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March 06, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE INDEX OF LEADING CULTURAL INDICATORS: Facts and Figures on the State of American Society by William J. Bennett (Touchstone: $8.95; 138 pp., paperback original). Figures may not lie, but they can be juggled, and William Bennett handles statistics as skillfully as a performer on the Venice boardwalk. He cites the high rates of abortion and teen-age pregnancy in America, but fails to correlate those figures with a dearth of family planning information. He claims, "Armed citizens defend their lives or property with firearms against criminals approximately 1 million times a year," but omits the number of murders committed by family members in gun-owning households. Bennett sets the tone for this sermon to the choir when he decries the failure of Americans to provide moral education for the young--ignoring the examples set by the amoral policies of the administrations he served.

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