Saturday, October 01, 2005

Waiting for the Soylent Green Medicare Plan

Bill Bennett's getting some serious slammage for his egregious misrepresentation of a postulation from the book Freakonomics in a response during his radio talk show on Wednesday. The defenses of Bennett's statements are weak. There are those who point out that Bennett did continue to say he thought the idea of aborting black babies to lower the crime rate would be ludicrous and "morally reprehensible" but they miss the point that Bennett unnecessarily & inaccurately turned a socio-economic theory into a racial one. Applying the same logic, Lindsay makes quite the formidable case to support of sterilizing Republicans. While she does not advocate doing so forcibly (it would, after all, be morally reprehensible & impractical) she does make it clear that decreasing the Republican sub-culture would be a quick fix to the white-collar crime problem in this country.

In response to the flap, the integrity-challenged Rush Limbaugh took his defense a bit further by lying to claim that Bennett was taken out of context and that Bennett should be applauded for his statement (Limbaugh also seriously and irresponsibly misrepresents the director of an Arkansas Clinic by claiming he is encouraging women displaced by Hurricane Katrina to terminate pregnancies by providing abortion services free of charge).

Bennett himself
made matters worse by directing people to the events surrounding hurricane Katrina as some sort of sound rationale for his statement and referencing the satire of Jonathan Swift.

The important point is that during the broadcast, Bennett twisted the non race-based Freakonomics theory that the more children raised in poverty by single mothers a society has, the higher the crime rate into one in which it is the size black population, regardless of socioeconomic status or stability in upbringing, that is a significant causal factor in the rate of crime. His comments were not, as Bennett claims, mischaracterized to make it appear as though he was supporting abortion to reduce crime rate; his comments are accurately characterized as ignorant, racist and misrepresentative of the theory he cited. Considering Bennett's company, K12 Inc., makes a substantial amount of money from urban school districts which frequently have sizable black populations, a comment indicating a belief that race is a primary factor in the determination of furture criminal behavior may cost him: parents and education activists are already demanding that Philadephia school district terminate its contract with Bennett's company.

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