Column by Jim Davies.

Exclusive to STR

The nation is breathless, as I write, awaiting news from the Supreme Court about what marriage is. Crowds attend its building, working themselves up into a tizzy and a froth, for inside its lobby is engraved the arrogant and outrageous claim:


~ directly quoted from Marbury vs. Madison, an historic power grab. Gee, if only I could give myself such power, merely by saying so.

“Marriage is a fundamental right,” they all solemnly assert with one accord. Then they get back to the work of defining what it is. Some “fundament,” when we have to wait on the verdict of nine aging people in black robes, to find out what fundamental right we have.

Marriage is of course in no way a fundamental right in practice, in this government-soaked society. Try marrying two or more wives (or husbands) at once, with their full agreement, and see how far you get. Or try marrying off your 12-year-old daughter to that handsome and wealthy 14-year old heir up the road, again with the full agreement of both of them and his parents, and discover how fundamental is this right in the Land of the Free. So the judges and politicians are lying absolutely; what else is new?

I must first declare an interest; I'm married. Thanks to my wife's enduring sweetness and astonishing patience, we have been for 50 years and counting. We have two super children and six grandchildren to brighten our dotage. So count me conventional, a traditionalist.

What will marriage be like in the coming free society?

Answer, of course: exactly what the contracting parties desire, neither more nor less. Marriage is a contract, governing relationships between two or more people. Its traditional terms are usually spelled out orally before witnesses, and involve forsaking all other and keeping thee only unto her, and plighting her thy troth, and promising to love, cherish, honor and sometimes to obey. It gets a bit tricky to remember all that some years later, even if the rusty words were understood at the time – but there it is, a contract. After government has vanished and anyone can marry anyone, I expect the contracts will be more usually written, and more explicit. Who will win the bread, shall it be exclusive or open and swinging, what will obtain under terms of cancellation, who will then take what and (if there are children) whom. But all that will be optional, and there will be an industry of contract drafters so that engaged people can browse through the alternatives and say to each other, “Honey, let's use that one.”

As to how many parties and of what kind, all that too will be whatever the contractors wish. Nature will determine that opposite-sex marriages will be by far the most common, but where nature causes gentlemen to prefer gentlemen and ladies, ladies, so be it. There won't be any government benefits or restrictions to argue about, because there won't be any government, so it will all be done purely on the basis of personal preference.

If the contractors wish to have three, four or N parties to the marriage, so be that also. The contract in such cases could, however, get a bit hairy--especially the bits about who takes the children in the case of subsequent separation. Factors like whose biological children they are anyway could arise, for example. Complexities would abound, which will be very good for the lawyer trade – which, alas, will no doubt survive the transition to liberty, though quite possibly with a change of name since “laws” will no longer exist. The contracts for such plural marriages will, I think, follow a new Parkinson's Law: that the number of words (and price) will expand in proportion to the square of the number of participants.

But (as the Pols just love to ask) what about the children? Meaning, first, will kids under 16 get married? My answer is yes, but. The “but” will apply to all contracts about any subject; there is an age below which a child cannot be considered responsible. Hence, if a dispute arises a few years later, a free-market court may resolve it by declaring that when marrying, one or both of the youngsters didn't know what they were doing. That could get complicated and expensive, so parents will counsel caution and patience.

That age of responsibility varies with the individual, and is pretty hard to pin down. There are some thoughts on it in the “Children” page of The Anarchist Alternative. One thing's for sure: the present law-based provision that 16, or 18, or 21 is fixed for everyone is absurd--and obscene, when one law requires a boy of 18 to kill the government's enemies but another forbids him to drink beer until he is 21. Mohandas Gandhi married his wife Kasturbai when he was 13 and she was 14, and according to the movie, it worked out pretty well, though he made her clean latrines in the ashram, which she probably didn't anticipate when marrying the son of a rich man with plans to educate him in London for a prosperous career as a barrister.

What about the children, also, in the matter of adoption by same-sex couples or groups? There's a common view, which may be correct, that children grow up best when raised by both a mother and a father. Supposing that more evidence shows that to be so, adoption agents will prefer to place children with traditional couples. The adoption industry will, however, be diverse and its development hard to predict. Often they will be founded by religious folk with strong views against abortion, who will reinforce that preference, but I've no doubt that some will be supported by gays and lesbians eager to sponsor a supply of babies for same-sex marriages. Money will surely play a part, though it will flow not to bureaucrats who administer laws that furnish them with work, as today, but to entrepreneurs whose success will follow wise placements and satisfied customers. Phrases like “trading babies” will lose their ugly connotations. Whatever the details, the happy result of such a free market will be that children end up where they are most wanted. And that is very, very good.

