I Wonder if the Supreme Court Heard These Arguments

When the parties were arguing for or against the notion of homosexual “marriage.”

Via Instapundit, we have a contribution from Breibart.com’s British site.  “Attack of the Killer Dykes!” doesn’t really sound like much more than click-bait as a headline, but what caught my attention was the squib:  “Lesbian violence is poorly understood because it is poorly researched, and poorly researched because it makes the gay lobby deeply uncomfortable. We’re not supposed to admit that any kind of gay relationship might have a dark side. It’s all unicorns and Mariah Carey, as far as charities, politicians and the media are concerned.”

So I clicked through and read the article.  While reading it I realized it was written by a British author (references to “mum” and English spellings like “colour” were give-aways) before I noticed the Union Jack on which the Breitbart logo was superimposed.  In truth, even had the URL not contained “London” and had there been no conspicuous non-Americanisms in the text, I think I’d have figured out it was a Brit just by the unapologetic tone of the piece, its willingness to call things by their correct names, its vinegar-laced humor, and its playful use of cacophemism.

Examples:

“If you’ve ever heard of a gruesome murder in your neighbourhood in which the short-haired victim was beaten savagely with a rolled-up copy of Saga magazine and then strangled with a jock strap, it’s probably not some terrifying new sadistic white male serial killer, but rather another dyke domestic that got out of hand.”

“We know, for instance, that black women experience intimate partner violence at rates 35 per cent higher than white women. And those girls know how to swing! So the real figure for lesbian batterings is much higher than we know.”

“It’s not like they’re in it for the sex. Maybe it’s the faint whiff of cat sick, maybe the chafing of polyester bedsheets, but it’s well known that lesbians stop having sex after the first few months and retreat into hobbies like softball, vegetarianism, penis envy and Twitter.”

“Who knows. Perhaps these women don’t know what they’re getting themselves into, and imagine that lesbian relationships are a blissful domestic idyll, rather than the hellish reality of being kicked to death by someone in sensible shoes.”

Maybe it’s because as an American I’ve just been brain-washed into thinking in terms of identity politics, but reading the article I was thinking this guy’s laying into the homosexuals with perhaps excessive vigor.  Got me to thinking just who he is.  So I clicked through on his byline link at the top of the article.  Milo Yiannapoulos is his name, and he seems to be regular Breitbart.com contributor.  He’s got some hilariously truthful articles there, like his “A Lexicon of Social Justice“.  Some favorite entries from which:

Dominant culture
The stuff people actually like. Not to be confused with taxpayer-funded lesbian performance art, which would surely break all Box Office records if only more people got to see it.”

Glass ceiling
My career isn’t doing as well as I think it should be, because I’m an insufferable, hateful, jealous bore, and I am looking for someone to blame.”

Transgender
A psychiatric disorder reimagined as a ‘civil rights issue’ because we’ve literally run out of things to complain about.”

Read, as Instapundit frequently encourages, the whole thing.

But what really caught my eye were two other of his articles that also showed up:  “I’m Sooo Bored of Being Gay” and “Kids Need a Mum and a Dad,” in the latter of which he describes himself as a “party-hard homosexual.”  Do what?  Having read both of them it seems to be the case:  His piece on lesbian (and to a lesser extent, male homosexual) domestic violence isn’t just some hit-piece content “sponsored” by the Westboro Baptist Church.  Whatever his stated reasons for his homosexuality may be (in his “Sooo Bored” he makes a joking reference to having decided to be homosexual in order to offend his parents), and whatever his thoughts may be about the implications his life choices (I’m willing to accept that homosexual inclination is something you may be born with, but living as a “practicing” homosexual, just like living as a “practicing” heterosexual, is very much an affirmative choice) for his personal existence, he goes out of his way not to wear blinders about that part of the world he lives in.

I like someone who makes an effort not to entertain illusions about himself and those things he chooses to be a part of.  I’m in large measure something of a redneck.  I’m also an introvert, a P. G. Wodehouse fan, and something of a school snob.  At least as to that last, I know I ought not be, and I know that school snobbery is more than a little bit like people who manage to work into every damned conversation the fact that 35 years ago they set their high school’s single-season passing yardage record.  Pathetic, in other words.  I freely acknowledge the underside of redneckery; I admit my inclinations, to the extent that I have them, in those directions; and I likewise confess myself not always having the moral strength of character to resist them.  And so forth.  With Wodehouse there arises within one the warm glow of the Initiate.  One goes through life feeling alternately pity and scorn for those who have never heard of The Great Sermon Handicap, or drunk with The Oldest Member, or who have never gone into a bar, looking for a brass foot rail with a silent prayer to St. Galahad Threepwood in their heart.

