Barbarians 'R' Us?

In her most recent column, Townhall writer Rebecca Hagelin notes that nobody celebrated the fact that the U.S. population hit the 300 million mark last October. Environmental extremists did their usual crabbing about how all those selfish babies consume far too many resources. But we should have celebrated our population growth, Hagelin says, because it is keeping America from slipping into a death spiral of decline, hopelessness, and despair--as Russia, France, and Britain are currently doing, among other countries.

Hagelin quotes Allan Carlson, founder of the World Congress of Families, who notes that declining populations will not be able to maintain a nation's infrastructure, run the factories, farms and armies, and pay taxes for essential social services. "A birth dearth provides far more challenges than a population explosion," Carlson says--so bring on the babies.

He and Hagelin are right as far as they go. But when one considers that more and more American babies of all races are being born out of wedlock--many into chaotic home lives--one wonders uneasily about how this population increase will affect us down the road. One thing we already know: Children born out of wedlock are far more likely to engage in destructive behavior, including crime. Before we celebrate having enough warm bodies to work on the farms, in the factories and in fast food restaurants, we ought to consider that, if trends hold, a great many of today's babies--including, perhaps, baby number 300,000,000--will be behind bars, not growing crops and flipping burgers.