The Dim-Post

January 21, 2013

What (I think) Garth McVicar is trying to say

Filed under: crime,general idiocy — danylmc @ 11:25 am

As we all know:

Crime will rise if gay couples are allowed to marry, says the head of the country’s victim lobby group.

Sensible Sentencing Trust leader Garth McVicar has submitted to Parliament that changing the law to allow same-sex marriage will be yet another erosion of basic morals and values in society which have led to an escalation of child abuse, domestic violence, and an ever-increasing prison population.

“The marriage amendment bill will not benefit society at all and will ultimately have detremetal (sic) effect on crime at all levels,” the submission read.

This is part of a broader argument popular amongst US conservatives. It goes like this: take a look at a chart showing violent crime in the US since 1960.

vcrime500

So something happened in the 1960s to cause a staggering increase in violent crime, which then dropped sharply in the 1990s. The conservative argument is that the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s happened. People abandoned traditional values of family, religion, hard work, ect, and that caused society to crumble. It uncrumbled a bit in the 1990s, because of Reagan. Moreover, they’d argue that groups which have held onto these values are less prone to divorce, crime, and groups like minorities and poor whites who don’t uphold traditional values are poorer and cause many more social problems than people who are married, hard-working, religious etc. Gay marriage is not a traditional family value, hence legalising gay-marriage will lead to a crime wave.

There are plenty of alternative theories. The Superfreakonomics guys who think legalised abortion led to lower crime. The newest theory is that lead exposure is a causative factor in violent crime:

There may also be a medical reason for the decline in crime. For decades, doctors have known that children with lots of lead in their blood are much more likely to be aggressive, violent and delinquent. In 1974, the Environmental Protection Agency required oil companies to stop putting lead in gasoline. At the same time, lead in paint was banned for any new home (though old buildings still have lead paint, which children can absorb).

Tests have shown that the amount of lead in Americans’ blood fell by four-fifths between 1975 and 1991. A 2007 study by the economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes contended that the reduction in gasoline lead produced more than half of the decline in violent crime during the 1990s in the U.S. and might bring about greater declines in the future. Another economist, Rick Nevin, has made the same argument for other nations.

I’d genuinely like to know what McVicar thinks of this theory, and if he’d be in favor of more stringent government regulation on the use of heavy metals in industry.

About these ads

63 Comments »

  1. Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of our Nature) puts the decline in violence down to two main things: better policing (not because sentences are harsher, but because they’re harder to dodge); and the radical rights movements, especially feminism but also the gay rights movement (because they teach us to practise empathy for our fellow human beings).

    Comment by Daniel Copeland — January 21, 2013 @ 11:52 am

  2. So Heavy Metal does lead to violence after all.

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  3. There is certainly some evidence from rat studies and epidemiological human studies that environmental lead toxicity may be a factor. On the other hand Garth McVicar is known for his in depth analysis of the issues.

    I know Limericks are bad form but I feel the urge:

    “If Gays are allowed to be wed
    We will all be better off dead”
    Said old man McVicar
    Who’s thicker and slicker
    And sicker than you in the head.

    Or more offensively…

    There was an old duffer called Garth
    Who lisped “Thith ith all thutch a farth
    If gays say “I do”
    We’re all dethtined too
    Be taking it hard up the arth”.

    Comment by PPCM — January 21, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

  4. Or we could just ignore a rather odd remark from McVicar of SST, and focus on the real issues around the Gay Marriage Bill:
    – what is the purpose of the state recognising (civil) marriages?
    – how do gay marriages fit into that purpose?
    – if not, what reasons does Louisa Wall have for redefining the universal concept of civil marriage?

    I would suggest:
    A) civil marriage allows govt to recognise and support the most stable and best form of creating and raising the next generation of society, which the state has a fundamental interest in.
    B) gay marriage doesn’t really fit that at all, as gay couples are intrinsically incapable of procreation, and this Bill is not (supposed to be) about gay adoption and raising of children.
    C) Well, Louisa and chums haven';t actually given any reasons for redefining marriage to allow gay couples to civilly wed – she just claims it is oppression for gay couples not to be able to do anything straight couples can, even if civil marriage relates to something only relevant to straight couples (because they are the only kind of couple who can reproduce). Oh, and Louisa’s Bill is logically inconsistent, as her sole criteria for a couple to marry is consent, which logically then should extend to incestuous, polygamous, and even paedophile marriages (as all these groups can consent too, whether we as a society agree that is wise or they are mature enough to do so).

    But heh, lets all look at the McVicar sideshow instead, eh?

    Comment by bob — January 21, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  5. The crime rise (and fall) is explained easy enough through the demographics. Post war women were having at least 50% more babies than now, and in NZ Pacific Island migration and Maori moving to the cities in supposedly the fastest diaspora in history. Its much more likely that crime will increase when the median age is closer to 20 than the current 36 and with PI and Maori having a much lower median age than the European population.

    There’s no question that the Boomers were brought up in a much more permissive age than their parents.. so McVicar would be right to say there’s been a long term slippage from the values he inherited; however, overall crime has fallen here as in the US since the mid 90s and I think thats more likely due to an aging population. In their own way the Boomers have inflicted on the young the values and preferences of 60 year olds.. and thats not conducive to a crime wave.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 21, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

  6. So, bob, you would exclude hetereosexual couples that aren’t able to have children, or choose not to, from marrying? Since in your reality, that is the only reason for the state to recognise marriage.

    Comment by James W — January 21, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

  7. @Bob

    There are plenty of married heterosexual couples who are unable, or do not wish, to procreate. There are other reasons to get married. Or are such marriages not “fit for purpose?

