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The Bill Bennett Debacle

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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.

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About Alisha Karabinus

  • http://livefromblogdahd.blogspot.com/ demabloggery

    what are the statistics on blacks committing crimes vs. other races?

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    What are the statistics on judicial prejudice against young black men — an issue that actually did see some air on Hannity & Colmes?

    I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    What a stupid, hateful comment.

    Right-wing nutjobs seem to get away with all kinds of things on the air these days. I’d really, really like to see which Yale professor he’s citing. I find that defense pretty weak and dubious.

    I don’t think this will blow over for old Bill because the quote was SO heinous. I didn’t expect it’d be nearly that bad. He’ll end up apologizing profusely in public within 48 hours or he’ll lose his radio gig. For someone who’s been in politics as the head of the Dept. of Education and run for office before, he should really know better.

    What are the odds this scandal makes him hit the craps table?

    Al Barger wants to know if you’re a signifying monkey or a “Negro,” Legendary.

    That is all.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I’m a little brownish. Take that as you will!

    And yes, he should have known better. But he really just doesn’t seem to understand why people are upset, and I think that may be the saddest part of the story.

  • The Searcher

    Yeah, Bennett will get hammered for that one. However, it appears he was setting up the argument itself as a straw man to attack, rather than taking the position himself.

    I’m very interested in the assertion that the sole cause of an increased rate of violent crime among black Americans can be proven to be judicial prejudice.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Not quite what I said, Searcher. In a nutshell, the point I was making there is that if we’re going to look at statistics, we should look at several groups.

    No, Bennett doesn’t appear to have been taking the position. But he says he could have made the point about “other” groups — and yet he didn’t.

    And hasn’t.

    It’s all about the black folk. And yes, that does in fact make it racist.

  • http://www.amren.com/color.pdf Troof

    “Nuggets of truth are often hidden in such casual statements”

    You said it. Check the link, yo:

    http://www.amren.com/color.pdf

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I’m glad someone wrote about Bennett’s comments.

    What a grade-A, !@#$%. For this and many other reasons.

    See, he’s a squaillionaire (OK, very rich). Why does he want to go to talk radio? Because he thinks he has something to say.

    The former Education Secretary of these United States …

    Fuck. Just fuck.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Re: Troof:

    The New Century Foundation, founded November 1990 and based in Oakton, Virginia, is a “self-styled think tank that publishes a monthly journal and a Web site called American Renaissance (http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/amren.asp?xpicked=5&item=amren). Also hosts biannual conferences. The Foundation promotes pseudoscientific and questionably researched and argued studies to validate the superiority of whites.”

    Thank you, drive through.

  • The Searcher

    If one were discussing leading causes of death rather than crime rates, would one expect to be chastized for mentioning heart disease before stroke or diabetes?

    Troof: you can cite statistics until you’re blue in the face, but remember that such controversial matters straddle equally the realms of thought and feeling, and statistics generally have no bearing on feelings.

    Having said that, expect some respondents to
    1) assert the invalidity and unreliability of measurement instruments and hence all data yielded therefrom, and 2) introduce additional possible or actual correlative variables and represent them as causal.

    Then again this topic may die on the vine, who knows?

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I am not quoting any statistics in regard to this matter because statistics will neither prove nor disprove anything that is being stated.

    Bennett’s “straw man” was technically correct. Let us look at some examples.

    If, for instance, one did in fact abort all black babies for a period of ten years, there would be a reduction in crime.

    If, in fact, one did abort all white babies for a period of ten years, there would be a reduction in crime.

    If, in fact, one did abort all Hispanic babies for a period of ten years, there would be a reduction in crime.

    If, in fact one did abort all poor babies for a period of ten years, there would be a reduction in crime.

    Fewer people = less crime. Fact. Period. Crime is not limited to any one race. Fact. Period.

    The issue at hand is that of all the examples Bennett could have plucked he chose the most obviously and obnoxiously racist example, and given a chance to clarify – nay, correct – his statement, he blinked in surprise that anyone could possibly find it racist.

    Which proves that not only is he completely out of touch with the pulse of America, but that he is also likely on the far side of foolish.

  • coach knight

    “the searcher”‘s last comment made my head hurt.
    All I see is an elitist, hypocritical, conservative (redundant?) a-hole trying to make some point..what one I’m not sure. He’s a gambling addict that wrote a book on virtues! As someone else mentioned…the scary aspect of it is that he doesn’t seem to understand why people are pissed. Ever notice that conservatives can be caught on tape saying something and when it’s replayed, it’s being taken out of context? How can ” If he thinks we are trying to assassinate him, I think we should go ahead and do it.” be taken out of context? Some comments CAN’T be taken out of context.
    Here’s a suggestion….by executing all CEO’s, we would cut down on white-collar crime.
    Conservatives are hypocrites. They will abandon their “beliefs” at the drop of a dollar. Moral? PLEASE! Conservatives would be pro-abortion,…. if they discovered the gay gene.

  • http://www.google.com Hokiebird

    Am I missing something? ya’ll will say YES, but aren’t you making his point? Trying to link abortion with other subjects (taxes, crime, education) is a SCARY thing and shouldn’t be done! He was making a point, and from the reaction he made it well….

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I’m not arguing that his point was bad, good or indifferent.

    I’m focused on the example he used.

  • Anti-American

    I think the proper thing to say is that if one aborted or elmiinated all Christians on the American political right…then hatred, ignorance, and violence in the world would be dramatically reduced…if you just happened to want to reduce those things

  • The Searcher

    Statistics, like firearms, can be a best friend or a mortal enemy, depending on which side of them you’re on! Do crime statistics change significantly if self-reports [i.e. asking people directly about crimes they have committed], rather than police reports, are used?

    Is Bennett a racist because the first group that came to his mind happens to be the group at the top of the shit-list? He may indeed hate African-Americans, I don’t know. If he doesn’t hate them, then there would seem to be no alternative but to shift the focus of criticism to the shit-list itself.

  • JR

    Sounds like he might have had Steven Levitt’s work in mind when he set up that straw man. Perhaps he was trying to make a pre-emptive strike, but he kind of messed it up by throwing race in there. And zaniness ensues.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving asshole.

  • Young One

    A serious problem… “land of the free, home of the brave…” We live in THE most dysfunctional country on Earth. We are good at creating a belief that we are perfect, but when we realize our problems, we are even better at turning a cheeck from them. As a young American, I am tired of hearing the “baby-boomers” and even my grandparents say that we are the “lost generation” I am proud to say that we are a realistic generation. WE SEE WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US and we know it is wrong. I have a better idea for Mr. Bennett. To end our social security problems, lower crime rates, and end racism why don’t we line up all of our senior citizens and baby-boomers and shoot them for filling OUR lost generation’s minds full of racist hate??

    Our African American population has done a tremendous job of fighting their way into our corrupt society. It has been only 50 years since blacks were even able to use the same toilet as you and I. How do you think things will ever change when 70%+ of our population was alive during those times? Do you think that lingers in the mind of our anglo seniors? No doubt.

    Watch the movie Crash or read the book Blink. Strong evidence….

    Until we stop passing recist hate messages and subliminal jabs, jokes, and propoganda down through the generations, this problem will continue. I will do my part to make sure my kids grow up in a diverse area to open their minds. Confront the problem, don’t avoid it. And this isn’t just a “black thing”.

    If you really want to start talking about problems that have never been solved. Go visit an American Indian Reservation. I can already hear Bennet’s answer to that… “Why don’t we strap them to a rocket ship and send them on the first manned mission to Mars.” That ought to solve it…

    Maybe if we go start another war we will forget about this problem.

    “We do only what we know”.

    I will leave it at that.

  • coach knight

    And the example he used says everything.

    “Conservative” is a mind set. Being bigoted is just part of that.

    Why is it SCARY to link different issues? Conservatives do it all the time. Fight fire with fire.

    If it’s the abortion issue that you are SCARED of….if you don’t approve of it, then don’t do it….leave everyone else’s body to themselves. Don’t worry about what I snort, smoke, or who I have relations with….you have enough trouble controling yourself.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    By popular demand: statistics.

    Here you go.

    Try this, too.

  • Nechit

    Get a grip, people. Bennett used that statement as an example of BAD logic! He’s against it, not for it!

  • willcodfish

    As long as people keep taking statements out of context, like above, and turn them into something not even remotely close to the original, we will be that much weaker for it.

    Please – know the full issue before making fools out of yourselves. But, I get the feeling many of you don’t care – you’ll take whatever snippet you can and attempt to turn it into firepower. Do you really think that is forward moving ?

  • willcodfish

    Clarify ??

    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.

    Pretty damm clear – unless you lack in command of English.

  • coach knight

    Kinda like Rush was just trying to make a point about Donavan McNabb?

  • The Searcher

    And how do the curves look after controlling for the percentages of the white and black populations?

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    The one graph that addressed that showed the percentages as %9 of all black Americans and %2 of all white Americans.

    willcodfish, bad arguments, good arguments, no arguments — the point, unless you “lack in command of English” (a demonstrative statement if I’ve ever seen one), is that of all the examples Bennett could have chosen, he chose the route that features clearly racist connotations.

    If he’d made the same statement and pointed it at white babies, I guarantee you we wouldn’t have seen as much press on it. If he’d said all poor babies. It doesn’t matter. The results of the argument would have been exactly the same, but the example he chose was poor indeed.

  • willcodfish

    “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. ”

    On Hannity and Colmes, Bennett fully explained why this had come up in discussion, remarking that he has heard this viewpoint bandied about before.

    Don’t mention it ?? That some people have this view (and Bennett stated clearly he did not). Maybe we should sweep everything under the carpet. Why didn’t you sweep this under the carpet ??

    Because you saw an opportunity to attack someone you don’t like with a piecemeal hodge-podge of assumptions and sweeping generalizations.

    There is nothing racist in Bennett’s remark because he was commenting on a philosophy he has heard elsewhere. If you have a problem – go to the source of it – not to the messenger. Simply using the word “black” doesn’t immediately qualify a statement as racist – though many continually attempt to play the card.

    Bennett is guilty of nothing – except of being harrassed by the shortsightedness of illogical political gamesmanship.

  • http://thecrossfader.com the crossfader

    the problem is generally crime rate is measured per capita. a reduction in the size of a population doesn’t effect a per capita number which is why one uses per capita when comparing populations of variying size.

    the false assumption that bennett is working with is that crime is located in some significant degree within the Black population across the board and that through a wholesale eradication of this population we would see a reduction in crime.

    the second false assumption he makes is that criminal acts can be examined outside of the society in which the crime occurs.

  • willcodfish

    Monkey: If he’d made the same statement and pointed it at white babies, I guarantee you we wouldn’t have seen as much press on it. If he’d said all poor babies. It doesn’t matter. The results of the argument would have been exactly the same, but the example he chose was poor indeed.

    The “reaction” of the presss is entirely irrelevant to the subject.

  • coach knight

    I have NEVER heard the ” crime reduction” angle to the abortion issue. Bill Bennett seems to have it all figured out though…how does he know that the white people won’t just step in where all of those “criminal” blacks once were and the crime rate will go up? He’s saying that blacks are the criminals!

    I don’t think that Bill Bennett is for aborting all black children. I do think that the CONTEXT in which he made that statement shows he’s a conservative. He is out of touch.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Because you saw an opportunity to attack someone you don’t like with a piecemeal hodge-podge of assumptions and sweeping generalizations.

    Actually, outside of this, I’ve got no problem with Bill Bennett at all. I think his statement was poorly thought out and indicative of racist attitudes in this country.

    Just as I thought Nancy Pelosi’s statement was poorly thought out and probably just as indicative of racist attitudes in this country.

    But since you didn’t jump on that, I suppose you saw an opportunity to attack someone you don’t like with a piecemeal hodge-podge of assumptions and sweeping generalizations.

    hugs and kisses,

    LM

  • willcodfish

    “I have NEVER heard the ” crime reduction” angle to the abortion issue. Bill Bennett seems to have it all figured out though…how does he know that the white people won’t just step in where all of those “criminal” blacks once were and the crime rate will go up? He’s saying that blacks are the criminals!”

    Always nice to see someone put words into someone’s mouth that don’t exist. That’s what happens when you do what I mentioned in my first post.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    re: coach knight

    He’s saying that blacks are the criminals!

    Exactly. He pointed the finger at black Americans in association with crime, rather than saying, say, all poor Americans, etc., etc., etc.

  • willcodfish

    #31:

    I’m sorry, did I say anything about Nancy Pelosi ??

    Kisses back at ya

  • willcodfish

    re: coach knight

    He’s saying that blacks are the criminals!

    Exactly. He pointed the finger at black Americans in association with crime, rather than saying, say, all poor Americans, etc., etc., etc.

    Oh, another mouth filler

  • muddyboots

    the world would be a better place if every Republican baby were aborted. not to suggest that that should be mandated or required by law, but it would be a better place.

  • The Searcher

    LegendaryMonkey: Sorry I didn’t clarify; I was referring to percentage of TOTAL population for each group.

    For example: assume whites comprise 72% of the total population and blacks are 12% (probably a relatively accurate breakdown). Then assume the numbers of whites and blacks incarcerated are 3 million and 2 million respectively.

  • willcodfish

    “the world would be a better place if every Republican baby were aborted. not to suggest that that should be mandated or required by law, but it would be a better place.”

    Well, certainly showing your true colors there. For those of you who need to see the distinction between offensive and not – now you can compare this statement with Bennetts

  • coach knight

    Familiar with the term “inference”? He infered that blacks were criminals. You seem intelligent….have you ever heard someone bring up the abortion issue as a crime reduction tool? What kind of crowd is this guy hanging out with?

    I was being glib with the Rush comment before….but it’s the same thing on some levels. Rush said (this is not a direct quote, I don’t want to put any words in Rush’s mouth) McNabb was getting a break from the fans because he was a black quarterback. Because all black fans root for McNabb because he’s black? Because black quarterbacks aren’t as smart as white one’s, so the fans give him a break?
    The point he was trying to make was lost in the bigoted (conservative) way that he tried to make it.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    RE: 37, Searcher

    They were actually sort of thin on all statistics of folks under the purview of the criminal justice system when it comes to a breakdown by race. The statistics were much better when it comes to victims of crimes than they are on the criminals.

    But I trust their statistics more than most others, so I’ll take what I can get, I suppose. I imagine a lot of people are wary on gathering any numbers related to crime and race in fear of a backlash, which is unfortunate, because such statistics may help us get to more of the root causes and we can perhaps try to fight crime there, before it starts.

