“'Some Things That Should Not Have Been Forgotten Were Lost': The Pro-Feminist, Pro-Democracy, Pro-Peace Case for State Privileging of Companionate Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage”

V.H. Cassler

SquareTwo, Vol. 2 No. 1 (Spring 2009)






Marriage is on the minds of many Americans these days, as disagreements over its meaning and purpose have engaged our democratic political process at every level. In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, David Blankenhorn (founder and president of the Institute for American Values) and Jonathan Rauch (author of Gay Marriage: Why It is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America) reconcile their variant views on the issue of gay marriage by proposing that federal civil unions be established, with the proviso that churches be allowed an exemption to preach the undesirability of homosexual relationships. [1] This “grand compromise” may yet become public policy. However, in my opinion, Blankenhorn has thrown in the towel quite prematurely. Reading this op-ed, one would think there were absolutely no good, public, non-religious reasons for the state to privilege companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage above any other type of relationship. Blankenhorn appears to believe that the gay marriage issue in US politics is now primarily a threat to religious free speech, and that if religious speech about marriage is protected, then the Gordian knot is cut.

He is wrong. The gender arrangements privileged by the state determine its potential for democracy, peace, and gender equality. There is good reason to suggest that only one form of gender arrangement--companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage—provides the sustainable foundation for these public goods. If that view is justified, the state will be harmed if it fails to privilege the only gender arrangement that promotes such profound public benefits. It is time to elucidate those benefits that accrue only to this particular form of union, not time to acquiesce in making alternative forms of union equivalent under law. This essay undertakes that task.

Foundational Assertions

I. Primary Assertions

To understand how companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage promotes public benefits no other form of union can provide, we must start from the basics.

Sex and Human Lineage: We note that approximately half the population of the human species is of the male sex, and half of the female sex, and that absent purposive intervention, that ratio persists. Here, by sex we mean the innate ability to be a physical, biological father or mother as encoded in DNA of XX or XY components. [2] Sex, then, for the purposes of this essay is independent of physical pathology, or psychologically-based physical attraction to members of one sex or the other. Thus, even if infertile through disease or age, a person possessing XX chromosomes is of the female sex. Even if of homosexual orientation, an individual with XY chromosomes is a person of the male sex. We note that unassisted conception of a new member of the species can only occur between exactly one person of the male sex and exactly one person of the female sex. Such conceptions produce offspring approximately half of which are of the male sex and half of which are of the female sex, and that, at least until this point, it has been impossible to be born a human being without having exactly one biological parent of the female sex and exactly one biological parent of the male sex.

Differential Effects of Reproduction on Men and Women: Let us also note some particulars of evolution here, which exist whether one wishes them to exist or not. Evolutionary biologists and anthropologists note that there is a certain amount of sexual dimorphism in humans: males generally have greater upper body strength; females generally live longer than men. [3] We also notice that in human reproduction, there is no physical male role after conception, whereas females carry offspring for the nine months of gestation. The effects of physical reproduction on women are significant: it may render them less able or even unable to perform tasks they could previously perform well (such as running); in reproduction, women face a usually painful and perilous delivery event, and are physically depleted and in need of respite after the delivery even if all goes well; and women also provide food for their offspring through lactation for a period that may extend to years, necessitating additional caloric intake over that which would sustain their own life. We might also mention that care of an infant is monstrously time-consuming and stressful, even in the best of circumstances.

It seems quite apparent that, except for reproduction, both sexes could go their merry way, fending for themselves with little interaction with the other sex. It also seems apparent that even in the case of reproduction, the male sex can go its own way, fend for itself, and have virtually nothing to do with the female sex. Of course, with or without reproduction, if a woman lives in a collective that contains men, she will routinely face the problem of greater male body strength allowing for physical coercion of females by males for their purposes, whatever those would be, and dominance of male will over female will in any case.

There is no doubt, however, that the greatest threat to the female comes through reproduction. Male desire for sexual intercourse with women may result in rape, and in some cases, consequent permanent injury or death. Pregnancy, childbirth and the perinatal period subsequent to voluntary or involuntary sexual relations with men are full of physical danger for the woman (and her infant). The circumstances of these time periods may hinder her from having the strength, energy, and time to meet basic survival needs. And the meta-context of greater male upper body strength, with its potential for coercion and violence, is present throughout her life, including during this exceptionally vulnerable period.

In sum, due to evolution or whatever source one would wish to consider, females face a very difficult situation in life if that life is led in the presence of men. The potential for a truly malignant patriarchy to develop is quite high. Biologist Malcolm Potts puts it quite bluntly: “[T]he natural tendencies of men are not consistent with the survival and well-being of their sexual partners, their children, and future generations to come.” [4]

The Evolutionary Legacy of Malignant Patriarchy. What Potts means by this extraordinary statement is that males in two species, men and chimpanzees, took a unique evolutionary path: the path of violent team aggression against members of their own species. In the first place, this violence is directed against women. Unfortunately, given sexual dimorphism in humans, coercion is an effective male mating strategy. Women accede to male dominance hierarchies because of “the one terrible threat that never goes away” [5] --the need of females to have protection from killer males, who will injure or kill not only females but also the children that females guard. The battering that women suffer from the males they live with is the price paid for such protection, and occurs “in species where females have few allies, or where males have bonds with each other.” [6]

In the second place, the form of exogamy generally practiced among humans and chimpanzees (where daughters typically leave the group to mate) means that males of the group are kin. As a result, blood ties provide the necessary trust to engage in such violence as male-bonded gangs. Coercion of out-groups becomes relatively inexpensive in this context, with potentially great payoff. Dominant males in coalition with male kin are able to adopt a parasitical lifestyle based on physical force: with very little effort, but with a willingness to harm, kill, and enslave others, they can be provided with every resource that natural selection predisposes them to desire: food, women, territory, resources, status, political power, pride. Wrangham and Peterson argue “Men have a vastly long history of violence [which] implies that they have been temperamentally shaped to use violence effectively, and that they will therefore find it hard to stop. It is startling, perhaps, to recognize the absurdity of the system: one that works to benefit our genes rather than our conscious selves, and that inadvertently jeopardizes the fate of all our descendants.” [7]

The situation of women in a world of men, then, is the unspoken conundrum that lies at the heart of every human social structure, and how a society chooses to manage that conundrum will have sweeping consequences for all social phenomena. As Potts argues, “[I]n the human species the empowerment of women and the possibility of peace and freedom . . . are united in important and genuine ways.” [8] The purpose of this essay is to explore that assertion in detail and with reference to state policy concerning marriage.

The Ubiquity of “Evolutionary Legacy Marriage”: When committed to maximum male dominance and minimum male responsibility for anyone but themselves, which becomes their perogative through the afore-mentioned sexual dimorphism, men will be masters of what life means on this planet. Unfortunately, as we have seen, what life then means will be a malignant and violent patriarchy. Women will have only instrumental value, and no voice in their own fate or the fate of the collective. Women as women will be profoundly devalued compared to men, their life worth nothing next to male interests. Sadly, this has been the situation of the overwhelming majority of women in human history.

