Politics & Policy

Correlation? None.; Roadtrippin’


Since March 21, 1969, the United States put a man on the moon, eradicated small pox, toppled the Soviet Union, invented the personal computer, the Walkman, and the super-comfy massage chair. In fact, the list is endless. Therefore, it seems obvious that my birth ignited a whirlwind of intellectual and economic creativity.

This seems to be the reasoning of some academics from the University of Chicago and Stanford Law School. But I only used dumb reasoning to make a point about dumb reasoning. They use it to say something profoundly ugly. In a study they are willing only to leak rather than publish, they assert that states which legalized abortion earlier were the ones to realize the most substantial drops in crime, because crime dropped earlier, etc. Now, without the study in my hands, one has to rely simply on the almost-always reliable instinct not to trust studies at first sight and not to trust studies about the relative benefits of abortion, even at first reading.

The logic at work, even from this distance, seems moronic. States which legalized abortion earlier tended to be states with large, upwardly mobile urban populations — New York, California, etc. States with large urban populations tend to have higher crime rates — for years New York City accounted for 10% of the nation’s murder rate. Cities which tended to have high crime rates tended to exhaust their supply of responses to crime sooner than places without a pressing need to cut crime. This just happened to happen while the fight over abortion was going on. It also happened during busing, Superfund, and about a thousand other new government initiatives, laws, etc.

I don’t know why the two (rising abortion and falling crime) coincided, if in fact they did at all. Again, pairing things together, like the invention of the Walkman and breast implants, doesn’t create a causal link, unless, that is, your breasts get bigger when you listen to music through headphones.

What is horrifying about this is how no one is yelling, “Eugenics!” Why aren’t the feminists screaming about how linking abortion to larger social trends and policies is more, not less, likely to create the world of The Handmaid’s Tale? The Washington Post reported the story with a yawn. How long will it take them to figure out what these guys are saying? That killing certain “undesirables” will make it less likely your BMW will be broken into.

Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, this is disgusting stuff.


Alas, on that cheery note, I must go. We’re driving up to Vancouver right now. I promise a longer file tomorrow, but this time difference and this constant drinking and eating on my part make it very difficult to write.

Coming tomorrow: Deciphering the Straw Poll Spin.


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