[Paleopsych] Human Events: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

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Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

[Absent from this list are books promoting racial equality, such as Franz Boaz, 
The Mind of Primitive Man, Ashley Montagu, Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The 
Fallacy of Race, and Gunnar Myrdall, The American Dilemma. Conservatives now 
are committed racial egalitarians. Some of these books would have been included 
thirty years ago.

[Also absent are any books of Biblical "higher criticism" that attacked the 
historical basis of Christianity. Perhaps the presence of so many 
non-Christians on the panel had something to do with this lack of concern.

[Placing Mein Kampff as no. 2 is odd, as the book hardly changed anyone's mind 
and very few of the 10^7 copies were actually read, even though it required as 
a gift to wedding couples in Germany during the National Socialist period. The 
basic message of the book is that democracy had failed and that Germany should 
get the territories back that were taken from it by the victors after the Great 
War. Toward the end, Hitler went on to add restoration of territory held by the 
Germans back in the days of the Teutonic Knights. I read the whole dreary 
thing, as mercifully cut down in half by Rudolf Hess. Jews took up surprisingly 
few pages in the book. The book itself was not among the top ten in being 

[It is appalling that Darwin's two greatest books got dishonorable mentions. So 
also with Nietzsche on the full list and Foucault in the supplement. 
Conservatives simply do not understand these two and are scarcly better with 

[On the other hand, I'm glad that Mead, Adorno, and Freud made it. I'd have put 
Freud on the main list, nearly forgotten as he is today.

[Why not put Einstein, as espouser of relativism, on the list? Paul Johnson 
opened Modern Times by citing the verification of general relativity theory in 
predicting Mercury's deviation from the Newtonian orbit in 1915.

[I've actually read the Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampff, Kinsey, Friedan, and 
Nietzsche, in the main list, and Skinner, The Origin of Species, and Reich in 
the supplement.]

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public
policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books
of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of
titles and then voted on a ballot including all books nominated. A
title received a score of 10 points for being listed No. 1 by one of
our panelists, 9 points for being listed No. 2, etc. Appropriately,
The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the
highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing.

1. The Communist Manifesto

Authors: Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
Publication date: 1848
Score: 74
Summary: Marx and Engels, born in Germany in 1818 and 1820,
respectively, were the intellectual godfathers of communism. Engels
was the original limousine leftist: A wealthy textile heir, he
financed Marx for much of his life. In 1848, the two co-authored
[1]The Communist Manifesto as a platform for a group they belonged to
called the Communist League. The Manifesto envisions history as a
class struggle between oppressed workers and oppressive owners,
calling for a workers' revolution so property, family and
nation-states can be abolished and a proletarian Utopia established.
The Evil Empire of the Soviet Union put the Manifesto into practice.

2. Mein Kampf

Author: Adolf Hitler
Publication date: 1925-26
Score: 41
Summary: [2]Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was initially published in two
parts in 1925 and 1926 after Hitler was imprisoned for leading Nazi
Brown Shirts in the so-called "Beer Hall Putsch" that tried to
overthrow the Bavarian government. Here Hitler explained his racist,
anti-Semitic vision for Germany, laying out a Nazi program pointing
directly to World War II and the Holocaust. He envisioned the mass
murder of Jews, and a war against France to precede a war against
Russia to carve out "lebensraum" ("living room") for Germans in
Eastern Europe. The book was originally ignored. But not after Hitler
rose to power. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, there were 10
million copies in circulation by 1945.

3. Quotations from Chairman Mao

Author: Mao Zedong
Publication date: 1966
Score: 38
Summary: Mao, who died in 1976, was the leader of the Red Army in the
fight for control of China against the anti-Communist forces of Chiang
Kai-shek before, during and after World War II. Victorious, in 1949,
he founded the People's Republic of China, enslaving the world's most
populous nation in communism. In 1966, he published [3]Quotations from
Chairman Mao Zedong, otherwise known as The Little Red Book, as a tool
in the "Cultural Revolution" he launched to push the Chinese Communist
Party and Chinese society back in his ideological direction. Aided by
compulsory distribution in China, billions were printed. Western
leftists were enamored with its Marxist anti-Americanism. "It is the
task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression
and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S.
imperialism," wrote Mao.

4. The Kinsey Report

Author: Alfred Kinsey
Publication date: 1948
Score: 37
Summary: Alfred Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University who, in
1948, published a study called [4]Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,
commonly known as [5]The Kinsey Report. Five years later, he published
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The reports were designed to give
a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy.
"Kinsey's initial report, released in 1948 . . . stunned the nation by
saying that American men were so sexually wild that 95% of them could
be accused of some kind of sexual offense under 1940s laws," the
Washington Times reported last year when a movie on Kinsey was
released. "The report included reports of sexual activity by
boys--even babies--and said that 37% of adult males had had at least
one homosexual experience. . . . The 1953 book also included reports
of sexual activity involving girls younger than age 4, and suggested
that sex between adults and children could be beneficial."

5. Democracy and Education

Author: John Dewey
Publication date: 1916
Score: 36
Summary: John Dewey, who lived from 1859 until 1952, was a
"progressive" philosopher and leading advocate for secular humanism in
American life, who taught at the University of Chicago and at
Columbia. He signed the Humanist Manifesto and rejected traditional
religion and moral absolutes. In [6]Democracy and Education, in
pompous and opaque prose, he disparaged schooling that focused on
traditional character development and endowing children with hard
knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking "skills" instead.
His views had great influence on the direction of American
education--particularly in public schools--and helped nurture the
Clinton generation.

