Thursday, June 02, 2005

Harmful Books

Note: I am supposed to be guest blogging this week over at The View From The Nest. Unfortunately, after logging in as a guest I've run into some kind of technical hangup where I cannot enter text into the introduction box or main body box in order to compile a post at the site. All I can do is enter text into the headline field which is kind of useless if that's all you can do. I've tried switching browsers from Safari to Internet Explorer with no luck. Could it be a Mac thing? If so, I'll have to wait until later this evening when I can access a PC.
In the meantime, posted below is what would have been my first post at the Nest.

Hello, I’m Mike Thomas and I run the San Antonio-based blog Rhetoric & Rhythm. I’ll be your token liberal guest blogger while Ranten N. Raven is on his sabattical. I want to express my appreciation to Mr. Raven for inviting me to participate in this endeavor along with Bill Crawford of All Things Conservative and Christina of Feisty Repartee.

I thought I would kick things off by calling attention to the list of the Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries as determined by a special panel of so called experts put together by the far right-wing magazine Human Events.

Their list starts off predictably enough with the right-wing’s No. 1 boogeyman Karl Marx and his notorious “Communist Manifesto.” I imagine that old Karl must haunt most right-wingers’ dreams like Freddie Krueger. Then we have Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” which would probably make any group’s list regardless of political persuasion, followed by “Quotations from Chairman Mao.”

After that, however, things start to get a little weird. No. 4 on the list is Alfred Kinsey’s Report on Sexual Behavior exposing this group’s obsessive fear of anything dealing with sex. Then we have “Democracy and Education” by the liberal educator and philosopher John Dewey, which they blame for all of our problems with public schools.

Karl Marx is back again at No. 6 with “Das Kapital,” which very few, if any, right-wingers have actually read. But, hey, it’s by Marx so it must be pretty scary!
Betty Friedan’s classic tome “The Feminine Mystique” is bashed for giving women the idea that they could occassionaly come out of the kitchen and put shoes on.

Capping off the Top 10 is “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” by John Maynard Keynes, the New Deal era economist whose policies helped bring the country out of the Depression and built up a solid Middle Class that still anchors our society to this day. But the Human Events panel blames Keynes for the nation’s multi-trillion dollar debt, conveniently ignoring the fact that most of that debt was added during the reign of very anti-Keynesian presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

This list of books that were given honorable mentions is also a hoot including:

“On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill; “Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin; “Unsafe at Any Speed” by Ralph Nader;  ”Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson; 
“Introduction to Psychoanalysis” by Sigmund Freud; and “The Greening of America” by Charles Reich.

I just have to say that this list tells us more about the people that compiled it than anything else. It’s kind of sad really that they would feel threatened by so many books that essentially helped to stretch the bounds of liberty that had constrained so many people both culturally and intellectually throughout human history.

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