Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Century

Via Kevin Drum, the right-wing Human Events has listed their "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." Jeez, they hate commies.

Kevin and his liberal readership responded with a list of their own. The funny thing is as Kevin asks:
Where are the really famous and genuinely influential books of the past 200 years that liberals dislike as much as conservatives dislike Keynes and Kinsey? Not miscellaneous Regnery titles of the past couple of decades, but books published (at least) prior to 1970 that have had a wide impact on the course of public opinion.
He's right. I think Hayek and Friedman's ideas, which made Kevin's list, are laughable and immensely harmful when implemented in the real world -- ask any ordinary Latin American -- but I don't hate them and at least respect their libertarian ideas.

Also, I have a bone to pick with Human Events listing the Communist Manifesto as the most harmful book of the last two centuries because "[t]he Evil Empire of the Soviet Union put the Manifesto into practice." It pisses me off a little since whoever wrote the write-up hasn't read Marx. He certainly inspired the Bolsheviks, but they butchered his ideas. Marx would have laughed at a Communist revolution in Russia considering the economy was primarily based on agriculture and not industry. Therefore, the most harmful work should have been Lenin's What Is To Be Done -- who was undoubtedly an authoritarian prick.

The rest of the list and their "honorable mentions" really irked me as well, which included Darwin's The Origin of the Species, Dewey's Democracy and Education, Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Mill's On Liberty, and wait for it...Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed. So essentially humans need to be heavily burdened with undue regulations on behavior -- say homosexuality, prostitution, and recreational drug use -- but corporations should be able to operate free of regulation, even when they put out harmful, defective products. As Kevin likes to say of the right, moral values baby, moral values.