Furthermore, this is still the situation of many, perhaps most, women in the 21st century world. In some areas of the world today, an arrangement exists between males and females whereby males will exchange pubescent women in return for material goods. These women servants/slaves have exchange value, for they will provide the receiving male with reproductive and productive labor. In this arrangement, paternity of offspring, so important in the inheritance of wealth and goods from one male to another, is assured with regard to male biological offspring. This arrangement will at least involve physical protection against males who are not part of the male kin group, though the price will be high levels of violence against women in the home. Such arrangements may or may not provide anything else in terms of goods and services provided to the female. In fact, females may even be appropriated by individual males in group configurations, much as a work gang might be formed.

It is important to understand that this form of “marriage arrangement” is strongly influenced by our evolutionary legacy. In fact, we might go so far as to call this ubiquitous arrangement, “evolutionary legacy marriage.” We use the term "legacy" to denote that just because this pervasive form of marriage has been handed down thorugh the generation in many cultures, that does not mean that societies need choose that it continue to be handed down. Cultural selection is as important a force as natural selection, and we can choose a different path for ourselves and our posterity. Because of the pervasiveness of evolutionary legacy marriage, we may easily outline its essential elements:

a) it involves an exchange of women for material goods between men, with little meaningful consent by the women so exchanged;

b) women will be married young, usually before or at puberty;

c) grooms will be on average ten years older (or more) than brides;

d) polygyny, formal or informal, will be common;

e) patrilocality will be the norm;

f) offspring will belong to their father and his family;

g) family law that heavily discriminates against women in favor of men will arise; for example, women will have little or no right to divorce, whereas divorce will be simple for men; men will have the right to beat or kill wives; adultery will be strongly punished if committed by a woman, and unpunished if committed by a man; women will have few or no property rights, etc.

When these elements are present as the underlying structure of a human society, what is visible, in essence, are human evolutionary predispositions toward malignant patriarchy handed down virtually intact through the millennia of history.

With this set of foundational assertions concerning evolutionary biology and evolutionary legacy marriage, we are prepared for a second tier of assertions.

II. Secondary Assertions: Cultural Selection and Alternatives to Evolutionary Marriage

Biologists tell us that evolution is not destiny. It is a strongly influential force, and may be difficult to overcome, but does not produce inevitabilities in human behavior. Richard Dawkins explains, “It is perfectly possible to hold that genes exert a statistical influence on human behavior while at the same time believing that this influence can be modified, overridden, or reversed by other influences.” [9] “Evolutionary legacy marriage” and its attendant malignant patriarchy among human collectives are not inevitable, however; and this is not simply a politically correct view--it is the view of evolutionary theorists. As Wrangham and Peterson note, “Patriarchy is not inevitable. . . Patriarchy emerged not as a direct mapping of genes onto behavior, but out of the particular strategies that men [and women] invent for achieving their emotional goals. And the strategies are highly flexible, as every different culture shows.” [10]

Cultural selection modifies natural selection through engineering of social structures and moral sanctions. Examples include how socially imposed monogamy, posited as leading to the depersonalization of power through democracy and capitalism, helped to open the way for improved status for women, an example will we explore in greater detail in a later section. [11] In addition, cultural selection for improved female status in many human societies also changes females in both emotional and endocrinological ways, and these changes have a good chance of being passed to their female offspring, making them less likely to submit and yield to male coercive violence. [12] This in turn may serve to make female alliances against males more likely within such societies, providing an effective countervailing force to violent patriarchy. Potts states, “[E]mpowered women tend to counterbalance the most chaotic and violent aspects of men’s predisposition for brutal territoriality and team aggression.” [13]

With cultural selection a possibly potent antidote to evolutionary predispositions, we turn with no small hope to a social engineering perspective. Since social engineering demands a desired end point, I propose for the purposes of this essay the stated goal be to ensure equality between males and females within a society as a bulwark against the evolutionary predisposition toward malignant, violent patriarchy and its dysfunctional consequences. Does gender equality in fact provide such a bulwark? A full argument will be outlined in the next section of this essay discussing the Hajnal-Hartman thesis, but for the moment we will take Potts, Wrangham, and Peterson at face value when they assert that it is: “Peace needs strong allies in order to persist, and the ally that has been most consistently overlooked is the one that makes up slightly over half of the human race—women.” [14]

With this goal of gender equality in mind, at least one thing becomes starkly apparent: evolutionary legacy marriage is anathema to our purposes, since it serves only the purposes of malignant patriarchy. We must consider alternatives better suited for the ends we desire. Whatever scheme we imagine must overcome the chief obstacles we have outlined in our primary assertions: male dominance and sexual irresponsibility toward females on the one hand, and female vulnerability because of reproduction on the other.

What types of arrangements, then, would the social engineer consider? What possible alternatives to “evolutionary legacy marriage” could be contemplated to effectively move towards gender equality? The human race has actually considered quite a number of such schemes, and the possibilities are set to expand with progress in artificial reproductive techniques. In this essay, we will examine six alternatives, and for want of accepted terminological convention, we will simply label them arrangements B, C, D, E, F, and G.

Arrangement B: One model, not often found and currently practiced only in remote matriarchal societies in Asia, is arrangement B. In B, a central compound consisting of females physically protects women from all men, and provides food and shelter to all women. Men live at the margins of the compound, and fend for themselves. Heterosexual intercourse occurs when a male is sanctioned by the female authorities to briefly visit a female in the compound. Female children will stay in the compound; male children will be exiled to the margins by puberty. Of course, one noticeable aspect of arrangement B is that there is no joint decision-making between men and women, and no joint labor in any project. Men and women live almost wholly separate lives. It is unclear in what way this radical separation can be interpreted as equality: perhaps the equality comes from men being unable to dominate women and women being unable to dominate men. However, even the most casual observer is led to query, What does equality mean if it is predicated upon complete separation, with the complete burden of reproduction falling upon women? Furthermore, given our primary assertions that human lineage derives from a single male and a single female acting together to produce offspring, it is troubling to note there is no word for “father” in these cultures.

Arrangement C: Another plan is one we will call “arrangement C.” In arrangement C, children are not raised by their mothers or fathers, but rather by a group nursery, much as in the early kibbutz movement in Israel. Relieved of much of the burden of reproduction, except for gestation and delivery, women can assume any male role within the collective, with men barred by group regulation from physically dominating or coercing women. In a sense, the arrangement arguably moves towards equality by constraining women to be much less responsible for reproduction—remaking women in the image of males in order to be equal. Maternity is configured as undermining the possibility of gender equality, offering a zero-sum choice for women while exempting men from such painful choices. In fact, the ambitions of the early kibbutz movement were ultimately subverted by younger generations of mothers who refused to relinquish the care of their children to others. In the end, to be forced to become “male” is not a female’s idea of gender equality.

Arrangement D: There is yet another plan that is being tried in certain human collectives, and we will call it “arrangement D.” In arrangement D, we find a very strong state, which is capable of deterring male coercion of females and capable of supporting women and their offspring in the absence of any responsibility assumed for them by the men who have sex with the women and sire the offspring. In this arrangement, equality is presumably created through offsetting most of the pertinent vulnerabilities of females (in reproduction and also with regard to domestic violence) through state action. It is also a situation in which male sexual irresponsibility is regarded as an unquestioned given, and female sexual responsibility as a consequence must be supported by the state. In such a society, males fend for themselves, while the state fends for females and their dependent children. At its extreme, arrangement D may collapse into arrangement B, where men are assumed by the governing authorities to simply not belong to families at all; the social space is once more carved into “families” and “men.” While no society has a pure D arrangement, several state welfare societies in Scandinavia come nearer to this type of arrangement than others. In its attempts to compensate for female vulnerability because of reproduction, it typically copes with gender inequality in purely economic terms, with those economic mechanisms incomplete at best. Women are still at a significant disadvantage compared to men in many ways, and many men and women will end up living lives of gender separation in a context where the full burden of reproduction will again usually fall on women. It is hard to see this arrangement as truly promoting gender equality; like B, it promotes the survival of women and children in a context of resignation to male irresponsibility.

