Thursday, June 02, 2005


The 15 most harmful people?

Buzzflash today linked to an item in Human Events, "the National Conservative weekly" in which 15 "scholars and public policy leaders" have selected the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries."

They've uncovered—

  1. The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
  2. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong
  4. The Kinsey Report, Alfred Kinsey
  5. Democracy and Education, John Dewey
  6. Das Kapital, Karl Marx
  7. The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy, Auguste Comte
  9. Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzche
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Maynard Keynes

The themes were economic theories espoused by leftists and liberals, sex, gender politics and atheism. Hitler's Mein Kampf was included apparently for its antisemitism.

Of the descriptions my favorite was of Das Kapital:

Das Kapital forces the round peg of capitalism into the square hole of Marx’s materialistic theory of history, portraying 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. Marx theorized that the inevitable eventual outcome would be global proletarian revolution. He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.

These people have either no sense of humor or no sense at all.

Of the books in the also-rans, perhaps the greatest surprise was Darwin's The Origin of Species, coming in at #18.

This seems such an odd enterprise. I frequently read of the Right criticizing liberals for having no fresh ideas. Yet these leaders of conservatism could do no better than to come up with books they don't like? Maybe that's what laissez-faire really means—do nothing, think nothing and see what happens.

I simply can't imagine a group of liberals or lefties promulgating such a list. It would be so illiberal—and nobody would have heard of the books anyway.

As it turns out, you probably won't have heard of most of the people who voted. The only one reasonably well known to me was Phyllis Schlafly, President of the Eagle Forum. Doubly strange because the remaining 14 were all men.

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