What enabled a small island such as England to colonise the Indian sub-continent? By the 1850s Indian thinkers came to an astonishing conclusion: one of the West’s secrets was sex — efficient harnessing of sexual energy to build stable families.
Let me illustrate.
Many years ago I was teaching in Jamaica. I learnt that 85% of children there were born to women who never married the fathers. America’s sexual revolution was just getting off the ground . . . How could Jamaica be so far “ahead” of America’s cultural elite?
Jamaica’s sexual revolution was a policy promoted by the British. In 1807, William Wilberforce succeeded in abolishing the Slave Trade. This created a problem for British Plantation owners in the Caribbean. Their business needed slaves.
Plantation owners decided to produce slaves ON the plantations. They discouraged male slaves from marrying. Like stud bulls, they should make women pregnant, but not take responsibility for them. An unwed mother will look after the child for a few months. Then she will need to work. Soon she will be pregnant again, unable to care for the first child. A child without a caring family will have no option but to grow up to be a slave.
Fast-forward to 2008. A handsome young man helped us move from Hollywood to Pasadena in California. After 8 hours of hard work, drinking a cup of coffee in our new home, he began to tell us about himself. “I hate American women!”
“Oh! I have loved many of them. I have kids from three of them. Each of them wants me to babysit three days a week. How can I babysit nine days a week? They all want child-support. Even if I babysit 7 days and work 7 nights, I cannot do what they are asking. I am going crazy. I want to commit suicide . . . though it may be good to get an Indian girlfriend.”
He was a smart, loveable guy. Yet, I had to be honest: “You have already condemned three women, three children, and yourself to poverty. Why couldn’t you love just one woman? Have three kids with her? The two of you take care of them. Then, in your old age, they would look after you.”
The young man looked at me as though I was an alien. “Are you promoting monogamous marriage? That is an outdated religious idea invented because priests did not want people to have fun!”
All his life, my friend had been taught he was a monkey. Monkeys don’t marry. They do monkey-business. That is what the man and his girlfriends had been doing.
Marriage is indeed God’s idea. The German reformer, Martin Luther, articulated the Bible’s unique idea of marriage in books such as “Table Talks.” A triune God created man in His image — male and female — to be one, in an exclusive and life-long relationship. The two of them become more of God’s image when they have a child and become three. It is in taking care of that child that they begin to understand the Father-heart of God, the Mother-heart of God.
The spread of the Bible made it the West’s default definition of marriage. Indian reformers understood this secret of the West’s success. Therefore they outlawed polygamy in 1955.
Sexual revolution dissipates sexual energy. It is the path to slavery. In contrast, marriages harness sexual energy to build families and character. It builds great economies and powerful nations. It is the path to human dominion over the earth.