Arrangements E and F: Another plan on the horizon has two variants, which we will call arrangements E and F. In E, both females and males—independent of one another—purchase offspring from the labor of still other females (through provision of eggs, womb rentals, etc.) Assuming a strong state capable of preventing physical coercion of females by males, men and women need not have anything to do with one another for any reason, including reproduction. “Equality” is thus obtained through non-interaction of the sexes in private life (for interaction would produce inequality), and government regulation of interaction in public life. Society, then, becomes more a federation of two species than a true human collective. Simply a further progression of the gender separation begun in arrangements B and D, is difficult to accept such apart-ness as a route to true gender equality. An even more extreme variant of this approach, which we call F, posits that at some future point when artificial reproductive technologies have sufficiently progressed, it will no longer be necessary to obtain eggs and the services of wombs from living females. In such a context, there will be no need to perpetuate a vulnerable (read “inferior”) human half, and so it will be unnecessary to produce females at all. “Equality” would be obtained by blotting out that sex which would be inevitably consigned to inferiority. Males and females need not have anything to do with one another because there are no more females: this neatly solves the problem of gender equality.

Gender Inequality Systems: Pausing at this point, we see that all of these systems-- “evolutionary legacy marriage” and systems promoting or at least facilitating gender separation (B, D, E, F) or gender collapse (C )--create gender inequality. “Evolutionary legacy marriage” obviously creates gender inequality through open patriarchy. Gender collapse forces women to be “men” in order to be equal, which again is but a less explicit form of patriarchy. Gender separation or apart-ness, while not linked in a strictly logical fashion to hierarchy of male over female, always in practice results in such, ratifying as it does male dominance and male irresponsibility, and insisting as it does that there can be no equality for women if they live with men. All of these varied systems produce one invariant result: gender inequality. Indeed, every one of these systems assumes that men and women cannot live together in equality. “Evolutionary legacy marriage” admits the same, but endorses open inequality in the context of living together.

In a sense, all of these systems arguably create inequality by instituting a gender apart-ness system. Even in “evolutionary legacy marriage,” there is always a very strict separation between the worlds of men and the worlds of women even though they live together. In C, there is the invitation to women to become “male,” for they cannot live in the world of women and ever be equals to men. In the open gender apart-ness systems (B, D, E, F), the separation is tangible, being both physical and economic in nature. Separate worlds and separate lives invite gender inequality: just as in the case of race, it can be argued that there can be no “separate but equal” arrangement between men and women in a context where they live their lives apart. If men and women live separate lives within their society, a hierarchy of men over women—with its attendant slide towards malignant patriarchy--is the inevitable result.

Arrangement G: There is, of course, another possible arrangement, fraught with peril at every step and incredibly vulnerable to the winds of cultural selection: we will call it arrangement G. In arrangement G, one male and one female commit to live together for the rest of their lives, forsaking all others, conceiving and raising their biological children together [15], supporting each other without remuneration in all needs, and committing to do so in a context of unfeigned love, fidelity, equal voice, and respect. It is hardly conceivable that such a plan would work. It is the most audacious and radical social engineering plan to promote gender equality that could ever be imagined. The failure rate would be significant, with many such individual arrangement G’s falling back into some other scheme—perhaps “evolutionary legacy marriage” or D, or some other. But if such arrangements of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage thrived, this would be no pale imitation or obvious counterfeit of gender equality that we have heretofore found. This would be the “real walk” of gender equality. Males and females would not only be living gender equality in the public square under the watchful eye of the state; they would be living it in their bedrooms and kitchens and family rooms. And the young males and young females raised in G homes, fully cognizant of their dual heritage of male and female human ancestry because they live with their biological parents, would know how to create a G arrangement themselves when they were of age. They would know how it is that a male or a female could walk in peace, love, respect, and fidelity with the other sex every day of their lives. They would live gender equality day in and day out, rendering it second nature to them. The transformative power of G would be immense, and if such arrangements became prevalent, the effects would cascade out to the larger community in unexpected ways, as we shall now explore by examining the Hajnal-Hartman thesis.

Why Household Gender Arrangements Matter to the State: The Hajnal-Hartman Thesis

While we have shown that there is a particular gender arrangement that is most conducive to promoting gender equality within a society compared to other possible arrangements, we have not yet offered a justification for the state to prefer gender equality to gender inequality. Specifically, what do G arrangements of gender equality provide as benefits to the state and the society that gender inequitable arrangements in all their variety do not?

Here is one way to approach such a discussion: Is there any evidence that the mitigation of evolutionary forces of male dominance through increasing prevalence of specifically arrangement G (which we might more technically call “companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage”) affects the attributes and capabilities of the broader society in which this trend is found? The answer is yes. Human collectives that have undermined the evolutionary legacy of male dominance—defined minimally as the prohibition of polygyny, and the elimination of early marriage for girls with its attendant patrilocality (in other words, societies that have attempted to eliminate “evolutionary marriage”)—are simply different entities than collectives that continue to embrace the evolutionary heritage. Many anthropologists have noted the greater levels of cooperation and lower levels of violence to be found in non-polygynous cultures: it is now taken as a given that polygynous cultures are inherently unstable and violent. [16] But what about movement toward arrangement G, companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, as versus a simple progression toward a non-polygamous version of “evolutionary marriage”? The most significant theory in this regard is the Hajnal-Hartman thesis.

The work of John Hajnal, a demographer, and Mary Hartman, an historian, identifies a remarkable “global anomaly” that has heretofore gone overlooked by scholars in their quest for understanding the immense changes that originated in northwestern Europe from the 1500s to the 1800s. [17] The anomaly was that, starting around the 1200s, families in northwestern Europe began to marry their daughters “late,” meaning on average around age 24, to grooms that were on average age 27.

Lest the reader not understand the magnitude of that change, since such marriage is fairly common now, Hajnal notes that this late marriage system “presumably arose only once in human history.” [18] What Hajnal means is that never before in human history prior to the 1200s in one corner of Europe were women married in their mid-twenties to men of approximately the same age. This realization, upon reflection, is truly staggering in its import.

