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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Local Councilman Misrepresents Bill Bennett's Statement

In September, Bill Bennett, the former Reagan administration Secretary of Education, made the following statement on his radio call-in show Morning in America:

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 impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

In the October 19 edition of The Kokomo Perspective , Kokomo, Indiana Common Council President, Democrat Robert Hayes, commented on Bill Bennett’s remarks. In his column Hayes wrote that he found Bennett’s statement “sickening.” He went on to say that

In any logical discussion, such rhetoric is inexcusable. In Mr. Bennett’s world African-American babies would be convicted, tried and executed while in their mother’s womb.

What kind of logical discussion is Mr. Hayes talking about? Based on his remark, Mr. Hayes certainly hasn’t looked at Bennett’s statement with any kind of logical analysis.

Here are the circumstances surrounding Bennett's statement. Mr. Bennett and a caller to his show were discussing arguments for and against abortion. The caller suggested that one good argument against abortion was that if abortion were illegal, society would have more tax-paying citizens, and Social Security would be solvent

Bennett, who is pro-life, responded to the caller's suggestion by saying that social issues should not be used to argue the pro-life position. He went on to suggest that such arguments could be used both ways, and he referenced a book called Freakonomics, written by Steve Sailer and John Lott. Sailer and Lott argued that the increase in the number of abortions since Roe vs. Wade has contributed to a reduction in the crime rate. To illustrate the potential abhorrent consequences of arguing for abortion by using such a hypothesis, Bennett made the statement that is quoted above.

Obvious to anyone who wants to look at Bennett's statement in context and with intellectual honesty is that Bennett's point was that solving societal problems, whether it be Social Security or crime, should not be the basis for making either a pro-life or a pro-choice argument.

Yet, in his column Councilman Hayes implies that Mr. Bennett is actually advocating the abortion of all black babies. Hayes writes

I am soon-to-be a grandfather of a black baby boy whom I hope and pray will be healthy and just as beautiful and intelligent as his parents. I hope and pray he will be born in a world where comments by a national figure regarding his demise for the betterment of society would not be tolerated by not just black folks, but not tolerated by all people of all races, colors and sensibility.

I shudder to think if Mr. Bennett’s world were real how many law enforcement officers, doctors, ministers, lawyers, scientist, teachers, factory workers, mothers and fathers, just to name a few, would not be given the opportunity to even live and help reduce crime, cure sickness, educate the ignorant, eliminate poverty and fight the injustice that abounds in our society today.

Mr. Bennett, shame on you for even uttering those vile and hateful words.

I don't know Councilman Hayes personally, but I have to believe that he is an intelligent man quite capable of examining Bennett's words in the context of the discussion in which they were spoken. That being assumed, I have to wonder whether Mr. Hayes simply failed to investigate the point Bennett was trying to make, or whether Mr. Hayes knew Mr. Bennett's point and just ignored it, choosing instead to echo the rhetoric of many of the leaders of the national Democratic Party.

Either way, Mr. Hayes, shame on you for misrepresenting Mr. Bennett's words.

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