    …and surely the criteria, as well as consent, include the fact that both parties are adults and not first degree relatives ( ie as for current civil marriage). Invoking incest and paedophilia is shroud waving and Sideshow Garth would applaud your debating skills.

    Comment by PPCM — January 21, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  8. Bob, regards your point people looking at the McVicar comments rather than the real issues:
    a) Comments which indicate (as his do) the gay bigotry underlying most if not all opposition to the marriage equality bill are fair game to be highlighted and mocked, and are part of the real issues.
    b) In any case, as the saying goes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    what reasons does Louisa Wall have for redefining the universal concept of civil marriage?

    But it’s not universal. As has been pointed out to you before, the institution of marriage has changed over time. Also, as you are aware, one of the changes marriage has undergone is that some countries have legalised same sex marriage, and so that is now part of the institution.

    Anyway, this has all been gone through with you before. In particular, I look forward to you responding to Andrew Geddis’ comment at #59 here:

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/sort-of-standing-up-for-the-conservative-party-on-their-opposition-to-gay-marriage/

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

  9. B is basically not true, this Bill should allow gay couples to adopt, and nobody is pretending it isn’t about extending to gay couples all the rights and dignities of marriage.

    Comment by Keir — January 21, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

  10. Steve if homosexual marriage has ever existed in the history of mankind apart from two deviant and extremely cruel Roman empererors the society that practiced it has gone the way of the dodo without leaving a trace.

    And that is the point – societies that practice marriage as we know it are the ones that have prospered and endured and those that have gone down mickey mouse sidetracks with their cultural commitments to child raising have not.

    We are not having a rational debate on this subject because as soon as anybody raises their head and puts forth an argument that points out the extreme folly of what we are doing the shouters come out with big words like “homophobia” and mockery of the individual concerned.

    I can tell you the so called “gay marriage” is the coup de grace for silly western societies, I can tell you why and that it will take forty years at most, probably more like twenty for this to occur.

    And quite frankly a society too stupid to see why this is a really bad idea deserves to end up in the dustbin of history, to be replaced by a people with more common sense.

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

  11. I, also, would be interested in bob’s answer to that comment … so on the off-chance he’s prepared to provide one, I’ll repost it:

    Not quite sure you’ve proved the point you think you have. You’ve given a putative reason for having the legal institution of marriage (to permit the conception and raising of children, thus enabling “the continuation of society”). But given that (1) marriage is not necessary for the conception and raising of children (as is demonstrated by the existence of single parent families, de facto couples with children, and civilly unionised couples with children); and (2) there is no necessary connection between the acts of conceiving and raising children (as is demonstrated by the existence of adoption and guardianship arrangements); and (3) there exist numerous marriages that do not result in children (and the law shows no interest at all in the ability or otherwise of those seeking to marry to have children), the reason you provide is insufficient to ground the practice – it is both over- and under-inclusive. So I can’t help but suspect that you’ve worked backwards from a conclusion – “I don’t want gay marriage … gay’s cannot have children that result “naturally” from intercourse … therefore the purpose of marriage is to have children that result naturally from intercourse.”

    You then suggest that the logic used for gay marriage – that the state should be neutral with respect to the genders of those seeking to have their relationships formally recognised in law – “can be used to also sanction polygamous and incestous (sic) marriage of adults.” An immediate response to this is “so what”? Because by the same token, your own logic (“marriage exists to allow for the continuation of society”) ALSO can be used to sanction polygamous marriage (a man can have kids with 2 wives, after all) and is not a strong argument against incestuous marriages (we let people with a family history of Huntingdon’s disease marry despite the risk of the condition being passed on to their offspring, so why worry about the increased risk of inherited abnormalities resulting from close-family breeding). Hence, any argument against polygamy/incestuous marriages must be based on something other than your claimed reason for marriage as it exists presently … something along the lines of concern about the true consent of those involved in the practice. And why don’t those reasons then apply when same sex couples are able to be formally recognised as married?

    Finally, I wouldn’t care if the family living next to me consisted of a man and his three wives (or a women and her three husbands). I admit I would find it somewhat disconcerting if I lived next to a married brother and sister … but I also recognise that’s probably my hang-up (as well as a suspicion that behind the relationship lies some pretty messed up psychological baggage). So, “worst case” scenario – in two decades it is legal for a person to marry as many other people as he or she wishes (provided all involved know about the other spouses) … or even may marry her or his immediate family members. Why is this a bad thing?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 21, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  12. We are not having a rational debate on this subject because as soon as anybody raises their head and puts forth an argument that points out the extreme folly of what we are doing the shouters come out with big words like “homophobia” and mockery of the individual concerned.

    Actually, as some people put forward arguments like those of Bob’s, I see people refuting the arguments, as some of us did on the post I linked to above. While some are also pointed out homophobia where they perceive it, or mocking some comments where they judge that that’s the best approach, it is not true to say the sort of arguments you’re referring to have not been addressed with rational replies.

    I can tell you the so called “gay marriage” is the coup de grace for silly western societies, I can tell you why and that it will take forty years at most, probably more like twenty for this to occur.

    The Netherlands has about 8 years left then?

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  13. Anybody who tells me that by supporting Gay Marriage I am also supporting paedophilia, violent crime, the end of civilization, incest or polygamy deserves to be mocked.

    Comment by PPCM — January 21, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

  14. “… if homosexual marriage has ever existed in the history of mankind apart from two deviant and extremely cruel Roman empererors the society that practiced it has gone the way of the dodo without leaving a trace….”

