Here’s an interesting list: “The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” put out by the obviously conservative group called “Human Events.” Pretty funny list. The “usual suspects” are there– The Communist Manifesto is number one, The Kinsey Report is number four, and The Feminine Mystique is number seven. The commies, sex, and them “damn feminists,” that seems consistent with the right.
But then there are some surprises. There’s Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which I suppose they put on there because Hitler is everyone’s number one “bad guy” of the twentieth century. But considering the fact that Pat Buchanan recently said that the U.S. and Great Britain should have been with Germany during World War II to fight the commies, I’m sure there are a few conservatives saying “hey, hey, wait a minute: lay off the Nazi.”
And then, oddly at number five, there’s John Dewey’s Democracy and Education, which I suppose is on the list because of the word “Democracy” is too close to “Democrat.” And then there’s a bunch of philosophers on the list that are pretty much “common reading” in graduate programs in this country: Nietzsche, Foucault, Adorno, Gramsci, etc.
Via Maud Newton’s blog, I came across this article, “Better read than dead,” which was published in the Toronto newspaper, Eye Weekly. Here’s my favorite paragraph:
Likewise, the harmful nature of many books on Human Events’ shit list — selected by a “panel of 15 conservative scholars” — can’t really be quantified in the loss of human life or destruction of property; rather, the selected books have been deemed most harmful because they dared to question the individual’s God-given right to accumulate maximum wealth despite the social consequences and to go home and be cared for by a dutifully subservient wife. (However, none of the books is so harmful as to escape the grasp of capitalism; the list comes complete with purchase links to Amazon.com.)