Late marriage for women created a completely new form of marriage from “evolutionary legacy” marriage. And it is important to note that this late marriage system began first among the masses, and not among the elite. Let us consider the many differences involved. First, men and women chose their own spouses, for by their mid-twenties, young people of both sexes were usually employed in households or occupations that necessitated their removal from their natal household. Not only were the young men economic actors, but the young women also had experience in negotiating their employment and maintaining control over their wages, and thus were on much more equal footing as they approached marriage. Furthermore, in most cases, marriage did not involve patrilocality, but rather the establishment of a household independent from the parents or siblings of either party. This household arrangement had a significant impact on the family power structure, and a profound effect on the personality formation of the children born within such homes. As Hajnal notes, “The emotional content of marriage, the relation between the couple and other relatives, the methods of choosing or allocating marriage partners—all this and many other things cannot be the same in a society where a bride is usually a girl of 16 and one in which she is typically a woman of 24.” [19]

The late marriage relationship, then, becomes one of significantly mitigated male dominance in this historically unusual context. As Hartman puts it,

Within households, men came to depend less on their own male blood relatives and more on their wives for livelihood and support, whereas outside households they came increasingly to rely on unrelated men rather than on kin networks. Women, for their part, emerged as more active if not equal partners with their husbands in decisionmaking within households and also within their local communities . . . Husbands requiring responsible partners were obliged, however reluctantly, to abandon the image of the irrational and unruly female, and to refashion women’s image more closely to their own. . . . [t]he whole society was becoming less, not more, patriarchal, starting at the basic level of the household . . . the unity of kin and property that for thousands of years had been the central focus of most men’s worlds began to dissolve. [20]

Notice that these benefits accrue only to a companionship of a man and a woman—by definition, a system where males depend on males does not and cannot undo evolutionary partriarchy, for male dependence on males is its very foundation. To the contrary, a male-male system enforces the ideals of male dominance, and the gender apart-ness that male dominance reinforces. It is when males make females real and equal partners that malignant patriarchy begins to fail, and with it the violence, instability, and male dominance that characterize it.

As with any new direction in cultural selection, late marriage societies select for particular capabilities and proclivities--in this case, wholly different ones from those found in societies where “evolutionary legacy marriage” is prevalent. First, because these non-patrilocal companionate marriages were more economically vulnerable than multi-generation patrilocal estates, Hartman argues that the persons in late marriage households had to develop skills of “long-range planning, risk-taking, personal responsibility, and independence.” [21] She notes that these virtues have “been held up as evidence of a peculiar European genius,” when in reality, “maintaining unstable households, let alone enhancing their assets, quite literally depended on these qualities, [and so] it is hardly surprising that they turned up with some regularity in the humblest households, and in the behavior of women as well as men." [22] In other words, Hartman believes that capitalism developed first in this region because a new form of marriage system encouraged the psychological predisposition for it.

Capitalist entrepreneurship is not the only consequence of the breaking of evolutionary gender arrangements. Hartman feels that the development of democracy is also directly traceable to the anomalous late marriage pattern of northwestern Europe. She asserts that state power structures are grounded in household power structures: when the latter changes, the former will, too:

Long before the contingent nature of the marital contract was recognized in law, marriages were conducted in northwestern Europe as joint enterprises by the two adult members, each of whom had recognized and reciprocal duties and obligations. In circumstances that required both members of an alliance to work and postpones marriage until there was a sufficient economic base to establish a household, individual self-reliance was a requirement long before individualism itself became an abstract social and political ideal. A sense of equality of rights was further promoted by such arrangements long before notions of egalitarianism became the popular coin of political movements. These later marriages, forged now through consent by the adult principals, offered themselves as implicit models to the sensibilities of political and religious reformers grappling with questions of authority. Experience in families, which were miniature contract societies unique to northwestern Europe, offers a plausible explanation for popular receptivity to the suggestion that the state itself rests upon a prior and breakable contract with all its members. And if this is so, the influence of family organization on the ways people were coming to conceive and shape the world at large can hardly be exaggerated. The lingering mystery about the origins of a movement of equal rights and individual freedom can be explained. Contrary to notions that these were imported items, it appears that they, along with charity, began at home. [23]

In a sense, then, the companionate marriages of the late marriage system—what we are calling movement toward arrangement G--were a training ground for sustainable participatory democracy. To live domestic parity between males and females, day in and day out, year after year, allowed the majority of individuals in society to appreciate the virtues of voluntary association in larger collectives, including the state. As Hartman puts it, “More important than [class and religious divisions] for the appearance of equality as a popular political ideal was the shared domestic governance most people had experienced from the Middle Ages.” [24] Again, this unique experience does not accrue when the domestic arrangements create a dependence of men on other men: such arrangements only solidify male dominance and gender apart-ness and render democracy unsustainable (as it did in Athens).

In sum, then, we would expect that in societies which have traveled the path of mitigating male dominance over females through moving away from evolutionary marriage toward arrangement G or companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, we would expect to find greater levels of democracy, greater longevity of democracy, greater generalized prosperity, and greater innovation—and we do. [25] We would also expect to find, over time, much lower levels of violence toward women—and we do. [26] Notice this mitigation of male violence toward women has not been brought about by some policy-making mechanism: what we see is the mitigation of male violence toward women through a different and companionate quality to male-female relations. It is when a husband can see his wife as his best friend that the evolutionary norms of physical dominance of women begin to fall by the wayside.

This lower level of violence toward women is great news, but there is more: societies that embrace the ideals of arrangement G also experience lower levels of violence toward subnational groups, and toward out-groups sharing the same values. [27] The latter hypothesis has already been validated by the field of International Relations, in its empirical confirmation of “democratic peace theory”: however, the Hajnal-Hartman thesis walks the cat back from democracy as the root cause of the democratic peace to its prior precondition, which is the mitigation of the human evolutionary legacy in gender relations. [28]

A plethora of new empirical findings underscores this contention: lower levels of gender equality, associated with high levels of violence against women and inequitable “evolutionary legacy marriage,” are associated with greater levels of violence and instability within society, whether we speak of interstate conflict, first use of force, intrastate conflict, conflict resolution attempts by force, authoritarianism, international norm compliance, or relations with neighboring states. [29] This growing body of empirical work demonstrates that the promotion of gender equality goes far beyond the issue of social justice and has important consequences for national and international security. Using conventional methodologies, these authors are able to demonstrate a real linkage between the security of women and the security of states. Indeed, this linkage may be stronger than that posited for the democratic peace, or the capitalist peace. [30] States interested in peace should be interested in gender equality as one of the most important elements in its foundation.

Indeed, the true “clash of civilizations” in the 21st century is not between ethnic collectives, such as we find in simplistic notions concerning Islam versus the West. The afore-mentioned empirical findings tell us the real clash is between societies that have mitigated the human evolutionary legacy of malignant patriarchy through an improved status for women and a movement away from evolutionary legacy marriage toward companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, and societies that have failed to mitigate that legacy and continue to embrace evolutionary legacy marriage and a subordinate status for women.

Thus, the state itself has a vested interest in the creation and promulgation of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage (G arrangements)—and likewise has a vested interest in the proactive diminution of the prevalence of evolutionary legacy marriage and gender apart-ness. It may be possible to argue that it is only through the widespread existence of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages that democracy, freedom, prosperity, and other goods such as state peacefulness can continue to have strong root and be sustainable.

Arrangements Orthogonal to Gender Equality Schemes: Unremunerated Care

I. Commitments of Care

There will always be individuals who, for one reason or another, cannot create or do not wish to create a companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. Yet those individuals may still need to obtain from, and also wish to extend to, other individuals protection and care. Needless to say, the state would rightly insist that they provide such protection and care in a context where they do not undercut the societal goal of gender equality that, as we have seen, provides broad social goods such as democracy and peace.

