The Bennett Brouhaha, The New Orleans Nightmare, And Me

When Peter Brimelow asked for my
opinion of

Jared Taylor`s
white nationalist

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

how the world works
. Yet, at least by the

self-confident standards of opinion journalists,
not all that strongly motivated to proclaim how it
should work.

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

I was struck by that again when the
absurd Bill Bennett Brouhaha broke out last week,
because I had indirectly set it off many years ago.
[ note:


Bennett Brouhaha

this one.

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

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

) 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."

Bennett was immediately roasted
alive by the

and the

. Many of them fraudulently claimed Bennett had
endorsed genocide.

Bennett`s real crime: he had
indirectly alluded to the

unmentionable fact

above-average crime rates.

I felt a little responsible for his

According to Bennett
, he had been introduced to the
abortion-cut-crime theory six years ago in a

in between Levitt and

thing— although I am constantly being accused of being a
(despite my

long record
of expressing

strong concerns
about eugenics), for half a dozen
years I have been perhaps the leading opponent of

crypto-eugenic logic


in his

2001 article
with John J. Donohue:

"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
happened: the first cohort born after abortion was
legalized in 1970-73

grew up
to be the most

violent teens

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
the question.

Everybody is

entitled to an opinion
on morals, and I don`t see
any reason that mine should count for more than other
people`s do.

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:

Tell the truth.

And that`s what Bill Bennett just did.

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

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily