Monday, August 07, 2006

Buy These Books, Then Burn Them?


Human Events [warning, don't click that link unless you have a good pop-up blocker and are jonesing for some pics of Ann Coulter] has provided us with a list of The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Winners were nominated and voted on by a panel of 15 all-star wingnut "scholars and public policy leaders" who, I must admit, seem to be remarkably erudite, assuming panelists voted only for books they had read. Beyond the obvious usual suspects (e.g., Mein Kampf), a number of books seem to make the list not because they are false, but because they reveal unsettling or embarrassing truth. Conveniently, each listing includes a link where the book can be purchased on Amazon.com.

Below is the list, with selections of the explanations given. Oddly, the Bible does not make the cut.

1. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
("envisions history as a struggle between oppressed workers and oppressive owners")
2. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

3. Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao

4. Alfred Kinsey, The Kinsey Report
("'said that 37% of adult males had had at least one homosexual experience'")
5. John Dewey, Democracy and Education
("encouraged the teaching of 'thinking skills'")
6. Karl Marx, Das Kapital
(portrays "capitalism as an ugly phase in the development of human society in which capitalists inevitably and amorally exploit labor by paying the cheapest possible wages to earn the greatest possible profits")
7. Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
(Friedan's "original vocation, tellingly, was not stay-at-home motherhood but left-wing journalism.")
8. Auguste Comte, The Course of Positive Philosophy
(after announcing, as a teenager, that 'I have naturally ceased to believe in God.' Comte went on to 'coin[] the term, 'sociology'" and "theoriz[e] that the human mind had developed beyond theology")
9. Friedrich Nietschze, Beyond Good and Evil
("undergirded" by "Nietzsche’s profession that 'God is dead'”)
10. John Maynard Keynes, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
("When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity.")
Among the runners up are:
Theodore Adorno, Authoritarian Personality
John Stewart Mill, On Liberty
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization
Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa
Simone de Beauvoir, Second Sex
Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Sigmund Freud, Introduction to Psychoanalysis

Thanks to Being Amber Rhea.

By the way, Amber will host the next Carnival of Feminists on August 16. Submit your entries here or email amber AT tangerinecs DOT com.

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5 comments:

thinking girl said...

Hi KC,
I got here via Maxjulian's blog.

WOW! I can't believe the books that made it onto this list! TWO by Marx? I love Marx. And Nietzsche? That book is so fabulous! Mill, de Beauvoir, Freud, Foucault, and Darwin? Kinsey, Freidan?

ah, then I see... the judges are CRAZY. that explains it.

Clampett said...

I sense a little right wing bias in that list, eh.

but, I agree with #8 (#@!$ comte)

Here's my ballanced, although short list:

1. The protocols of the learned elders of zion
2. the Torah
3. the Bible
4. the Koran
5. the Art of War
6. wealth of nations

Clampett said...

(gasp)

I forgot!

(how horrible)

7. the Talmud

8. the Hadith

Clampett said...

well, I can't be too mean to the right wing

9. Eros and civilization (herbert marcuse)

10. Dare the school system to build a new social order (george Counts)

Maxjulian said...

The title of this list should be books you need to run out and buy right now. I haven't read "Mein Kampf" but from what I've heard about it, it sounds like the playbook for the Bush administration.