When Peter Brimelow asked for my
Jared Taylor`s white nationalist
critique of me, I was reminded that out of the
hundreds of thousands of words I write each year, I
devote relatively few to ideologizing and exhorting—the
stock in trade of so many writers more popular than
I`ve always been more interested in
reality than morality.
I think I have a certain knack for
coming up with
new insights into
how the world works. Yet, at least by the
self-confident standards of opinion journalists, I`m
not all that strongly motivated to proclaim how it
I have the personality of a born
staff man. My natural predilection is to lay out the
logical alternatives in a situation rather than to
either make the decisions myself or to propagandize the
All last month, ever since the
New Orleans Nightmare became evident on September
1st, the hysteria built among the political and
media elite over which of them would crack first and
mention the elephant in the living room: that
blacks have higher average crime rates.
Finally, it has burst forth in a
spasm of irrational and self-righteous denunciations of
former Education Secretary William J. Bennett.
The triviality of the triggering
incident reflects the
tensions bottled up within the media.
On Bennett`s talk radio show, a
caller claimed that legalized abortion damaged Social
Security`s financial health. The pro-life Bennett
doesn`t like pragmatic arguments against abortion,
feeling abortion should be opposed even if it had
positive effects. As an example of how the caller`s
approach could be turned against anti-abortion
activists, Bennett cited economist
Steven D. Levitt`s popular theory (in his bestseller
Freakonomics) that legalizing abortion had cut
the crime rate.
First, Bennett expressed skepticism
over Levitt`s claim. But then he issued a logically
reductio ad absurdum:
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."
thing— although I am constantly being accused of being a
long record of expressing
strong concerns about eugenics), for half a dozen
years I have been perhaps the leading opponent of
"Fertility declines for
black women are three times greater than for whites (12
percent compared to 4 percent). Given that homicide
rates of black youths are roughly nine times higher than
those of white youths, racial differences in the
fertility effects of abortion are likely to translate
into greater homicide reductions."
My objection to Levitt`s racial
eugenic argument is not on moral grounds, but on factual
ones. In the real world, the
direct opposite of his theory`s predictions actually
happened: the first cohort born after abortion was
legalized in 1970-73
grew up to be the most
violent teens in
recent American history, with a homicide rate triple
the last cohort born before abortion was legalized.
Among African-American 14-17 year-olds, the murder rate
more than quadrupled.
But what I`ve learned in the six
years that I`ve been diligently punching empirical holes
in Levitt`s theory is that virtually nobody, on either
the pro-choice or pro-life sides of the enormous debate
over abortion, cares about facts.
Both sides mostly want Levitt`s
theory to be true. Many pro-lifers want to feel virtuous
for opposing legalized abortion even though it makes
them safer from crime.
In contrast to the hundreds of
hours I`ve spent digging up the facts about abortion`s
impact on crime, I`ve seldom offered a strong opinion on
the morality of abortion. That`s because I`ve never
noticed that I had much that`s unique to contribute on
entitled to an opinion on morals, and I don`t see
any reason that mine should count for more than other
What moral principles I do
frequently promote tend to be basic ones. For example,
as a journalist writing for a fairly elite audience of
adults, my code is simple in the extreme:
And that`s what Bill Bennett just did.
note: Steve originally added
another couple of thousand words replying to Jared
Taylor. We`ll thriftily save them for next week.]
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and