The interviewer was asking Bennett (a pro-lifer), what he thought of the assertion of the book Freakonomics
, that we lost lots of revenue that could have helped the country economically, with the loss of life to abortion. It was an assertion one might have assumed that Bennett would have agreed with, since he's anti-abortion. (It was also probably a set-up... I'm betting had things gone another way, Bennett would have been ridiculed for his agreement with that statement. As it turns out, though, Bennett was not in agreement.) Instead, Bennett stated that he thought the extrapolation was too far out, and that he wouldn't agree with it. He then offered as an extension that one could bring down the crime rate by aborting black babies. On his website, he likens this to the literary device used by Jonathan Swift in the book "A Modest Proposal."
Here's a link to Bill Bennett's website where he addresses this matter: http://www.bennettmo.../featured.jsp#0
Here's a link to "A Modest Proposal" http://darkwing.uore...ear/modest.html
A MODEST PROPOSAL
FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND FROM BEING A BURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC
It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.
Here is also the proposal Jonathan Swift offered:
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
Clearly, Jonathan Swift advocated no such thing, but was critiquing the attitudes of the society in which he lived.
If someone offers me proof that Mr. Bennett is similarly critiquing American society with a hidden or not-so-hidden desire to be rid of its Black populace, I will accept his assertion of standing in the shoes of Jonathan Swift as valid, and accept that his singling out of black people for this example was valid. Otherwise, there was no reason to invoke race to make the case he made. It would have worked just as well or better if he'd said that aborting babies of all poor people would solve crime. Adding in race to this discussion opens old wounds, unnecessarily, unless there was actually a point about race to be made.