Former education secretary William Bennett said on his television show that the crime rate would be reduced if black babies were aborted:
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. [This would be] an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.
Besides the fact that this is a disgustingly racist (actually, genocidal) notion, it’s incorrect. Or, to be more precise, it’s only correct insofar as killing off any population will reduce the number of crimes that can potentially be committed by members of the population. Bennett could just have easily have claimed that aborting white babies would reduce the crime rate. In fact, you would get more criminals that way, since most crimes are committed by whites. (About 65% of arrestees for crimes are white, whereas 32% are black.) But that isn’t what he claimed, nor is it ever something he would claim, even if he qualified it as “an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do.” Because to people like Bennett, I am sure that even mentioning abortion of white fetuses as a solution to crime is reprehensible, as it should be. Apparently this is not so for black fetuses.
In Bennett’s defense, Andrew McCarthy wrote in the National Review Online:
In the course of a free-wheeling conversation so common on talk-format programs, Bill Bennett made a minor point that was statistically and logically unassailable, but that touched a third rail â€” namely, the nexus between race and crime â€” within the highly charged context of abortion policy. He emphatically qualified his remarks from the standpoint of morality. Then he ended with the entirely valid conclusion that sweeping generalizations are unhelpful in making major policy decisions.
That he was right in this seems to matter little. Bennett is being fried by the PC police and the ethnic-grievance industry, which have disingenuously ripped his minor point out of its context in a shameful effort to paint him as a racist. Heâ€™s about as bigoted as Santa Claus.
This defense rests primarily on the supposed “correctness” of Bennett’s statement, which as I’ve pointed out is not so “statistically and logically unassailable” as McCarthy would have it. McCarthy adds, “The lesson to be drawn is not that we can hypothetically conceive of the severe solutions but that we resolutely reject them because of our moral core. This is a bedrock feature of American law and life.”
As far as I can tell, the only “bedrock feature” of the American legal and social system that Bennett’s statement brings out is its systemic racism, still in place from the country’s founding. If McCarthy or Bennett wanted to conceive of a “severe solution” that they could “resolutely reject … because of our moral core,” it would be that you would save a lot more lives domestically and worldwide by genocide against white male Americans. But they didn’t, because today’s white supremacist system makes it less controversial to make the claim, however qualified, that killing black babies would reduce crime.
The truth is that white male US citizens are responsible for the deaths of people all over the world, by means of war and the withholding of food and medical supplies (sanctions), in far greater numbers than those for which black Americans are responsible. The US domestic murder rate is about 15,500. In Iraq alone, white male GW Bush is responsible for at least 24,000 civilian deaths (by killing) in two years. This is doesn’t count the deaths due to infrastructure destruction, poor sanitation, and the stress of war and occupation. All told, Lancet estimated in October 2004 an increase in mortality of about 100,000 in Iraq since the invasion of March 2003. Then of course there are the over 500,000 deaths due to eleven years of sanctions prior to the invasion, held in place by white male Bill Clinton…
Perhaps if Bennett’s stupidity were aimed in a slightly different direction, he might suggest we kill every politician in Washington, to reduce the likelihood of so many deaths. Or, why not abort all white male fetuses, since no non-white and/or female babies have ever grown up to become US president?
Bennett said, “What I do on our show is talk about things that people are thinking.” This only makes sense if by “people” he means “racist white people,” an equivalence that “people” like Bennett have been implicitly making for centuries.