  • woody

    You know….we have all gotten SO over wrought with sensivitivies, and subjectiveness……a person cannot say anything these days that has “black” in it, without getting “butchered” in the press….and without really thinking about what they are saying…….Mr. Bennet chose a bad example…so be it…get over it…..move on. He is still a tremendously talented man and there are statistics and data I believe that support that there are a disproportionant number of blacks engaged in crime as compared to other races…..that is not all explained by being poor—it is explained as Bill Cosby put it—as a breakdown of the Black family and the abandonement of some black men with their role as a father……

  • willcodfish

    “Familiar with the term “inference”? He infered that blacks were criminals. You seem intelligent….have you ever heard someone bring up the abortion issue as a crime reduction tool? What kind of crowd is this guy hanging out with?”

    No, YOU made the inference. He made a statement – you CHOOSE to interpret beyond the words stated. Not valid – inference belongs to the reader or the listener.

    Who is he hanging out with ? Here you also make an error. Why do you think he’s “hanging out” with anyone. Bill Bennett happens to be someone who has been near the top of the game in terms of world-wide access, sources and the like.

    The amount and type of things that he would hear are likely much different than anything most of us are hearing.

  • http://Tryker Tryker

    Bennet, a Blowhard is a Blowhard is a Blowhard.

  • Sully

    There’s no question in my mind as to whether or not Bill Bennett’s a racist. He may not be a supremacist, but he certainly views blacks to be “different”. In more ways that just skin color.

    I don’t care about the abortion comment. That doesn’t faze me one bit. He outlined an extreme situation that would be morally reprehensible … and qualified it as such. The abortion context doesn’t even remotely touch the issue at hand, which in my mind is racism.

    Aside from his original comment that started all this public attention, in the H&C interview he consistently points to the “black crimes” in “their communities”. It’s possible that he did that to further his credibility as a “friend” of the black man … that’s up for debate.

    It’s my opinion that the minute you look at someone else as something other than a fellow human being and pigeonhole them based on race, creed, religion, etc, then you are dangerously close to – if not crossing – the line to being a racist.

    And that, my friends, is exactly what Bill Bennett did. And not only Bill Bennett, but Nancy Pelosi.

  • The Searcher

    RE: #40, LegendaryMonkey, last paragraph.

    Well-said. However, the answers to such questions will surely cause a far greater backlash than the asking of them ever did.

  • willcodfish

    “There’s no question in my mind as to whether or not Bill Bennett’s a racist. He may not be a supremacist, but he certainly views blacks to be “different”. In more ways that just skin color.

    I don’t care about the abortion comment. That doesn’t faze me one bit. He outlined an extreme situation that would be morally reprehensible … and qualified it as such. The abortion context doesn’t even remotely touch the issue at hand, which in my mind is racism.

    Aside from his original comment that started all this public attention, in the H&C interview he consistently points to the “black crimes” in “their communities”. It’s possible that he did that to further his credibility as a “friend” of the black man … that’s up for debate.

    It’s my opinion that the minute you look at someone else as something other than a fellow human being and pigeonhole them based on race, creed, religion, etc, then you are dangerously close to – if not crossing – the line to being a racist.

    And that, my friends, is exactly what Bill Bennett did. And not only Bill Bennett, but Nancy Pelosi.”

    Sorry – no. He was relaying something he had heard elsewhere.

  • coach knight

    I’m not black and I’m not gay…but I’m liberal…and I’m sure tired of neo-conservative loonies spouting this crap in our direction. This was a cabinet level guy! How many times do we have to forgive and forget the lies and bigotry of YOU CONSERVATIVES?
    Are there more blacks incarcerated than whites, per capita (if you will)? yes. Are there reasons for that? yes. Do conservatives care about those reasons, or just the “statistics”? I think you know the answer.

    LM: Can I assume you are an evolutionist?

    Woody… blind conservative apologist #1,000,000 and counting.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I just think it’s refreshing to see that Bennett has changed his stance on abortion, whatever the reason.

    I do wonder if Bennett would have been so harshly attacked if he were not white and not a man and not conservative. Speaking as a proud, liberal, black woman, he might have said it something like this:

    “You know, black on black crime is one of the scourges of the our community. Too many of our boys grow up fatherless to young mothers who have to work and aren’t home to give them enough guidance. As a result they are easily seduced into gang activity and a life of crime and eventually become absent fathers of more future abandonned children. This cycle of failure in our society needs to stop. Thanks to Roe v. Wade we have abortion available – and we need to keep it free and legal – so that young black women can avoid becoming mothers too soon and raising fatherless children who grow up with no choice but gangs and crime. You know, I bet if we could make sure that no unwanted, fatherless children were born for 10 years the hopes and prospects of a generation of young african americans would be forever improved, and the benefits would pass down from generation to generation in the legacy of stable two parent families which would result.”

    Now remember, someone like Sheila Jackson Lee said this, not evil whitey Bill Bennett. How does it sound?

    Dave

  • The Searcher

    According to Sully, to be racist is to view blacks as different “in more ways that just skin color”

    Sickle cell anemia is inherited. More African Americans have sickle cell anemia than any other group of people. Thus, an inherited genetic difference exists. This is racism.

  • Sully

    #49

    You’re missing the point. You’re talking about a medical condition that predominately affects black people.

    I’m talking about a state of mind where your fellow man is a criminal just because he was born black.

  • The Searcher

    Sully: Point taken.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Re: #40, Searcher

    If we could get to the truth? I’d do my best to help stem the backlash. I want more than anything for all of my countrymen to be educated, productive citizens. My own father is in prison, and likely wouldn’t be if he were better educated, as he is a very smart man but seriously lacking in any real ambition and self-confidence. He was raised to be a dependent man, which helped to lead him to use drugs and alcohol as a crutch, etc., etc.

    But I digress. All I’m saying is, I would like to see serious measures taken to stem crime in this country rather than rhetoric and empty promises (like the “war on drugs”). Without having a good grasp on what the root causes are, across all races, genders, and age groups, looked at individually and as a whole, I don’t think that will ever be possible.

    RE: #47, coach knight:

    Yes, I believe in evolution.

    And ah, Dave Nalle.

    IF Congresswoman Lee had said that, exactly as you typed it, it would at least put such a statement into a more acceptable context. And it refers specifically to a type of child, which can as easily be black or white — the unwanted child, or the child born to a mother who is too young, with no father to serve as a role model. Not “all black babies.”

    So, in effect, you’re trying to goad people into responding to a logical fallacy (apples v. oranges, my man, apples v. oranges) you’ve put up here in order to make a point. Are you perhaps Bill Bennett in disguise?

    The issue is that Bennett did not qualify his statement whatsoever (except to say that to do so would be morally reprehensible), but instead did in fact point the finger at blacks as criminals.

    If Bill Bennett had put it the way it was put above? *shrug* It wouldn’t be as bad, certainly. But he didn’t.

    Let me repeat it again: he could have used any number of examples, including white babies, but instead HE chose to make it racial by aiming his comment (in whatever context) at black Americans.

    Bennett said it.

    I just wrote about it.

  • Cunning Linguist

    Bill Bennet is a racist but it’s ok for you liberals to call a black person who votes republican or espouses conservative values such as Powell or Rice or any other black person an “Uncle Tom,” or a “race traitor.”

    Fucking Hypocrites! All of you!

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Who liberals where what?

    I don’t think I’ve ever used the terms “Uncle Tom” or “race traitor” in my life (unless referring to the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

    Gotta love random bile.

  • The Searcher

    Monkey in #52:

    “he could have used any number of examples, including white babies, but instead HE chose to make it racial by aiming his comment”

    Clearly, oOnly a comment made by whites about non-whites can be considered racist. I strongly suspect that his comment would have been considered racist had he used ANY group other than whites as an example.

    In addition, had he used poor people as an example, that would also have drawn criticism; he’d then be called a “povertist”.

