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Michael Agrees With Me
About Bill Bennett, so there you partisan hacks!

Update So does Matt Yglesias and Brad DeLong.

Oh, poor liberals what now?
Posted by Rosemary on 09.30.2005
pam (mail):
Nice job!
9.30.2005 10:50pm
Ara Rubyan (www):
After much thought, I have to say that I think Bill Bennett did the nation a service.

Now we know what it really means to be a compassionate conservative.
9.30.2005 11:17pm
Adam (mail):
Here's my suggestion for Bennett's next remark:

"You know, there's a lot of filth coming out of Hollywood these days. And if your sole purpose was to clean up Hollywood, you could just abort every Jewish baby in this country. Of course it would be impossible and reprehensible to do such a thing - but Hollywood would be a better place."

See? He thinks it's reprehensible, right? I'm glad I got the full quote. Context *is* important.
10.1.2005 1:58am
Adam, that is NOT the same argument.

The statement that blacks commit disproportionately more crime is an objective fact.

The statement that Jews are responsible for Hollywood filth, if anyone said that, would be an opinion. "Filth" is an opinion. There is not universal agreement on what that is. "Crime" in Bennett's argument specifically referred to official crime rates, an incontestable fact.

Moreover, the word "filth" is just plain inflammatory. Does the word "crime" raise your hackles the same way? No.

The reason that you and Ara are not listening here is quite simple: as good Lefties, you already "know" that the Right hates minorities. With that as your premise, it is no wonder you cannot hear.
10.1.2005 9:55am
Adam (mail):

As America's self-appointed morality czar, I doubt Bennett would have a problem with the word "filth" in relation to Hollywood. And further, if the word "filth" is the biggest problem you have with the quote I created, then wow.

Oh, and I never said "the right hates minorities" or any such drivel. Don't put words in my mouth, please. I'm talking about this specific comment from Bill Bennett, trying to get you guys to understand how awful it is by looking at it from a different perspective. But since you agree with the premise of the statement, you don't consider it awful at all. OK. Point taken.
10.1.2005 10:18am
Rosemary, Queen of All Evil (mail):
Point taken? Dude, you need help. PLease go read a smart Liberal and see if he can make you understand. I've linked two. Pick one.
10.1.2005 10:56am
Tom Hawkson (mail) (www):

Read Brad Delong's piece. He says that Bennett was trying to do a reductio ad absurdum argument. For those you pick the most absurd example possible. Bennett's mistake was that he picked the most shocking and horrible example, rather than the most absurd example. Delong says that you should never use a reductio ad absurdum argument on a talk show. Ara says the same thing, only he uses the apt phrase tone-deaf.

Here's a suitably absurd example: In order to reduce breast cancer rates, we could abort all the girl babies. Oh no, I'm a horrible sexist!

Oh, and I don't really care very much about this argument, but I want to test the new Google spell checker I just installed.

10.1.2005 11:26am
Adam, I don't know if you personally believe that the Right hates minorities. That idea is brought up frequently by lefties who cannot be convinced otherwise. It doesn't matter if a hundred conservatives chime in saying it's utter nonsense, there are some lefties who absolutely cannot be budged from that piece of propaganda. They do not listen the words. Instead they seek an inner "motive". Witness Ara's daft reasoning in the post below... and your own lack of reasoning as well.
10.1.2005 11:55am
Mark Adams, the high and mighty, hypocritical, bloviator. (mail) (www):
Why is it so easy for you guys to understand and accept Wince and Brad DeLong's reductio ad absurdum argument (correctly stated BTW), yet could not recognise the similarities in the reactions to the remarks of Dick Durbin not so long ago.

Go ahead and point to the minutiae, eliminating the obvious differences. But the correlation is that an insensitive, impolitic remark, which arguably true and couched in mitigating language, touches of a wholly foreseeable firestorm of criticism.

When Durbin made a comparison of US policy to Nazis, Stalin and Pol Pot, he shoiuld have expected to get hammered. When Bennett postulates that, no matter how hideous, genocide would have a positive effect, he likewise should be shunned.

Bennett however, is (thusfar) unapologetic. The approach to the genocide described and denounced to varying degrees of effectiveness by each man is telling. It's the emphasis on ends versus means. Durbin rejects any ends whatsoever for our government even approaching the actions of notorious murderous regimes, and admonishes the administration for furthering a desirable ends through despicable means. Bennett finds a desireable result and somehow his sick mind invents a despicable means from whole cloth to achieve his noble ends, and belately rejects it because it's too reprehensible.

That someone could even think up something so disgusting as aborting all black babies and not be roundly censured on the right and left is beyond me. That someone could see our policies edging towards authoritarian exesses and make an arguably over-the-top comparison as a critique is much more defensible.

Yes, I know Bennett didn't advocate aborting all black babies, quite the opposite. But geeze, how does someone even come up with something like that.

Yet many who demanded Durbin's head are defending Bennett's remarks. I guess it's just part of the Rovian Rules of Retribution. Apoloigies equal weakness. Force your opponent into one but never conceded one yourself.

It's a sick game folks.
10.1.2005 1:44pm
jane m:
I'm getting scared. I agree with the Bloviator on this. "What were you thinking" is my only response to Bennett. Appallingly insensitive and hurtful

Bennett, Durbin and Pat Robertson prove that smart people say dumb things all the time. Unfortunately, some of these dumb statements get into print or on the air.
10.1.2005 2:28pm
About fifteen years ago, my friends &I were joking about doing things for money. One thing lead to the next. One guy, call him Bob, had a strong reaction to one of the ideas, and I called him on it.

