I am stunned that people can be so ignorant so as not to recognize a theoretical argument when they hear one. Perhaps they can't hear, perhaps they can't recognize. Either way it's their deficit and Bill Bennett has nothing to explain to this blogger.
It would be irresponsible for me to suggest in any seriousness that people who believe Bennett is a racist should be rounded up and carted off to concentration camps. In fact, I cannot figure any moral reason to do so, but there are certainly economic reasons to do so. We would be rid of those drains on society.
However I find myself in agreement with Bennett that there are moral issues that should not be excused or rationalized by economics. So, with the hope that I will be similarly misinterpreted, I would be proud to suffer the emnity of race of idiotarians opposed to Bennett.
But seriously folks. As an early reviewer of Freakonomics, I immediately recognized the parallel argument when I was informed here or there of Bennett's alleged tresspass. Levitt found through his research that there is correlation between lower birthrates and lower crime rates. That's about as far as anyone need take the arguments although Levitt himself goes the whole nine yards. The point is that there's nothing to the charge that Bennett is advocating genocide against African Americans in order to lower the crime rate, so there's nothing worth investigating.
In my own little experiments I have made exactly the same kind of statements as Bennett and I came to the same conclusion. In my case, the matter was the Economics of Racial Profiling, a subject generated by the issue surrounding blacks and Korean grocers in Los Angeles.
My conclusion was that if you were to do a strict racial profile on your customers, it could be economically justified but not morally justified:
Part of the problem here is that by identifying crime rates by race and observing the difference, you set up a standard by which some crime is justified, in this case, 'white' crime. by such a standard some race is bound to be overly persecuted in this case, 'blacks'. the very act of initiating a crackdown on criminals *by race* even if the statistics 'justify' it, is to set up a differing standard by which individuals are judged in the justice system. this is racist even if this the actions are restricted to the class of known and observed criminals. You end up treating one race of criminals worse than another race of criminals.
In fact, racial profiling is not restricted to a population of criminals. The effects are felt against the general population. In this case you alienate the innocent black general population as well as the criminals. By profiling the black population you are in fact treating all blacks as if they were black criminals, which we have already established are getting a worse deal than white criminals.
However, if you are only concerned with profit, it's clear that you can maintain such a racist policy with a minimal impact on your bottom line.
I would add that most Americans would have moral problems with racial profiling, not just those singled out. Needless to say we are reaping the whirlwind of shying away from a clear and present, well-measured anti-racist environment alive in this country. We stand on the brink of racial McCarthyism. Somebody help us out here. Is there no racial answerman? Can't the networks provide some poor soul to shoulder the burden? If not, we're all going to be suffering with Bennett. It may be sooner than you think.