Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Books Conservatives Haven't Read

Along with Here's What's Left, Brad DeLong, No More Mister Nice Blog, and Lawyers, Guns and Money, I've been enjoying dissecting the list of books prepared by the list of conservative "scholars" and public policy "leaders" over at Human Events Online as being the "most harmful" of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Here are the Top Ten:

The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels
Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong
The Kinsey Report, Alfred Kinsey
Democracy and Education, John Dewey
Das Kapital, Karl Marx
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
The Course of Positive Philosophy, August Comte
Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Maynard Keynes

And the runners-up:

The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich
What Is To Be Done, V.I. Lenin
Authoritarian Personality, Theodor Adorno
On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B.F. Skinner
Reflections on Violence, Georges Sorel
The Promise of American Life, Herbert Croly
Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault
Soviet Communism: A New Civilization, Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead
Unsafe at Any Speed, Ralph Nader
Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon
Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud
The Greening of America, Charles Reich
The Limits to Growth, Club of Rome
Descent of Man, Charles Darwin

And yes, it's true. HEO still has Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species mis-titled as Origin of the Species on its webpage. If they can't get the title right, it's hard to imagine they've bothered to read anything between the covers.

Now, I'm a little surprised they earmarked Hitler's Mein Kampf. After all, they're advertising this book on their webpage, which seems pretty similar to the content of Mein Kampf. Maybe they think that by coming out against Hitler they'll make us think they have a soft side.

As for John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, I suspect that beyond not liking the book's libertarian perspective, conservatives probably consider it to be too utilitarian-positivist, which as Michael from Here's What's Left tells us, is a particularly offensive schematic for traditionalists to handle.

I'd attempt a play by play as to why the others are on the list, but I won't. That they don't like women, consumers, and education is plain enough to see.

But at least the list gives us some idea about what we should be reading. If you read any of these books, Michael Medved will cry.

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