    I suspect that Bennett aimed the comment at African-Americans based on a belief that they are committing most of the crimes. The important question is, causes notwithstanding, is that belief utterly insane or merely disagreeable? What reason would anyone have to believe that blacks commit more crimes? Nobody likes to be singled out, but to some degree you must allow that people are singling themselves out by committing the crimes.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    In the book that Bennett was reportedly talking about (that his caller referenced), Freakonomics, from what I’ve been able to dredge up, the author wrote about how Roe v. Wade was allowing more poor women access to safe abortions, thereby reducing the number of poor children born into bad situations which could then lead to a life of crime.

    I do not believe the book referenced black Americans. I have not read it, but in searching the ‘Net, that’s what I’ve been able to gather.

    So if they were trying to keep the discussion in the context of the book, why not limit it to the poor?

  • http://www.scoopstories.typepad.com Scott Butki

    Just when you think you can’t expect something more stupid and appalling to be stated and someone like Bennett comes along and does it.

  • Mr. X (a black man)

    Not sure where to start, but I guess this is just as good a place to start as any. I grew up in the Midwest in the late 60’s and early 70’s (I’m 42), and I have had my fair share of racist taunts aimed at me or my friends (including my white friends for hanging out with me). I excelled in school and I currently hold a senior leadership position at a very large corporation. My achievements are not due to any racial preference, but because I am nearly always regarded as smarter than those around me – both black and white. Of course, we somehow seem to reduce conversations about race in America to just black and white, even though we have a veritable rainbow of colors here, but that’s another topic for another time.

    First, let me say that I think Mr. Bennett’s remarks are some of the most puzzling I’ve ever heard uttered by someone in a leadership position. I was actually shocked to hear them. They are impossible to justify; all supporting arguments are generally weak and without merit. I especially like the one that quoted Shiela Jackon Lee – you cannot defend reprehensible comments by saying “they said it too”. Instead, you must point out how equally reprehensible were her comments.

    It seems to me that people in this country seem to lack a sense of humanity that from my perspective will lead to the downfall of our nation. Many espouse to be of Christian virtues (both Democrat and Republican, though you hear it more loudly from Republicans) but they actually don’t live them.

    So what does that mean in this context? Well, you hear a lot about “What would Jesus do?” or WWJD for short. I ask myself if the greatest man of peace and humanity ever known to the world, would, knowing that he was in a country that is still very divided on race, make OR REPEAT a comment of this sort? Would Jesus try to make his argument using comment that would do nothing to heal our division, but one that would in fact serve to incite? Would Jesus do that? Whenever I see statements or actions from those who proudly claim to be Christian, I always ask myself, “Would Jesus do that?” Unfortunately the answer is more often that not, “No”.

    Mr. Bennett is, I assume, a smart man – no doubt a very smart man. It is written that to whom much is given, much is required. I do believe that smart people are required to use their talents in the best possible ways. It is reasonable to expect from a person in his position that he make his argument and state his case in a way that would actually inspire people to get more in touch with their humanity. He is required to have the situational awareness that would send a signal to his brain so the little voice in his head would say, “you probably shouldn’t say that one.”

    Does America have problems of crime, education (oddly enough), poverty? Yes, yes, and yes – and the road to solve them first begins with each and every person, in their hearts, recognizing that as we are all created equally, we are all alike and form one body, one fabric from which to exist. Until every man woman and child gets that thought from their heads to their hearts, all of the debating in the world won’t change a thing. “And the greatest command is this – love you neighbor as yourself”.

    Thanks for listening.

  • coach knight

    LM: I was refering to your posting name….a little joke. So you are not in favor of teaching us about blond haired, blue-eyed surfer-Jesus in science class?

    What about you cunning linguist? Are you one of those? Do you drive a t-top Trans-am? Do you have skoal juice dripping from your chin as we type? Here is my take on:
    Powell – ashamed to be a part of this administration. How much have you heard from him lately? Just trying to distance himself.
    Rice- A gay who hates gays. incompetent hypocrite. Enabled 9/11 by ignoring her job.
    There, see? Nothing to do with race. Someone of their race might think that they are doing a disservice to their race by backing conservative agendas….but that would be their view.

    Cunning….why don’t you elaborate on what you thought about gamblin’ bill.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Good catch, Legendary.

    Bennett said “ALL black babies,” which is eugenics, not the more reasoned claim about voluntary access to legal and safe abortion.

    Please do not mention Levitt’s name in conjunction with Bennett’s ridiculous defense again. Levitt teaches at Chicago, not Yale and makes no such racial claims about crime in “Freakonomics.”

    That is all.

  • Dan

    Jared Taylor is likely the guy from Yale. He is the foremost authority on crime by race statistics, and has recently released a 2nd addition to his controversial, but never credibly refuted work: “The Color of Crime”. He is self described as a “white nationalist”, not a supremist, or separatist.

  • Dan

    Taylor doesn’t teach at Yale.

  • Baronius

    Bill Bennett is obviously familiar with the history of legalized abortion. It was illegal to abort German children in Third Reich Germany, but other races were fair game. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, supported eugenics. Many people who would oppose anti-child policies in the US are fine with them in China and India.

    Bennett’s example was apt. If we take a pragmatic approach to abortion, we’re not far from eugenics. If we take a stand against abortion on principle, we won’t waver.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Blah, blah, blah. Bennett said something wrong and we’re having a hissy fit. Like it or not, what Bennett said on his show is the way millions of people feel but don’t have the audacity to say. He opened a can of worms. What he said was reprehensible, but I’m glad he said it. We close our eyes to the racial and economic divide in this country. Many of those who are not economically challenged choose to ignore the plight of fellow citizens. Many think that the poor are unable to come out of their poverty because they’re too lazy to do anything about it and want to suck off of Uncle Sam’s nipple. Many of us think that there’s some truth to what I’ve just stated and would never say it in public.

    There are those who do take advantage of the system. Some of them are poor and too lazy to find a job. Some of them are illegal immigrants who take the jobs that not even America’s poor would take. Some are very rich and keep getting richer because they’ve discovered something called corporate welfare. There are system suckers on every rung of the economic ladder. The problem is that those closer to the bottom don’t have the resources to hide it; and those closer to the top make sure we only know about those at the bottom.

  • David Merrill

    A Litmus test:
    A liar suspects others are lying.
    An honest man assumes others are telling the truth.
    A racist assumes others all come from a point of racism.

    To couch all of your free speech as it were to effect a racist point of view, you would first have to be a racist.

    Ignorance is being without knowledge.
    Could be why Bennet sees no harm in comment.

    Crime rate would go down.
    Abort any race of people.

    Why would it not be racist if he would have said caucasians?

    Would we be having this dialog?

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Cerulean Cerulean

    Outside of this thread, there are few people defending Bennett’s comments. I don’t think that their racism or ignorance is debatable. It was a fascinating look into the mind of a right wing zealot. Bennett is an addictive gambler who postures as a public moralizer. Now the guy is into Eugenics.

    I don’t understand (Democrat?)Nancy Pelosi on the floor of the Senate saying that he doesn’t represent Republicans. When you enemies are shooting themselves in the foot, stay silent.

  • Bennett

    You can’t imagine how disturbing it has been (for me) to read through these comments.

    My name, dragged through the mud!

    Lot’s of good comments though. Young One, BABs, LM, coach knight, Dave.

    Glad to see this, keep talking folks.

