Conservatives & Perversity

Ron Guhname writes: The General Social Survey asks two questions (that I know of) about behavior that at least some people would call perverted–consumption of online pornography and homosexual sex.

Percent using pornographic site in last month–males

Extremely liberal 31.2
Liberal 30.2
Slightly liberal 41.7
Moderate 24.6
Slightly conservative 22.2
Conservative 17.8
Extremely conservative 18.2

Percent using pornographic site in last month–females

Extremely liberal 17.6
Liberal 8.1
Slightly liberal 3.3
Moderate 4.2
Slightly conservative 3.4
Conservative 3.8
Extremely conservative 0.0

Percent who have had same sex partners in past year–males

Extremely liberal 12.0
Liberal 7.9
Slightly liberal 4.5
Moderate 3.3
Slightly conservative 2.2
Conservative 1.5
Extremely conservative 1.4

Percent who have had same sex partners in past year–females

Extremely liberal 12.1
Liberal 5.1
Slightly liberal 2.8
Moderate 1.8
Slightly conservative 2.2
Conservative 1.5
Extremely conservative 2.0

In the study The Social Organization of Sexuality, the group that most frequently practices anal sex is Hispanics–70 percent of whom are Democrats.

A reader claimed in the comments of the last post that liberals live very traditional lifestyles. This is simply not true.

From the General Social Survey (years 2000-2010):

Percent Married

Extremely liberal 29.5
Liberal 36.5
Slightly liberal 43.0
Moderate 46.2
Slightly conservative 50.6
Conservative 58.1
Extremely conservative 57.1

And even though there are fewer liberals who have ever been married and who therefore can get divorced, their rate of divorce is higher:

Percent Divorced

Extremely liberal 17.6
Liberal 17.1
Slightly liberal 15.5
Moderate 14.8
Slightly conservative 14.2
Conservative 12.2
Extremely conservative 12.8

Liberals are also more likely to be unfaithful:

Percent ever cheated on spouse

Extremely liberal 26.1
Liberal 23.6
Slightly liberal 19.7
Moderate 18.2
Slightly conservative 17.9
Conservative 14.0
Extremely conservative 14.0

Percent who cohabited before marriage (1994–most recent year)

Extremely liberal 53.3
Liberal 43.3
Slightly liberal 35.4
Moderate 29.1
Slightly conservative 23.5
Conservative 23.1
Extremely conservative 5.9

Percent of married who have no children

Extremely liberal 23.1
Liberal 19.3
Slightly liberal 17.9
Moderate 13.2
Slightly conservative 12.4
Conservative 10.8
Extremely conservative 7.0

Which kinds of countries are the most corrupt? Here are a few cross-national correlations:


IQ -.56
Percent black .28
Percent Muslim .30
Weekly religious attendance .37

So corrupt countries are less intelligent, more black, more Muslim, and more religious. Nordic and English-origin countries–smart, wealthy, post-Protestant/secular–are the least corrupt of all countries. Wealthy Asian nations are also good. (By the way, according to the data, the United States has gotten more corrupt over the past decade.)

Using CIA data on race (admittedly crude), I calculated the Pearson correlation between percent black and national homicide rates. For 180 countries, it is .50–a strong association. More blacks means more homicide. Percent black is as predictive as mean IQ or the GINI measure of income inequality. While we’re at it, the black-inequality correlation is .45. Bigger gaps between the wealthy and the poor go hand in hand with more blacks.

Using data from Richard Lynn and the recent WHO study, the correlation between national level IQ and the homicide rate across 181 countries is -.51. This is a strong association, so smarter countries are much less violent. The only cross-national correlate of homicide that is this strong is income inequality (more unequal countries are more violent). In my data set, the correlation between the GINI inequality index and homicide is .48.

