Friday, September 30, 2005

Bill Bennett: Not Very Virtuous

Former Drug Czar, Bill Bennett is in a bit of trouble (that is an understament) for his remarks on a radio show where he theorized that crime would go down if all black babies were aborted. To be fair, he did say that such an idea was reprehensible, but the fact is he uttered the reprehensible and also painted some sweeping generalizations of black people. I'm a black man who has a masters degree. I own a home and I pay my taxes. I try to, as an old African American hymn goes, "treat everybody right." The only lawbreaking I have done is getting a few speeding tickets. It's shocking in the least to have someone who knows nothing about me to assume that I am the source of all crime in the US.

Is Bill Bennett a racist? I have no idea. He maybe, but he may not. However, his statement was racist. I don't care if it was "hypothetical," he basically said that crime would go down if blacks were eliminated. It doesn't matter that he said the idea was reprehensible because he basically said that basically committing genocide would produce a good result.

Bennett needs to apologize, though I know he won't. Republicans of all stripes needs to condemn his words and urge him to apologize. He might say he is sorry, but silence by Republicans will be tantamount to approval, and his statements are way, way beyond the pale.


At 3:39 PM, Blogger halfback jack said...

I am at a loss. This is so disturbing that you have to wonder what is going to come out of the GOP camp next. Between this and The Hammer, the GOP needs to do something other than send out their attack poodle Nerlman (or whatever his name is) the RNC Chairman for the Sunday morning talk shows.

If this is what the Republican Party stands for now, let me know where the next station is so I can get off!

Bush better come out and condemn this with someone otherthan "Beam me up Scotty" MacLellan.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger IDI said...

Bill Bennett said:
"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.

I admire Bill Bennett for some of his stands over the years, but the man appears to be losing it here. Too much time at the gambling table perhaps? Bill Bennett is obviously a little hazy in his memory. Several decades ago, many of the same pathologies that afflict blacks also afflicted white people hard, particularly the white Irish. The Catholic, Brooklyn born Bennett hisself is Irish descended according to some, and has had of course his own brush with pathology.

As Thomas Sowell points out in "Ethnic America" and elsewhere, the white Irish were marked by high rates of dependence on public services, high rates of substance abuse (particularly alcohol), high rates of disease, high rates of violence (the words/phrases "paddy wagon" or "Fighting Irish" or "Donnybrook" or "lynch" are reminders of just what the white Irish got up to back in the day) as well as high rates of out-of-wedlock children (50 percent in some cities).

Indeed "Black Flight" from certain US cities is recorded in the 1800s, as law abiding Negroes moved out, when the disorderly and lawless white Irish moved in. Just one white Irish riot in the 1800, killed more people that all the bvack ghetto riots in US history put together and there were dozens of those. Nor did this pathology begin in America. It marked the white Irish in past generations, all the way back to Ireland and England. Over time, the white Irish cleaned themselves up, and these bad things went down from what they were.

Of course Bennett was only making a rhetorical, theoretical point in a talk radio exchange, but one wonders if he would have been quite as free to note that aborting white Irish children would have made the urban streets of Britain or America safer for centuries.

Nevertheless in fairness, Bill qualified his statement:
"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down,"


Some say ruthless English warload Oliver Cromwell had just such beneficial "reductions" in mind during his operations in Ireland, but mind you, said operations could be said to be "ridiculous and morally reprehensible."

Of course why stop at those black kids? Liquidation of those identified as gay would certainly cut the AIDS epidemic, and elimination of white males of a certain age would slash pederasty. But mind you all this is only theoretical and of course "impossibly ridiculous..." Cheap shots? Of course, but no cheaper that Bill's.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Kirkrrt said...

I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.
As Idi pointed out, the context of what he was saying makes it clear he was not proposing or promoting aborting black babies.
I heard the whole call several times and he qualifies the statement before and after he says it.
If we can't talk in hypotheticals anymore, there is yet another thing wrong with discourse in America.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Dennis said...

I notice that the owner of this blog includes a link to the Log Cabin Republicans which means either the owner appears gay or not.

Nothing wrong with gay people but now gay people have arrived when they also can punish the poor and lower classes with the best of them.

I view two wings of the Republican Party.

1. The followers of scrooge, who believe in cheap labor laissez faire deathbringing capitalism.

2. The followers of Torquemada who will put anyone who does not agree with their twiated notions of christ, on the rhetorial rack for not conforming with their fire and brimstone limited set of twisted morality which probably does not condemn business abuse.

Where Republicans tread, innocent people end up dead.

At 7:18 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

To dennis (the last poster, NOT our host): Ouch.

To kirk: You are correct in that we do take stuff out of context. Certainly, Mr. Bennett made the obligatory (and--I hope--genuine) qualifications on the front end and the back end of his comments.

However, the world we live in nowadays consists of soundbytes, excerpts, passages and other pieces of remarks that are cut and pasted all over the net.

Public figures of all types need to realize that today's journalism (blogging included in that term, IMHO) means that if one makes a faux pas, it will be shared with the world in the time it takes to upload it to a web server. And let the brickbats fly...

At 9:57 PM, Blogger The Truffle said...

I just wonder what the hell happened to the decent conservatives. I'm as far away from Barry Goldwater's views as you can get, but I suspect he would've been horrified at the state of today's GOP.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

Truffle, I think that a lot of "decent conservatives" have been tossed out of the party because:

A) They are older now and trying to stay employed.

B) The younger party operatives that now make up the guts of party operations are more entrenched in their views and are less likely to listen to any moderate views. Especially from us "old-timers."

C) The younger party operatives also do not remember Vietnam, the energy crisis of the early 1970's, or much of the Cold War. They read about it on the internet.

D) Information (good or bad, correct or incorrect) moves at a lightning pace. If a pol belches at a speech in Poughkeepsie, the party ops know what he/she had to eat to cause the alleged belch. Then they come up with a five-point plan to prevent it from happening again.

The "my way or the highway" mantra of a lot of pols (on both sides of the political aisle) are turning people like you and I into political nomads.


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