The state currently has its knickers in a twist over marriage, for whatever it rules the term to mean, a large minority of voters will be dissatisfied; and the state's fate is well deserved. The state (and the church, for that matter) has no business intruding into such private contracts; according to Ryan McMaken, it began intervening to gain a basis for taxing and controlling inheritances. It would best solve its present dilemma by getting out of them – declaring a kind of separation between state and marriage. There is zero probability of any such sensible outcome, so we'll have to wait for the state to evaporate altogether. It won't be long.



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Jim Davies's picture
Columns on STR: 243

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?" and in 2016, an unraveling of the great paradox of "income tax law" with "How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff."


ReverendDraco's picture

The only "fundament" involved in this, are the fundaments of the 9 people sitting around acting like they have a clue.
As long as all involved are consenting adults. . . it's nobody else's business. Same with the contractual agreement between the parents of minors (with the minors' full understanding and permission, of course). Such contractual marriages of minors have been traditional in almost every society in the history of man - until recently. Even marriages between minors and adults were, at one time, considered normal by every society - especially when considered from an inheritance standpoint. Women tend to live longer than men, so it made sense, not only to breed with a younger female for the purposes of begetting healthy children, but also to have a parent to survive long enough to finish raising them and to control their inheritance until they were of an age to control it themselves.

As for "plural marriage," I think I have a good case in favor of 4-member plural marriages.
It used to be, that the "husband" would go out into the world, work to support the family - and the "wife" would keep the home and children. We all know, that's almost impossible nowadays, unless the husband has a *very* good paying job. We also know that, with the forced addition of wives into the workplace, children have suffered - latchkey kids, running with gangs, growing up in daycare as opposed to with their families, and what have you. Many of these kids grow up to be criminals, as the gangs & whatnot give them the sense of belonging they can't get at home. . . and the homes, lacking a full-time caretaker, are susceptible to break-ins. . .

Enter the 4-parent family. For the sake of example, let's call them Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.

Bob and Alice have full-time jobs - they earn the money that pay the bills, perhaps with a bit left over for savings. Ted has a part-time job, and his income goes to pad the savings account - in case of emergency, or to pay for a family vacation. Ted also runs the errands on his off-time; pays the utility bills, gets the cars washed, does the shopping, etc. Carol stays home; there is always someone at home, so it is less likely to be robbed. The children have a full-time caretaker; no shuffling the kids off to daycare. Carol could even homeschool the children, if homeschooling was desired - the children have a full-time teacher of "family values" as well, and so would be less likely to roam the streets or join a gang.
There is also the bonus of: Bob and Ted both have guys around to do "guy things" with; Carol and Alice have girls around to do "girl things" with. Everyone's needs are met - both parents *and* children.

Jim Davies's picture

Good reasoning, Reverend, though I never did see that movie.
That particular argument for plural marriages will lose its heft, though, when government has evaporated along with its taxes. Then, it will again be very feasible for one partner to win the bread and the other (of two) to focus on caring for and schooling the children. If they so choose.

daeuri's picture

Your thoughts mirror my own. I live in California, and over the years I have been solicited to sign petitions supporting the repeal of Proposition 8 (The gay marriage ban). I have declined, not because I oppose gay marriage, but because I think that how consenting parties form committed relationships and families is none of the state's business. Voting for, or against, such laws reinforces the bogus authority of the state to regulate the same. Marriage and family are just two of the areas where the state encourages meddling and conflict.

Jim Davies's picture

I'm a bit surprised nobody shireiked "INCEST!" in horror, after reading this - so let me play devil's advocate. Suppose someone saw in para 6 of the article that in a free society marriage will  be "exactly what the contracting parties desire" without laws to say otherwise, and reacts by saying that would mean brothers marry sisters and so the end of the world will surely be upon us, etc etc.
Asssuming you concur with para 6, how would you handle that objection?

Jim Davies's picture

I hope others will contribute answers to this objection, for it's already been raised by some woman in Congress. Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts.
1. As noted by the well-known sociology Professor Foxworthy,

If your family tree doesn't have any branches, you might be a redneck; and
If your dad is also your favorite uncle, you might be a redneck.

