Media Matters For America captured a conversation Bill Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues, had on his show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America. The program is said to reach an estimated 1.25 million listeners each week.
Are you ready?
Okay, here we go…
BENNETT: 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.
Now let me break this down for you.
First, Bennett says he doesn’t agree that there’s a correlation between higher abortion rates and lower crime rates. Remember, he said “I don’t think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don’t know.” But what this sage of “virtues” DOES know to be true is “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.”
Excuse me…am I missing something?
Remember, the hypothesis in the book Freakonomics says that the lowered crime rates appear to have a strong correlation with higher abortion rates. And that’s higher abortion rates among ALL people. The authors don’t draw any correlations to race.
Of course, this doesn’t stop Bennett. See, he’s actually correlating high crime rates with being a member of a race, instead of correlating it to economic factors that actually fuel crime.
Personally, I think Bennett just got his hand caught in the racism jar, and it’s going to be hard to get it out without some serious backpedaling and apologizing. And even then, I hope this sticks with him for a long time to come because the type of mindset it takes to simply draw a very generalized conclusion like this and immediately propose it as truth deserves to be shunned.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2005 and is filed under Dumb Things Said By Smart People. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.