  • Baronius

    Cerulean (and many others; Cerulean was just the most recent one) – Of course Bennett isn’t supporting eugenics! It was a reductio ad absurbum, and it’s terrifying that people don’t understand that. If you approve of something, you don’t call it “morally reprehensible”. Or does everyone understand that, and you’re taking shots because you don’t like him?

    Or – and this is getting interesting – do you just assume that conservatives are racist, so if a conservative mentions color, you make assumptions that aren’t warranted? He worked for Reagan, he said something that I don’t understand, so he must be betraying himself as a racist!

    He has a law degree, people. He’s taking a rule, extending it, and finding it flawed. This is not difficult stuff. Fortunately, he’s unlikely to be fazed by this mistreatment; he’s too smart and experienced to fall for it.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Nancy Pelosi is a cancer on the House much the way Tom DeLay is. The Democrats are impotent. They’ve lost their vision and have no one to inspire them with a new one. Howard Dean was their best hope but they realize that by aligning themselves with him they are taking a big risk. Gee, isn’t that how this country became so great — by taking risks??? They don’t have the courage. On the other side of the aisle the GOP members are wearing Depends these days because they walk in clouds of fear. They’re terrified that the voters are going to realize that they’re as much of a sham as the Democrats. I think we should terrorize them all by getting involved in every nook and cranny in this nation. Come out, come out, wherever you are, America! Your country needs you!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I suspect that Bennett aimed the comment at African-Americans based on a belief that they are committing most of the crimes. The important question is, causes notwithstanding, is that belief utterly insane or merely disagreeable? What reason would anyone have to believe that blacks commit more crimes? <<

    Statistics on crimes, arrests and convictions might make people believe that. What with blacks committing 3 times the total number of crimes as whites, and about 7 times as many on a per-capita basis. Whites are still ahead on the nastier crimes. More serial killers, child molestors, spree killers and more people on death row.

    Dave

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Please do not mention Levitt’s name in conjunction with Bennett’s ridiculous defense again. Levitt teaches at Chicago, not Yale and makes no such racial claims about crime in “Freakonomics.”

    Oh, I’m not saying that it’s what the author said. I’m agreeing with you and saying that Bennett is the one who moved the dicussion to the arena of race.

    Re: David Merrill
    A Litmus test:
    A liar suspects others are lying.
    An honest man assumes others are telling the truth.
    A racist assumes others all come from a point of racism.

    Far too simplistic. Would that the world were that easy to decipher, but sadly, there’s a lot of gray area out there you’re either not aware of or ignoring.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Besides, Bennett specifically mentions Freakonomics in the episode being quoted all over — he may be mistaken about the contents or intent of that book, but it’s pointless to ask that it not be mentioned in this discussion.

    Bennett started it! [grin]

  • RogerMDillion

    Much ado about nothing. Oh my gosh, a white conservative thinks black people are poor and therby prone to crime. If that thinking is racist, you better tell the Democratic Party that you can’t link blacks, poverty and crime before the next election.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I have NEVER heard the ” crime reduction” angle to the abortion issue.<<

    Then Bennett did you a big favor. Do you think it’s a coincidence that throughout the 20th century crime went up gradually then starting the moment abortion was legalized it started to go down dramatically and has been declining ever since then? And this doesn’t necessarily have to do with the race of the aborted fetuses, just the general impact of abortion on society.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    NEWS FLASH:

    If all white babies were aborted the crime rate would fall! Even more than by aborting all black babies!

    B

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>If all white babies were aborted the crime rate would fall! Even more than by aborting all black babies!<<

    Not true, because crime stats actually break down with about 45% of crime committed by blacks, about 30% for whites and about 35% for other races.

    Dave

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Aborting unborn black children isn’t a “true” way to reduce crime. A serious commitment to fighting poverty would be.

    Levitt disagrees with the race/crime assumption Bennett’s making:

    “Race is not an important part of the abortion-crime argument that John Donohue and I have made in academic papers and that Dubner and I discuss in Freakonomics. It is true that, on average, crime involvement in the U.S. is higher among blacks than whites. Importantly, however, once you control for income, the likelihood of growing up in a female-headed household, having a teenage mother, and how urban the environment is, the importance of race disappears for all crimes except homicide. (The homicide gap is partly explained by crack markets). In other words, for most crimes a white person and a black person who grow up next door to each other with similar incomes and the same family structure would be predicted to have the same crime involvement. Empirically, what matters is the fact that abortions are disproportionately used on unwanted pregnancies, and disproportionately by teenage women and single women.

    3) Some people might think that my comments in (2) above are just ducking the race issue because it is politically correct to do so. Anyone who has read Freakonomics knows that I am not afraid to take issues of race head on. Much of the book deals with challenging issues of race (e.g. black-white test score gaps, black naming patterns, etc.). I mean it when I say that, from a purely fact-based and statistical perspective, race is not in any way central to our arguments about abortion and crime.”

    That is all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Babs, once again, Bennett did not comment or derive his comments from Leavitt. Leavitt just decided to jump in defensively after the fact.

    But I agree that a serious commitment to helping african americans lift themselves up out of poverty would be more productive. In fact, statistics show that one of the main reasons crime has declined so dramatically in the last 30 years is the enormous progress made in moving blacks out of poverty and into the middle class. Within the next 5 years they should surpass white and hispanic americans in employment if current trends continue.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Yeah. Good news: Crime rate drops as blacks move out of poverty.

    Bad news: Blacks move into ranks of Republicans as they do so…

    [channeling Allen Sherman singing “Harvey and Sheila”]

    They bought a house one day
    Financed by HFA
    It had a swimming pool
    Full of H2O

    Traded their used MG
    For a new XKE
    Switched to the GOP
    That’s they way things go.

    Oh that Harvey he was really smart
    He used his noodle
    Sheila got a white French Poodle
    Went to Europe with a VISA
    Harvey’s rich they say that he’s a
    VIP
    This could be
    Only in the USA.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Hey, Dr.P – we’re glad to have them back. The GOP put the first black senators and congressmen and governors on the ticket in the 1870s – the Democrats didn’t elect one until the 1960s. It’s about time they came home.

    Dave

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    That statement, while technically true, doesn’t take into account the act that the current agendas and platforms of the Democrats and Republicans do not at all resemble what they were like even fifty years ago, much less more than one hundred.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    [still humming “Hava Nagila“]

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Most Yiddish merchants I know sing Oh What a Friend We Have in Jesus, especially when counting the Christmas Season receipts.

  • Baronius

    It just hit me: Bush should nominate Bennett for the Supreme Court. Bill’s got a fine mind; he could use a job where intellectual rigor is appreciated; and everyone who’s going to hate Bennett and Bush already hates Bennett and Bush. Cry havoc and nominate Bennett!

  • 1Potato

    Anti-American says:

    “I think the proper thing to say is that if one aborted or elmiinated all Christians on the American political right…then hatred, ignorance, and violence in the world would be dramatically reduced…if you just happened to want to reduce those things.”

    Here is a vile, hateful comment right on this website. This comment is much worse than Bennet’s, because although it was awkward, he basically said it was “morally reprehensible” to abort blacks. This person thinks it is GOOD to “eliminate” Christians.

    What a sick, vicious statement. Especially when many Christians are being killed around the world in Lebanon, Africa and other places.

    Sorry you hate America too. I don’t.

  • Dan

    A couple points:

    the correlation between poverty and the likelihood of criminality isn’t as sound as some of you think.

    Controling for poverty doesn’t significantly reduce the black/white gap in violent crime rates. It doesn’t significantly reduce the white/asian gap either.