    Ah, but what if those deviant Romans had posessed nuclear weapons? What then, huh? Huh? Huh? They could have practiced their deviantnesstisnisity forever, and the moment the cry went up “visi, Goth!” they could have just taken a moment from their wholesale buggery of their fellow man (which is not to exclude the ladies of same sex inclination in the orgies of the Dionysian mysteries) not that I am excluding the and beast and made those proto-Huns (and the real Huns) glow in the dark from the Rhine to the Vistula!

    So gay marriage will cause a rise in nuclear weapons, IMHO – the McVicar doctrine says it is so.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 21, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

  15. And quite frankly, Andrei, people too stupid to see why this is a not a bad idea deserve to end up in the dustbin of history and are being replaced by people with more common sense. (In case you haven’t noticed the generational gap in the approval of gay marriage)

    Comment by eszett — January 21, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

  16. I like your points there, Bob. Keep up the good work. There needs to be more of us that are open to new things, such as gay marriage, whilst at the same time wanting some semblance of order, and wanting minorities to accept they have obligations and responsibilties as well as privileges and campaigns to get new “rights”. I particularly like your point that this Bill isn’t about adoption rights, it’s just a “naming” bill.

    Whilst I understand the arguments coming from the gays and their supporters, such as they deserve equal rights, and a lot of heterosexual couples marry but do not procreate, I am very disappointed that some of them do not have any decorum at all. Some of them want to deliberately marry in churches, knowing fully that homosexuality is a forbidden practice in the bible, included in both testaments if I am not mistaken, and that church is for Christians, who adhere to the Bible. This is why I think marriage needs to be fully restructured, so that along with same sex marriages, marriages between adulterers and those outside the Christian faith, cannot marry in a church. This is where decorum comes into being. If I was to have a same-sex marriage, I wouldn’t do it in a church. Some of these people want to have their cake and eat it too, and that is unacceptable, and there needs to be provision in the law that limits what they can do if it can infringe on other people’s beliefs (such as getting married in a church).

    Comment by Dan — January 21, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  17. Ah Eszett , where are the future taxpayers who are going to pay your superannuation when you are in your dotage going to come from?

    And the people to wipe your ancient botty so you don’t have to stew in your own shit in your declining years?

    They wont be my kids because my kids left for greener pastures, so it will be up to Charlie Chauvel and his er um wife husband thingamebob to produce them.

    Well good luck with that.

    See thats the reason why the Government has a stake in marriage it is because it provides the nursery where future citizens are conceived, raised and socialized into being good citizens who will do the same when their time comes.

    Now somehow you have been beguiled into trashing marriage and its fundamental purpose, the result being the growth of a hopeless underclass, who do breed and a declining middle class who if they do produce children loose them overseas. And as time goes on the average age of the population increases and the ratio of working age folk to the elderly who need to be supported and expensive health care, all paid for by the working age folk declines.

    National Population Estimates: March 2012 quarter

    You might like to ponder how this country might look when a nearly a quarter of the population is over sixty-five a milestone we will be approaching in about 15 years

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

  18. @Dan

    So homosexual marriage is a “cake”? Presumably a fruit cake…?

    Comment by PPCM — January 21, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  19. @Andrei

    “Ah Eszett , where are the future taxpayers who are going to pay your superannuation when you are in your dotage going to come from?”

    Well they are certainly not going to come from gay couples…whether you let them get married or not. If you don’t let them get married are gay men going to say “to hell with this…get me a woman?”. Please tell me how restricting marriage to heterosexuals is going to do anything to lift the birth rate?

    …and whatever greener pastures your kids have gone to they will find plenty of old people with shitty botties to wipe because aging populations are a universal western nation problem.

    Certainly the aging of the population is a huge challenge for us all.

    Comment by PPCM — January 21, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

  20. Oh Andrei, just because they make it legal doesn’t mean you have to. Unless you don’t trust yourself to resist those urges you already feel.

    Comment by Sacha — January 21, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  21. Certainly the aging of the population is a huge challenge for us all.

    You’re nearly there – the developed world is in deep trouble, we agree

    How to solve it?

    We need young people, a new generation ready to pick up the torch

    Where do they come from? Bearing in mind it takes twenty years to raise a child?

    Why do gays want “marriage”. What does it give them they don’t alredy have? Does it confer some sort of status, if so why?

    If the status it confers derives from the self sacrifice required to successfully raise a child or children what happens if that status is now bestowed upon those biologically incapable of doing so? – don’t bother with red herrings about old people getting married, that in itself is a modern innovation.

    See marriage isn’t about how you get your rocks off, it is about sacrificing yourself to raise your kids and that is the source of any esteem it holds.

    And if you want people to start having children again and in the numbers required then that is what you have to hold in honour because people who are raising families of two or more kids don’t usually have money for nice clothes, fancy cars or night clubbing, they are in a word “uncool” and often a little shabby.

    When you create this new thing called “gay marriage” you are in effect undermining the vey thing marriage was created for and the very purpose it serves.

    If Nigel and Timmy can get “married” and obtain all the benefits and kudos that that bestows without putting in the hard yards required to earn that then why should Nick and Tamara do anything different?

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

  22. The Mother Jones article on the connection between lead levels and crime specifically discounts other theories for the falling crime rate, claiming they don’t stack up. For example, the drop in unwanted pregnancies following Roe vs Wade doesn’t explain the timing of the drop in crime or the drop in non-US jurisdictions. Likewise changes in policing and demographics, etc.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

    And Groerge Manbiot (shorter):

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/astonishing-argument-why-violent-crime-rates-have-dropped

    Comment by MeToo — January 21, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  23. *George Manbiot

    Comment by MeToo — January 21, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  24. “don’t bother with red herrings about old people getting married, that in itself is a modern innovation.”

