Ethics: Battling Over Birth Policy

Is it racist to urge the West to have more babies?

It is an ancient scold, with a new Jeremiah sounding the doom cry. Ben J. Wattenberg, a demographic analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, warns that the U.S. and other Western nations are not producing babies fast enough. Since 1957, writes Wattenberg in his new book The Birth Dearth (Pharos Books; $16.95), the average American woman's fertility rate has dropped from 3.77 children to 1.8 -- below the 2.1 size needed to maintain the present population level. Meanwhile, he argues, Communist-bloc nations are producing at a rate of 2.3 children per mother, while the Third World rate is...