There are of course many other ways to become a redneck, but given the large number of rednecks in the land one may fairly deduce that there are far more sibling marriages around than can be readily counted, and of course the counting of any prohibited activity is almost impossible.
2. Incest does tend to produce defective offspring, though this article suggests it's not as dangerous as often presumed. Spanish King Charles II however was a real mess after successive generations of marriages to first cousins, and his condition is likened to the result of a brother-sister marriage. The problem comes from the increased transmission of something called "recessive genes."
3. Another quite well-balanced article here quotes a Finnish anthropologist, Edward Westermarck: "Close association in childhood automatically create[s] sexual aversion" - meaning that, contra Foxworthy and the Congresswoman, sibling marriages will, in a free society, be rather infrequent anyway.
4. The frequency is much higher when a population is small or isolated, as observed here. Indeed, when our species first evolved there would be no alternative to brother-sister unions, and even if the Genesis account of our origins were accurate, there would have been nobody for Cain or Abel to marry except their sisters - whose existence, as well as their names, is hypocritically omitted from that record.
5. My premise of a free society will be realized only after everyone has learned to think rationally, rather than to live largely by myth and bigotry as today; and thinking rationally in this context will mean finding out the facts and risks involved in sibling marriages and making a choice accordingly. Taboos will play no part, and if such unions are often avoided it will only be because of those facts and not because of laws derived from the prejudices of some ancient celibates.



Glock27's picture

This has excellent potential for a good thesis regarding deviance among human beings and exactly how a free society would work it out. I would love to tackel this but it is way to far outside my cognitive skills. From my point-of-view this contains glimmers of solutions for the future. I would deeply encourage the efforts to develop the premises you have started.

Jim Davies's picture

I'm glad and gratified, Glock, to learn that I've spread even a glimmer of light into such a dark and gloomy place.

Glock27's picture

Jim Davies:....My curiosity is to ask "Where does it end"? Does it end there or do we include men and boys, women and girls, woman and dog? There are, I presume, many other possibilities. Exactly where does freedom end and open society (George Sorous), (Karl Popper) begin? If I consent to let men and men, women and women be as they wish does this implie that I also must conceed that Men and boys (below age of 18) I am talking about 6 through 12, 13 etc? Is it then o.k. for beastiality to be acceptable?
Please forgive my simpelton perspective, I have not been years studying the -isms and -ologies over the years. My Quasi Moto thought is only limited to my personal moral, ethicl idea of freedom which seems to be clearly different than everyone else.

Jim Davies's picture

This article is about marriage, to which it refers as a "contract", and it does discuss the age of responsibility. You might usefully begin by re-reading it with closer attention.

It's true that sometimes, statist monarchies have "arranged" marriages between young children for political purposes, but that will have no place in the coming free society because there will be no government in any form. Since marriage is a long term or lifetime affair, it's hard to imagine anyone choosing to contract with a person clearly under the age of responsibility, or even on the debatable margin.

As for animals, I don't know of any capable of saying "I do" with responsible understanding - not even parrots, who may perhaps be trained to repeat the words. I never heard of anyone wishing to marry a parrot - that sharp beak would seem a definite turn-off - but perhaps you're more familiar with the species than I am.

Glock27's picture

Jim you missed the whole point, or you didn't want to other than to snipe at me. Topic sentences are usually a dead giveaway to what the author is discussing. Yes I know wat the article was about, but my response was to your question, not the article.

Your pathetic attempt to embarass me by attempting to imply I may have physical familiarity with the species. It merely demonstrates ones level of emotional maturity thus the remark was irrelevant to the question being asked (strawman attack). I have absolutely no doubt, should you have the interest, discovder internet sites regarding women and dogs, men and sheep and etc. you can find them easily enough, I am fairly certain.

You see James, the problem with the gay issue is it has blead over into an organization that believes they have a legitimate claim to engage young boys 6,7,8, etc. I think they call themselvs MANBA?? The law and I call them pedophiles. Their hope is that a positive SCOTUS decision in favor of gay marrages will open the door for them into the sexuality issue to legitimize pedophillia. (Some psychlogist support this position as legitimate!!). This is one of the issues that bothered some legislators while it is obvious other legislators have no concern that old men and first grader boys cohabitate. (Mind you, I have absolutely no problem with decent, respectable gay persons of any gender). My question was "Where does it end?" I believe it was a legitimate question and a fair question without being sharlly. Again you deviated from your earlier "response request" (I presume you are more interested in trying to publically humiliate me than to accept a response and work with it, but choose an aggressive reply; although it was a question to a question (Usually called data gathering before response). "How woud you handle that objection?", (your invitation to anyone to respond) was your original question according to your response (without laws to say otherwise). If you are going to stipulate that "without laws to say otherwise" then the issue with old men and pre-teen boys must be just as legitimate as a man, man or woman, woman legitimacy. Who dares to take that position of power to say who can and cannot marry?

