2005-10-01

"A thought experiment"

There is a good chance everyone knows by now about the Republican party's official spokescretin for virtue and genocide, Bill Bennett, and his advocacy of crime control through applied eugenics. For those who do not, he outraged a good number of people last week by speculating about how "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Yesterday he excused himself by calling his remarks "A thought experiment about public policy." In this thought experiment, he was most likely the control group.

Helmut, the East German taxi driver played by Armin Mueller-Stahl in Night on Earth, received another version of experimenting in thought:

I wonder, what would be the impact on crime of providing all black babies with the financial and social resources available to George W. Bush? Property and violent crime rates might decline, but DWI convictions would skyrocket. The incidence of illegal insider stock trading would increase, but neither the indictment or conviction rate would change.
Neither one of these exercises is a proper experiment, of course, but only the second one offers the prospect of projecting a result from existing evidence.

7 comments:

Yakima_Gulag said...

it was hilarious listening to the contortions of logic by Sean Hanity and Rush Limbaugh defending this statement. What ever happened to 'words have meanings!' j***!
Anyway this is hardly the first fall from Grace of Mr. Bennet, there was the matter of all that gambleing.
One wonders what other skeletons are rattleing about in his closets...

Eric Gordy said...

Does intervening in the regulatory process to damage public education count? Try here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/10/1/141149/235

coturnix said...

Mjikthise has another charming thought experiment....

Eric Gordy said...

Here it is....

http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2005/09/if_you_steriliz.html

Yakima_Gulag said...

Yes Gordy trying to ruin public education counts. I just joined Daily Kos, probably you know that 'kos' is the word for 'scythe' in most Slavic languages....
Anyway I never could stand that sanctimonious bastard Mr. Bennet. His mere existance stinks in the nostrils of God!

DarkoV said...

I found the remarks Bennett made abhorent. His presentation of such a thesis was idiotic.
However, for anyone out there who actually read (and didn't just buy the book a la Stephen Hawking's unread bestsellers), Steven Levitt's "Freakonomics", a similar proposal was made, albeit not confined to one race. When trying to come up with a logical answer to the question of why major crime decreased in NYC and other major cities in the 1980's and 1990's, Levitt proposed that it was not policy changes, additional police, or wether-related issues that cut crime down. It was easy access to legalized abortion, since the children that were born were (assumed) to be kids that parents wanted not children they "had" to have due to lack of availibility of legal pregnancy termination facilities. I'm not buying inot this completely, but Levitt's got a truckload of facts to back his proposal.
Plus, he doesn't sound like as callous jerk as Bennett did.

Eric Gordy said...

It's an interesting argument, Darko. Of course it might not be limited to abortion: maybe anything that improves people's conditions and gives them more control over their lives might have the effect of reducing sreet (if not "white-collar") crime.