If there was ever a polite intellectual way of advocating for sexual violence against women, then Jordan Peterson couldn’t have done a better job with his enforced monogamy spiel. Peterson, in his defence, utilises all of the pseudo-scientific tropes rife within the field of evolutionary psychology; that men are primed (by evolution, supposedly) to be natural aggressors, especially when it comes to getting sex, while women are (supposedly) evolutionary primed to be docile receivers of said men’s attentions. It’s a shame Peterson doesn’t delve into the rich scientific literature on sexual selection strategies, and instead cherry picks two social science papers to support his views, one of which is even more noteworthy (to him) for its extensive use of referencing (who would of thought that credibility aligns so well with the ability to splurge on citations). If one wants to know, the first paper deals with attempting to explain why decreases in criminality are associated with marriage; that paper even noted its own flaws, stating that:
While changes in sexual behavior were shown to have a statistically significant influence on changes in violence, the data cannot say for sure that sexual competition is the reason why. For a male to accumulate a relatively high number of sexual partners in a short time suggests competition—fighting and wrangling with other men—although the same outcome could be achieved with little to no violence. Further, a growing body of research suggests that, rather than marriage and monogamous unions affecting violence, the relationship may also work the other way around, with crime and antisocial behavior affecting union formation and stability.
The second study Peterson cites also attempts to explain the male-tendency towards violence (seemingly age-dependent irrespective of culture) using evolutionary psychology. Peterson quotes from this study, which basically states the reality of living under a system of patriarchy, where high-status males attempt to monopolise reproduction. To ensure that their offspring are genetically theirs, these high-status males have to (often violently) restrict the sexual decisions of females. Which brings us to incels; these men have constructed an elaborately (false) view of the world to explain why they can’t get any sex. Many of these men harbour violent rage-fuelled fantasies towards women, some of whom acted upon them in horrific crimes. Peterson, in a bid to offer an explanation towards curbing these impulses, suggests that marriage (“enforced monogamy”) is the solution. This bit of advice comes from the observation that polygamous societies tend to be more violent than monogamous ones (as quoted from Peterson’s second study):
Monogamy, by prohibiting even the richest and highest status men from acquiring more than one wife legally, greatly reduces the extent of sexual competition among the rest of the men. Thus, we expect the monogamous institution of marriage to reduce crimes; conversely, we expect the polygynous institution of marriage to increase crimes. The extent of polygyny in society indeed predicts the incidence of murder, rape, and robbery across all societies. In particular, the most polygynous societies in the world (such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji) simultaneously have some of the highest murder rates in the world.
This study also claims that sexual competition amongst men drives violence against both women and other men:
Both Daly and Wilson (1988) and our theory would predict that men kill other men and women for different reasons. Killing men is a function of status and resource competition toward reproductive success mostly by younger men…In contrast, killing women is an extension of mate-guarding (Buss and Shackelford 1997; Daly, Wilson and Weghorst 1982). Men become morbidly jealous when their mates spend time with other men, and in their attempt to control their mates’ behavior, sometimes through violent means, many of them end up injuring or killing their mates (Daly and Wilson 1988: 187–219).
These evolutionary psychology explanations has led Peterson to conclude that monogamy is the best solution. This has driven some parts of the internet quite mad. What Peterson, and many others, have failed to appreciate is that monogamy may be the best solution in a patriarchal society. But what about a matriarchal one? Let’s review the facts and I’ll throw up my own evolutionary psychology-based conjectures. Most societies today are inherently patriarchal; until very recently, women had no choice but to sexually submit to one male partner (for financial security), whether she wanted to or not. This suites men very well, who could ensure the paternity of their children while still illicitly siring a few on the side (and let’s not forget the well-accepted attitude in days gone by that high-status men were expected to keep mistresses on the side, while the very same behaviour from their wives would lead to immediate ostracization, if not death). But is this reproductive strategy optimal for women? I would argue no. Women would spread more genes if they focused not only on raising their own children but also those of their closest female relatives. Under such a society, female-lead groups become the centre of society (rather than the traditional male-lead which devolved into the nuclear family). Female promiscuity amongst humans (and other primates) is quite well documented. Let’s not forget that most primate societies have high rates of infanticide; to mitigate this risk, female primates mate with many males to confuse paternity. In a matriarchal society, women can freely maximise gene fitness by mating with many males, both to confuse paternity (so the resulting babies are less likely to be killed) and also to ensure fitter children. In a patriarchal society, this option is limited (and may explain why ancestral human females evolved hidden fertility – as a way to continue practising promiscuity while still undergoing male sexual policing).
Female centred free love offers many reproductive advantages to both men and women, whilst also having the ability to reduce the risk of male violence. For men, using violence to secure mating rights is more risky, and likely to lead to being kicked out of matriarchal societies. It is less risky (and more genetically profitable) for males to make friends with their sisters. For females, it is more (genetically) profitable (and relatively low-input) for them to help their brothers get sex from unrelated females.
There is evidence that matriarchal societies are much less violent, particularly when it comes to male-on-female violence, than patriarchal ones. They are also exceedingly rare and hemmed in by patriarchal ones, which makes independent comparisons between the two systems impossible. On a last note, for incels, who want sex and none of the responsibilities, promoting a matriarchal society is their best bet. If Peterson was serious about combating this issue, he should readily abandon this enforced monogamy nonsense and start dismantling our toxic patriarchal societies in favour of a matriarchal one.