    Really? So why does the Bible explicitly give as one reason for marriage – comfort? Older people have been marrying with little or no chance of having children for centuries. Why? Companionship. Comfort. Financial security.

    Comment by MeToo — January 21, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  25. *George Monbiot

    Comment by Hugh — January 21, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

  26. @Andrei: If you really think the state’s main concern should be some kind of Malthusian drive for more babies, banning gay marriage is pretty weaksauce. Gay couples aren’t going to have babies whether or not they’re married, and I imagine the number of heterosexual couples who would have kids if gay marriage was illegal but won’t if it’s not is close to zero.

    If you really want to see more “young people to carry the torch” then you should be looking at entirely different policy areas – healthcare, for one. Or maybe some kind of medal we could give to women who have more than five kids.

    Comment by Hugh — January 21, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  27. What, sort of like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Honor_of_the_German_Mother; or even this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Heroine. Just the sort of thing we need to put teh gays i their place!

    Comment by Christopher T — January 21, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  28. @Hugh
    Why does the State have any interest in or any need to be involved with sexual relationships?

    Why does anybody need the State to sanctify who they sleep with?

    Serious questions

    @Christopher T

    Godwining the thread?

    You left out Родительская слава a currewnt award in a Nation awake to the demographic problems it faces which ironically are not as bad as modern Germany’s are for example

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

  29. @Andrei: So you’re against -all- marriage, now?

    Comment by Hugh — January 21, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  30. @Christopher: Damnit, every time I have a good idea somebody else has always already thought of it. And that person is always Hitler.

    Comment by Hugh — January 21, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  31. @Hugh

    Andrei: So you’re against -all- marriage, now?

    No Hugh, I am trying to show you through rational and reasoned argument why “gay marriage” is a very bad idea.

    I am not “anti gay”,either. I like living in a country where people are free to establish whatever realtionships they choose.

    I am also smart enough to see that that freedom will disappear within a generation if we do not address our demographic problems which are real

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

  32. “I am also smart enough to see that that freedom will disappear within a generation if we do not address our demographic problems which are real”

    So advocate better childcare, payments for women who stay at home and have lots of babies, encourage (force?) employers to not discriminate against women who have taken time out of the paid work force to have children and all the other things that might encourage those inclined to have an extra baby.

    And immigration. There may be a low birthrate in NZ but the world population is not shrinking and there is no shortage of people keen to come to NZ.

    Comment by MeToo — January 21, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

  33. Technology has made possible the impossible, so I don’t see what the big issue is, apart from cost.

    Comment by deepred — January 21, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  34. Not sure why gay marriage impacts on the birthrate Andrei, perhaps you can point to the studies that say our declining birthrate is caused by gay marriage (which is illegal in NZ) and not other completely unconnected social trends. As Hugh says @26, gay marriage won’t stop women who want to have babies from having babies.

    Comment by MeToo — January 21, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  35. I am trying to show you through rational and reasoned argument why “gay marriage” is a very bad idea.

    So far your argument seems to boil down to the curious claim that a significant proportion of heterosexual couples who would otherwise have had children will choose not to if homosexual couples are allowed to marry. It’s a daft argument on the surface, and without some further evidence to support your theory – and it had better be really good evidence – people are right to dismiss it.

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

  36. Ah Eszett , where are the future taxpayers who are going to pay your superannuation when you are in your dotage going to come from?

    Really? That’s your argument? How does gay marriage affect the birth rate in any way? If anything, it will affect it positively. Lesbians are already giving birth to children (sometimes even with help of the gay friends) and male gay couples can adopt or even have surrogate mothers.

    If birth rates are really your argument, then you should be all for gay marriage, Andrei.

    But as Andrew Geddis pointed out before so aptly, it isn’t. Your basic argument is “I am against gay marriage because I don’t like gays” and then you build some absurdly ridiculous attempts at rationalising that argument (and fail miserably with the “bearing children” attempt as many have argued beforehand).

    Gay marriage is actually strengthens conservative values such as family and marriage, open minded conservatives actually see that, it’s just the few that can’t get over the fact that there are gay people in our society and it’s perfectly fine to be gay.

    Comment by eszett — January 21, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

  37. See, this is what happens when we let idiots participate in the national conversation.

    Comment by George D — January 21, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

  38. Such a pretty straw man Andy G, but one you built, not me. I said marriage is the “most stable and best form of creating and raising the next generation of society”, which you ‘reinterpreted’ as “thus enabling “the continuation of society””, which is not the same thing at all. Most of your, Steve’s and eszett’s arguments fall over because you weren’t addressing anything I said at all.

    But let’s tackle you points anyway:
    1) of course any heterosexual couple can procreate, and
    2) anyone else can then raise that child
    BUT the *best* option for the child (as the stats show) is to be raised by their biological parents in a lifelong stable marriage. That does not take away from those who raise children as best they can in their circumstances (eg solo parents, adoptive parents, etc), but that is less than ideal for the child.
    3) sure, some married couples are infertile (though that term is often conflated with low fertility), but the state does not go to such intrusive lengths as to demand fertility tests before issuing civil marriage certificates. Far too personal. But that does not mean the state should extend marriage to couple who are infertile by design, and who cannot provide the balanced approach of paternal and maternal parenting that a hetero couple give that a gay couple cannot give. Sigh, please note that does not mean I hate gay couple or people, just recognise the difference between male parenting and female parenting. Goodo.

