On his syndicated radio show, William Bennett told a caller, “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.
“That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”
Where to even begin? It’s nice to see that Bennett thinks it would be morally reprehensible to do such a thing, I suppose, but from what he said on the Fox News show Hannity & Colmes, he’s simply cemented his position.
Sure. Well, the context was a radio show that I was doing yesterday, and the topic was abortion and we were talking about bad arguments in regard to abortion. A caller suggested he was opposed to abortion because he said if there were more babies there would be, eventually, more tax payers and a larger GNP, a smaller deficit. I said you want to be careful with that kind of argument because someone could postulate a situation where child’s not likely to be a productive taxpayer. I said, arguments in which you take something that’s far out, like the GNP and try to connect it up with abortion are tricky. I said make the case of abortion on the basis of life and protecting life. I said abortion is invoked in another way; you could make an argument that if you wanted to lower the crime rate, you saw the quote; you could practice abortion in very large numbers. You could do it in the black community; you could do it in other places. This is, by the way, the subject of a book for economics by a professor at Yale. (emphasis mine)
Here, in a friendly environment, given the chance to clarify his remarks, Bennett did not illuminate the audience on what these “other places” might be, but instead keeps the focus on the black community. Even if you grant that he is hypothesizing about poor arguments in regard to abortion, as he has stated the context of the show to be, when you look at his attempt to clarify his position, the focus is still about race, and still skewed toward black Americans.
But what I find just equally appalling are the remarks from House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who wondered, “What could possibly have possessed [former] Secretary Bennett to say those words, especially at this time?”
Especially at this time? What, it would have been okay to say two months ago, before the spotlight fell on poor Americans with the fallout of Hurricane Katrina? Ms. Pelosi, just as you say shame on Bill Bennett, I say shame on you for thinking that had to be qualified in such a fashion.
Postulating that aborting an entire race would be beneficial to America is a bad move at any time, even if it is only to prove a point.
Bennett has stated that he can understand why anyone who thinks he is supporting such a hypothesis would be angry, but urges everyone to look at the context of his statements. I think he fails to understand that such a remark, in any context, is morally reprehensible to a large population of Americans. Nuggets of truth are often hidden in such casual statements. Why, Bennett could have easily used all poor Americans as his example. But he said black Americans. And why?
And how can he not understand that this is being construed as racist, regardless of the context? Perhaps he has no answer to that question… at least, no answer than can be stated publicly.