Legalizing such a position contains the possibility and the probability of unheard of deviance and nightmares beyond belief created by them. To believe this to not be so is a failure of closed thinking, narrow focused thought. I say this because of the -isms. Non-aggression seems to be a principle, expanded to I can do whatever I wish as long as I do not prevent someone else from accomplishing their desire, or causing harm. In all the neat little definitions of a free society I find tucked away the idea of cause no harm. To me I see this proposition, man to man, woman to woman, to be one which would cause harm. Maybe not at first blush, but at a future point to open up the legitimacy of pedophiles. Of course one can get touchy with the definitions in the -isms. If you follow something created by others then there is a leader ergo freedom is not all it is being made out to be if you follow the principles prescribed; they are not principles you created, but someone elses. Samarami, in my belief, has the more positive idea of freedom. He is his own soverigen.

I have to agree with Paul on this point "You are a provocature". I may not be the brightes crayon on this site and I have no shame in admitting I don't have 202 posts on any site. Some of the things you have written make sense and brings my mind, what is left of it, to focus on some bits and pieces you have presented. You have a mind that should and would be better served on this site, I believe, to remain focused on the education of any new person who comes on not searching for ways to insult them, or convert them to your brand of ideology.

According to the values of this sight do you believe is is proper conduct to tell someone publically to "Get the hell off the site and never come back."?? It is my hope that you discover a way to contain your emotions. We may disagree, but why is it necessary to publically attempt to humiliate someone? Is it an ego bound drive? Is it a sense of insecurity? Your attempt to humiliate me publically when you invited via request to respond to your question I find pathetic. The only thing of value in your reply was one sentence, the opening one by laying down a definition.

Jim Davies's picture

I hope you feel much better now, Glock27, after that 790-word vent.

Glock27's picture

You counted them. I be damned.

Samarami's picture

The issue, as I see it, Glock, is this: "Does collectivism work? Or does collectivism not work?"

That's what I get from Jim's essay. The marketplace (which includes peer and parental pressure) -- human action -- will sort out male-female (and/or homosexual) relationships.

The homosexual issue is merely a collectivist divide-and-conquer tactic, accepted as highly important by the masses, most of whom get their opinions via mainstream media. That's how the psychopaths who make up that group we call "government" have been empowered to besiege yours and my personal lives so egregiously.


Glock27's picture

Sam, Thank you for your kindly insight. It makes sense to me now. It was the least he could have done despite the fact he is a snarly old fart who has it out for me because I don't meet his standards and rejected his TOLFA program. I refuse to be a cookie cutter of someone elses philosophy.

My concern comes down to the man-boy issue which pedophiles are quietly pushing. If gay marrage is legitimized then it provides pedophiles a platform. Now if pedophiles can get a platform from this then everything under the sun has a platform to bring themselves into line is being naturally legitimate. If this were so would it not then provide a platform for criminals to say their activity was just as legitimate. The remark about me being more familiar with beastality was a betrayal of common decency. My listing was to merely demonstrate the direction things can fly.

I have to get freedom more specifically defined or it goes the way of events like the constitution and bill of rights. Who in a free society is really going to stop them if free people openly accede to the legitimization and its right back to a one specific ruler.

Do I make sense?


Samarami's picture


    "...If gay marrage is legitimized then it provides pedophiles a platform..."

Here's my opinion, for what it's worth: The "pedophile" issue (among hundreds and hundreds of other "issues") is the result of the incursion of psychopaths (also called "The State") into human relationships. And if I'm right, they ("government") can no more solve problems by illusions of "legitimizing" or "de-legitimizing" this or that marriage arrangement between individuals than can foxes and wolves make chickens safer by "protecting" the hen house.

It is that intrusion into human relationships that has created the "platform" for those beastly behaviors.

I'm personally convinced that once one can unravel that fact emotionally as well as intellectually, s/he is on his or her way to sovereignty. But here's the problem: both you and I have a history of having been educators in government ("public" ha ha) educational systems, which we both now see as state propaganda mills. It is not an easy task to "UN-inundate" a brain that has been previously saturated with that indoctrination even once we see how pathological that whole scene was.