[You can’t grow up reciting the General Confession from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and still cherish an unblemished self-image:

“Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”]

So I went back and re-read the article on lesbian domestic violence.  I even clicked through on the link to the Puffington Host article cited.  “Shocking” statistics on domestic (or what now seems to be called “intimate partner” violence, presumably to cover as well those couples who beat, torment, and kill each other without ever actually shacking up together) are paraded before us.  [Aside:  Any headline which contains the word “shocking” is to be treated as presumptively heralding an out-pouring of mountebankery until proven otherwise.  The Weather Channel’s website is especially offensive in this particular, and the only reason I still patronize them is because I haven’t found one that’s easier to use and not just as bad or worse.]

The PH’s article starts off, predictably enough, with some nice context-free false equivalence:  “The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.”  How many different individual American servicemembers were in Iraq and Afghanistan during those twelve years, in places where they were realistically exposed to combat operations?  Maybe a few hundred thousand?  And how many different American women during that same period were in adult (in other words, post-high-school) relationships with men during that period?  Maybe 100,000,000 or more (a girl ten years old in 2001 would have been 22 in 2012, so you’ve got the better part of an entire generation of female Americans added to the population pool during that time)?  Also overlooked is the fact that American troops are, you know, armed to the teeth to protect themselves, while tens of millions of women were denied their most basic civil and human right — self-defense — by the sorts of anti-gun demagoguery pumped up by precisely outfits like the Puffington Host.  Whatever.

Then we get to the statistics.  I am entirely comfortable each and every one of those numbers quoted by the PH is valid, in the sense that it is a usefully accurate quantitative measure of the sociological phenomenon described.  On the other hand, you have to pay very close attention when left-extremists begin citing statistics.  Thomas Sowell years ago drew attention to the archetypal technique employed to confuse the discussion of X of Y per unit of Z.  When attempting to extract money from the productive classes in order — allegedly — to fight black poverty, the figure of black income-per-household is cited to paint a picture of continuously unfolding disaster; when what is desired is to show the effectiveness of various “affirmative action” and racial preferences and thereby extract money from the productive classes to hand it over to what Sowell helpfully describes as the “pet constituencies,” the figure of black income-per-capita is given.  And never is highlighted the distinction between the two.

The PH’s statistics are mostly strictly American numbers (there are a couple which are expressly world-wide figures, and several that specifically reference the U.S., but most are silent).  But let’s put some context underneath it all.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on Census Day in 2010 the gross U.S. population was 308,745,538.  Their age-and-sex data shows that 156,964,212, or 50.8% of the total, were female.  Of those women, 16,322,308, or 10.4%, were born in 1940 or earlier.  That’s helpful to keep in mind, because I’m going to suggest that, whether better or worse, the world inhabited by adult women before 1960 was qualitatively different from that developing and existing after 1960.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but there was a lot of shit doled out to women back in the day which is now recognized much more widely, and sincerely, as just unacceptable than it used to be.

A further note on the PH’s numbers.  You’ll observe that not many reflect the data on heterosexual “intimate partner violence” experienced by men, although there is quite a bit of data out there on the subject.  It shows that men experience it at rates very similar to women, although the injuries suffered by women tend to be more severe (as you’d expect, given the physiological differences between the sexes).  Just by way of example, the U.S. Secretary of Defense the other day announced the annual sexual assault data for the U.S. Armed Forces.  More men reported unwanted sexual contact during the previous year than did women.  Huh?  Further, when you factor in the personal violence experienced by men of all sorts, you begin to realize that American women, even when you include their personal physical risk from their “intimate partners,” are overall safer in their persons than men are by several orders of magnitude.

38,028,000 women have experienced some form of “intimate partner” violence at any point in their lives.  That makes 24.2% of all women who have experienced it, ever.  I’d be interested to know the age break-down of that 38 million.  If it’s concentrated in the upper age ranges, what that tells me is that the problem is getting better instead of worse.  If the other way around, then we need to be asking ourselves why, in a post-1960s world, when overall violence of all types is going down, this one subset of it should be getting more, rather than less, prevalent.

1,509 women were killed in 2011 by men they knew, of whom 926 were killed by an intimate partner (who was, we are invited to assume, male).  That’s 926 women killed in one year, out of roughly 157 million women, or 59 ten-thousandths of one percent of the female population.  During 2002-2009, there were an average of 3,533 non-boating drowning deaths per year, 80% of whom were age 15 or over, and 80% of all of whom were male, meaning an average of 565 or so women ages 15 or over in the U.S. died each year by drowning.  In fact, women overall have a higher risk of death by drowning than men.  Booze, the by the way, figures in 70% of all drowning deaths (no sex-correlation is given for that data point).  The FBI shows 2,813 total female homicide victims for 2011, so familiar killers accounted for 53.6% of the total, and intimate partners for 32.9%, or almost exactly one-third.  But this is why the PH really should have put some context around it:  In 2011, there were 9,829 male homicide victims, almost 3.5 times as many.

