Thursday, March 01, 2007

LIST: The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

"To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor's prohibited list."
~John Aikin
What a great idea! How about we start with this one.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Mein Kampf is a good book. But it's interesting that, in the grand scheme of things, conservative scholars and public policy makers consider it less dangerous than The Communist Manifesto. Because, lord knows, genocide is much more palatable than the equitable division of labour and goods.

What's really weird, though, is that Walter the Farting Dog didn't even crack the list of honourable mentions.

[Thanks, Cap'n, for the link!]


Diablevert said...

Uh...not to be a parade-rainer, but Communism probably killed more people than Fascism. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Communist regimes killed more people than Fascist regimes. One could argue for days about whether Marx inevitably leads to Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot, just to list the heavy hitters---in fact, I'm sure people have sat in front of Phd thesis defense committees and done just that---but whether or not he has to, he did. Not a good sign, you know?

Doppelganger said...

And this is why I should stick with talking about books, not history.

My reasoning was that a book written by a fascist who then went on to commit horrific fascist acts is worse than a book written by a couple of intellectuals, which a bunch of other people ran with to commit horrible communist acts. But your points are taken.

J said...

Excellent. . . Townhall has provided links to Amazon in each of the books' blurbs. An opinion shouldn't get in the way of a little profit. Bravo.

Corey Redekop said...

This list has been up for awhile, and it never fails to
a) amuse me,
b) disgust me, and
c) make me weep.
I mean, seriously, could we get a more warped perspective on what is 'harmful?' I'll give you Mein Kampf, but I will also argue that it is not the book that is dangerous, it's the lunaticswho wield them. The Bible, anyone?
Trust me, on an updated list, An Inconvenient Truth will be added, because it's 'just more liberal hype over nothing.'

Stella said...

"FDR adopted [Keynes'] idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt."

Ha! The national debt is clearly all FDR's fault.

Anonymous said...

I am working on a case now that relates to the Supreme Court case, Island Trees School District v. Pico. That case deals with a school district that removed books from the high school & junior high library and from the 12th grade curriculum for being "just plain filthy" and "Anti-American." The books?
1) Slaughter House Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
2)The Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris
3) Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas
4) Best Short Stories of Negro Writers, edited by Langston Hughes
5) Go Ask Alice, of anonymous authorship
6) Laughing Boy, by Oliver LaFarge
7) Black Boy, by Richard Wright
8) A Hero Ain't Nothin' But A Sandwich, by Alice Childress
9) Soul On Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver
10) A Reader for Writers, edited by Jerome Archer
11) The Fixer, by Bernard Malamud

Pretty horrifying, eh?

Anonymous said...

I agree that many Communist leaders have done bad things in the name of Communism, but blaming that on The Communist Manifesto is like blaming everything bad that Christians do on The Bible itself. Which, granted, some people do, but I think that's similarly misguided.

Also, random observation, the list of scholars who rated the books consisted of fourteen men and one woman. The lone female? Phyllis Schlafly.

Long time reader, first time caller.

Anonymous said...

It is not surprising at all that The Communist Manifesto was rated as more dangerous than Mein Kampf. At least to the people doing the rankings. Communism threatens the very existence of capitalism, while fascism is an extreme form of capitalism. Historically, when forced to choose between fascism and communism, the capitalist class will always choose fascism. At least fascism allows them to continue to make profits at the exepense of workers. And besides, fascisms first act is to crush the trade unions, which the capitalists have been trying to do anyhow.
It is quite telling that Keynes is included in the list. Keynes, it can and has been argued, is one of the people who helped save capitalism from a communist revolution in many countries.
Also quite bizarre that Lenin's "What is to Be Done" makes the honorable mention while nothing else Lenin wrote did. But then again, the people voting probably never read it.
And Trotsky didn't even make the list. Show's what they know!

BabelBabe said...

You are all CLEARLY missing the point: not one of these books contains the word "scrotum" so how bad could they be?

Seriously, that list makes me want to run right out and read the ones I haven't. I never thought I'd WANT to read John Stuart Mill, and yet - here I am.