    The fact that crime rates have gone down in recent decades is likely due to the fact that incarceration rates are up. With criminals locked up, there is less crime.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>That statement, while technically true, doesn’t take into account the act that the current agendas and platforms of the Democrats and Republicans do not at all resemble what they were like even fifty years ago, much less more than one hundred.<<

    The methods may have changed, but the GOP still welcomes and supports african americans and the demos still primarily want to exploit them as vote serfs.

    Dave

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I’m not going to bother with most of the bizarre rhetoric.

    I’ll just be nice and be Dave Nalle’s fact checker yet again:

    Dave, I didn’t think I had to excerpt the actual transcript of the Bennett radio show since someone on this site had already posted it and blogged it up, but here it is. I thought for sure you’d already seen that discussion since you’re Internet spelunker #1. I can understand why you thought it wasn’t related to interpreting Levitt’s work since Bennett is such an illiterate that he references Yale rather than Chicago (where Levitt teaches), but he mentions him in the sentence before the infamous quote:

    Here’s what Bennett said during the Sept. 28 broadcast of Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett’s Morning in America:

    “CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I’ve read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn’t — never touches this at all.

    BENNETT: Assuming they’re all productive citizens?

    CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

    BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don’t know what the costs would be, too. I think as — abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

    CALLER: I don’t know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

    BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don’t know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don’t know. I mean, it cuts both — you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well —

    CALLER: Well, I don’t think that statistic is accurate.

    BENNETT: Well, I don’t think it is either, I don’t think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don’t know. But I do know that it’s true that 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 impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.”

    You can find this and Levitt’s devastating response to the race-crime claim on his blog.

    That is all.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I didn’t read all the comments here, but LegendaryMonkey tries to clarify Bennett’s moronic comments by saying that if we aborted all babies of any race there’d be a reduction in crime. (comment 11)

    Not so fast with the tautologies there.

    I realize that he was just clarifying a point, not endorsing these theories, but:

    Sure, if all humans were dead, there’d be no crime. But if we eliminated all of one race, who’s to say what that would do to crime commited by other races? Would the crime rate decline? Probably not.

    It’s a flase argument about a flase root of crime.

    If Bennett-types want to reduce crime, they need to get to the real root of it (and no, it isn’t Bennett’s favorite topic, ‘morality’)

    Bennett is a degenerate gambler with crackpot racial ideas. That he has maintained a position of quasi-authority for so long is an absolute joke; it’s like asking Tom Leykis for marriage advice, or asking Dr, Phil for diet tips.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    What’s your point, Babs? He didn’t say that his hypothetical came from Freakonomics – he even suggested minimal familiarity with the book. And he clearly threw the black abortion hypothesis out as an extreme example of stupid things you could claim would solve the problem. Where’s the confusion here?

    Bennett’s a dumbass in many ways, but this particular accusation just doesn’t add up to anything much.

    Dave

  • stoptheidiots

    Regarding Dave’s post #76:

    >>If all white babies were aborted the crime rate would fall! Even more than by aborting all black babies!<<

    Not true, because crime stats actually break down with about 45% of crime committed by blacks, about 30% for whites and about 35% for other races.

    Dave

    =================

    Uh Dave, did you pass high school math?? If you aborted all white babies then the crime rate WOULD DROP – by 30% according to your figures.

    Most of you idiots don’t recognizes the fact that if you were to abort any segement of the population the crime rate would drop by that percentage …or would it? Actually probably not, it would drop by some percentage and then stabilize at the reduced population amount …I personally would like to see all of the racists idiots aborted – then we’d be free of stupidity.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The problem is that he honestly thinks, absent any moral or practical consideration in a flight of wild speculation and fancy, that aborting “all black babies” would reduce crime.

    That’s racist and not supported by ANY social science or statistics. Levitt’s response makes that clear.

    And his hypothetical clearly came from an extension of his mis-characterization of the logic from Freakonomics which started the conversation. Yes, I realize he was doing a pretty akward job of poking fun at the amoral statistical logic some of you are embracing that leads people to support claims such as “abortion reduces crime,” but by singling out blacks as criminal, he made a disgusting assumption about WHICH people and their culture are criminal (and hence expendable) to our society.

    Levitt does a pretty good job at taking apart the race-crime linkage independent of economics.

    Let’s take out some extraneous comments and see what Bennett said:

    “you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well — […]
    I do know that it’s true that 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 impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

    Yes, he says that these “far-reaching” extrapolations are “tricky” and “cut both ways” for pro-lifers, but he also says he’s fairly certain (“I do know that it’s true […] the crime rate would go down”) about his hypothesis.

    And yes, he does reject his own hypothesis as a morally monstrous idea, but he should know better than to suggest it if it is one. Moreover, his suggestion that aborting “all black babies” would be THE way to reduce crime “if that were your sole purpose” is both untrue and unfairly singles out one group as the CAUSE of crime. Sure, geeks like us COULD consider the possibility of how society would function ceteris paribus if you took one group out of society, but that’s not social science, that’s prejudiced value judgments passing as conjecture. Not only is the suggestion insensitive, the assumption that blacks have something essential to do with crime (“sole purpose”) is unspeakably backwards and idiotic.

    You’re picking the wrong thing to defend here, Dave, even for the sake of being difficult or having a debate.

    That is all.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    stoptheidiots:

    Did you pass high school math?

    If all white babies were aborted, the crime rate would remain virtually unchanged, because the remaining crimes would be divided by the population minus all white people (since they’re now aborted).

    Illustration:

    Let’s imagine a population of 100 people. 70 white, 15 Hispanic, 15 black. To keep things simple, 50% of each group commits one crime each. Crime per capita=0.5

    Kill all the whites. Now we have 30 people, 15 crimes. Crime per capita=0.5

    If you want to dispute Dave, ask him where he gets those crime statistic figures. I bet they don’t exist.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    UAO, decent minds think alike :)

    I think those who are defending this statement as TRUE aren’t thinking economically at all.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Here’s what I just wrote minutes ago on the other thread:

    If you were to take this fascist eugenics hypothetical to its logical conclusion, no, it wouldn’t reduce crime.

    You eliminate all black babies. No new generations of black people. So who becomes the poor and the targets of economic discrimination? Whoever else has most recently faced economic discrimination — Hispanics, Asians, maybe even recent European immigrants or Jews. Suddenly, we’d have a society talking about “criminal” Italian and Irish immigrants again.

    Unless you assume there’s something about black people (as a result of their genetics or culture) that’s UNIQUELY criminal, it’s not even a TRUE counter-factual.

    And Levitt’s response adequately addresses the silly race-crime linkage independent of economics and poverty.

    That is all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >If all white babies were aborted the crime rate would fall! Even more than by aborting all black babies!<<

    Not true, because crime stats actually break down with about 45% of crime committed by blacks, about 30% for whites and about 35% for other races.

    Dave

    =================

    Uh Dave, did you pass high school math?? If you aborted all white babies then the crime rate WOULD DROP – by 30% according to your figures. <

    Apparently you’re headed for remedial reading. The original statement was that crime would drop “even more” if we aborted all the white babies, which is innacurate. Yes, it would drop, but not by more.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >If you want to dispute Dave, ask him where he gets those crime statistic figures. I bet they don’t exist.<

    I cited the source earlier, UAO. The Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >I think those who are defending this statement as TRUE aren’t thinking economically at all.<

    There’s a difference between defending it as a solution to crime and defending it as at least technically mathematically correct. But the real truth is that I don’t see anyone defending the idea of killing black babies. The only defenders here are those who are pointing out that Bennet’s statement was not intended as anything but an example of a stupid way to use statistics.