    On the Bill’s logical inconsistency, there are different reasons as to why incestous, polygamous and paedo marriages should NOT be allowed – these are not necessarily the same as the logical implication that Louisa’s Bill gives for them being enabled. Her Bill boiled down to only demanding the consent of the parties involved; that same argument would also allow incestous, paedo and polygamous marriages, which you seem okay with.

    But we ban paedo marriage because society overrules a child’s claim that they consent – we don’t think someone under 16 is mature enough to consent. We ban incestous marriages because we think it undermine self-less loving family relations if one family member sees another as a prospective sexual partner. And we ban polygamous marriage because it causes societal imbalance in single:married gender balance, which can cause conflict, and it is usually just some guy exploiting multiple women anyway. Note only one of these arguments addressed consent.

    Now, perhaps you could provide one single solitary reason why gay couples should be able to civilly marriage? What benefit does the state get? (note the equality/ending discrimination is not a *positive* argument, just a neutral statement of perceived fairness).

    @ George D – nice ad hominem. You managed to avoid kicking the ball entirely, and only got the man. Well played.

    Comment by bob — January 21, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

  39. Such a pretty straw man Andy G, but one you built, not me. I said marriage is the “most stable and best form of creating and raising the next generation of society”, which you ‘reinterpreted’ as “thus enabling “the continuation of society””

    Your words, my emphasis:

    – “But while it is interesting to tease out these exceptional cases, I note I have given good reason why the state only sanctions hetero marriage (continuation of society)

    – “… as far as the state’s concern for continuation of society goes.

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  40. raising the next generation of society””

    and

    enabling “the continuation of society”

    Failing to see how “not the same thing at all.” Surely they’re at least kind of the same thing.

    Anyway, you really haven’t addressed the point. Surely if marriage is such a good thing for providing stability, then it should be extended to as many people as possible whether or not they can procreate? And isn’t an oppressed group no longer feeling marginalized by its exclusion from a central social institution, with attendant benefits to mental health statistics, suicide rates, and a reduction of costs of cleaning up after gay pride marches a benefit to the state?

    Comment by Mackey — January 21, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

  41. (Not that I agree that marriage is a historically transcendent institution the sole purpose of which is to provide stability for raising children for society’s sake. In plenty of societies including European aristocracies, marriage has been a political tool for securing power bases of households or making peace between realms, for instance. This whole line of argument is very ahistorical and really rather silly.)

    Comment by Mackey — January 21, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

  42. So the two ladies (lovely, polite friendly etc…) 5 doors down may or may not get ‘married’ or be in a relationship. (1)How would I know if they were married or not?(2) How do I know the bloody hetro next door neighbours are even married (sinners). (3)Would it have an effect/affect on my marriage? No, my un married hetro neighbours don’t effect/affect my marriage (except when they are douche bags and argue and cause lack of peace and quiet, marital status not important).

    Answer to 1,2 and 3 My wife wants kids. The people down the road don’t give a f&^k about us and I don’t give a F#$k about them….

    Value to my marriage 0, value of my marriage to them 0+0=0

    teh Gays don’t tell me they marry, I don’t tell teh Gays. Nothing fucking changes……

    Comment by statlerandwaldorffromthebalcony — January 21, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  43. @ Steve – well spotted. My bad. I was too imprecise earlier with my language – the continuation of society is too loose for quibblers such as Andy, because as you can see, he has constructed a whole bunch of false premises off my comment above. There is a distinction between simply having kids and raising them (or getting someone else to raise them), and the best way for those kids, which is for the stability of both their biological parents to create and raise them to adulthood.

    But Steve, I note that neither you, nor Andy G, nor anyone of the pro-gay marriage advocates have given a positive reason for civil gay marriage. statler & waldorf shrug and say they don’t mind, but that is not a reason for…

    And I have addressed numerous more and more absurd exceptional cases you and others have raised, but not once do you guys argue for the gay marriage you are so intent on ramming through. Don’t you have any good reasons? :)

    Comment by bob — January 21, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

  44. Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of our Nature) puts the decline in violence down to two main things: better policing (not because sentences are harsher, but because they’re harder to dodge); and the radical rights movements, especially feminism but also the gay rights movement (because they teach us to practise empathy for our fellow human beings).

    Yes and no. He does cite those two things, but he puts it in the context of one the main themes in his book the civilising and humanising processes of liberalism and Enlightenment humanism (something which anti-humanist greens should note) which changed norms and attitudes making people less tolerant of justifications for violence and cruelty. He explained the rise in violence in the 1960s as due to a decivilising trend which pushed against the civilising processes. Much like the thesis Danyl attributes to conservatives in his post. Quote:

    The Great Crime Decline of the 1990s was part of a change in sensibilities that can fairly be called a recivilizing process. To start with, some of the goofier ideas of the 1960s had lost their appeal. The collapse of communism and a recognition of its economic and humanitarian catastrophes took the romance out of revolutionary violence and cast doubt on the wisdom of redistributing wealth at the point of a gun. A greater awareness of rape and sexual abuse made the ethos “If it feels good, do it” seem repugnant rather than liberating. And the sheer depravity of inner-city violence—toddlers struck by bullets in drive-by shootings, church funerals of teenagers invaded by knife-wielding gangs—could no longer be explained away as an understandable response to racism or poverty.

    The result was a wave of civilizing offensives. As we will see in chapter 7, one positive legacy of the 1960s was the revolutions in civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, and gay rights, which began to consolidate power in the 1990s as the baby boomers became the establishment. Their targeting of rape, battering, hate crimes, gay-bashing, and child abuse reframed law-and-order from a reactionary cause to a progressive one, and their efforts to make the home, workplace, schools, and streets safer for vulnerable groups (as in the feminist “Take Back the Night” protests) made these environments safer for everyone.

