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


Steven M. Cohen writes "From Human Events Online

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."

[... and you'll never guess what No. 2 was! -a.k.]


This is a very odd list. John Dewey is more dangerous than Lenin? And no religious texts are dangerous? I want to see the safe list.

I guess I'm not as politically savvy as I thought. I would have thought that the Turner Diaries would have gotten a mention.

Was was bummed that Dr. Seus's The Sneetches didn't make the list, and completely surprised that Heather Has Two Mommies didn't. Maybe next year.

Hmmm. let's see, out of "15 distinguished scholars and public policy makers," they could only find one woman, and that would be Phyllis Schlafly. It is quite a stretch to call her either a scholar--distinguished or otherwise,or a public policy leader. I can't imagine that she has read any of the titles in the top ten besides Kinsey or Friedan. Like the Academy Awards where the members must verify that they have actually seen the films before they vote, I'd like to know how many of the panel have actually read the original work in its entirety before voting.

But you only eat the right wings, right??? ;)

Schlafly's main claim to fame is fighting against the ERA. Her Judas-effort made her the only woman eligible to vote. There aren't any other conservative women allowed to read or able to talk about it, evidently.

So tell me McCook, are you a fan of Mein Kampf? of The Communist Manifesto? Do you feel the ideas behind these, the ideas that *are* these books, do you feel they have brought good into the world? Do any of you?

Do any of you have any respect for the books on your shelves? Or are they just 'those books on the shelves'? Pulped wood? Unable to influence anyone at anytime?

We keep trying to make libraries relavent but when someone says that books have an impact on the world all of you laugh and make jokes, or worse actually get offended. You can't be a "L" Librarian if you don't respect the tools of the trade. And you're not respecting it if you don't respect its power for both good and evil.

They didn't say anything about banning the books. What they are doing is giving them the respect they deserve. They may not like what the books had to say but they are acknowledging that when the books first spoke they had a lasting and profound impact.

Only Schlafly was a female responder. No other woman's vocie was heard. They are anti-environment, anti-women, anti-Thought.
Hitler is alway a red herring for these people because then they can give an answer as above.

Yeah that's why Coulter, Ingraham, and Schlessinger are rolling in dough. Its why I just submitted a story the other day of the First Lady giving a rocking speech about women's rights to Muslim Leaders who don't let women vote or even drive cars. Its why the Secretary of State, *the Secretary of State*, the person who goes and talks to these little dictatorships on our behalf is a *black* *woman*.

The Bible certainly receives high marks for its use in justifying hatred.

And your title here is "Murder of Jews"?


In an exclusive scoop, C&J has uncovered a handful of others that are so scandalous the Bawk-Bawk-Bawk Brigade couldn't even print their names...

Goodnight Moon. Because the bunny is wearing blue pajamas and we all know what that means.

Webster's Dictionary---Because it has all "those words" in it.

Roget's Thesaurus---Because it helps you find even more ways to say "those words."

The Pet Goat. Because even the hardiest freepers cringe when they think about Bush and those seven minutes on 9/11. Ticktockticktock...

Yertle the Turtle. Rick Santorum can't read it without fainting. It's just all male turtle on turtle on turtle...wriggling and writhing and wet. What's next...a "Pride" parade??

Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever. Because math leads to science. Science leads to heathen claptrap like "evolution" and "global warming" and "stem-cell research."

Alice in Wonderland. Written by a pothead for potheads seeking to legitimize the reefer.

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun. Actually...they can live with that one.
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/6/2/94529/1 7337

Green Eggs and Ham. The story of a vicious, politically incorrect carnivore who harrasses an honest vegan because of the vegan's lifestyle choice, and in which the carnivore mercilessly stalks the vegan with samples of stolen food products from enslaved animals, chasing the vegan through increasing perilous encounters, including running him down with a car, jumping the car onto a moving train, then crashing the train onto a ship, sinking it with all hands, all the while engaging in psychological torture and mental cruelty while creating the appearance of being animal friendly by using various species as "allies" for propaganda value. In the end, the carnivore's mental abuse wears down the vegan and he violates his diatary principles, showing the mental damage he suffered by allowing as to how he enjoyed eating the stolen food products.

This madness must be stopped, and children must not be allowed to learn how it is all right stalk people for their personal convictions and run them down with cars. There is no telling what chaos could ensue in the city streets. Children exposed to this vile trash could all grow up to drive Yellow Cabs in New York City.

Duh, I just realized David Hume wrote in the 18th Century: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume/

The things that seems to come to my mind on these points are US-centrism(?), redundancy, long-term effect, and what the definition of harm is. The word 'harm' could just as easily been replaced with "negative impact on Conservatism in the United States".

The Protocols might be a good way to stir up anti-semitism in the Middle East but they have not managed to have much effect outside of that area. Mein Kampf probably makes the Protocols redundant, the fact that MK lead to one of the largest wars in our history also makes it irrelevant.

Lenin's writing maybe harmful but they are also probably redundant considering Marx's Communist Manifesto makes the top of the list. The reasons given for Dewey imply a direct impact on our own education system leading from then to today as well as highlighting threats beside communism.