I told him he was homophobic.

His reaction to my comment was EXACTLY the same and EXACTLY as strong as if I had said that he was homosexual. (In fact, he was still mad at me the next day.)

He could not be reasoned out that reaction.

He was not hearing the words. He heard "homo" and "Bob" in the same sentence, and that was all he needed.

Ara, Mark, Jane, you are all doing the same thing here.
10.1.2005 3:04pm
PS: I expect Ara, Mark, and Jane will read the preceding as my calling them gay or something.
10.1.2005 3:07pm
Tom Hawkson (mail) (www):
Actually Mark I noticed the similarities myself. So why did you defend the indefensible Durbin again?

BTW, the Google spell checker does not know Latin. But it does know comment internet abbreviations like BTW.

10.1.2005 4:20pm
Steven Malcolm Anderson 4 GodsSelfSex (mail) (www):

I have had it with the race pimps. That Leftist/Democrat guilt trip doesn't wash on me. I am not guilty of the crimes of racism for the simple reason that I am a North-Western John Brown-admiring Thaddeus Stevens-admiring rock-ribbed Republican -- not a South-Eastern Confederacy-admiring Democrat (including some who have recently infiltrated the GOP and should be booted out). Anyway....!

I agree with Bennett's point, which so many are determined to miss. His point is that abortion doesn't reduce crime because it is a crime, just as were slavery, segregation, and lynchings. Kill babies (of any color or sex) in order to reduce the number of potential killers? -- a reductio ad absurdum if there ever was one.

That abortion reduces the solvency of Social Security is just a silly irrelevant argument that Bennett was rightly slapping down. Abortion was murder long before Social Security was ever invented, and it will continue to be murder long after Social Security is completely privatized. Today, it is recognized as such by a few (today's abolitionists), but whose number daily grows. Someday, I pray, it will be recognized as such by most Americans. Then, we can close this bloody chapter of our history and "move on" to opposing the next atrocity that becomes fashionable.
10.1.2005 6:33pm
FormerRepub (mail):
Wish I had read this before I commented on the earlier post :(

Mark, you make a strong argument, and I agree with it.

Maybe I should have went to Law School instead of that other one :)

10.2.2005 3:03am
Tom Hawkson (mail) (www):
Jeff Goldstein says that this is another example of the PC crowd trying to shut down good discussion. In other words, it is Bennett's critics who are wrong, including people like me who fault his choice of examples. Mrs. Wince agrees with Jeff, so he is probably right.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

10.2.2005 11:13am
Mark Adams, the high and mighty, hypocritical, bloviator. (mail) (www):
Re-examine (and not just via spell checker) the intelligence memo I presented for your approval.

I did not defend Durbin you snarky stick-pocker. I pointed out the obvious that Bennett's position was much harder to defend. As an intellectual excercise the irony is inescapable, especially when you consider this:

Durbin objected to an illegal activity (the morally questionable practice of torture) actually being used for a lawful purpose (national security) with desireable results (elimininating a terrorist threat).

Bennett discussed the merits of a legal activity (the morally questionable practice of abortion) hypothetically being used for an unlawful purpose (genocide -- the worst possible crime against all humanity), also with desireable results (less crime).

The real difference, however, why Durbin makes a better defendant is that he didn't just come up with some crazy idea like our government would engage in torture out of his sick imagination. He saw something outrageous, and called it as outrageous as other outrages he thought of from history.

Let's face it. Bill is not as good on his feet as his brother. That's probably why Bob Bennett is the litigator.
10.2.2005 2:02pm
Alex (mail):
Everyone can attempt to justify what he said until the cows come home. The fact is, what he said was utterly idiotic.

Whether he meant it or not.
10.4.2005 4:30am
Rosemary, Queen of All Evil (mail):

I disagree. I do not think calling the mass extermination of black babies an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, utterly idiotic.

I'm surprised that you are such a racist. :-P
10.4.2005 11:14am
Tom Hawkson (mail) (www):

It wasn't a reading or comprehension problem, it was a memory or assumption problem. I either remembered or assumed (correctly or not - you tell me) that you defended Durbin way back when. So, is it your position that both Durbin and Bennett were tone-deaf? Or is it your position that right-wing political correctness (you can't say that about the military) and the left-wing political correctness (you can't say that about African Americans) are both wrong and we need more Durbins and more Bennetts to say more inflammatory things so that our collective speech is more free? Oh, and I'm not trying to force you into a binary choice - I wouldn't pick either of those choices. It looks like you have chosen the first and not its opposite.

I don't think there is anything imaginary about Bennett's example. Millions of Jews were killed because they were reputedly sub-human criminal and inconvenient beings. Millions of babies have been aborted because they were inconvenient beings. Abortion opponents have been noting the similarity in numbers and innocence for some time. We've also noticed the similarity between abortion and slavery. So Bennett's example practically leaps to mind.

10.4.2005 8:20pm
Alex (mail):

I mean, I get it. I do. I get what he MEANT to say, I think he could have found a better way to say it. Poor choice of words on his part.
10.5.2005 5:50am
Rosemary, Queen of All Evil (mail):

I know you do, I was just poking fun at you. :-)
10.5.2005 10:58am
Alex (mail):
Hee hee hee hee.

10.5.2005 6:23pm

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