However, the state certainly has a vested interest in assuring that anyone willing to provide for other persons is enabled to do so: this stance may be all that prevents an unsustainably enlarged arrangement D from overwhelming the state. This issue is separate from and orthogonal to the state’s interest in creating gender equality within society through companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages. The arrangements we speak of here, called arrangements of Care, would not be considered a “gender arrangement” promulgated by the society, for gender is not a requisite element for care. Anyone could commit to care for another: unrelated women left widows or divorced by their husbands; a mother committing to care for an adult daughter and her children; roommates who do not have sex with one another; same sex couples who do have sex with one another; people who do not even live together; people with children; people without children; people who have formerly had a G arrangement but now no longer do. Anyone who agrees to care for another without remuneration is deserving of support by the state, through tax deductions for strict dependents and also for mutual dependents. Laws allowing such contracts of Care to specify rights to health insurance, health decisions, inheritance of property, monthly support, etc. can be drawn up in all the diversity of forms such Care commitments could conceivably take.

But no one would confuse the good that comes from a Care commitment with the good that comes from a companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. Prevalent companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages, as has been argued, create the only possible ground for democracy, freedom, peace, and meaningful gender equality. There is no other route to these goods. Thus, the state would justifiably invest companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage with the highest support, supplementing these with education of all regarding the desirability of maintaining the prevalence of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage for the good of the whole. That is, the good state—the state committed to the values of democracy, freedom, peace, and gender equality—would promulgate companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. As an overall rational policy agenda, the state would a) proactively advocate, support, and privilege companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, b) enable and support Care commitments withot undercutting companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, and c) seek the diminution of the prevalence of gender arrangements of “evolutionary legacy marriage” and gender apart-ness systems.

II. Why the State Must Draw a Line

As important as the encouragement of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is for the state, it is likewise important that the state proactively seek the diminution of the prevalence of “evolutionary legacy marriage” and gender apart-ness systems. Let us discuss the rationale for seeking that diminution each in turn.

Let’s name names: “evolutionary legacy marriage” is usually called “traditional marriage.” But “evolutionary legacy marriage,” as we have seen, undermines the values we hold dear. It is the polar opposite of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, which provides so many social benefits. It is beyond belief that those who are feminists, or who value democracy and peace, should support “evolutionary legacy marriage,” or ally themselves with those who do. There are two elements to companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage that creates the public benefits we have discussed: yes, one element is that the relationship is heterosexual, and demands male-female union and household creation, instead of encouraging male-female separation. But the second element is just as crucial: companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage demands a truly equal, loving, faithful partnership between men and women. There can be no equation between companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage and “evolutionary legacy marriage,” which epitomizes the subordination and domination of women by men, which in turn breeds the societal tyranny, violence, stagnation, and conflict that come from malignant patriarchy. It is irrational, even abominable, for those who understand the value of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage to join forces with those who define “traditional marriage” as “evolutionary legacy marriage.”

Of course, arrangement D—we may call it State Support of Single, Umarried Parent Families (we’ll abbreviate to “State Support”)--is often a societal fallback for failed “evolutionary legacy marriage,” being less evil than allowing mothers and children to fend for themselves in a social structure where they are relatively powerless. However, the state should actively strive to transition these into commitments of Care, as it already attempts to do through child support obligations. State license of male sexual irresponsibility through prevalent State Support, eroding gender equality as it does and harming children through male abandonment of offspring, is acquiescence to an inferior alternative. Prevalent State Support, while it can be considered a beneficial temporary emergency measure at the discretion of the state, still walks the society away from democracy, peace, freedom, and gender equality. To the extent that the state is indifferent about the prevalence of State Support, it is acting inhumanely. Thus, State Support may or may not be inhumane, depending upon the state’s approach to this type of gender arrangement.

As for the gender apart-ness systems of various stripes, each encourages a lack of true partnership between men and women, making gender equality unachievable. While it is true that many Care commitments will not involve this true partnership between men and women, and need not do so to fulfill a good and useful purpose for the state, there are special considerations for the state when individuals subscribing to gender apart-ness systems propose to bring children into the world—issues of the relationship between modes of reproduction and the possibility of human freedom in the world. It is to those deeper and more profound issues that we now turn.

Exploring the Deep Relationship Between Freedom and Generation

I. Rethinking Generation

If companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is a necessary condition for democracy, peace, and gender equality, then we might ask the fate of nations where companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is dying. Where companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage dies, these values are simply much harder to sustain. In the case of rising gender apart-ness, there may even be a physical cessation of new generations.

Free persons, generally speaking, are and must be procreative beings. In a sense, if persons reject procreation within companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage and instead embrace the forms of gender inequality and gender apart-ness, then it may be argued that they are not free. For can one claim to love and value human life in the light of freedom, and reject procreation in a companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage context, which as we have seen is the ground of freedom? That this linkage between generation and freedom is omitted from virtually all political philosophy will one day be viewed as one of the most egregious errors made by mankind--or, more correctly, by the predominantly male philosophers of our civilizations. As the great feminist philosopher Sylviane Agacinski states, “[There is] a philosophical contempt for generation and descent. A philosophy of finitude, on the other hand, must rethink generation and consider how, for humanity, it is the source of ethics and constitutes a proof of time and transcendence.” [31] And, we would add, we cannot speak of freedom intelligibly or usefully unless we speak of freedom's integral relationship to generation.

To speak of generation, ultimately, is to speak of sex and the sexes. Agacinski again: “Beyond the psychological, sociological, or political questions, sexual difference comes back to only one issue, the one linking birth and death. . . .[W]e cannot separate the meaning and value of sexual difference from the question of generation.” [32] The ineluctable transitivity here is also apparent for those with eyes to see, yet almost wholly absent from mainstream philosophies that speak of freedom. It turns out we cannot speak of freedom unless we simultaneously speak of generation and we cannot speak of generation unless we simultaneously speak of the sexes. In the end, we finally see that freedom can only be maintained (and perhaps even obtained) when relations between the sexes favor its maintenance within a society. In the terms we have used in this essay, when companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage dies, freedom dies and free citizens die out.

II. Human Peace Incarnate

We pause here to make a bold claim: those who base their defense of heterosexual marriage on the basis of its easier and more natural procreative potential are off the mark. As we have seen, evolutionary marriage can result in very high levels of fertility—and very low levels of peace, freedom, and gender equality. No, a true understanding of marriage leads us to the recognition that marriage is, in the first place, about human peace: peace incarnate between the two halves of humanity, male and female. This is the peace that has the power to unravel our human evolutionary legacy of malignant patriarchy. That ease of procreation attends this sacrament of human peace is a just and natural consequence—but it is a consequence, and not the telos of this sacrament.

Because of the sacrament of human peace, the man and the woman are now free, and turn their attention to a common project of freedom—generation. But this common project of the sexes is best seen as the natural outgrowth of the sacrament of human peace, not the other way around. For when procreation is seen as the primary purpose of marriage, there is no way to distinguish between the procreation occurring in evolutionary legacy marriage, on the one hand, and procreation in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. Indeed, since we would expect the fertility rate in evolutionary legacy marriage to be higher than that of companionate heterosexual marriage (since the woman has little or no control over her body in evolutionary legacy marriage), seeing procreation as the primary purpose of marriage may lead us to the egregious conclusion that evolutionary legacy marriage is just as good, and perhaps even better, than all other arrangements. But, as we have seen, it is vital to make that distinction between procreation in evolutionary legacy marriage and procreation in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage—should we fail, we invite the peril of malignant patriarchy to overtake society once more.