    His argument against the Freakonomics abortion explanation is quite convincing:

    …in the years since 1973 the proportion of children born to women in the most vulnerable categories—poor, single, teenage, and African American—did not decrease, as the freakonomics theory would predict. It increased, and by a lot.

    What about differences among individual women within a crime-prone population? Here the freakonomics theory would seem to get things backwards. Among women who are accidentally pregnant and unprepared to raise a child, the ones who terminate their pregnancies are likely to be forward-thinking, realistic, and disciplined, whereas the ones who carry the child to term are more likely to be fatalistic, disorganized, or immaturely focused on the thought of a cute baby rather than an unruly adolescent. Several studies have borne this out. Young pregnant women who opt for abortions get better grades, are less likely to be on welfare, and are more likely to finish school than their counterparts who have miscarriages or carry their pregnancies to term. The availability of abortion thus may have led to a generation that is more prone to crime because it weeded out just the children who, whether through genes or environment, were most likely to exercise maturity and self-control.

    Also, the freakonomists’ theory about the psychological causes of crime comes right out of “Gee, Officer Krupke,” when a gang member says of his parents, “They didn’t wanna have me, but somehow I was had. Leapin’ lizards! That’s why I’m so bad!” And it is about as plausible. Though unwanted children may grow up to commit more crimes, it is more likely that women in crime-prone environments have more unwanted children than that unwantedness causes criminal behavior directly. In studies that pit the effects of parenting against the effects of the children’s peer environment, holding genes constant, the peer environment almost always wins.

    Finally, if easy abortion after 1973 sculpted a more crime-averse generation, the crime decline should have begun with the youngest group and then crept up the age brackets as they got older. The sixteen-year-olds of 1993, for example (who were born in 1977, when abortions were in full swing), should have committed fewer crimes than the sixteen-year-olds of 1983 (who were born in 1967, when abortion was illegal). By similar logic, the twenty-two-year-olds of 1993 should have remained violent, because they were born in pre-Roe 1971. Only in the late 1990s, when the first post-Roe generation reached their twenties, should the twenty-something age bracket have become less violent. In fact, the opposite happened. When the first post-Roe generation came of age in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they did not tug the homicide statistics downward; they indulged in an unprecedented spree of mayhem. The crime decline began when the older cohorts, born well before Roe, laid down their guns and knives, and from them the lower homicide rates trickled down the age scale.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 21, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

  45. Bob,

    You’ll note that my comment was a repost from a previous thread, in which you DO use the phrase “continuation of society”. So it’s not really my fault that you are not consistent in your terminology – or, if there really is a difference between the terms that you use, that you are inconsistent in what you actually are arguing.

    Now, on the actual substance of your response, you ignore the point. Let us accept that marriage as an institution has a social value in binding together a man and a woman who then provide an optimal environment for child raising (a claim we’ll take as true for the moment). That then seems like a good reason for having such an institution. But to then say that this good reason must therefore be the ONLY reason for having the institution is a logical error. And there are obviously other reasons for why the state recognizes marriages: companionship (which is why the elderly may marry), protection of financial assets (which is why inheritance laws used to draw a distinction between the wife and the mistress in dividing property after death), linkage of family groups (something more important in some cultures than others), giving social recogniton to personal feelings of love, etc. If none of these things mattered, we’d have (and would have had in the past) a very different set of rules around marriage – age limits, fertility testing (just as we have required medical tests for immigrants, despite their “intrusiveness”), financial requirements (to ensure that the couple can afford to care for the future children that are the only reason for recognizing their desiremto marry). But we don’t (and haven’t had) such rules – because marriage is not and never has been just about creating an environment for raising children.

    So, given that marriage as an institution can and does serve a number of social ends, it’s somewhat curious that you focus exclusively on but one of these and declare it to be THE purpose of the institution … and that the one that you choose happens to be the one that same sex couples (as well as a number of straight couples) cannot meet. And, furthermore, it’s then not at all clear why same sex marriage threatens this purpose of marriage that you proclaim to be the only (or, at least, the overriding) one that counts. Do you have evidence that, in any of the countries or regions that have legalized same sex marriage, this has reduced the number of straight marriages? How exactly does this psychology work – “I was going to marry my long-term boyfriend and have children with him that we would raise together, but now that I see same sex couples can marry I won’t do that anymore.” That seems an odd claim about how people will reason.

    Finally, what benefit does the state get from recognizing same sex marriage? It gets the benefit of no longer treating as second class citizens a significant proportion of its population when there is no good justification for doing so. Or, to put the question back to you, what benefit was there to the Southern States in the USA in getting rid of anti-miscegination laws?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 21, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  46. Andrei and Bob, if you are sincere about your argument, then surely you should be putting all this effort into banning divorce and making marriage compulsory for the parents when a pregnancy occurs?

    Those things would address the concerns you have stated in a far more concrete way than the gay marriage stuff that you haven’t had much luck in showing how it eve relates to the ‘problem’.

    And before you start blathering that ” The boat has sailed” or “It’s too late”; tough luck. If the concerns you have are about children being raised outside of marriage, then the solutions must be about mandating more marriage for parents. Until you start doing that with far more vigor than you show in attacking gay marriage, people are going to suspect you’re motivated by something else.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 21, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

  47. Andrei and Bob, if you are sincere about your argument, then surely you should be putting all this effort into banning divorce and making marriage compulsory for the parents when a pregnancy occurs?

