I Get Love Letters (about Bill Bennett’s racist remarks)

“John B,” from Omaha, NE writes regarding my post about conservatives, Freakonomics, and Bill Bennett’s racism:

[I]f you had actually listened when Bill Bennett made the comment you quote, you would see it was NOT intentionally racist. You’ve taken the quote completely out of context. I’m willing to bet that you know you’ve taken the quote out of context, but really don’t care. You’ll do anything to make anyone conservative or republican look bad.

I guess we can argue about whether it was intentionally or casually racist, but what’s the difference. …Isn’t it racism either way?

For those just tuning in, we’re talking about William Bennett‘s off-handed racism in answering a caller to his Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show.

I excerpted quotes from the transcript in my earlier post, but today I’m quoting the call in its entirety. Here’s the transcript from Media Matters. Feel free to compare it with the audio and my previous writings.

CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I’ve read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn’t — never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they’re all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don’t know what the costs would be, too. I think as — abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

CALLER: I don’t know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don’t know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don’t know. I mean, it cuts both — 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.

Let me summarize:

It’s an absolute truth that “if you wanted to reduce crime, [...] you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.” There are, of course, some caveats, “but your crime rate would go down.”

Why did Bennett feel the need to re-emphasise his the line “your crime rate would go down”? Why does Bennett equate blacks with crime? Why does it appear that his dilemma is about the general morality of abortion rather than the morality of racial persecution?

Eh, I’ve read Freakonomics, I’ve listened to Bennett’s full remarks, and I think I can tell you this: Bennett misrepresented (or misunderstood) the book, and exposed his racism on air with a caller.

Johnny, rise above the average Republican sniper, bring evidence, bring facts with you next time you write.

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