Sue’s comment about Bennett to our Sept. 30 post made the same point this WaPo Op-Ed does, that William Bennett’s
noxious comment singled out Blacks when the book he was referring to
no need to pillory William Bennett for his “thought experiment” about
how aborting all black children would affect the crime rate. …
Instead of going into high-dudgeon mode, let’s put him on the couch.
education secretary and anti-drug czar who has found a new calling in
talk radio, told his audience last week 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.”
He quickly added that doing so would be “impossible, ridiculous and
morally reprehensible,” which is certainly true.
Bennett was referring to research done by Steven D. Levitt, a
University of Chicago economist and lead author of the best-selling
book “Freakonomics.” The iconoclastic Levitt, something of an academic
rock star, argues that the steep drop in crime in the United States
over the past 15 years resulted in part from the Roe v. Wade decision
In defending his words, Bennett has said he was citing “Freakonomics.”
So why did his “thought experiment” refer only to black children?
Levitt’s thesis is essentially that unwanted children who grow up poor
in single-parent households are more likely than other children to
become criminals, and that Roe v. Wade resulted in fewer of these
children being born. What he doesn’t do in the book is single out black
So now that we have Bennett on the couch, shouldn’t we conclude that he
mentioned only black children because, perhaps on a subconscious level,
he associates “black” with “criminal”?