6. Das Kapital

Author: Karl Marx
Publication date: 1867-1894
Score: 31
Summary: Marx died after publishing a first volume of this massive
book, after which his benefactor Engels edited and published two
additional volumes that Marx had drafted. [7]Das Kapital forces the
round peg of capitalism into the square hole of Marx's materialistic
theory of history, 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. 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.

7. The Feminine Mystique

Author: Betty Friedan
Publication date: 1963
Score: 30
Summary: In [8]The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan, born in 1921,
disparaged traditional stay-at-home motherhood as life in "a
comfortable concentration camp"--a role that degraded women and denied
them true fulfillment in life. She later became founding president of
the National Organization for Women. Her original vocation, tellingly,
was not stay-at-home motherhood but left-wing journalism. As David
Horowitz wrote in a review for Salon.com of Betty Friedan and the
Making of the Feminine Mystique by Daniel Horowitz (no relation to
David): The author documents that "Friedan was from her college days,
and until her mid-30s, a Stalinist Marxist, the political intimate of
the leaders of America's Cold War fifth column and for a time even the
lover of a young Communist physicist working on atomic bomb projects
in Berkeley's radiation lab with J. Robert Oppenheimer."

8. The Course of Positive Philosophy

Author: Auguste Comte
Publication date: 1830-1842
Score: 28
Summary: Comte, the product of a royalist Catholic family that
survived the French Revolution, turned his back on his political and
cultural heritage, announcing as a teenager, "I have naturally ceased
to believe in God." Later, in the six volumes of [9]The Course of
Positive Philosophy, he coined the term "sociology." He did so while
theorizing that the human mind had developed beyond "theology" (a
belief that there is a God who governs the universe), through
"metaphysics" (in this case defined as the French revolutionaries'
reliance on abstract assertions of "rights" without a God), to
"positivism," in which man alone, through scientific observation,
could determine the way things ought to be.

9. Beyond Good and Evil

Author: Freidrich Nietzsche
Publication date: 1886
Score: 28
Summary: An oft-scribbled bit of college-campus graffiti says: "`God
is dead'--Nietzsche" followed by "`Nietzsche is dead'--God."
Nietzsche's profession that "God is dead" appeared in his 1882 book,
The Gay Science, but under-girded the basic theme of [10]Beyond Good
and Evil, which was published four years later. Here Nietzsche argued
that men are driven by an amoral "Will to Power," and that superior
men will sweep aside religiously inspired moral rules, which he deemed
as artificial as any other moral rules, to craft whatever rules would
help them dominate the world around them. "Life itself is essentially
appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker,
suppression, severity, imposition of one's own forms, incorporation
and, at the least and mildest, exploitation," he wrote. The Nazis
loved Nietzsche.

10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

Author: John Maynard Keynes
Publication date: 1936
Score: 23
Summary: Keynes was a member of the British elite--educated at Eton
and Cambridge--who as a liberal Cambridge economics professor wrote
[11]General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in the midst of
the Great Depression. The book is a recipe for ever-expanding
government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of
industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up
deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR
adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a
$2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.

Honorable Mention

These books won votes from two or more judges:

The Population Bomb
by Paul Ehrlich
Score: 22

What Is To Be Done
by V.I. Lenin
Score: 20

Authoritarian Personality
by Theodor Adorno
Score: 19

On Liberty
by John Stuart Mill
Score: 18

Beyond Freedom and Dignity
by B.F. Skinner
Score: 18

Reflections on Violence
by Georges Sorel
Score: 18

The Promise of American Life
by Herbert Croly
Score: 17

Origin of the Species
by Charles Darwin
Score: 17

Madness and Civilization
by Michel Foucault
Score: 12

Soviet Communism: A New Civilization
by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Score: 12

Coming of Age in Samoa
by Margaret Mead
Score: 11

Unsafe at Any Speed
by Ralph Nader
Score: 11

Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Score: 10

Prison Notebooks
by Antonio Gramsci
Score: 10

Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson
Score: 9

Wretched of the Earth
by Frantz Fanon
Score: 9

Introduction to Psychoanalysis
by Sigmund Freud
Score: 9

The Greening of America
by Charles Reich
Score: 9

The Limits to Growth
by Club of Rome
Score: 4

Descent of Man
by Charles Darwin
Score: 2

The Judges

These 15 scholars and public policy leaders served as judges in
selecting the Ten Most Harmful Books.

Arnold Beichman
Research Fellow
Hoover Institution

Prof. Brad Birzer
Hillsdale College

Harry Crocker
Vice President & Executive Editor
Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Prof. Marshall DeRosa
Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Don Devine
Second Vice Chairman
American Conservative Union

Prof. Robert George
Princeton University

Prof. Paul Gottfried
Elizabethtown College

Prof. William Anthony Hay
Mississippi State University

Herb London
Hudson Institute

Prof. Mark Malvasi
Randolph-Macon College

Douglas Minson
Associate Rector
The Witherspoon Fellowships

Prof. Mark Molesky
Seton Hall University

Prof. Stephen Presser
Northwestern University

Phyllis Schlafly
Eagle Forum

Fred Smith
Competitive Enterprise Institute



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