Friday, September 30, 2005

William Bennett is NUTS

As you've probably gathered over the past year, President Bush and I don't agree on many things. I wonder sometimes if there are things outside of politics, such as flavors of BBQ Sauce or favorite brands of beer, where old W and I might find common ground. Perhaps Bush also enjoyed the movie Billy Madison, as I did. One particular news item this week, gave me particular hope that the President and I might actually agree on something related to politics.

That something is our judgement of comments made by former Secretary of Education and Virtue Guru William Bennett. I have included as much of his comments as I can find below, so that we don't get accused of taking Bennett's interesting perspective out of context (article):
“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,” said Bennett, author of “The Book of
Virtues.” He went on to call that “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.”
Bennett later said that his comments were taken out of context because he was not actually suggesting that all black women be forced to have abortions in order to lower the crime rate in this country because that would be immoral. No kidding?

The problem with Bennett's comments is not that I believe he was ACTUALLY suggesting mandatory abortions for all blacks as a policy. Not that such a position coming from him would surprise me. Rather, the problem with Bennett's comment is that it implies a favorite thesis of conservative morons that somehow black people are to blame for the crime problem in this country.

It's far too deep a topic to discuss in this format, but if you're interested in a well-written paper on the subject check out this paper, which discusses the differences in incaceration rates between whites, blacks and hispanics, and how those should not be used as measures of actual crime, as they often are in the mainstream media. Rather, the fact that poor and minority individuals often can't afford legal representation or don't understand the legal system might have more to do with who is in jail than who pulls the trigger more often.

Where Bush and I agree is that Bennett's comments are ridiculous. It's a little scary that it had to come to something this extreme for us to see eye to eye, but I'm glad that the President isn't so loyal to his former cronies that he would try to defend Bennett's statements. I was afraid he might try.

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