Even giving Bill Bennett full benefit of the doubt, I
have two specific objections to what said. Even
conceding he’s an “intellectual,” and sometimes
oddball hypotheses are thrown out from time, to time,
he was still dishonest, and to my mind, racist.
First, Bennett is now claiming he was actually arguing
against the idea of aborting blacks or anybody, that
he was in fact refuting such an argument, one made in
“Freakonomics” and presumably by liberals everywhere.
But that’s not just wrong, it’s disingenuous and
dishonest. In fact, his later foot-in-mouth problems
stem from this.
It’s true that the book does make
the argument that legalization of abortion is the
reason for the sudden drop in crime in 1990s. And
it might be correct. This
makes pro-life conservatives unhappy, but it pleases
those who think there’s an underclass of undesirable
people we’d all be better off without – i.e., racists.
Now, people who are pro-choice obviously do not, and
never have, suggested this as a reason to support
This argument exists only in the fevered imagination
of Bill Bennett. What’s odd is how he swings back and
forth in the course of this discussion. First, he
cites the book. Then he says he disagrees with it.
The he makes his outrageous statement suggesting he
very much DOES agree with it.
Either way, he’s setting up this intellectual straw man
and knocking it down, which is what the right wing does all
the time, to the bafflement of normal people
The other objection I have has to do with his
out-of-the-blue statement “you could abort every black
baby in this country, and your crime rate would go
Why bring race into it? The book “Freakonomics” does
not mention race in any way. Why not use the word
“poor” or “urban” or “White” or “Christian”?
Why is it, in the heat of the moment, Bennett reached
into the back of his brain and pulled out “black”? Is
it because, somewhere, deep down, Bill Bennett equates
criminals with blacks and all blacks with criminals?
Was Bennett advocating aborting all black babies, like
some kind of modern-day Heinrich Himmler? Probably
not, though there are supporters of his who might.
But when asked by enterprising ABC reporter Jake
Tappper why he linked blacks and crime, according to
Tapper, “Bennett told me on the phone that race was on
his mind because of recent stories in the media about
New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.”
That’s just great.
I’m done with these people.
Bennett is useless chronic gambler who lectures other
people about morality, who has parlayed one tiny
Reagan Cabinet position into a hack career writing
about virtue and other concepts alien to him. He was
the Brownie of his day. Whatever else he is, he is
now officially an idiot and we should all devote the
remainder of our time on earth to ignoring whatever he