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literate as hell

Human Events, the bizarrely titled American conservative magazine, has published a list of what its panel has voted "the ten most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries". The result is unintentionally hilarious. Apart from the inclusion of Mao's Little Red Book and the obviously and undeniably evil Mein Kampf, most of the books are remarkable in their un-scariness. What's actually scary is the idea that a bunch of people think that The Feminine Mystique, Origin of the Species, Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty are as harmful as Hitler.

Link from Alchemy Girl in the Chicklit Forums.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:30 am (UTC)
I've got to agree with their top 3 but think the 16th Amendment to the US constitution should be in there...
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:44 am (UTC)
Man, I don't like the idea of "a harmful book" even if we're talking about Mein Kampf. There was a bit more to the Holocaust than "someone wrote a nasty book". As they've noted themselves, noone took much notice of it until Hitler was in power. At least Kinsey, Friedan et al actually wrote influential books in their own right.

Looking at their comments on Keynes, they don't seem to be terribly keen on the idea of big national deficits. I wonder if they've mentioned this to their president?
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:32 am (UTC)
Looking at their comments on Keynes, they don't seem to be terribly keen on the idea of big national deficits. I wonder if they've mentioned this to their president?

Maybe they objected to the bit about paying off your huge national deficit when the economy is doing well.

OK I should really stop spamming stellanova's page and go read the thing.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:50 am (UTC)
Did you see that Silent Spring was in the list of runners-up.

I mean *Silent Spring*!!! Damaging to anyone other than rapacious business?
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:57 am (UTC)
Exactly -- see my post below! I think we both posted at the same time!
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:18 am (UTC)
What's particularly bizarre about it is that the major shortterm effect of Silent Spring was to alert the world to the dangers of DDT. I haven't noticed any movement on the part of America's conservative movement to reinstate DDT as the pesticide of choice in the American heartlands...
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:56 am (UTC)
And what about Rachel Carson's Silent Spring? Presumably, people classing something as 'dangerous' means that they don't agree with it, and if people aren't listening to environmentalists then all the arguments about which ideologies and '-isms' are right, wrong or dangerous will be moot, since we won't have a viable or inhabitable planet to carry them out on.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)
It's dangerous because the earth was given to us to exploit, and we can and should do as we like with it and the environment, 'cos otherwise we're disobeying God.

I find just one or two problems with that position, as you might guess . . .
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)
But even for right-wing conservatives, what about the whole idea of 'stewardship'? Doesn't it imply some kind of responsibility? I always thought (and possibly wrongly) that though Christian thinking does set humans above the rest of creation, that means that in our greater wisdom & benifience (etc. etc.) we should look after everything else?
Jun. 3rd, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)
I've come across right-wing conservative Christians who think stewardship means taking care of the world, and those who don't (and those who think explotiation of the environment is literally a God-given right). They've tended to share an outlook that things can't get too bad, because God won't let them. The world is made for our benefit, and therefore cannot be any other than beneficial for us.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:32 am (UTC)
God is going to swoop down and fix the ozone layer, didn't you know? That is, if ozone depletion isn't a made-up conspiracy of atheist environmentalists.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:30 am (UTC)
My fucking god.
Origin of the Species and On Liberty? So what, these guys think that it all went wrong from the Enlightenment onwards?
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:33 am (UTC)
I think you just summed up their entire world view...
Jun. 3rd, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
It's been downhill since the 14th century, y'all. Give up your liberal godless ideals!
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:35 am (UTC)
Also, I'm going to bookmark that page and with the exception of Mein Kampf and the ones I've read, I'll stick the whole list on my Amazon wish list. It's like an introduction to liberal politics and philosophy.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)
Let me get this straight. John Maynard KEYNES is responsible for the US budget deficit???

The Maynard Keynes who died in, oh...let me check...1946?

Ah yes. More mental mush brought to you by the people who think Mark Felt is a traitor and Nixon was "misunderstood."

Quick, pass the horse tranquilizers.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC)
Given the sexual shenannigans that have recently come to light with some of the ultra-right, I'd be careful with that word, "horse."
Jun. 3rd, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Also, is it wrong of me to note the limited literacy of the list's author? "Origin of the Species" is not actually a book, for a start. And there's all those partial. Rather staccato. Sentences.

But I am delighted that Gramsci's Prison Notebooks made it in.

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.

Gosh, but then, neither can I, and I must logically be much nearer that utopia that Marx was.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
There is one woman on that panel. One. And this is why The Fountainhead didn't make the cut.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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