By shifting money from policing to encouraging abortions, Austin is fulfilling the eugenicists’ dream of a world in which no criminals exist.
The Minority Report was a 2002 movie (based upon a Philip K. Dick short story). The premise was that law enforcement had moved to a point at which it was able to arrest murderers before they committed their crimes. Tom Cruise was a police officer who found himself accused of a future murder.
It occurred to me that, in a weird way, Austin, Texas, is embarking on the same kind of futuristic law enforcement effort — and I mean “futuristic” as in it’s decided to use its money to deter future criminals rather than using its money to deal with present crime.
Austin, the most leftist city in Texas, is having a serious murder problem:
Analysis conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that homicides have spiked in 36 of the nation’s 50 largest cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to WSJ’s data, Austin leads the country in percentage increase of total homicides compared to the previous year, ahead of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
In response, the city council made an interesting decision. Instead of beefing up it law enforcement budget, it cut that budget and channeled the money to beefing up abortion:
The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to gut its police budget. The Austin Police Department, which is already about 200 officers below full strength, will have its budget cut by one-third.
Not only will defunding police get innocent people killed, but the city council doubled down on that: Some of the funds that would have been devoted to law enforcement will be diverted to cover abortion in the city.
The proposal to cut police funding by about one-third of its total $434 million budget calls for immediately cutting around $21.5 million from the department. This would include reallocating these funds to areas like violence prevention, food access, and abortion access programs.
Margaret Sanger, racist founder of Planned Parenthood, undoubtedly would approve.
Bryan Preston, who wrote the above post, believes that it’s about money and power. Having relayed the facts about Austin’s financing decisions, he adds:
In crass political terms, the Austin City Council has moved public funds from police, who tend to be conservative, over to abortionists, who tend to pour millions of dollars into Democrat campaigns.
I’m sure that’s one element of the Council’s decision-making. However, I couldn’t help but think that there’s a Minority Report element here too. Think back to the single most quoted point from Steven Levitt’s and Stephen Dubner’s entertaining and thought-provoking book from 2005, Freakonomics.
In the introduction to their book, the authors talked about the massive drop in crime during the 1990s. They note that experts talked about a good economy, gun control laws, and innovative policing, which saw murders in New York fall from a high of 2,262 in 1990 to a low (as of the book’s publication) of 540 in 2005. These theories, though, say the authors, had a problem: “they weren’t true.” (p. 3.)
What really dropped crime levels, said Levitt and Dubner, was Roe v. Wade, in 1963, which made abortion legal:
So how did Roe v. Wade help trigger, a generation later, the greatest crime drop in recorded history?
As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal. Not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade—poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get—were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v. Wade, these children weren’t being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic, distant effect: years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet. It wasn’t gun control or a strong economy or new police strategies that finally blunted the American crime wave. It was, among other factors, the reality that the pool of potential criminals had dramatically shrunk. (p. 4.)
Aborting criminals before they commit crime was a principle that Ruth Bader Ginsburg supported. During a 2009 interview, she made clear her belief that Roe v. Wade, had it been implemented equally all over America and had federal funds been used to advance abortion, that would have cut down on criminals (emphasis mine):
Ginsburg: The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.
Emily Bazelon: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
Ginsburg: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the Court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
Looking only at the highlighted language, people have accused Ginsburg of racial eugenism. That’s not a fair accusation. What she stands guilty of is broader than that. She supports the original eugenism. This was an ideology that hated everyone who destroyed the perfect world that America’s white, college-educated, middle- and upper-classes at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century thought was within their reach.
If you go back and read Sanger or any of the other American eugenicists, you discover that, while they were happy to lump blacks, Italians, and other races into the list of populations they wanted to shrink, their real goal was to get rid of crime. For example, Jean Webster, a Vassar-educated Fabian socialist, writing in 1915 in her epistolary novel, Dear Enemy, made the classic early-20th-century progressive intellectual’s argument for stopping the “feebleminded” (emphasis mine):
It seems that feeblemindedness is a very hereditary quality, and science isn’t able to overcome it. No operation has been discovered for introducing brains into the head of a child who didn’t start with them. And the child grows up with, say, a nine-year brain in a thirty-year body, and becomes an easy tool for any criminal he meets. Our prisons are one-third full of feeble-minded convicts. Society ought to segregate them on feeble-minded farms, where they can earn their livings in peaceful menial pursuits, and not have children. Then in a generation or so we might be able to wipe them out.
There you have it: Better living through science (and carefully targeted murder). Americans were receptive to these arguments phrased, as they were, for the greater betterment of society. In the first third of the 20th century, as Dinesh D’Sousa compellingly shows in The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, progressives made a lot of headway sterilizing the “unfit”:
“America led the way in legalizing and promoting coerced eugenic sterilizations,” historian Angela Franks writes. [fn. omitted.] Progressives had their first success in 1907 when Indiana passed a law requiring sterilization of “confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles and rapists.” Over the next thirty years, twenty-six other states passed similar laws. In the early 1930s, when the Nazis came to power, American states were sterilizing 2,000 to 4,000 people a year. In all, around 65,000 people were sterilized against their will as a consequence of progressive eugenic legislation in the United States. (D’Souza, Dinesh. The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, Kindle Locations 2579-2583. Regnery Publishing.)
There’s no doubt, as I said, that the eugenicists considered blacks and other “dark” races presumptively unfit, but the cultural purity that fueled their dreams went far beyond race. They imagined a world in which forced sterilization and abortion would prevent or end the lives of all babies whose mothers or fathers were criminals, alcoholics, drug abusers, or even “low-IQ” individuals.
I think that it’s this kind of cultural (not racial) purification that lurks behind the Austin City Council’s decision to divert money from policing to a radically backward form of crime prevention: As far as the Council is concerned, in a few years, Austin won’t need police. Through the city’s affirmative abortion policies (which sees the city actively pushing women into abortion mills), future policing will take care of itself. Austin has gone one step beyond the Minority Report. Rather than catching people before they commit a crime, the city is completely removing those people from the gene pool.
Image: A modification of Baby Face by Asvar Aras; CC Share Alice 4.0 International license.