June 01, 2005

Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Did you know that the Kinsey Report was the fourth most harmful book of the past two centuries? And that John Dewey's DEMOCRACY AND EDUCATION was close on its heels at #5? Betty Friedan's THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE is at #7.

Honorable Mentions go to Rachel Carlson for THE SILENT SPRING, Ralph Nader's UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED, and Paul Ehrlich's THE POPULATION BOMB, among others. Apparently for the authors' unwillingness to lie down and let unhampered greed destroy our home planet.

And John Stuart Mill's ON LIBERTY is there too.

The list comes from a panel of 15 "conservative scholars and public policy leaders" gathered by HUMAN EVENTS, the conservative weekly.

Actually there are also some choices on the list that I, or any sane person, would agree with: the first three are THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, MEIN KAMPF, and THE QUOTATIONS OF CHAIRMAN MAO. (Although the placing of Hitler at #2 instead of #1 is a tipoff.)

But Kinsey right behind Mao?

Taken as a whole, the list, as reader Charles Martin says in sending it to me, does an "excellent job of proving these people are nuts."

UPDATE: Immediately after posting this I went to Althouse's blog, where I found that she had posted about the same list an hour earlier, unbeknownst to me. She adds a great riff on lists, focusing on THE BOOK OF LISTS from 1977.