Neo-Nazis are the most hated group in the world: The World Values Survey asked almost 17,000 people from 11 countries(Azerbaijan, Australia, Armenia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Georgia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Uruguay) which group they disliked the most. Here is the ranking:

Percent saying the listed group is most disliked:

1. Neo-Nazis/right extremists 26.9
2. Criminals 23.4
3. Guerrillas 9.2
4. Stalinists/hard-line Communists 7.0
5. Drug traffickers 5.5
6. Capitalists 5.2
7. Homosexuals 5.2
8. Immigrants 5.1
9. Para-military 3.7
10. Radical Maori activists 3.2
11. Anarchists/terrorists 2.0
12. Christians 0.6
13. Members of new religions 0.6
14. Kurds 0.5
15. Muslims 0.4
16. Jews 0.4

To Neo-Nazi folks: you know you are not very popular when the world has more regard for criminals, drug lords, and terrorists than for you. Evidently, your Jewish enemies are winning the PR campaign: they’re at the bottom of the hate list. Keep in mind that three of the included countries are former Soviet satellites, and they inflated the anti-Nazi number some. Still, the Swiss, for example, are 3.6 times more likely to dislike most the hard Right compared with criminals (67.5% versus 18.6%). Myself, I’m much more fearful of some scumbag attacking my daughter than guys with shaved heads demonstrating for white rights, but maybe I’m odd.

Diversity breeds murder, inequality does not: A standard finding in criminological research is that homicide is strongly related to inequality: in societies with a big gap between the wealthy and the poor, the poor become resentful and take it out on nearby targets, also poor. This theory always seemed a bit of a stretch to me, the idea that I hate how the Man is screwing me, so I kill some guy at the bar for calling me queer. The theory turned every fist fight into something political. But the macrolevel correlation has been very reliable and very strong, I admit. A little investigation of mine evidently explains what is going on. Past cross-national studies always had a handful of Latin American countries with soaring homicide rates, and we all know that part of world reigns supreme in the rich-poor gap. So these outliers basically determined the size of the correlations. And yes, Latin murders are frequently political and tied to inequality.

But the whole situation changes with the sample I just constructed. I gathered the most recent homicide data for all countries that have published it. Data is now available from all the former Soviet countries. These are relatively equal countries, many of which have horrible violence of the organized crime type. When they are included in the analysis, the inequality-homicide link disappears.

Ethnic heterogenity, on the other hand, does have a significant influence on violence. The correlation between it and male homicide victmization rates is .41; for female victims, it’s .48. Diversity breeds distrust and conflict, and can even lead to murder.

Mexican-Americans are the most arrested of all ethnic groups: In my post on bad behavior, readers would have liked to see more ethnic groups and more serious behavior. Crime was suggested, so let’s look at the percent ever arrest. Let’s set the minimum sample size to 50:

Percent ever arrested (sample size in parentheses):

Mexicans 17.4 (195)
Spanish 17.2 (64)
Blacks 16.4 (714)
French Canadians 16.3 (92)
American Indians 14.6 (315)
Italians 14.2 (508)
French 13.2 (189)
Scots 11.5 (278)

USA 11.1

Puerto Ricans 11.0 (73)
Danes 11.0 (73)
Irish 10.4 (969)
Germans 10.2 (1,613)
Swedes 9.6 (146)
English/Welsh 8.8 (1,213)
Russians 8.4 (155)
Poles 8.3 (291)
Czechs 8.3 (121)
Hungarians 7.9 (76)
Dutch 7.8 (153)
Austrians 6.5 (77)
Finns 5.3 (75)
Jews 5.1 (237)
East Asians 1.7 (60)

Since some samples are small, it’s advisable to look for regional patterns. Poor non-whites are toward the top of the list. So are those from southern European countries. In the earlier post on bad behavior, Catholics did poorly, but here it’s more divided: southern Europeans are arrested at high rates, but those from central and eastern Europe are very law-abiding (Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and Austrians). The Irish fall into the middle ranks. Northern Europeans have few arrests, except for those angry Scots–a trait that gets you arrested. Jews are second from the bottom: they didn’t do as well on my “bad behavior index” because they had high numbers on things that don’t get you arrested: thinking cheating on taxes is okay; ethnocentricity; homosexuality; infidelity; and promiscuity. East Asians were Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos combined. Only one person in the sample (Filipino) reported an arrest. The sample is still small, and I don’t know about you, but I think the estimate is basically correct.

Which Americans have the most sex partners? General Social Survey participants were asked how many different partners they had in the past year. I calculated the mean for 18-30 year olds from ethnic groups with at least 100 respondents:

Mean sex partner in last 12 months (women in parentheses, then the sex difference):

Blacks 2.39 (1.44) +.95
Irish 1.92 (1.36) +.56
Italians 1.85 (1.19) +.66
American Indians 1.83 (1.38) +.45
Mexicans 1.73 (1.48) +.25

USA 1.74 (1.32) +.42

Germans 1.53 (1.21) +.32
English/Welsh 1.51 (1.28) +.23

Blacks have been characterized as the most sexual race, but according to GSS data, this is more true of black men. Mexican American women report more partners than do their black counterparts. Other surveys portray black women as being somewhat conservative about sex. And while other studies also suggest that blacks have more partners, they often do not find that blacks have sex more often, or that they engage in more novel kinds of sex (e.g., anal). In a well-respected study described in the Social Organization of Sexuality, Hispanics had the most sex, and were the most experimental.

The women’s rankings tend to follow the men’s: the number of partners a woman has are, in part, due to the kind of men she is dealing with. If she is sleeping with someone, she probably wants to keep him, and if she is sleeping with multiple guys in a year, the guys are not sticking around. There is also a pattern of more gender-traditional groups having the biggest sex differences (Italian guys can sleep around, but not the girls).

As we have seen with many kinds of behavior that grandma wouldn’t like, rates are highest among non-whites, or among whites from Catholic or southern European countries. (Drinking is an important exception). You and I might not think any group is ultimately superior to another, but Grandma is starting to think that whites from traditionally Protestant countries (and perhaps East Asians and Jews if I studied them more) are.

Mexican women are the most criminal in America: I’ve looked at crime before on this blog, but have not focused on female criminality. Here are the percent who reported to the General Social Survey that they have ever been arrested:

Percent of American women arrested (sample size in parentheses):

Mexicans 9.3 (108)
French 6.1 (114)
Blacks 5.9 (404)
Italians 5.6 (269)
American Indian 4.8 (187)
Germans 4.7 (844)

USA 4.6 (4,626)

Scots 4.6 (131)
Irish 4.5 (581)
Poles 3.8 (159)
English/Welsh 2.8 (647)

I swear I’m not making this up: Mexican women have rates higher than any other group. Blacks and Southern Europeans also have high numbers, while other Europeans and American Indians are average or low.

Many blacks say that Jews are “bloodsuckers”: Just about the only American not (weakly) portrayed as an anti-Semite, homophobe, or Jesus freak in “Borat” was the angelic black prostitute who eventually became the protagonist’s wife. Yes, blacks remain the icons of humanitarian virtue.

The Survey of Chicago African Americans asked 639 blacks the following question: “Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Black Muslims may be a little extreme to describe Jews as ‘blood suckers’, but there’s a lot of truth to it all the same. Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly?”

One-third said they agree (strongly or somewhat).

Evidence that Mexicans are the most ethnocentric group in America: As I just wrote about, the General Social Survey asks respondents about their ethnicity and records a second ethnic group if you mention one. If you don’t mention a second, they record again the first ethnicity you mentioned. While most Americans have a mixed family tree, many feel a connection to just one branch. This varies by primary ethnic group. Let’s see what percent report no identity except their main one:

Percent saying they have only one ethnicity

Mexicans 73.9
Blacks 51.6
American Indian 51.6
Italians 41.5
French Canadians 35.8
Yugoslavs 34.0
Norwegians 33.2
Irish 32.1
English/Welsh 29.9
Czechs 26.0
Poles 25.8
Scots 23.6
Finns 23.5
Swedes 22.9
Austrians 22.6
Russians 21.4
Portuguese 20.6
Danes 20.2
Hungarians 20.2
Germans 19.6
Dutch 17.8
Rumanians 17.4
Lithuanians 15.6
French 14.5
Greeks 14.3
Swiss 12.7
Spain 12.6

Non-whites are much more likely to see themselves as belonging to one group, and as we saw in the earlier post, on the rare occasion when they report a second ethnicity, it is also typically non-white. Mexicans take the lead: most are Mexicans and nothing else. Mexicans are more Mexican than Blacks are Blacks. While many of us see ourselves as multi-ethnic, here is evidence of strong Mexican ethnocentricity.

Latin American countries are the most criminal in the world: In response to my point that the U.S. does not have a high property crime rate as predicted by popular theories that claim that love of the market breeds crime, a reader argued that the U.S. would have a high rate if not for astronomical rates of incarceration (the adjective I would use is appropriate). Let’s set aside the United States for a moment and look at the rankings of national robbery rates around the world (International Crime Victimization Survey) :

Percent robbed last year

Brazil 11.3
Colombia 10.6
Paraguay 6.7
Argentina 6.6
Tunisia 6.3
Bolivia 6.2
Costa Rica 5.8
Zimbabwe 4.8
South Africa 4.6
Uganda 4.4
Spain 3.1
Philippines 2.4
Botswana 2.0
Egypt 1.9
Polish 1.8
Italy 1.3
England/Wales 1.2
Australia 1.2
Indonesia 1.2
Portugal 1.1
France 1.1
Belgium .9
Sweden .9
Canada .9
China .9
Netherlands .8
W. Germany .8
India .8
Switzerland .7
Denmark .7
New Zealand .7
Scotland .7
USA .6
Finland .6
Norway .5
Austria .2
Northern Ireland .1
Japan .1

According to anti-market theories, countries with the greatest economic freedom should have the most theft. But the 10 worst countries have weak to terrible rankings on economic freedom ( Costa Rica is the best at 46. With the exception of India, the 10 countries with the lowest levels of robbery are highly ranked on economic freedom. The only one who doesn’t make the top tier is Japan, and its rank is 27th. If anything, a market orientation reduces theft.

Criminologists love to find an appealing theory that suits their politics. They don’t bother to look at the data first. Anti-market theories have reigned in sociology and criminal justice classes for decades, with the one little problem of having no empirical validity.

In the spirit of the name of this blog, what do these data points lead us to conclude concerning the cause of national levels of violent theft? Rates are highest in Latin America and lowest in Europe and Japan. This looks like a simple case of wealth except that Latin American countries are richer and yet more thieving than sub-Saharan African countries. Plus, China and India have low rates. Spain has the highest European rate, and the Tunisian rate is very high.

What about distributions of traits? Hispanics have higher IQs than Africans. The rankings on extraversion, based on a recent post by Agnostic at, don’t line up all that well with robbery (although if there is one thing a robber needs to be, it’s bold).

Let me complicate things by adding that in my previous post on burglary, Africans exceeded Latin American countries. Is there some reason why Africans would prefer breaking into houses, while Latinos prefer mugging people? Housing in Latin America is more secure?

What is it about Hispanics? Machismo? Any ideas? I did not plan this at all, but isn’t it funny how so many of my analyses make one wonder if mass immigration to the U.S. from the south is such a great idea? Now the Tamar Jacoby’s of the world will say that Hispanic immigrants have low rates of crime, but she is looking at a little selective slice of the Latin population–an above-average behaving slice. The criminal mean for this international population is very high, and the American descendants of these immigrants regress to that very high mean.

Mexican-Americans rank dead last on vocabulary, while Jews rank first–big surprise.

Chaim Amalek writes: “God made us different, but in the end, we are all the same. To Mexicans he gave switchblades and guns, to Yidden he gave sharp tongues and lawyers.”

Black male college students have a sinister view of the world: I’ve noticed something very interesting in the classroom with black guys (at least the vocal ones). They are uniformly drawn to sinister views of the way the world works. All people are on the take. There isn’t an honest person on the entire planet. Human motivation is universally greedy and exploitative. Conspiracy theories are the true ones. Jews have too much influence. Corruption is everywhere, and so you can hardly blame someone for unethical behavior. This doesn’t appear to be the result of what is learned in class because there is no pattern of this among other students who take basically the same classes (most of my students are social science majors). I don’t see the same pattern among black females. And in my experience, this is not just a noticeable tendency: no talkative black guy has ever communicated a different view.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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