When children are born within companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages, as they will be, they have a special heritage. The children born of this sacrament of human peace have an immense advantage that children born of evolutionary marriage or gender apart-ness do not share. These children of the sacrament know human peace intimately, and know how it is to be created. It is they who can show the way for those who were not born with such a great advantage. It is these children who will grow up to be the bulwark of peace, democracy, freedom, and gender equality in society—and the good state has a vested interest in privileging their conception. The good state simultaneously has a vested interest in discouraging any other form of conception. However, the state also has a vested interest in having children well-cared for, rather than abused or neglected, and if children are not brought forth within companionate heterosexual monogramous marriages, then they should be placed in circumstances where they will be not abused and will be well-cared for, even if the gender arrangements are not of type G.

III. Sexual Differentiation, Finitude, and Freedom

Over the last century, the tension between the ideal of freedom and the hierarchy of men over women was initially resolved in the modern age by asserting that the face of humanity was the undifferentiated individual. “Persons,” not men and women, were free. Discourse of freedom was no longer selective, and sex differences between persons were deemed irrelevant. However, the undifferentiated individual, seen through the insightful analysis of some recent feminist scholars, turns out to be male in nature. The female is only viewed as an equal insofar as she can be abstracted into some being closely resembling a male. Indeed, Agacinski remarks that it is modern feminists, who long for freedom for women, who are most ashamed of the feminine:

“[I]t is time to break with the logic of The Second Sex, which has conceived the emancipation of women only as a refusal of sexual identity . . . [T]he freedom extolled by the philosopher is paid for by an absurd denial of nature, of maternity, and of the feminine body in general . . . {W]omen hoped to get back to generic, or “general,” humanity. But no such thing exists, and the erasure of one sex never gives way to neutrality, but to the other sex. We only forget this because we have already situated the masculine and its models in the place of the universal. . . . {T]he “universalist” logic has not overcome traditional androcentrism. Rather, it is the modern form of androcentrism.” [33]
We see here plainly something previously obscure: there cannot be freedom without sexual differentiation in a companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage arrangement. That our predominantly male philosophers have not yet discovered this fact is unsurprising, but that must not hinder us from seeing it ourselves. Without women, men could never be free. Without men, women could never be free. But that freedom is only realizable through right relations--companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. As Agacinski says,
“[T]he human figure must be that of a couple, not a simple figure. That is why, when you want to give a singular face or a single name to the human being, you have to choose between man and woman . . . Sexual division forces us to renounce the old dream of a humanity derived from one unique model and, in its place, to consider a humanity constituted by two distinct human types, simultaneously similar and different. In other words, to think of humanity as mixed . . .Neither man nor woman constitutes “the whole human” . . . There is no asexual human archetype.” [34]

Implied but requiring explication, is the notion that this interdependence is most overtly manifested in the common project of the sexes—generation, or “providing mortal beings with a future.” [35] This common project affects the parents and the children equally. For the parents, the common project of generation in the context of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage helps them to understand their own humanity: “It is in the parental couple that [one] discovers the division of man, and thus a form of his finitude and human destiny. It is in the necessary parental complementarity that humans recognize both their difference and their mutual dependence. It is in the impossibility of being both father and mother that individuals encounter their own limits, come up against their desire for self-sufficiency, and must assume their sexual identities.” [36] It is generation within companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage that reveals the full value of our sexual differentiation, not sexual intercourse. Generation--in the right context--makes men and women who more fully understand their own humanity.

Generation also has profound import for the children thus produced. “The small child, offspring of a human world, must know that she or he descends from a lineage made up of men and women, that is to say, of two concrete figures of a cultivated masculine and feminine humanity.” [37] The child is filiated to the human race because of his or her relation to both a man and a woman, or as Agacinski calls it, “mixity.” To be deprived of one or the other relation would mean to be deprived, in a sense, of fully human ancestry.

The birth of a child through the common project of the sexes in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is also the foundation of one of the hallmarks of the free life—recognition of the intrinsic worth of each human life. This recognition starts with the recognition by each parent of the intrinsic worth of the life of the other parent (without whom there would be no generation), and then by the recognition on the part of the parents of the intrinsic worth of the life of their child (without whom humanity would have no future). Thus, generation in the right context grounds ethics as well as freedom. Where societies have undertaken generation without this context, for example where female infanticide is prevalent due to gender inequality, societal ethics are compromised and societal freedom is diminished.

Grounding freedom in generation within the context of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage leads to a different definition of freedom than that usually postulated: in this common project of the sexes, freedom is more justifiably seen not as the pursuit of autonomy, but rather as the renunciation of autonomy--

“Fecundity is that event that transcends me and opens me to the alterity of that life that comes (that comes from me and from another and with which a free existence begins absolutely). This is why fecundity is a privileged experience of the other. The meaning of this experience implies that fecundity is not only an anthropological question but truly a fundamental philosophical question, since transcendence of the other can reveal itself therein. Thus the problem is not simply that man and woman cannot exist without each other, although this statement should be understood in its fullest sense. It is knowing what man and woman are responsible for, the one in front of the other, and what surpasses them both, the one and the other. It is surely what surpasses them both—that is, their descendants—that simultaneously constitutes the cause of their mutual dependence and the stakes of their conflicts.” [38]

We thus begin to see that true freedom is a renunciation of autonomy in the face of the intrinsic worth of others and our own interdependence and filiation with those others. In this, we begin to see the relationship between gender equality, freedom, and peace—and we see they are woven together inextricably. In this light, a hallmark of true freedom is that “we agree to renounce absolute autonomy without seeing that as the mark of alienation or a rejection of freedom.” [39]

Now, it is true that this renunciation by one human being in relationship with another has oftentimes not been reciprocated by that other. We could envision as our first premise a woman giving birth alone, without the father of the child. Indeed, that is the way things are in many cultures. But if we intend to re-envision the relation between the sexes in a manner that preserves both differentiation as well as equality (and thus true freedom and its resulting peace), then we must envision that father being there. If a man is to become human, he must renounce his autonomy in the common project of generation—he must be the husband in a companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. In societies where men refuse this renunciation, ethics and freedom are likewise compromised. Sorensen notes,

“[A]t first glance it seems apparent that the free person as an able procreative being of love would not only be a creator of life and nurturer of life but would be one who both creates new life and serves as the primary nurturer of the life she or he creates. It, initially at least, seems inconsistent with the concept of the free person as an able procreative being of love to be a creator of life, to be a nurturer of life, and yet not be the primary nurturer of a life he or she brings into being. Indeed, it seems that such a person would, as a creator of life, find it a first order imperative to be the primary caretaker of any life she or he creates. If so, then a basic moral precept implicit in the morality of the free life concept of the free person as an able procreative being of love is that the creators of life be the primary nurturers of the life they create . . . [and] be responsible for, and take responsibility for, the life [they] create by being a primary caretaker of that life, and . . . be held accountable for certain failures in doing so.” [40]

The common project of generation in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage thus has as its aim not only the continuance of mortal beings, but the continuance of freedom with its recognition of the intrinsic worth of all human life and the desirability of self-direction. Generation in this special context of gender equality is the foundation of freedom, and of the peace that flows so naturally from freedom and gender equality.

