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2005-06-02 1:10 PM
10 Most Harmful Books
I've found a new reading list...
The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries is a "fair and balanced" review of these books by a set of "conservative scholars and public policy leaders."
The stupidity involved makes me ill. The three leaders of the group are The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, and Quotations from Chairman Mao. So, obviously a lot of politics involved here. Apparently this crack panel of experts thinks that contradictory ideas are the most harmful thing in the last 2 centuries. Mein Kampf is my favorite of this group though... did they ever think maybe it was Hitler who was the harmful entity and not the book? I'd have to say the book is helpful because it helps you understand a person like Hitler, how they think, what motivates them. Knowing this kind of information helps you avoid problems like this again. However, as is my experience with the conservative mindset, they believe isolation from information is the right way to go. Sticking my head in the sand isn't my personal choice on living my life.
Next up is the Sexual Behavior in the Human Male or The Kinsey Report, which challenges many of the accepted beliefs about sex. I can imagine why these conservatives believe this book to be damaging... it says that 37% of all adult males have had at least one homosexual experience!
The funniest part of the next book, Democracy and Education is that their summary of why they think the book is harmful sounds like a really good reason to read it! It shuns traditional religious and moral absolutes, encourages teaching of thinking skills instead of morals. Sounds like a plan! Sign me up!
6th in the most harmful books list is Das Kapital. My favorite part of the summary:
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.
Interesting. So, let's think about this. We have a "capitalist" society here, right? I wonder where workers unions and minimum wage comes from? I wonder why we have trade restrictions with countries who exploit their labor. Hm..... maybe it's because there is truth to what Marx had to say! Let capitalists run amok and they WILL exploit the workers with the cheapest possible wages to earn the greatest profits. This is WHAT HAPPENED... and the government had to step in and put restrictions in place to protect the workers. These guys really have their heads in their asses.
The Feminine Mystique is 7th on the list because it projects the idea that women can be more than baby machines and home makers! Damn these uppity women, trying to use the same inherent intelligence and talents that men have. What the hell is wrong with them? To make sure to drive the point home about how evil and harmful this idea is, they make sure you know that Betty Friedan, the founding President of NOW, was a commie mutant traitor.... because she dated a physicist who worked on atomic bomb projects.
The summary for 8th in the list, The Course of Positive Philosophy, also amuses me because to me it reads like an excellent endorsement of the book... even though they meant to disparage it. I happen to agree that Theology was an excellent survival technique while humanity was establishing itself... but we've moved beyond the need for it. It only causes problems now.
Beyond Good and Evil by Neitzsche. Fav quote from the summary: "The Nazis loved Nietzsche." You wouldn't want to be like the Nazis, would you?
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money is 10th on the list, because it endorses the government taking action to help the economy by taking a debt burden upon itself. Then blames FDR for starting it. Funny thing is though... the conservative President we have now is running a MUCH larger debt than the previous liberal President... what does that say to you?
The upshot of this whole thing is that it makes me sad when I see supposedly educated people spouting such ignorant, head-in-the-sand, oppresive views.
Knowledge isn't harmful. You can read a book and disagree with what it said, but it doesn't harm you. It's an idea, whether you adopt the idea or not is up to you.
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