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Syndicated columist Wattenberg is the author of The Good News Is That the Bad News Is Wrong and other optimistic books. Conversely, his new book aims at warning the public about the so-called danger of the declining birth rate in the U.S. and allied countries. Taking issue with those who cite problems arising from overpopulation, the author quotes statistics to argue that democratic nations potentially are weaker now, with fewer young people. The book contains bleak predictions of a future with America and European citizenry vastly outnumbered by people from other parts of the world. Speculating on the consequences of the birth dearth, Wattenberg provokes concern about a crippled economy and other threats to an industrial society diminished in status and strength. Author tour.


During the first two decades of the 20th Century, there was a great deal of talk in the United States of such subjects as “race suicide,” the decline of Western civilization and the Yellow Peril. As a number of influential authors observed, the birth rate was declining in all Western nations. If this trend was not reversed, they warned, the inhabitants of Western Europe and the United States were likely to find themselves overwhelmed by peoples who were breeding more vigorously.

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The theme was one that President Theodore Roosevelt returned to again and again. He repeatedly warned the American people of the “race decadence” that would be an inevitable consequence of a low birth rate. If marriages did not produce an average of four children, he said, then the Germans or the Slavs would eventually achieve world dominance.

Others thought that the rapidly increasing Asians posed the greatest threat. For example, the novelist Jack London believed that it was the Chinese who should be feared. According to London, they would be led by the Japanese, who had ruling and organizing capacities that the Chinese lacked.

Download: The birth dearth – Ben J. Wattenberg PDF

These ideas are apparently not so outmoded as one might think. In his new book, “The Birth Dearth,” syndicated columnist Ben J. Wattenberg issues warnings that are barely distinguishable from those of Roosevelt and London. For the last several decades, Wattenberg says, fertility rates have been falling in all Western countries. If we do not do something to reverse this trend, he warns, we are likely to lose our dominant position in the world to the Soviets and the peoples of the Third World.

During the last 15 years, the author says, fertility rates in Western countries have been so low that the number of children being born is not sufficient to maintain present population levels. In order to maintain a population, each woman must bear an average of 2.1 children. But the average American woman now has only 1.8 offspring. In some Western countries, the fertility rate is even lower. For example, it is only 1.3 in West Germany.

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