Get Your Pregnant Ass On The Boat Already

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Memo to Trent Franks: YOU ARE DUMB.

And we have a new frontrunner for dumbest fucking quote of 2010. I mean, sure, it's only the beginning of March. And yes, competition has been fierce already - Newt Gingrich, for example, said something so mind-bogglingly stupid this week that if Arizona congressman Trent Franks hadn't immediately leapt past him, Newt might have starred in today's column instead. But Franks took the cake. And then he ate the cake. And then he shat out the cake. And then he munched the cake-scat. It's really something. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say "How blind were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible." And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?"

This one's going to take some time to deconstruct, so bear with me. Keep in mind that, in keeping with statistical likelihood, Trent Franks is an old bald white Republican. And he starts out by saying that only God knows how long we had slavery. Really? Wikipedia knows. Lots of people know. You could know, if you actually gave a shit about the horrors of slavery or knew how to educate yourself before speaking on a topic. It's not something you actually have to trust in faith for.

And speaking of knowledge of history, that's also something that'd answer his "what was the matter with them" question. Because slavery, when it comes right down to it, is the ultimate expression of unrestricted free-market economics. You can reduce your overhead and maximize your profits quite a bit when you don't have to pay your labor. And it's a lot easier to decide that other people are less than human, that other people can be property, that they can be crowded onto boats and killed en masse and raped and forced to work for you when it's also in your economic best interests to be that cruel.

Yes, people are bastards, but they'll go to a much greater effort to be bastards if there's money in it.

But now we get to the meat of Franks' point - the idea so fucking appalling he said it twice. "Half of all black children are aborted." This is a blatant lie on at least two significant levels - one philosophical, and one mathematical. First, half of black children can't be aborted, because if they're aborted, they don't get to be children. But no matter how true this is, it will not be a convincing argument for the embryo fetishists, so let's move on to the mathematical.

The study Franks is loosely citing found that there were 503 terminated pregnancies for every 1,000 live births in the African-American community. That's not fifty percent. It'd be fifty percent if there were 503 abortions per 1,000 PREGNANCIES. But for every 503 abortions, there were 1,000 live births, which means there were 1503 total pregnancies, which means that it's not half, it's a third.

But even the math doesn't matter, because for Franks' statement to be true? For "far more" of the African-American community to be devastated by abortion policy today than by slavery? You have to believe one of two things. You have to believe that over 200% of pregnancies are terminated, which is impossible, or you have to believe that less than 100% of the African-American community was devastated by slavery.

There's no way around it - Franks is clear about how horrible and devastating slavery is, and he's also clear about how horrible and devastating he thinks abortion is. But he doesn't say abortion is more devastating, he says more blacks are devastated by abortion. His words.

The numbers just don't add up. A third of the pregnancies end in abortion. Even if you assume every single member of the African-American community pairs up and gets pregnant, and even assuming that both parents AND the fetus are "devastated", that still leaves roughly two thirds of the community completely untouched by these policies.

So I have two questions for Trent Franks - which two thirds of slaves weren't devastated by slavery, and why aren't you concerned that 100% of the Trent Franks community is devastated by ignorance and butt-stupidity? Because that's a policy you could actually do something about.