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It is impossible to appropriately enforce anti-polygamy laws

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Reasons to agree

  1. Polygamy is widespread, making full enforcement impossible and thus arbitrary. If polygamy cannot be enforced across the board because it is too widespread, it will only be enforced selectively. When laws are enforced selectively, they are enforced arbitrarily, undermining basic principles of equality in justice.
  2. Legalizing polygamy will reduce harm of prosecution to individuals. Part of the case against polygamy is that it is, supposedly, harmful to those that practice it. It is, therefore, odd that little consideration is given to the harm that enforcing anti-polygamy laws inflicts on polygamists and their communities. Legalizing polygamy would eliminate the damage done by raids on polygamous communities, the division of spouses, the separation of children from their mothers, and the general trauma of being prosecuted for a the conduct of ones entire life.
  3. Raids on polygamists are traumatizing to these communities Score: 0
  4. Polygamy laws deter crime-reporting by those within these communities Score: +2
  5. Attempts to enforce the criminalization of polygamy have failed badly. Score: +1
  6. Polygamy is widespread, making full enforcement impossible and thus arbitrary.

Reasons to disagree

  1. The difficulty of enforcing the law is no reason to legalize polygamy. Laws are often hard to enforce. Laws against rape, burglary, and even murder are good examples. Does that mean the government is wrong in having these laws? Obviously not. The same applies to polygamy. Expendiency should not be a consideration in polgymy laws. Polygamy laws should be based mainly on principles over practicality. The principles underlying opposition to polygamy are strong. The case in favor of this is made above and below. Assuming that these principles are "righteous", it is important to make a strong effort, despite the difficulties, to uphold them them. If the law does not reflect justice and its underlying righteous principles, then of what value is the law? If it is based entirely on expedience and practicality, then justice, principle, and morality lose their power, and just about anything can be justified in the name of practicality. Therefore, if anti-polygamy laws are difficult to enforce, enforcement mechanisms should be improved first; justice and principle should not sacrificed to practicality without a fight.

Parent debate


  • Reasons to agree: +4
  • Reasons to disagree: -1
  • Reasons to agree with reasons to agree: +3
  • Reasons to disagree with reason to agree: 0
  • Reasons to agree with reasons to disagree: -0
  • Reasons to disagree with reasons to disagree: 0
  • Total: +6

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