    Dave

  • stoptheidiots

    > Illustration:

    Let’s imagine a population of 100 people. 70 white, 15 Hispanic, 15 black. To keep things simple, 50% of each group commits one crime each. Crime per capita=0.5 <

    nice for illustrative purposes, but not very realistic. because in fact the % of each group that commits the crimes vary, you stand a resonable chance that the per capita rate would fall. of course, it might rise as well, but you can’t tell that unless you know the exact %’s.

    and yes, i passed high school math.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Yet, you were wrong when you said crime would decline 30%.

  • stoptheidiots

    > There’s a difference between defending it as a solution to crime and defending it as at least technically mathematically correct. But the real truth is that I don’t see anyone defending the idea of killing black babies. The only defenders here are those who are pointing out that Bennet’s statement was not intended as anything but an example of a stupid way to use statistics. <

    The problem is Bennett’s poor choice of words… he should know better…and most black people think that he said what was in his heart – and then tried to cover it up by saying that he doesn’t condone it. just a sly way for a white guy to get away with saying that blacks should be eliminated and then being able to defend it by saying, “oh but I didn’t say that *I* agree with that” ..what a joke – there are a million ways to make his point, and he chose the one that is hurtful to black people. i don’t see why anyone is defending him on any basis, statistical or otherwise..

  • stoptheidiots

    > Yet, you were wrong when you said crime would decline 30%. <

    you might not believe this, but i *knew* i was wrong when i said that crime would drop by %30 – my intent was to dispute Dave’s point. i stand corrected.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Psst, go after the statistics. It’s the statistics!

    Which government agence breaks down total crime statistics into racial subgroups? Which race gets credit if a black and a white commit a crime together? Who says 30% of crime is by whites, 45% by blacks, and 30% by Hispanics.

    What about Asians and Indians? They commit no crimes?

    The statistics…go after him on those.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    30-45-35, I meant.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    If those were measurements, I’d call the midwife. And maybe Dr. Callabro.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    I missed Dave’s reply. I can’t see where you posted ‘em, Dave. Can you post a link?

  • stoptheidiots

    the problem with statistics is they can generally be twisted to support the view of the presenter – and/or no one believes them even if they are correct …

    no the real problem here is that there are still idiots on this planet who believe that black people are “inherently” more criminal that white people …actually, what they really believe is that white people are inherently “better” than black people …

    you see it in everything – a black kid goes before a judge for marijuana possession and gets the book thrown at him because he’s “no good” and won’t amount to anything. a white kid goes before the same judge and gets off with a little slap on the wrist and is told “to clean up his act and become a productive member of society” …when a black man walks into a room, he’s considered dumb until he opens his mouth and proves otherwise – when a white guy walks into a room, he’s considered intelligent until he opens his mouth an proves otherwise …

    everyone still suffers from the biggest lie ever told – that to be white is to be right, and therefore superior.

    what a joke…

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Maybe I’m just stupid, but I see LegendaryMonkey”s stats on incarceration (which as we all know is not an accurate reflection of crime one bit. How many white kids break laws and have their records expunged. How many black kids are in the wrong place at the wrong time and are jailed for a felony?).

    But I never heard of “crimes by race” as a government statistic, and I’d be very nervous if one existed. Nor can I see how you can measure it. Do you go by skin color? Or what the criminal “identifies” with on the census form he undoubtedly took care to fill out?

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Dave, you’re not even trying anymore, my friend :)

    There’s no mathematical evidence that aborting all black babies would reduce the crime rate in society and I don’t think you’re even trying to defend that part of the argument anymore.

    And I’m glad we can agree that Bennett’s comments were stupid and a poor use of statistical reasoning.

    Stoptheidiots: the greatest lie involving race is that there is such a thing as a “white” race to begin with. I know people from various parts of Europe, I know people of mixed ethnic descent from Europe, but the idea of being “white” is a non-identity, an identity of negation defined only by what it opposes and excludes, racial minorities. There is no genetic or cultural substance to being “white.” Sit down and think about it for a minute: what values define “white” people vis a vis any other race?

    What is the essence of being “white” other than some vague appeal to being the cultural norm, a nebulous blob of humanity that’s somehow “not different” by the color of their skin and language?

    I’m fairly convinced that in order to get past racism in this country, we have to get past this monolithic, homogenous notion of “whiteness” as an abstract, empty category of identification. It doesn’t mean anything and it only exists as a referent by which to judge and exclude other “races” and cultures as different and inferior.

    There’s no shame in being of European descent, but when people are completely out of touch with their ethnic roots and family heritage and can only cling to something as vague as “white” to describe who they are, what they believe, and where they come from, it’s no wonder “white” folks find themselves grasping at vague stereotypes about other people in order to articulate how these Others are different from themselves.

    That is all.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    Booey speaks truth.

    Race does not exist. It is a false concept propegated by colonialists.

    Hint: what do Haitians, Senegalese, Nigerians, black South Africans, and urban American blacks have in common?

    The same as urban Americans, Russians, Irish, German, and Serbian do.

    Or Japanese, Thais, North Koreans, and Cambodians.

    Skin pigmentation (or lack thereof), in a, well, rainbow of shades.

    What else do they have in common?

    Very little, not even language.

    Race doesn’t exist; it’s all in everyone’s imagination. The misunderstandings and lies about it are real enough, mind you, as are the consequences of such misunderstanding and lies. But it’s all hot air over nothing real.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Race is a biological and cultural fiction that’s a result of pseudo-science in the 18th and 19th centuries, but RACISM is a social reality. Our racist categories of ordering people’s cultures and nationalities has produced diasporas that share a common legacy of struggle and discrimination.

    “Hispanic” isn’t a race either, it’s a linguistic category that’s a result of Spanish colonialism. There are literally hundreds of peoples, languages, cultures, and dozens of nations over two continents that are now grouped under that term. If you were to judge by appearances, you’d probably think a Cuban, a Dominican, a Mexican mestizo, and an Argentine were very different races indeed.

    Native people also stretched across those two continents, with originally hundreds and hundreds of different and unique languages, cultures nations, and religions.

    Look at the former Yugoslavia or the Balkans if you want to know how malleable and in flux our nations of race and nation are toward Europe.

    Anthony speaks of integration — we have to realize that our concepts of race are a big part of what keeps people’s cognitive schema of who’s in-group and who’s out-group alive.

    The irony of race relations in this country is that you could make a pretty good historical and sociological case (as a number of good scholars have) that the inclusion of ethnic immigrant groups into “white” culture happened in response to concern about the organization of black resistance to discrimination throughout the past century. The Irish, Italians, Slavs, and Jews were not considered “white” until very recent points in history and may not be considered such among some older members of our society today. The acceptance of one group often had something to do with the willful exclusion of another group — all the groups that become “model minorities” do so in part as an example to contrast with what we view as the continuing cultural failure or agitation of other minority groups.

    Asian-Americans occupy the borderline between race and acceptance in America today. Quite obviously, they cannot be fully accepted as “white” racially if studies like the Bogardus social distance scale reveal anything, but they’ve replaced Eastern European Jews as the new “model minority” on the border of acceptance in primarily “white” academic and professional endeavors. Asian-Americans have found increasing acceptance in some aspects of American life while still being regarded as fundamentally exotic and Other culturally, a partial integration that has taken place largely in the last 30 years and whose start roughly coincided with the more threatening expressions of racial difference found in black radicalism and the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s as well as the structural demands of the mainstream civil rights movement. Asians, rightly or wrongly, were perceived as not agitating for their place and not as “troublemakers” and were thus contrasted in the public mind with “angry” black activists.