IV. The Symbol That is Sex

The manner of procreation of new human beings thus matters deeply. While unintentional deprivation of a child (such as through the death of the child's parents) may lead, justifiably, to means to compensate for that tragic deprivation (such as adoption), premeditated and purposeful deprivation of a child of part of its human heritage is unjustifiable under any circumstances in free human society. The perpetrators of such premeditated and purposeful child deprivation would have to be seen as outlaws and outcasts from free human society. To make explicit the mixed heritage of female mother and male father is a humane act. To celebrate our mixed heritage is a humane act. To hide or obscure that mixed heritage, or to accentuate only half of that heritage, are inhumane acts. When the ancient Greeks opined that women were not kin to their own children, as they were but the “ground for the seed of man,” that was an inhumane act, denying children the understanding of their mixed ancestry. When genealogies specify only patrilineal descent, that is an inhumane act.

The form the mixity took in the act of an individual’s creation can also be speculated to be of pedagogical importance. If male and female DNA were combined in a sex act that was consensual, loving, and respectful of both mother and father within a context of continued faithful commitment to each other—in other words, companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage--the very act of conception becomes a template for the child to understand how he or she is to relate to the other who will become the equal parent of his or her children in the future. Thus conception within a right context is a humane act; it is the sacrament of human peace made flesh. Sex in the context of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is the very symbol of freedom rooted, as freedom surely is, in mixity. Conception in a degraded context, where any of these elements of consensuality, love, respect, commitment, mixity, or fidelity are missing, is an inhumane act.

Humane sex acts have deep meaning for the offspring that are produced through them. They teach the children who are generated through such sex acts how they are to stand in relation to the other sex, and how, more particularly, they are to stand in relation to the other parent of their own children in the future. The freedom exemplified in these types of sex acts, it can be argued, undergirds the freedom of the entire society. When consensual, loving, respectful, committed, mixed, faithful sex acts characteristic of companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage disappear from society, freedom will also begin to disappear as well. The list of sex practices that fail this test are legion: rape, casual hooking-up, sex trafficking, forced marriage, adultery, etc. etc. To the extent that such unfree sexual practices proliferate and grow within a society, so too does freedom wane.

Just as degraded conception—conception missing some or all of the elements of consensuality, love, respect, commitment, mixity, and fidelity—diminishes our humanity and the humanity of our children, so too does degraded motherhood. In societies where a woman becomes pregnant in a context of insecurity, whether that be economic, physical, and/or emotional insecurity, our general humanity is corrupted as our children develop within the wombs of those who live in fear or great stress or economic need. That there are societies in the 21st century where 1 in 13 women die in childbirth is a testament to how humanity and freedom can be lost in societies that do not value women and their contributions. But even in the richer nations, we find statistics that give us pause. In the United States, if a woman chooses not to have children, she will make over 90 cents to a man’s dollar. If she chooses to have children, she will make approximately 73 cents to a man’s dollar. Women who choose to bear children should not be made economically vulnerable by that choice, and in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage they would not be. When companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage declines, females face the old evolutionary problems once more, simply updated for modern times.

Similarly, the systems of gender apart-ness offer examples of how certain forms of generation can undermine freedom, peace, and gender equality. Purposefully omitting a male parent or a female parent for a child simply because they are male or female undermines mixity, and in turn, the possibility of freedom. Though some parents of children find they cannot live together, and some parents want no role in their children’s lives (which is also a blow to freedom), actually planning before conception to exclude a parent (or agreeing to be excluded as a parent) on the basis of sex alone is a strike against mixity, and thus against freedom. It cannot be condoned by a free society. Sex selection of infants also harms human freedom. To exclude—and destroy—a child or a fetus because of sex is also to desecrate the mixity of human heritage. Societies that have contempt for the mixity that results from generation, it can be argued, simply cannot be considered free.

Thus, the state must walk a fine line: while it does well to encourage the creation of Care commitments, it must take particular care that it does not encourage, and may indeed need to discourage, forms of generation that will undermine human freedom. The state which values gender equality, freedom, democracy, and peace is thus justified in being averse to generation within any system of gender inequality and gender apart-ness—and is amply justified in privileging generation within companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. We reiterate that there are many circumstances in which care--as versus generation--may justifiably be carried out by those who are not in companionate heterosexual monogamous marriages in order to provide that all children are well cared for and not abused. But in those care relationships, there would be no attempt by the caregivers to hide or obscure the mixed heritage of the children they care for, or else the care could not be considered humane.

Conclusion: What is to be Done?

If we value human freedom, democracy, peace, and gender equality, we are justified in promoting companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage and expecting that the state will privilege this arrangement. Both the state and its citizens must be capable of articulating how these profound benefits derive from this one marriage arrangement, so that companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage will be understood as the societal ideal. Young and old must be taught of the fundamental relationship between companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage and values of gender equality, freedom, democracy, and peace so that the stakes are clear for all to see.

Second, we reiterate that those who promote companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage cannot stand in league with those who promote “evolutionary legacy marriage.” Though heterosexuality is conserved in both gender arrangements, ultimately “evolutionary legacy marriage” destroys companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage, and promotes values opposite to it, facilitating the resurgence of evolutionary malignant patriarchy. Those who support companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage must never align themselves with the forces of “traditional marriage,” which is but a euphemism for “evolutionary legacy marriage.” Simply because companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage currently exists in the world, and is under threat, such alignment would be a grave sin against all that we hold dear.

Third, gender apart-ness systems must be named as such, and the real harm they are capable of perpetrating through inhumane sex acts, inhumane conception, and the degradation of motherhood, fatherhood, and parenting. It is also time to call the state to account for any resignation to State Support (arrangement D), which resignation is also inhumane. It is time to call these things what they are: profoundly harmful to any society that views them agnostically in comparison with companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. A society’s very possibilities of freedom, democracy, peace, prosperity, and gender equality are placed at perilous risk by systems that promote gender apart-ness.

Fourth, while creating the regulatory framework necessary for Caring commitments to exist and find support, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage that is providing the sturdy foundation for gender equality, freedom, democracy, and peace. Furthermore, because of the deep relationship between generation and human freedom with its resulting peace, the state is justified in being averse to generation (thought not necessarily care) outside of such a context.

Our final conclusion may be controversial. We believe that this is the last chance for women to speak up. Women everywhere have the most to lose if companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is no longer an ideal anywhere on earth, but merely one form of gender arrangement among all others. If women, especially those in societies where companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is currently an ideal that is increasingly contested, do not speak up—if companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage is not understood by women as the feminist issue upon which all others stand or fall—woman may never again have the voice to reclaim companionate heterosexual monogamous marriage. “Evolutionary legacy marriage” and gender apart-ness systems will enshrine male dominance and malignant patriarchy across the globe and ensure they will never be assailable again. We ask, Might this be the moment in human history when the voice of women will be crucial in deciding the fate of freedom and peace? If so, let us pray women are up to the challenge. The possibility of human freedom and peace may well hinge on what women accept or refuse to accept in the 21st century.


