June 1, 2005

Books! Baaaddd

I guess this is somewhat old news, but "Human Events Online," which proclaims itself to be The National Conservative Weekly, has published a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
The list was compiled by 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders.
The books? It includes Keynes, Kinsey, Marx (twice!), Mao, Hitler, and other seminal favorites.
The Scholars? An executive of Regnery Publishing (the firm headed by Bob Novak's son, that Bob Novak shamelessly promotes without ever admitting the connection), Phyllis Schlafly, some Hoover Institute person, and no-name college professors.

The thing about the list is that the logic behind it is absurd. They aren't advocating banning these books, they just talk about the supposed effects of these books. Marx's manifesto is number one because "
The Evil Empire of the Soviet Union put the Manifesto into practice," and they even manage to toss in something about Engels being Marx's wealthy patron, as if that's relevant.
Apparently Kinsey himself created the sexual revolution.
Besides ridiculous exaggerations about the perspectives and arguments of these authors, what they really mean to condemn are the movements and beliefs associated with these authors.
For example, Mein Kampf. Yes, a horrible book by a horrible man. Was it actually harmful? No. Nobody read the damn thing until a while after Hitler came to power, even they admit this. They criticize Dewey for encouraging secularism and the teaching of "thinking skills" in education. They pick Comte, the founder of Sociology, because apparently 'positivism' is one of the worse crises to befall mankind in the past 200 years. The explanation for The Feminine Mystique is flat out incoherent.

What's even funnier is the list of honorable mentions: Darwin (twice!), Nader, BF Skinner, Rachel Carson, and even John Stuart Mill. They don't justify the honorable mentions unfortunately. I'd really love to see how Rachel Carson fucked up this past century. I mean, for the love of god, at the very least, you can acknowledge she helped save the Bald Eagle.

Anyway, I really need a subscription to this site, for two reasons. One, if I want material to lampoon conservative ideologues, this is pretty much a never-ending fountain of hilarity.
Second, this front page article:

Human Events FreedomFest 2005; Go Dartmouth; and More

Tangent: I'm awake feebly attempting to write a paper due in a few hours, and Billy Idol was on Conan. I think his cameo in The Wedding Singer was his chance to bow out. I mean, relative to watching him croon with an acoustic guitar, or attempt White Wedding, it would've been more graceful if he had stopped after the Adam Sandler flick.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thank you Niral for posting that. A few comments:

    They don't even attempt a criticism of Kinsey's findings, they blame the federal debt on Keynes and FDR (??), and they use quotation marks to ironicize "abstract assertions of 'rights' without a God" in the Comte part.

    Nice to see many of my favorite authors, especially Foucault and Adorno, on the list or getting honorable mention. I'm surprised Zinn's People's History of the United States, which I'm reading now, didn't make the cut.

    And who the hell is this Robert George, the Princeton prof who was one of the judges? Some Googling is in order I think.