    All I can do is try and raise my kids to be decent human beings with decent values while living in a trash culture with trashy people including people in Parliament and in the media who want to drag everybody down into the sewer with them.

    No Fault divorce was a fuck up

    Giving out the DPB willy nilly was a fuck up

    You have allowed your culture to become degraded, the solution is not to degrade it further.but that is what you will do in your foolish vanity

    I actually think it is game over for the West regardless – I think modern westerners are weak decadant wastrels who are busy squandering the last of their inheritance and are too stupid and full of themselves to notice.

    I see workshops closed down and the boys who work there thrown on the scrap heap while their jobs are given to chinese boys.

    I see container loads of crap coming from China to be bought with borrowed money while we send back plastic to be recycled into more crap for us to buy with more borrowed money. Sheer genius

    And you are busy selling your farmland to China to help balance the books if the truth be known.

    And the issue of the day – giving a few, a very few upper middle class, urban, Homosexuals and lesbians vanity marriages so that they can have gorgeous parties and primp and preen that they are married to each other – for no fathonable reason detectable by anyone whose brain hasn’t been addled by your crap TV.

    What a sorry bunch of clowns

    Comment by Andrei — January 21, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  48. “Why does the State have any interest in or any need to be involved with sexual relationships?

    Why does anybody need the State to sanctify who they sleep with?”

    Sounds like a pretty strong argument against heterosexual marriage to me!

    Comment by Hugh — January 21, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  49. BUT the *best* option for the child (as the stats show) is to be raised by their biological parents in a lifelong stable marriage. That does not take away from those who raise children as best they can in their circumstances (eg solo parents, adoptive parents, etc), but that is less than ideal for the child.

    I’d say the “best” option for the child is to be raised by their biological parents in a loving, stable relationship for the duration of the raising with the necessary means to adequately provide for the child. Marriage is not really a necessity. In fact quiet a number of couples I know are very successfully raising their children without being married.

    When you say “less than ideal” you seem to indicate that such such constructions are somehow invariably bad for the child. However the majority of all these constructs (solo parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, non-married parents) are all happily and successfully raising happy and healthy children, again all about the premise that they are loving, stable relationship for the duration of the raising with the necessary means to adequately provide for the child.

    And in fact some of these (adoptive parents, step parents ) are actually in a marriage.

    So to come back to your argument “the *best* option for the child (as the stats show) is to be raised by their biological parents in a lifelong stable marriage”, surely the next best option would be for the child (as the stats show) is to be raised by one biological parent and a step parent in a lifelong stable marriage.

    In that sense I am surprised that you do not support gay marriage, because that would fit that argument. If a gay couple would want to raise a child, would the best option be in a marriage, according to you.

    Also you admit that there are “less than ideal” option, which are all sanctioned by the state in form of marriage (adoption / step-parents), why should that then not be possible for same sex couples? Surely gay couples are choosing to have children today, according to your argument it would be better to allow them to raise children while married.

    Comment by eszett — January 21, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  50. I think we should just ban marriage altogether for everybody. It’s an anachronistic institution which has no purpose anymore. And it causes far too much brain hurtingly stupid debate on the internet. The world would be better without it.

    Comment by Dr Foster — January 21, 2013 @ 11:38 pm

  51. But we ban paedo marriage because society overrules a child’s claim that they consent – we don’t think someone under 16 is mature enough to consent.

    Yeah basically, but nothing in Wall’s bill changes any of that, so why do you keep bring up ‘paedo marriage’ as an issue in this debate? It’s disingenuous, and supports the view that you have an anti-gay agenda.

    note the equality/ending discrimination is not a *positive* argument, just a neutral statement of perceived fairness.

    I don’t know what weird standard you have whereby you don’t see ending discrimination as positive, but there’s your problem.

    Comment by steve — January 21, 2013 @ 11:57 pm

  52. Extraordinary that a person who rails against the soft and easy life that prisoners have should worry about increased crime.

    Oh now I get it ! Homosexual marriages will be mean more people seeking the “Good Life” in prisons thus encouraging more beneficiary bludgers..

    What the hell homosexual marriage has to with sensible sentencing totally escapes me.

    What the hell sensible sentencing has to do with reality totally escapes me.

    Why do the media keep giving Mc Vicar air? Advertising revenue.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — January 22, 2013 @ 1:13 am

  53. George D @37, you have to let so-called idiots participate in the national conversation, the alternative is too chilling to consider. Remember, the first people to speak out against discrimination of gays, the first to speak out against the flat earth, were probably considered “idiots”. Besides: the “sunlight” of open conversation “disinfects”. It may not be disinfecting Andrei’s mind (possibly too septic, or he’s just trolling anyway), but those simples who thought he was on to something with birth rates will hopefully see the rational argument against, and potentially be cleansed.
    Am I an idiot for speaking out against censorship?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 22, 2013 @ 7:47 am

  54. “Am I an idiot for speaking out against censorship?”

    In George D’s defense, he didn’t say idiots shouldn’t be allowed to speak – he just ruefully surveyed the wreckage they leave behind.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 22, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  55. Where did christians get this idea they have ownership over the concept of marriage? – did people just run round willy nilly rooting whatever happened to be lying around or something before they invented the christian god?.

    Those damn dirty pagans! (and budhists, muslims hindis etc etc)

    andrei and bob – you might believe all this stuff (that as been pointed out fails some very simple logic tests) – but surely you must accept that that is just what you believe? – No-one can stop you believing it, but thats a two way street – you also cant stop other people believing different, contradictory things.

    So whats the best answer to this problem? – Ideological Thunderdome?