[1] David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch, “A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage,” New York Times, 21 February 2009. [Back to manuscript]

[2] We will leave aside, for the time being, those whose DNA is indeterminate, constituting a tiny minority of persons born. [Back to manuscript]

[3] Good overviews of the origins and consequences of human sexual dimorphism include Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (New York: Mariner Books, 1996); Bradley Thayer, Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden, Sex and War: How Biology Explains War and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World (Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books, 2008). [Back to manuscript]

[4] Potts and Hayden, Sex and War, p. 301. [Back to manuscript]

[5] Wrangham and Peterson, Demonic Males, p. 159. [Back to manuscript]

[6] Wrangham and Peterson, Demonic Males, p. 146. [Back to manuscript]

[7] Wrangham and Peterson, Demonic Males, p. 249. [Back to manuscript]

[8] Potts and Hayden, Sex and War, p. 329. [Back to manuscript]

[9] Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 331. [Back to manuscript]

[10] Wrangham and Peterson, Demonic Males, p. 125. [Back to manuscript]

[11] Richard D. Alexander, “Evolution, Culture, and Human Behavior: Some  General Considerations,” in Richard D. Alexander and Donald W. Tinkle, eds., Natural Selection and Social Behavior: Recent Research and New Theory, New York: Chiron Press, 1981, pp. 509-520. [Back to manuscript]

[12] Theodore D. Kemper, Social Structure and Testosterone (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1990). [Back to manuscript]

[13] Potts and Hayden, Sex and War, p. 311. [Back to manuscript]

[14] Potts and Hayden, Sex and War, p. 369. [Back to manuscript]

[15] Should pathology or disease not intervene in this plan to have children, and still living together even if they do intervene. [Back to manuscript]

[16] Richard D. Alexander, “Evolution, Culture, and Human Behavior: Some  General Considerations,” in Richard D. Alexander and Donald W. Tinkle, eds., Natural Selection and Social Behavior: Recent Research and New Theory, New York: Chiron Press, 1981, pp. 509-520. [Back to manuscript]

[17] Mary S. Hartman, The Household and the Making of History: A Subversive View of the Western Past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 8. [Back to manuscript]

[18] John Hajnal (1982) “Two Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation Systems,” Population and Development Review 8:470-482; p. 476; italics added. [Back to manuscript]

[19] John Hajnal (1965) “European Marriage Patterns in Perspective,” in DV Glass and DEC Eversley (eds) Population in History: Essays in Historical Demography, London: Hodder and Stoughton; p. 132. [Back to manuscript]

[20] Hartman, Household, 2004: 179, 206, 215, 192. [Back to manuscript]

[21] Hartman, Household, 2004:270. [Back to manuscript]

[22] Hartman, Household, 2004:270. [Back to manuscript]

[23] Hartman, Household, 2004:229. [Back to manuscript]

[24] Hartman, Household, 2004:221. [Back to manuscript]

[25] Pearson correlation between Inequity in Family law and Freedom House score is .500, significant at the .0001 level; between Inequity in Family Law and GDP per Capita Quintile is .638, significant at the .0001 level. [Back to manuscript]

[26] Pearson correlation between Inequity in Family Law and Physical Security of Women is .603, significant at the .0001 level. [Back to manuscript]

[27] Satoshi Kanazawa (2005) “The Evolutionary Psychological Foundations of War and the Limits of the Democratic Peace,” unpublished manuscript. [Back to manuscript]

[28] Michael W. Doyle (1983) “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer), 205-235; Paul Huth and Todd Allee (2003) The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); Zeev Maoz and Bruce Russett (1993) “Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946-1986,” American Political Science Review 87(September): 624-638; James Lee Ray (1995) Democracy and International Conflict: An Evaluation of the Democratic Peace Proposition (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press). [Back to manuscript]

[29] Laura Betzig (1986) Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of History, New York: Aldine de Gruyter; Mary Caprioli (2000) “Gendered Conflict,” Journal of Peace Research 37:51–68; Mary Caprioli (2003) “Gender Equality and State Aggression: The Impact of Domestic Gender Equality on State First Use of Force,” International Interactions 29(3):195–214; Mary Caprioli (2004) “Democracy and Human Rights versus Women’s Security: A Contradiction?” Security Dialogue: Special Issue Gender and Security, 35(4): 411-428; Mary Caprioli (2005)  “Primed for Violence: The Role of Gender Inequality in Predicting Internal Conflict,” International Studies Quarterly 49: 161-178; Mary Caprioli and Mark A. Boyer (2001) “Gender, Violence, and International Crisis,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 45:503–518; Mary Caprioli and Kimberly Lynn Douglass (2008) “Nation Building and Women: The Effect of Intervention on Women's Agency,” Foreign Policy Analysis, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages: 45-65; Mary Caprioli and Peter F. Trumbore (2003a) “Hierarchies of Dominance: Identifying Rogue States and Testing Their Interstate Conflict Behavior. European Journal of International Relations. Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 377-406; Mary Caprioli and Peter Trumbore (2003b) “Ethnic Discrimination and Interstate Violence: Testing the International Impact of Domestic Behavior,” Journal of Peace Research Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 5-23; Mary Caprioli and Peter F. Trumbore (2006) “Human Rights Rogues in Interstate Disputes, 1980-2001,” Journal of Peace Research Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 131-148; Steven M. Fish (2002) “Islam and Authoritarianism,” World Politics. 55.1 (October): 4– 37; Francis Fukuyama (1998) “Women and the Evolution of World Politics,”  Foreign Affairs, September/October; Valerie M. Hudson and Donna Lee Bowen (forthcoming) “Family Law and State Security in Evolutionary Perspective: Approaching the Issue of Legal Enclaves”; Valerie M. Hudson, Mary Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Rose McDermott, Chad F. Emmett (2008/2009) “The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States,” International Security, Vol. 33, No. 3 , pp. 3-45; Dominic Johnson, Rose McDermott, Emily Barrett, Jonathan Cowden, Richard Wrangham, Matthew McIntyre, Stephen Rosen, “Overconfidence in Wargames: Experimental Evidence on Expectations, Aggression, Gender, and Testosterone,” Proceedings of the Royal Society (Biology), Vol. 273 (2006), pp. 2513-2520; Monty G. Marshall and Donna Ramsey (1999) “Gender Empowerment and the Willingness of States to Use Force” Unpublished research paper, Center for Systemic Peace. Available at http://www.members.aol.com/CSPmgm/; Rose McDermott and Jonathan Cowden, “The Effects of Uncertainty and Sex in a Crisis Simulation Game,” International Interactions. Vol. 27, No. 4 (2002), pp. 353–380; Erik Melander (2005) “Gender Equality and Interstate Armed Conflict,” International Studies Quarterly. 49(4): 695-714; Patrick M. Regan and Aida Paskeviciute (2003) “Women’s Access to Politics and Peaceful States,” Journal of Peace Research 40:287–302; David Sobek, M. Rodwan Abouharb, and Christopher G. Ingram (2006) “The Human Rights Peace: How the Respect for Human Rights at Home Leads to Peace Abroad,” The Journal of Politics. Vol. 68, No. 3,  pp. 519-529; Mark Tessler and Ina Warriner (1997) Gender, Feminism, and Attitudes toward International Conflict. World Politics 49:250–281. [Back to manuscript]

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[37] Agacinski, Parity of the Sexes, 1998, 109. [Back to manuscript]

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Full Citation for This Article: Cassler, V. (2009) "'Some Things That Should Not Have Been Forgotten Were Lost': The Pro-Feminist, Pro-Peace, Pro-Democracy Case for State Privileging of Companionate Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage," SquareTwo, Vol. 2 No. 1 (Spring), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerMarriage.html, accessed [give access date].

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