[Paleopsych] American Spectator: Another Perspective: The Liberty Reader

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Another Perspective: The Liberty Reader
    By [19]Ralph R. Reiland
    Published 6/16/2005 12:08:53 AM

    The idea of liberty never seemed especially scary to me. That was what
    we were all about as Americans -- people fleeing despotism. "Where
    liberty dwells, there is my country," declared Benjamin Franklin. I
    write for Liberty magazine. The Statue of Liberty is the American
    symbol, a salute to freedom, not to caution or obedience.
    I was surprised, consequently, to see John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, a
    classic defense of freedom and individual sovereignty, getting an
    honorable mention on a list published by Human Events of the [20]"Ten
    Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries."
    Human [21][Ad2_255x66.gif] Events, "The National Conservative Weekly,"
    asked a panel of 15 top conservatives to compile a list of books that
    have done the most damage to the human condition over the past 200
    There was no surprise about the books that placed first, second, third
    and sixth -- The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, Quotations from
    Chairman Mao and Das Kapital. All four inspired purification drives
    that resulted in the mass murder of millions of people by the state.
    The other six spots on the Top 10 list are more contentious. In the
    fourth slot, outranking Marx's Das Kapital in its hazard to humanity,
    is a 1948 study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, commonly
    known as "The Kinsey Report." Human Events claims that this report by
    Indiana University zoologist Alfred Kinsey was "designed to give a
    scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy."
    Kinsey's report, said the conservative Washington Times last year,
    "stunned the nation by saying that American men were so sexually wild
    that 95 percent of them could be accused of some kind of sexual
    offense under 1940s laws." One could argue that it's the state that is
    out of control when 95 percent of a population is classified as sexual
    It was 13 years after the publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human
    Male that Estelle Griswold, the wife of an Episcopal minister, and Dr.
    Lee Buxton, a licensed physician and a professor at the Yale Medical
    School, were dragged into court and convicted of providing medical
    information on contraception to married couples. It wasn't until four
    years later -- on June 7, 1965 -- that the Supreme Court reversed the
    conviction, maintaining that the outlawing of counseling about or the
    use of contraception was a violation of the constitutional right to
    Next on the list of dangerous ideas, coming in at No. 5, is John
    Dewey's Democracy and Education. Mr. Dewey "signed the 'Humanist
    Manifesto,'" says Human Events, and encouraged the teaching of
    "thinking skills" instead of "traditional character development," and
    thereby "helped nurture the Clinton generation."
    The seventh most harmful book is The Feminine Mystique by Betty
    Friedan, published in 1963. Traditional stay-at-home motherhood was
    like "a comfortable concentration camp," wrote Friedan. Human Events
    reports that this founding president of the National Organization for
    Women was a longtime "Stalinst Marxist" who was "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." We're lucky
    these well-connected hot bodies didn't nuke the Republican National
    Dangerous book No. 8 is The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste
    Comte. He's the one who coined the term "sociology" and said man could
    figure out things better through science than theology.
    Book No. 9 is Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. He argued, correctly I
    think, that the world isn't run by moral rules; instead, "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."
    And finally, the danger of bad economics comes in at No. 10, with the
    General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard
    Keynes, published during the depths of the Great Depression. "The book
    is a recipe for ever-expanding government," says Human Events,
    referring to the Keynesian idea that governments could reverse
    downward economic cycles by means of deficits, borrowing and higher
    levels of state spending.
    There's cause for disagreement about the animus against Keynes,
    Nietzsche, Comte, Friedan, Dewey and Kinsey. But when it comes to the
    defense of liberty and individual freedom, it seems that conservatives
    should see that John Stuart Mill provided a wise caution. "Whatever
    crushes individuality is despotism," he wrote in "On Liberty,"
    "whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the
    injunctions of men."
    For the next Top 10 contest, some good conservative editor should ask
    for a list of the most damage done when conservatives abandoned their
    principles and pushed for a bigger and more intrusive state.

    Ralph R. Reiland (rrreiland at aol.com) is the B. Kenneth Simon professor
    of free enterprise at Robert Morris University and a columnist with
    the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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