We should have lists like this more often. Its good happy hour fodder. Now all I need is beer and wings.

As for Lenin and Dewey, its a question of what their writings accomplished not their own actions.

Books don't accomplish political or economic revolutions, people do.
And most of the titles on that list have to do, at bottom, with questioning authority. The descriptions of the top ten are also specious and misrepresentative of the works in question.

Unsafe at Any SpeedSilent SpringPopulation BombOrigin of the SpeciesOn LibertyJust... wow.I loved some of the phrasing in there... America, which everyone around the world envies and emulates (hah!)-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

Margaret Mead?
Adorno? (IIRC, he was writing in response to e.g. the Holocaust, and trying to explain why people obeyed orders to commit atrocities...so you would think that if the Nazis are bad (se Mein Kampf at #2) Adorno would be viwed positively.

Skinner and Freud? Seems like these guys don't like anyone who's attempting to explain the human mind.

The single most harmful book in human history is the Bible. Since the eleventh century on down -- the first crusades -- through one thousand years of so-called civilization, it has been used as an excuse for the most bloody-handed programs of genocide and religious warfare. Pogroms against the Jews as "Christ killers" (see the story of the crucifixion), and biblically inspired discrimination against Jews which set them up as moneylenders, slavery of Blacks who were "the Cursed Seed of Ham" (see the story of the flood), all the way up to the blind hatred of homosexuals and Wiccans and practioners of earth-based religions that they express today.

And what's the best the ultra-conservatives can come up with as examples of "harmful"? Economics, politics, philosophy, biology, and sociology.

What a bunch of assholes.

Well this is off-topic but I can't let it go...

I think the responsibility for a lot of these atrocities lies with the people who made them happen. "The book made me do it." seems a pretty lame excuse. I am not a Bible scholar but I think that the justification for most of your list lies in some pretty imaginative interpretations of the original text. Your quote is a good example of this: Cursed seed of Ham = African people? Are you sure that these things would not occurred if the Bible did not exist?

I admit that these things were, at least in part, perpetrated by self-identified Christians, but I think in most of those cases they were "reading" a lot of things into the original text.

Yes. I am a Christian.

The fascist group-think at that conservative paper is astounding. They work to destroy any ideas that challenge their perceived control of the U.S. They are unhappy when the working class shows muscle.God forbid there might be a Wat Tyler. Impt. to recognize that socialism is not universally perceived as an evil...to many it had and has great hope for equality of opportunity for people. Why, writing in defense of libraries a former UNC president wrote....
The Library As a Social and Democratic Force
Frank P. Graham.

"We might consider the German youth who went to the British Museum Library, gathered the facts of the industrial history of England, and packed them away with their dynamic power into his book, Das Kapital, which became the source of the socialist movement of the nineteenth century and the foundation of the Soviet Republics of this century."

For another look at the use of the Bible against Jews see:
THE GREAT MORTALITY:An Intimate History of the Black Death,the Most Devastating Plague of All Time.
This was a different century but a great number of pograms were carried out at this time as well. The Bible certainly receives high marks for its use in justifying hatred.

Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh? Would be perfect for the cabal trying to keep people dumb and ahistorical. Many reviewers on Amazon think these should all be mandatory reaidin inn skoolz instead of comiee buks. Mumper of Marion (Ohio's champion of academic freedom) thought Rush should be a tenured professor. Why not, in wingnut land, reinforcing CW from our betters is what good people do!

The list of books is restricted to the 19th and 20th century, books that have, by the look of them, somehow impacted our society. Any religous book less then a thousand years old, at this point, is probably going to be seen as redundant.

As for Lenin and Dewey, its a question of what their writings accomplished not their own actions.

The Bible? Isn't that a little ethnocentric? What about the Koran? And besides, atheists have killed more people in the 20th century than anyone in the previous 10 centuries. Between the Soviets and the Chinese, tens of millions died.

I'd like to thank "Human Events" for compiling my new reading list. Thanks guys!

Also, I'm suprised not to find David Hume for criticizing religious faith in the tradition of British Empiricism.

As for Lenin and Dewey, its a question of what their writings accomplished not their own actions.

And Dewey's writings accomplished more harm than Lenin's? How, exactly?

Also, notice what books from the 19th and 20th century aren't on the list, that one might reasonably have expected. One book whose absence leaps out at me is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Kinsey Report is the fourth most dangerous book in the last two centuries, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion doesn't even rate an honorable mention? And we're supposed to take this list seriously?

Labeling these books as "harmful" is the first step towards silencing their ideas - giving tools to those who would "clean up" schools, school libraries, and public libraries of harmful ideas in the name of protecting the children.

Of course, the distinguished scholars and commentators who compiled these lists will be far better read than those who follow their lead. But then knowledge is power - the ability to question and think for one's self - and we can't have that, now, can we?

As for Phyllis Schafly, I won't attack her bonafides - she has a law degree, after all -- but she's a hypocrite who refuses to acknowledge that the playing field is not level - that not every woman possesses the privileges she's enjoyed because of her class and race.

"A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."