refused to testify against her lover.
- It seems that "Romeo and Juliet" laws, that allow young women to have sex with equally young men are not a threat to older married women.
- On the contrary, they help to keep the young girls sexually occupied so they are less of a threat to elope with the older women’s sexual partners
- Of course, it does not make sense at all why a 17 year old is incapable of consenting to sex with a 30 year old, but perfectly capable to consent to sex with a 17 year old immature boy.
- Or why sex with a 25 year old would be extremely damaging and traumatic to a 17 year old girl, while sex with a 17 year old is not traumatic.
- and of course, nobody sees the contradiction of these laws with anti age-discrimination laws. Why should a 17 year old boy have legal rights (to have sex with a 17 year old woman) that a 25 year old does not have?
- The inborn mental module that makes older married women (and to a lesser extent most men) want to repress other people’s sexuality is the cause. The theories about victimization are the effect, the rationalization of a gut feeling.
- These theories are needed to justify that moralistic feeling and allow to enact repressive laws. Of course, questioning such unfounded theories is very unwelcome. Human-Stupidity was thus kicked out from change.org sucks
- First our "repress-other-people’s sexuality" modules cause us gut feeling that all extramarital sex is immoral. In the past we had adultery laws to jail such transgressors, but these laws seem not to be defensible in our liberal democracies.
- Then there is a "gut" feeling that an old man and a young woman are something even more "disgusting", vile, and immoral. At the first glance, older men and younger women are the real "enemy". The older men are those usually already married (very bad for the married women (feminists)), and usually more influential and powerful and thus often more attractive to young women then the young boys their age (so the low quality powerless men should feel especially bad about this). So it is quite likely that evolution created an even stronger revulsion against old men – young girl sex.
- Muslim countries are straightforward. They legally can stone people to death for sex outside marriages
- criminalizing both sides of a consensual relationships between an older man and a younger women was probably too illogical and too blatantly in violation of all constitutional guarantees of freedom.
- As lynching and stoning both parties is not possible, and as the repressive sex laws are clearly in violation of constitutional rights of liberty, some drastic rationalization needed to be found to justify such undemocratic and anticonstitutional measures. Thus, I surmised, originated the weird, unproven, but generally accepted theory, that young women were "victims" and their consent was invalid. All this in order to be able to justify the gut feeling and follow the instinctual drive to prevent promiscuous out of marriage sexuality.
- In a later post we will report on Robert Kurzban’s research that people tend have a strong tendency to identify "victims" to justify their unconscious moralistic feelings.
- For example, to justify the immorality of a victimless crime like peeing on a tomb stone the "victims" are the relatives of the deceased. Kurzban excluded all possible victims: "People still juged the acts wrong, and, when they did, they searched for a victim. [...] If the dead person had no family or friends, "society" was worse off." (Kurzban, p. 190) (Weeden 2003, DeScioli 2008, DeScioli & Kurzban 2009b)
- it would be interesting to analyze if it is a mere coincidence and side effect of the "victimization hypothesis" that the young women don’t get punished for their sexual transgressions.
- We reckon that historically, at times, women were also punished for sexual activities with older men
- It seems that feminist women would love to "slut shame" and stone young promiscuous women.
- But, once declared "victims", it is logical that adolescent women they can not be punished for their involvement with older men. After all it is none of their fault, they are pure victims.
- Kurzban’s suspicion, that prohibition of abortion and even of birth control could be a method to unconsciously punish young women. Availability of birth control lowers the threshold to sex
- The attentive reader might notice that sex with birth control is not really a threat to financial stability of the married women’s marriage. But 50 000 years ago in the EEA, there was no birth control. So our mental modules do not understand that sex with birth control has less pernicious effect.
- It is interesting that there is no serious scientific support for all the feminist claims that adolescent women get victimized by consensual sex. In spite of repression of research to the contrary like the Rind Study and decades of brainwashing. In countries where the age of consent is 12, there are no huge numbers of girls that need life long psychotherapy. Nor are there reports that Charlie Chaplins
- it is also interesting that feminists, desperate to rationalize their unconscious gut feeling and to reach their goal of eliminating sexual competitors, use manipulative language to confound the forcible penetrative rape of 6 year olds with consensual fondling of 16 year olds, by calling both activities by the same name: "child rape".
Modern birth control, social support, DNA tests render old moralistic modules unnecessary
Of course, nowadays Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, even attorney general Spitzer can easily afford 4 wives with 15 kids. Neither Elin nor Hillary even noticed the infidelity, much less suffered any serious disadvantages. But, our brain modules, formed in the EEA to condemn other people’s private behavior, behavior that victimizes nobody, remain strong. Even the most powerful man on earth (the US president) is being prevented by strong moral rules to have a second wife or concubines.
Additionally, the availability of birth control, abortion, and DNA paternity tests, and government handouts to the poor, make most old sex laws unnecessary. Virginity is no more the only way to make sure that the offspring is really the husband’s.
We are talking about mental modules that evolved in the environment of the EEA and get expressed nowadays. In the EEA ( in small hunter gatherer groups) the action of one person already can influence the availability of females.
Compare our tendency to love sweets, fatty meats, and to avoid exercise. These were useful in the EEA: 50 000 years ago, it was nearly impossible to get too much sugar from fruits or fat from lean, hard to hunt, wild animals. It was a good strategy to pick the sweetest fruit. These old predispositions are out of place in a modern supermarket full of sugar, ice cream, soft drinks, and hamburgers. But our predispositions are stronger then our intellectual understanding of good diet.
Hypocrisy, self deception: repressing victimless crime in the Land of the Free
And the amazing capacity of our brain to maintain contradictory attitudes remains unfazed:
"American independence from England began with the self-evident truth that people had certain ‘unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. When Americans pledge allegiance to the flag, it is to a republic with libery for all. In out national anthem, we celebrate living in the "land of the free". Other nations highlight their commitments to liberty as well: the French, for example, put liberté first in the top-three list.
I don’t know what else ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ might mean if not the idea that I should be able to do as I please as long as it doesn’t harm your ability as you please." (Kurzban, p 218)
Clear enough? Freedom is our highest constitutional good, and we needlessly interfere in other peoples freedom all the time.
"For whatever reason, we seem to have modules designed to work very hard to prevent people from doing the things they want to do.. This is arguably one of the greatest inconsistencies of modern times, given that our press secretary modules at least in the West, are always going on and on about our deep fundamental abiding commitment to liberty" (Kurzban, p 213)
"some of our modules ‘believe in’ promoting others’ liberty and freedom, other modules simultaneously ‘believe in’ restricting other people’s liberty." (Kurzban, p.219)
Other victimless crimes are created through legal restrictions on issues like the right to sell our kidneys, the right to exchange sex for money, the right to use the drugs of our choice, the right to die.
"hypocrisy is part of the modular design. We condemn because our moralistic modules are designed to constrain others but there is nothing that keeps our behavior consistent with our condemnation. [...] We can be as inconsistent as others allow us to be. Because being caught in inconsistency is damaging."