    Or maybe the better idea is to treat everyone the same and not demand they all suddenly do what your interpretation of a very old, highly contradictory book says?

    People marry for all sorts of reasons, and as long as they are consenting adults (which excludes children and animals of course) then what right do you or anyone else have to tell them that they cant? All these “it weakens marriage” arguments point to a weakness in the person making the argument – the only threat is the one you create in your mind.
    Is your own marriage on such shakey ground that two people who might be different to you and who are getting married for different reasons going to affect it?

    Comment by framu — January 22, 2013 @ 8:16 am

  56. case in pont: My elderly Aunt married her long term, elderly gay best friend (male) because they really liked being together, were strongly emotionally attached and felt it was a good arrangement for making sure they had a say in situations such as hospitalisation and death

    Comment by framu — January 22, 2013 @ 8:19 am

  57. framu,

    Right – that’s it. Now I’m going to have to divorce my wife.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 22, 2013 @ 8:37 am

  58. “Now I’m going to have to divorce my wife”

    I’m going to have to marry my cat, right when some crazed economist is saying I have to hit it on the head with shovel on account of the birds. If Gareth loves birds so much he should bloody marry them I say, and leave me in peace.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 22, 2013 @ 10:18 am

  59. It occurred to me that the final paragraph in Steven Pinker’s argument against the crime-abortion link identifying the flaw in the argument of not looking at crime rates by age cohort could well apply to the lead-crime link since the time lines are roughly similar. Then I see that Steve Sailer looked at the lead-crime link and the age cohort problem in a blog post from several years ago. Lead Poisoning and the Great 1960s Freakout

    Third, when looking at the crime fall in the 1990s, this study appears to have the same flaw that dragged down Levitt’s abortion-cut-crime theory — a failure to look carefully at crime rates by age cohort, combined with an intoxication with analyzing complex state-level data that leads to a failure to do simple national-level reality checks. (She was clearly influenced by Levitt, so this shortcoming is not surprising.) Wolpaw Reyes simply assumes a 22 year lag between lead poisoning around the time of birth and the violent crime rate. But, we can easily look at more detailed data for different age cohorts, which shows that the crime decline of the 1990s began among older individuals, not among the younger people supposedly benefiting from lower lead or higher abortion.

    If you assume a 22 year lag to violent crime, then this graph looks great because the murder rate started to fall after about 1991.

    But, that’s the same mistake Levitt made way back in 1999: he forgot to look at the crime rates among narrower age cohorts. For the 17-and-under crowd, the two worst years were 1993-94. In other words, they were born when lead pollution had already fallen by almost half (just as they were born when legal abortion was close to its peak, which is a problem for Levitt’s theory). Here’s the relevant homicide rate graph showing that for the 14-17 year-old cohort, the murder
    rate moved in exactly the wrong direction for the first 6-7 years of the great lead decline.

    Similarly, here’s the non-lethal serious violent crime rate for 12-17 year-olds as reported by the government’s massive annual survey of crime victims. It too shows the crime rate for the relevant cohort moving in the wrong direction.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 22, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  60. In George D’s defense, he didn’t say idiots shouldn’t be allowed to speak – he just ruefully surveyed the wreckage they leave behind.

    Taking someone seriously, and crediting their ideas as useful contributions to policy and society, is entirely different to giving them the right to speak. WordPress blogs are still free.

    For entirely cynical reasons the right indulged McVicar and his silly mob for a decade or so and Labour conceded ground in a tactical defeat. If we had a consensus in politics, this wouldn’t happen. But we don’t; despite strands of consensus among the major parties about varieties of a liberal free-market economy, there’s still sufficient divergence for parties on the right to consider it worthwhile to bring to the forefront actors who push positions that step well away from evidence based international best-practice: because these actors tend to savage the left while exciting their base and confusing the middle. After a period of time these positions become orthodoxy and hard to walk away from.

    The rest of us have our own incentives. The media’s incentive is heat and emotion, the incentive of blogwarriors is the confirmation of their own blind positions, and the incentive of sane and reasonable people is shepherding the country towards a set of policies that adequately reflect what we know about the world. We ask what we are trying to maximise (generally things that people consistently report desiring, like a safe society) and then follow the evidence about how to get there.

    Doing so requires pushing McVicar and his ilk from the platform. I’m just sorry someone didn’t tape him saying something so obviously fucking stupid a decade ago.

    Comment by George D — January 22, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  61. George D #60: And the McVicars of this world usually remain bulletproof… until they mini-gun themselves in the foot. For the News of the World it was phone-hacking. For McVicar, it’s his spout-off on same sex marriage.

    Comment by deepred — January 22, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  62. I love how bob thinks he’s really ramming home his arguments, when he’s just coming across as a teenager. Maybe that’s why he’s so concerned with “paedos”?

    Yes, bob, that’s an ad-hominem attack. Others have addressed your “points” conclusively and exhaustively, and you’re obviously never going to listen.

    Comment by James W — January 23, 2013 @ 8:54 am

  63. That’s an old graph, long debunked. It shows prosecution rates, not crime rates. What changed from the late 60’s to the early 90’s in the US (and here in NZ to a lesser extent) was a huge increase in charges and prosecution associated with the “war on drugs”.

    http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2008/02/crime-part-1.html

    The surveyed violent crime events are flat to the mid-90’s, and then fall away, likely because of a change in policing models in the west around then to a more community-responsive base. “Tough on crime” is scaremongering political bullshit, but it does put a lot of people in prison.

    Comment by tussock — January 27, 2013 @ 3:32 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 399 other followers

%d bloggers like this: