In the New York Times, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman recently made the case for a return to the 1950s. Keynes-ian economics was still in vogue and taxes were higher for the super-rich, lots more people were in unions. Minorities and women had a tough time employment-wise but he thinks the economy was great, despite those recessions of 1953 and 1957.

Not every American that cares about women, minorities and poor people agrees with Paul Krugman that the decade was all balloons and ponies. One factoid that would have bolstered his case among his detractors is that women were apparently abused a lot less then. Academics at Sam Houston State University conducted a survey for the Crime Victims' Institute in Texas and correlated women having jobs to relationship violence, and women worked a lot less in the 1950s so therefore domestic violence must have been less. If you don't agree, you will never have a career in sociology.

In Science Left Behind, numerous chapters are spent debunking attempts to frame ideology as science. In the social sciences, for example, it's common to find two curves that match and imply causation. The paper academics wrote correlating partner violence to dual incomes is another example of such 'framing' - in this instance rationalizing inconvenient results by re-configuring them to make a statement about social justice.

They did telephone interviews with 303 women who identified themselves as being currently or recently (last two years) in a serious romantic relationship. The names were taken from 700 Texas citizens in the Fourth Annual Texas Crime Victimization Survey. 67 percent of those women ages 18 to 81 said they had been subjected to some form of physical or psychological victimization by their partner during that period. Education levels made no difference, college graduates were just as likely to push, kick or pull a knife on their women, but when both people in the relationship were employed, the percentage of violence was more than double than if the man worked but not the woman.

It means the traditional 1950s nuclear family leads to happiness, right?  Not in sociology. The authors instead concluded that men are insecure if their male authority is challenged by a woman working and those men lash out. We live in a time when only 20% of families have just a man workingTwo generations of dual employment means it is the norm in America. They blame male insecurity instead of obvious money issues and the stress those bring because it matches their cultural agenda.

For example, dual employment was not the big risk factor for violence two years earlier.  In their 2010 paper “Assessing the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence”, the Crime Victims' Institute determined the issue was unemployment - and substance abuse.  In 2011 their Risk Factors Associated with Women's Victimization paper supported the feminist theory that victimization experiences of women were related to male patriarchy - in college students, no less. The big risk factor instead seems to be the research priority of the sociologists doing the surveying in any particular year. In this instance, Dr. Cortney Franklin is an assistant professor in Criminal Justice who focuses on violence against women and Tasha Menaker is a Ph.D. student who focuses on womens' issues.

Rather than dual employment being the problem, it could be that some young women in Texas who reported intimate partner violence and then took a survey like the 'bad boys' and bad boys tend to be idiots in lots of ways.  The statistics bear that out, since older women were less likely to report being victimized than younger women. Instead of letting the data speak for itself, the authors speculate that women who are "home bound" lack self esteem and stay meek, whereas working women violate ingrained caveman sensitivities and get clobbered. They even refer to women who do not work outside the home as “domestic workers”, which sounds a lot like ‘maid’, and they say such women lack ‘social capital’ - a patronizing dismissal of stay-at-home moms that would be offensive if men wrote it.

Franklin and Menaker are focused on violence against women, so it is not expected they would find it everywhere and tackle this topic, just like evolutionary biologists tackle evolutionary biology.  The distinction is that biology is science, and science can have a null hypothesis. Sometimes experiments don't work and the idea is thrown out.  In a survey masking itself as psychological science, there is no null hypothesis, there is no hypothesis at all, they just show a correlation and imply cause and it can never be wrong.  

These kinds of analyses claiming to be science studies are why so many people on the left have begun to think science is a subjective world view rather than an explanation of the universe according to natural laws.  They take statistics-as-science claims to a whole new level, and it feeds the rising problem of feel-good fallacies replacing data-driven conclusions.