And now we get to see some subtle presto-chango from the PH:  Every minute 20 “people” are the victim of intimate partner violence.  Well, how many of those 20 are female and how many male?

4,774,000 women will “experience intimate partner violence” during the course of a year.  Let’s couple that with 1 in 4 women will experience “severe” domestic partner violence, and 1 in 7 men will experience “severe” domestic partner violence.  “Severe” is not defined, but I’m going to assume that it is, well, severe enough to require medical attention.  Thus, a scratched male face would not be severe, but a spiral fracture of a woman’s forearm, or a female shoulder wrenched from the socket would be.  What I’d like to see is a male counterpart to that 4,774,000 figure.  Why the “severe” comparison but no gross-numbers comparison?  Well, the latter comparison is meant to suggest that men are overall exposed to less domestic violence, when all it really does is highlight the entirely expectable result of the overall physical strength imbalance between the sexes.  Including the male-victim gross numbers would make that plain.  And left-extremists are never, ever about being plain.

40-45% of women in “physically abusive” relationships are raped and/or sexually assaulted during the course of the relationship.  What does “physically abusive” mean?  Does it mean a relationship in which there has ever been a manifestation of physical violence, ever, or does it mean more than X instances of physical violence total or at least X instances during any particular period?  By the way, note that over half of physically abusive relationships don’t result in a sexual offense.  Does that throw any light on the feminist claim that rape is not a sexual offense but a power-relationship offense?  I mean, trying to think my way into the head of a man who’d make a habit of beating his woman — surely about as crude an expression of power-exploitation as you can imagine? — if rape is just one more aspect of power-exploitation rather than an expression of perverted sexual lust, would I not have frequent recourse to it?

And then we get to Yiannapoulos’s cited figures:  2 in 5 — that’s 40% — of male homosexuals will experience intimate partner violence during their lives.  That’s a two-thirds greater statistical likelihood for them than for all women as a group.  Among lesbians, fully 50% will experience “domestic violence” (which the PH goes out of its way to assure us may not be “intimate partner” violence . . . why tell us that, and why not just give the “intimate partner” data?) during their lives, exactly double the overall female population expectation.

Perhaps inadvertently, the PH then provides some context to that 38,028,000 figure, although they shove it in way at the bottom of the column so as to discourage the comparison.  World-wide, not 24.2% of the female population can expect to experience intimate partner violence, but full 70%.  Suddenly all us Awful Americans don’t look so bad.  I have just one question for the pro-al-Qaeda left-extremists:  Does female genital mutilation of small girls count as “domestic violence”?

Another article linked by Yiannopoulos contains some alarming data points.  Somewhere between 17% and 45% of all lesbians report being the victim of at least one act of violence perpetrated by a female partner.  That’s from somewhat less than to almost double the rate of “intimate partner violence” — 24.2% — reported with respect to the gross U.S. female population.  Here’s another: 30% of all lesbians report being the victim of an act specifically of sexual violence by a female partner.  Here we’d better remind ourselves that how the surveyor defines things like “sexual assault” can produce any number desired by the study.  It’s how, for example, we get that 25% of college women will be the victim of sexual assault or worse during their time in college (which is the same as to say that a college woman experiences the same risk of sexual assault during a four-year period that all U.S. women experience of intimate partner violence over their entire lives).  I’d like to see the number of heterosexual women who would report positive according to the same criteria; how would that compare?

The long and short of Yiannapoulos’s article and the others he links to is that homosexual relationships are much more prone to violence than heterosexual relationships.  Period.  That situation seems hard to reconcile with the notion that they are functionally and therefore morally indistinguishable from heterosexual relationships.  That in turn suggests that maybe, just maybe, a state’s refusing to give homosexual relationships equal legal stature by calling a homosexual couple “married” is not just an exercise in bigotry, but may well be very concretely supported by specific physical data.  If the numbers Yiannopoulos cites are good numbers, then I think any constitutional argument about homosexual “marriage” must ask whether it is a legitimate state objective to refuse to encourage domestic relationships so markedly more violent than traditional arrangements.  The state cannot effectively forbid those or any other sort of human relationships; not even the Nazis with the death penalty for “racial defiling” could do that.  But does the fact that the state cannot as a practical matter, and ought not as a legal matter prevent them from arising necessarily command the result that therefore the state must encourage them by granting them a privileged legal status (which is what marriage in fact is)?

That’s not a bigoted question to ask, any more than it is unreasonable to ask whether terminating a biological parent’s rights in respect of his or her minor child by reason of the parent’s drug abuse, or running with violent felons, or other behaviors demonstrably hazardous to small children is a lawful exercise of the state’s protective function in respect of its citizens.

Somehow I don’t reckon any the Supreme Court is going to pay much attention to those data.

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