Thursday, December 30, 2010

Abortion and Crime

Recently I came upon a video from an economist named Steven Levitt. In the video he discusses a book he wrote which suggests the legalization of abortion led to lower crime rates in the future.

He and his partner believed that since low income kids are more likely to be aborted and those same low income kids tend commit more crime, then ultimately more low income abortion led to lower crime rates.

They believe that since the 70s when abortion was legalized that the crime rates dropped in the 90s because those "at-risk" children were not born and thus did not grow up to become criminals in their late teens or early twenties [which are the years some people believe people tend to commit crimes].

To summarize the concept, it is structured thusly:
1-underprivileged people are more likely to commit crimes,
2-underprivileged people are more likely to have abortions,
Therefore, the more abortions in low income areas the less potential criminals born in the world.

This idea looks promising and I'm sure they have many, many mountains of evidence to back their claim, I still call shenanigans on this and here's why...

"Underprivileged" youths and families are usually minorities. Abortion rates especially among blacks is exceptionally high and yet crime is still prevalent in underprivileged communities. So even if the data shows that crime dropped in high risk areas during the 90s it didn't stay that way. Besides and I believe they address this, the 90s had a better economy than the 70s and 80s which would lead to lower crime in itself.

Another thing not mentioned by Levitt but mentioned by me, is the racial make up of this study. I mentioned before that minorities make up the majority of the underprivileged communities, so by definition he's saying that if blacks and latinos aborted themselves at higher rates then crime would drop at higher rates (already proven false).

Eugenics also comes into play here. Eugenics is defined as: "the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, esp. by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)". Looking at that definition and combining it with their study, you can see that they are saying that "underprivileged" youths (blacks and latinos) are a criminal culture, meaning that they are born to or predetermined by their nature to be criminals and thus their high abortion rates is good and benefit society as a whole.

Of course Levitt and Donahue didn't say all that. In the video eugenics isn't mentioned at all. So its safe to say they might not have even meant to co-sign eugenics but it can't be helped that eugenics is what they are proposing. They never mentioned race because a major point is that the poor are more likely to commit crime. Meaning that poor whites are included. So maybe then instead of eugenics, its a very creative stab at promoting class warfare. The rich wanting the poor to thin themselves out (for what reason I would not know, they need the poor).

Levitt & Donahue's study was a popular one when it was released (I believe the original book; Freakanomics, was released in 1999). There were many debunking papers written to challenge their assertions and eventually it fizzled out. I'm sure if someone wanted read them they would see more solid evidence using crime rate figures and other things to debunk their ideas and maybe some that feature the eugenics argument. Regardless of whether its been debunked to death or not I wanted to discuss it here because as a man that was born in an underprivileged home, and was born during the 80s when abortion was legal and had friends who fell into crime, I take offense to the argument even being made. Especially by so-called "intellectuals", men with degrees, professors at American colleges where I am a student, where my brothers and friends from similar backgrounds are students that these people got acclaim for an argument that had shades of applauding genocide on the underprivileged class, and destruction of the minority family structure.

In closing, this correlation is one that promotes eugenics and genocide. Whether inadvertently or overtly it does, and its sad to see people putting so much stock into this. Historically people have been looking for ways and reasons to get others to believe in a superiority/inferiority concept, this is just one more thrown on the heap. We've seen things like this before (the Bell Curve) and they always hang around in the minds of people that are believers in their data. But like all the others this one could not handle the rigorous testing that comes with theory and thus it is dead...and rightfully so.

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