    You see some of this same logic starting to be applied to Hispanic immigrants today, although stereotypes about academic achievement and intelligence will likely cause quite a great deal of difficulty for those who would seek to stereotype Hispanics one way or another. Hispanics are also immigrating to America in such large numbers that it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be viewed in an overwhelmingly positive way given the language of “threat” and “resource” attached to much of the discourse on immigration today.

    That is all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >There’s no mathematical evidence that aborting all black babies would reduce the crime rate in society and I don’t think you’re even trying to defend that part of the argument anymore.< <

    I never attempted to defend that because I don't acknowledge the existence of an arguable point at all. For there to be an argument, Bennett would have had to have put it forward as a serious suggestion, which he did not.

    >>And I’m glad we can agree that Bennett’s comments were stupid and a poor use of statistical reasoning.<

    Yes, we can all agree on that, because that’s how he intended them – which is why there’s no actual issue to be pursued here.

    Dave

  • The Searcher

    Are there no inherent biological differences between ethnic groups?

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    No significant ones as it relates to intelligence, crime, or behavior.

    Differences in physical appearance are the most minor things possible genetically among humans.

    That is all.

  • Nancy

    From what I can tell, there seems to have been plenty of crime when American “civilization” was almost all-white, according to the old colonial records. In fact, pretty lawless.

  • The Searcher

    Re: #114

    “No significant ones as it relates to intelligence, crime, or behavior.”

    So then it must follow that any differences between ethnic groups in these areas have been experimentally proven beyond doubt to be caused wholly by environmental factors.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Re: uao in comment #108, which read:

    Maybe I’m just stupid, but I see LegendaryMonkey”s stats on incarceration (which as we all know is not an accurate reflection of crime one bit. How many white kids break laws and have their records expunged. How many black kids are in the wrong place at the wrong time and are jailed for a felony?).

    But I never heard of “crimes by race” as a government statistic, and I’d be very nervous if one existed. Nor can I see how you can measure it. Do you go by skin color? Or what the criminal “identifies” with on the census form he undoubtedly took care to fill out?

    I’m sure if you check the website for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from which those numbers came, it will somewhere include information on how the data was gathered.

    I don’t see why such statistics should make you nervous. I think there should be more studies like this.

    Race may be a social construct as it is used in modern times, but it is a fact that said construct exists, and if it serves to set up false barriers for one ethnic group versus another, that should be examined. I fully agree with you that those numbers do not reflect misappropriations of justice which regrettably take place with some frequency in the U.S., but that’s all we have — because too many people shy away from any sort of legitimate studies based on “race.”

    I would like to see correlating studies done on where these individuals grew up, in what sort of family life, where they went to school, what the schools were like, how much funding they enjoyed, class size, opportunities available… hell, anything that CAN be studied.

    Because, obviously, the “war on drugs” isn’t doing a lot to reduce crime overall, and community policy and other such measures only go so far, and we need to look at real solutions for reducing crime and improving the general welfare of all Americans.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    My point is, yes, I’m aware the government breaks down incarceration by race. That’s easy to do: just take a headcount.

    But incarceration rates and crime rates are almost completely unrelated.

    There is no way to collect data on what race commits what crime. Anyone who says such stats exist is either lying or making them up. It’s difficult enough for the government to even compile crime statistics, period. Most crimes go unreported.

    I would be nervous if such stats were collected, because not only can such stats not be compiled reliably (at all), they would would be of little use except for racial profiling, which scrutinizes law abiding citizens for having the wrong skin color or accent. That isn’t what a country built on liberty is supposed to be about.

    I do agree with you that studying economic, educational, and other factors in criminal activity is a good idea. But the black, white, hispanic stuff is bad science and produces meaningless data.

  • Dan

    “There is no way to collect data on what race commits what crime. Anyone who says such stats exist is either lying or making them up.”

    Not so. Every year since 1972 the Department of Justice has carried out what is called the National Crime Victimization Survey. These statistics are culled from police reports where the victim identifies the perceived race of the offender. Presumably, victims would report honestly since their motivation would be in the interest of catching the bad guy.

    One area of crime, in a country brimming with “white racism”, that you would expect to find a disproportionate amount of white offenders, is that of interacial violence. Surely white people, with their dispicable history of racial hatred, are over-represented in this category. Let’s take a look:

    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/NCVS94CH3TABLE42.htm

    It’s evident from the comments that most of you are statistically illiterate, so I’ll help you to understand:

    In the over-all category of “crimes of violence” at the top of the chart, white victims out-number black victims in 1994 6,830,360 to 1,100,490. Of these 6,830,360, 16.7% or 1,140,670 were perpetrated by blacks. Black victims of violent crime totaled 1,100,490. Of these, 12.3% or 135,360 were perpetrated by white offenders. The total of interacial violent crimes between black’s and white’s is 1,276,030. Of these, black’s commited 1,140,670 or 89%+ of all interacial violence.

    Now, 89% of all interacial violence between black and white is ridiculously lopsided, but consider: The Census Bureau reports that the 1994 white and black populations were 216,413,000 and 32,653,000 respectively. This makes the “average” black 56 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice-versa.

    The racial break-down for other types of non-violent crime is equally disturbing. The politically correct dis-information on the subject is profound.

  • http://freewayjam.blogspot.com uao

    You’re overlooking my basic point about the flaws in such statistics (btw, I wish you had linked to a governemt site instead of a spam-o-matic search engine, but never mind):

    These are based on “perceptions” by “victims” of crimes they’ve witnessed. While many of their responses may be accurate, we also know that victims can also be remarkably unreliable, too. As are “perceptions”.

    What about the socially and economically damaging, but usually invisible crimes of embezzlement, fraud, illegal trading, racketeering, loansharking, et. al.

    These are not included in any of the criminal categories. Nor are pimping, drug traffiking, illegal firearm ownership, identity theft, and plenty of others.

    Many (or maybe most) of those crimes go unreported. The government can’t even guess what the numbers for each are. What colors perpetrate those crimes? None are exclusive to any race, but the majority who do get caught in some of the above have pretty fair complexions.

    Besides, this is way off the point of the article: Bennett’s comments are statistically indefensible, and insensitive and stupid (and he’s done insensitive and stupid things before). Weren’t his ilk and his party supposed to be showing the decadent nation what moral leadership is all about? I mean, puh-leeze. Time for a new morality demagogue, Bennett’s lost all credibility.

    And those who choose to believe empty, unscientific numbers and a dull-minded, unthinking, and backwards, kooky Bennett belief system in order to justify their own misplaced fears are really shooting themselves in the foot.

    Over this guy? He’s not worth it.

  • Dan

    “the majority who do get caught in some of the above have pretty fair complexions.”

    Is this from your own highly scientific, non-dull-minded, data base?

    It is a tribute to the power of liberal fundamentalist perversity that you can so readily dismiss the DOJ’s national crime victimization survey of over 8 million reported crimes of violence showing a disparity of 56-1 in the area of interacial violence, with: ” we also know that victims can also be remarkably unreliable, too. As are “perceptions”.”

    I doubt there’s any statistical evidence you would accept if it runs counter to your rigid doctrine.

  • The Searcher

    Statistics can do nothing to alter deeply-held, feeling-toned beliefs. You always see the same recurrent response patterns:

    1. Attack validity/reliability of the measurement instrument(s)
    2. Attack experimental setup
    3. Assert that one or more unaccounted-for independent variables can explain the results
    4. Resort to logical fallacies