Sunday, 14 January 2018

Is cousin-marriage bad for civil society?

Interesting how this question was asked in the first place but the answer is revealing:
This paper tests the hypothesis that extended kin-groups, as characterized by a high level of cousin marriages, impact the proper functioning of formal institutions. Consistent with this hypothesis I find that countries with high cousin marriage rates exhibit a weak rule of law and are more likely autocratic.
Democracy and a liberal society require family to be open not closed. If your culture deems family, and especially family honour as paramount and seeks to maintain family autonomy then you get more consanguineous marriage (with all the attendant issues). The authors here see how the ending of this pattern in Europe allowed strong non-family institutions including, in the end, democracy. This is a lesson that modern day Pakistan needs to learn:
Two months ago, a council of village elders ordered the rape of a 16-year-old girl, whose brother had been accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in Raja Ram village in central Pakistan. Shocking though it is, the case is no aberration. Revenge rape, honour killings, and the exchange of women are some of the routine ways through which disputes are resolved.

Far from outlawing these councils, Pakistan’s National Assembly shocked the country by seeking to give these councils quasi-judicial powers earlier this year. It passed a Bill providing legal and constitutional cover to jirga and panchayat systems, in an bid to ensure speedy resolution for “small civil matters” and free the formal judiciary of some of its burden.



Anonymous said...

Which is why it is time that all those who follow the great Mo need to the a look at themselves. Then decide what they actually want.

Like what sort of place do they want to live in. If medieval Pakistan, then they are welcome to go there and not ever come back. If they want to live in the 21st Century then they must accept our laws and our choices. If they won't then there's always the Tribal Territories and a free flight there.

Anonymous said...

Close cousin marriage also has another much darker side. Marrying kin means that the chances of you both sharing genetic defects are much, much higher than if you breed with non-related partners. Thus, as Charles Darwin found out (he married his first cousin), the offspring of close cousin marriages are often sickly and damaged.

What are the things which make us human, and which are most fragile and easily damaged? Why, our minds make us human and close cousin marriage dooms our offspring to a lifetime of stupidity and disability. It is little wonder that democracy and civil society does so poorly in places where inbred marriage is commonplace; the offspring thus produced are too stupid to manage much better.

The greatest irony of all here is that the only things keeping such societies going will be the bastards, products of desperate infidelity to produce offspring that are actually viable.

Anonymous said...

Sensitive area - in societies where the protection of property ownership and care of the elderly has little or no support from government or legal institutions, then it is understandable that 'the family' is a more significant unit in maintaining these necessities.

In such societies, cousin-marriage is one way to avoid dilution of 'family assets' - but this comes with a price in increased genetic issues but which, in such societies, are usually 'managed out' by the early loss of any defective product, it is only in the developed world that inordinate efforts are made to maintain such lives.

But that is quite different from 'revenge rape', an outrageous process which defies understanding from our perspective, emphasising as it does the subservient position of any female. I can defend a tight family unit and even cousin-marriage, but I could never defend revenge rape under any circumstances.

Returning to the thrust of the blog, it is not so much that those practices have prevented democracy, but those practices have survived due to the absence of democracy and state services. There's a chicken & egg process involved here.

Dr Evil said...

Truly a barbaric country of primitives.

Curmudgeon said...

Did for Hapsburgs in the end, of course.

I don't think we should seek to ban it in general, but if practised too often it can lead to obvious problems of genetic defaults being passed on.

Plus the issue of promoting clannishness which you refer to.