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The Ten Most Harmful Books List

 

By James Donahue

September 2005

 

Earlier in the year Human Events published a list of the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the Ninteenth and Twentieth Centuries” chosen by a hand-picked panel of 15 “conservative scholars and public policy leaders.”

 

We were shocked at the books they selected. The choices nearly all opposed the traditional American value system based on conservative Christian and capitalist thought. All of the books were penned by men and women with great minds and clearly sparked revolutions in thought and politics in their day. Only one of the chosen books was written by a woman.

 

The Communist Manifesto was at the top of the list. This book, published by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels in 1848, became the platform for the political revolution that swept Russia and China and established a new idea in government that quickly became the ideological enemy of capitalism. The book envisions history as a class struggle between oppressed workers and oppressive owners. Communism was on the right track. It failed, however, because it omitted the spiritual component that is a key necessity for human evolution. The book does not belong on this list.

 

The second book on the list was Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf published in two parts in 1925 and 1926. The book is both an autobiography and a political manifesto of political thought that, like the work of Marx and Engels, stirred a revolution in human thought. This makes the work a brilliant work, in spite of the change it brought to the world. In the book Hitler explains his belief in the purity of the Aryan race, condemns racial cross breeding, and claims a conspiracy by the Jews to take over the world. Hitler might have succeeded in world dominion if he hadn’t fallen victim to narcotics. His addiction to amphetamines and heroin caused errors in judgment that probably cost Germany the war. Hitler had a brilliant understanding of the need for humans to repair their genetic root, but his solution to this problem took the Germans on a wrong track. Thus we agree that the book probably belongs in the “harmful” book list.

 

Number three on the list is Quotations from Chairman Mao, also known as The Little Red Book, published in 1966. This book, published after Mao was in power in Communist controlled China, was a tool for a cultural revolution in which Mao wanted to direct the Chinese people in his personal ideology. During these years China went into a state of isolationism, the terrible “red guard” was established, and the people lived under a state of oppression. It became an extreme misuse of Communism as a government system. Consequently, we agree that this work also belongs in the harmful books list.

 

Book four on the list is The Kinsey Report, published in 1948 and 1953. The report is actually two books that are sociological studies in the sexual behavior of human men and women. The study brought to light the secret sexual practices of both sexes in a nation living under the microscope of Christian moralists, where all sexual activity other than that among married couples for the purposes of procreation are considered sinful acts. Thus the book, which revealed sodomy, cunnilingus and feliatio as commonly practiced sexual behavior among men and women, men with men, and women with women, was condemned as being a bad influence on the American culture. We believe it was a healthy revelation and should be excluded from this list.

 

John Dewey’s Democracy and Education is the fifth book on the condemnation list. Dewey was a progressive philosopher at University of Chicago and Columbia. He was an outstanding advocate for secular humanism. His book rejects traditional religion and moral absolutes so became a target of Christians. He was critical of educational standards that stressed character development and encouraged the teaching of thought. Many have accused Dewey of having been the cause of the decline of educational standards in the United States. We disagree and believe Dewey’s ideas were, and are still worth serious consideration. This book clearly should be excluded from the list of harmful books.

 

Another less-known book by Marx, Das Kapital, was chosen as the sixth most harmful book. This book, published just before Marx’s death, identifies capitalism as “an ugly phase in the development of human society.” Marx correctly points to the way capitalists exploit labor by paying the cheapest wages to gain the greatest possible profits. He saw the eventual outcome of capitalism in America and Europe as a revolution into socialism. We believe Marx was a prophet who did not live to see his vision come to pass. This brilliant work does not belong on this list of harmful literature.

 

Book number seven was The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Friedan was obviously a voice in her day for the woman’s liberation movement. She advocated the thought that women in America were degraded when forced to stay-at-home as slaves to motherhood. She promoted freedom for women, which smacks in the teeth of the male-dominated capitalist-Christian way of life. The book triggered a revolution among women but the revolution stopped too short. Friedan failed to condemn the religious involvement, the institution of marriage and prohibition of abortion, all keys to maintaining male control over women. This book helped awaken women to a social injustice and does not belong on a list of condemned writings.

 

Auguste Comte’s The Course of Positive Philosophy, 1830, was the choice for slot number eight. Comte, who grew up in a Catholic home, denounced Christianity. In it, the author claimed that he “ceased to believe in God.” He argued that the human mind has developed beyond theology, or a belief that the universe is governed by a god. He advocated instead “positivism,” in which man alone must determine the way things ought to be. Comte was on the right path. Like the other authors on this list, he failed to reach far enough, however, and find the divinity within. This book, the product of a brilliant, right-brain thinker, clearly does not belong on a list for condemnation.

 

How can we be surprised that Freidrich Nietzsche would have a book show up on the list. Chosen for position number nine is Beyond Good and Evil. This book followed Nietzsche’s shocking declaration that God is Dead. In it, he argued that men are driven by an amoral “will to power” and that superior men sweep aside religiously inspired moral rules and craft whatever rules that give them personal power. One need not look too hard to find Nietzsche’s concepts at work in today’s right-wing Christian inspired America. The book is brilliant and reflects the mind of a bright contemporary thinker. It caused no harm, except to force creative thought among a few brain-dead religious zealots.

 

General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes belongs on the list. It probably should be moved higher in line, right behind the Holy Bible, which is totally absent. This book outlines the twisted philosophy behind the capitalist system of business. It is a recipe for an ever-expanding government that has played a key role in U.S. government policies since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Written during the Great Depression, Keynes argues that when there is a contraction of industry and jobs, government should run up deficits, borrow and spend money to spur economic activity. This is exactly what FDR did. It has been going on ever since.

 

It is our belief that the Bible belongs on this list because it presents the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the human race. It is a twisted version of truth, which makes it even more dangerous. It has been the foundation for both the Hebrew and Christian religious systems that have enslaved mankind for thousands of years. It is not included, of course.
















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