Domestic Disturbances by Patrick F. Fagan

Domestic Disturbances

The Rising Polyamorous Culture Is Out to Get Your Children by Patrick F. Fagan

The culture of the traditional family is now in intense competition with a very different culture. The defining difference between the two is the sexual ideal each embraces. The traditional family of Western civilization is based on lifelong monogamy. The competing culture is “polyamorous,” normally a serial polygamy, but also increasingly polymorphous in its different sexual expressions.

I hope there is elegance in the simple distinction between the ideals that distinguish the two cultures: monogamy and polymorphous serial polygamy, or “polyamory” for short.

Between these two cultures lie the welfare state and its operational bureaucracy. By and large, the culture of polyamory embraces the behavioral bureaucracy, while the culture of monogamy has increasing disagreements with it. This is understandable and unavoidable when the differences between the two cultures are examined.

Opposing Cultures

The culture of monogamy and the culture of polyamory differ profoundly in their assumptions on the way society functions. Here are some of the differences:

• First and foremost, religion has a very different place in each culture. The culture of monogamy is infused from top to bottom with the sacred, in personal, family, community, and national life. Worship of God is frequent and assumed. The culture of polyamory tends much more to hide religion, even to suppress it in all things public. It worships God less and demands that religion be private.

• The culture of monogamy views freedom as the freedom to be good; the culture of polyamory views freedom as freedom from any constraints upon sexual behavior.

• In the culture of monogamy, insight and intellect, through which comes the knowledge of the good that is to be pursued, are paramount; in the culture of polyamory, the will to do what one likes is paramount.

• The culture of monogamy tends towards belief in objective truth—that reality exists and can be known, while the culture of polyamory tends towards a relativist and ideological understanding of truth—that reality results from an imposition of the will.

• The culture of monogamy tends towards universal moral norms, while the culture of polyamory favors moral relativism.


Patrick F. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion at the Family Research Council.

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