It is an exercise in cognitive dissonance indeed to come to grips with the fact that our employers and mentors for 35+ years were indeed our enemies, and obstacles to our ability to tell the truth to students and family and neighbors and friends.

So hang with us, Glock. You don't have to accept whole-hog or without question anything any of us write or say. Many (most) of us have disagreements over the jots and the tittles of libertarianism and/or anarchy.

Just acknowledge a willingness to see that abstraction called "government" as a religious belief that must be exorcised.


Glock27's picture

So I am experiancing Cognitive dissonance am I. It sounds like it. Maybe I am asking questions that do not need to be asked because everyone else has the answers. Definately a good point.

Samarami's picture

My guess is that there are few root-strikers among us who have not experienced cognitive dissonance -- with the exception with those who were born with anarchist spoons in their mouths. That's what got us here. Almost every one of us started our lives steeped in statist mentality.

More so for those of us who ended up educators in state propaganda mills. I was solidly founded in National Education Association (NEA -- before it was amorphized into a labor union) and Texas State Education Association (TSEA). These were abject brainwashing instruments in place to exorcize us of anything but statist doctrine.

Once the internet got underway I gravitated to sites such as this -- at first to reduce the dissonance, later to grasp and hold onto a liberty that had been introduced by writers like Harry Browne and Robert Ringer. Until then I had not found a forum with which to hone my knowledge. If I had ever heard the word "libertarian" it had been equated in my head to "libertine", almost the opposite to libertarian the way most of the world used the term.

So don't feel I was singling you out -- most of us have had to come to terms with freedom in an unfree world.


Glock27's picture

Sorry about that. I was merely kidding, but actually it is resonate with truth for me. I always disliked NEA and never ever gave them a cent. My state union I had no choice I joined it and used it as an insurance policy against any future event that would find me in court and needing an attorney. Maybe I am more free than I recognize, it's some things that seem to keep me boxed in for the time.
Thank you for your kind contribution to my growth and especially thanks for not being a bully about it.

Jim Davies's picture

Sam, I admire your fortitude in saying "So hang with us, Glock." I wish you all the luck I can, in trying to open the eyes of this unusual man. Unfortunately, I fear you'll be wasting your time.
Your very tolerant, attractive and laid-back style may succeed where mine did not, and if it does I hope to be the first to congratulate you. Beware, though, please, of getting sucked in to an endless, fruitless endeavor.  Time is valuable, and you may be wasting it.
Glock27 has said he "rejected TOLFA". Strictly speaking that's impossible, so he's lying. One can of course reject it in the sense of declining to join (many do) but if you've paid it a visit you'll know that its methodology is to set out a premise and develop from it a line of reasoning that leads to a conclusion, AND to provide a Mentor to whom any student can refer any discomfort at any time. So if a student thinks a premise is faulty, he stops in his tracks and takes it up with his Mentor. Or if he thinks the reasoning is flawed, likewise. But when settled, he must (A never being non-A) accept the conclusion even though it conflicts with the mythology he has been following all his life so far. That of course is TOLFA's purpose.
Glock27 joined the Academy last July. He sprinted through it contrary to my advice, so I advised him to start over and take his time to do it thoroughly. At no time did he then challenge or question any premise or any sequence of derived logic; in fact, he never gave me any reaction at all. Conclusion: either he understood and accepted everything, or he understood and accepted nothing, but was not willing to tell me so and engage his brain to sort it out with my assistance.  In the light of his recent Comment, above, I'm quite certain it was the latter. A few weeks ago, I "fired" him, saying I would no longer try to be his Mentor. It's the first time I ever did that.
Accordingly, he has not "rejected TOLFA", he has rejected reason. He is therefore, at present, a hopeless case in my opinion.
Hence my friendly warning. You will converse and apparently engage with him, but eventually you must ask his agreement or commitment on some point - and on minor points, you may get it. But when the issue is critical, you will not. He will seem to come with you, but at the critical moment he will back off, and tell you either that he doesn't agree (even though all the foundation has been soundly laid) or that he "would not read" what you most recently wrote him. He did that to me today.
He is, in other words, a piece of string. Push as hard or as gently as you like, eventually it will get you precisely nowhere.
My opinion, therefore, is that he is here on STR, with his 100+ rambling  and almost-illegible Comments, to cause trouble. Possibly he is a government plant, placed here for that purpose, but on balance I don't think so; rather, I think he has some psychological quirk that I am certainly not competent to diagnose.
Whichever the case, I think you will need more luck than I can possibly wish you. Nonetheless, the very best of luck.