Who Our Conservatives Really Are

The conservative journal *Human Events* ran this list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. A certain worldview begins to emerge, oh, around number four.

14 Responses to “Who Our Conservatives Really Are”

  1. Ben Nagy Says:

    It’s absolutely terrifying that so-called “scholars” can consider any form of literature “harmful.” Books are not harmful, except if it’s really thick and somebody decides to bludgeon someone over the head with it (works best with hardcovers, I’m told). It’s what people do with the knowledge they gain from books that supplies the real harm — free will and all that jazz? And of the one, I’d agree with (there’s only one) — why in the ever-loving heck is “Mein Kampf” not No. 1? Scary, scary, scary.

  2. Bob Kennedy Says:

    Gotta disagree with Ben. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a “Ten Worst” list; if the concept of the ten most beneficial books is palatable, so is its flipside; if both concepts are despised, we’ve enterd Democracy Gone Awry (See: Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron).

    My issue with the list is its selections, not its existence. I would list stuff like The Turner Diaries, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and virtually any cookbook by Adele Davis. Does this make me a censor?

  3. Dan Coyle Says:

    I always experience a seizure when someone lists The Kinsey Report like that. Sooooo afraid of fucking, these conservatives are… because if you did something that made you feel good about yourself, then you might not think getting screwed over by the right is your patriotic duty.

    I wonder, given the freakouts some conservatives are having over it, that Revenge of the Sith will wind up on a movie list.

  4. Tom Peyer Says:

    I’m pissed off that they didn’t include the Giant-Man issues of Tales To Astonish.

  5. Richard Beland Says:

    “The Feminine Mystique”, a book advocating women’s rights, is harmful?? I didn’t realise Ralph Kramden was a scholar. But at least they included a token female on the panel.

  6. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    To Richard: The problem with “The Feminine Mystique” is not the upgrading of rights for women, but the downgrading of homemaking as a lifestyle for women. New feminists believe that women can do whatever they want to, not what somebody tells them they SHOULD want to do.

    In general: Understanding the list requires a foundation in modern philosophy. Strangely enough, one book that I would have put on the list was missing: Eros and Civilization, by Herbert Marcuse. Although it is not well known, it is indirectly responsible for a lot of damage, including the liberal wing of the Democrat Party taking a turn to the hard left even as the conservative wing of the Republican Party took a turn to the hard right.

  7. David Medinnus Says:

    Anything which raises people’s heads from the religious-reich/fascist-corporate grindstones would naturally be deemed anathema to Ye Olde Arch Conservative.

    What? Don’t get your moral compass from the dogme we control? How dare you!

    Consider that training people to think is more important than teaching them rote facts – and its requisite obedience? How dare you?

    Move women from support structures for their husbands, so they can have a free hand in maintaining the 1950’s male-dominant Conservative wet dream? How dare you?

    Think that perhaps any title which espouses anything but religious obedience and rapacious consumerism/capitalism might have any merit whatsover? How dare you?

    In short – think for yourself? How dare you!

    Conservatives are, to put it mildly, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Its a shame that the liberals can’t agree with each other long enough to take back the White House and COngress, though.

  8. Brian Spence Says:

    I’m puzzled by the selection of “Democracy and Education”. The article says that it “disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking “skills” instead.”

    The people who voted on this are teachers. University scholars. They don’t want you to think for yourself, they only want you to believe what they tell you. Creepy.

    That reminds me of a GREAT STORY:

    I went to school in Williamsburg, VA, and I had an Physical Science teacher who taught us that the Civil War was fought because the North wanted slaves, but couldn’t have them. Why couldn’t the North own slaves? Because black people’s skin is only suited for working outdoors. They need sunlight. If they worked in the North, they’d be working inside, in factories. They’d be useless workers inside factories. So the North was jealous of the Southern slave owners. Can you believe that?

    I was only in 8th grade, and I never suspected the authority figures in my life to be so dishonest before. I just stared dumbstruck, thinking,”is my teacher lying to me? That doesn’t sound right!” But I didn’t say anything to him, and neither did anyone else.

    There is a good ending to the story. The same teacher got thrown in jail for sexually harrassing a student. He didn’t touch anyone, he was just really creepy to all the girls.

  9. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    The problem with Dewey is not in what he wrote as much as the misapplication of what he wrote. He emphasized problem solving over learning by rote, but what we have in too many schools is neither.

  10. X-Ray Says:

    Books are not harmful?

    Mein Kampf, which advocates the universal murder of Jews, is not harmful?

    How blind can one be?

  11. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    And, one thing that must be remembered; just because a book can indirectly cause harm does NOT mean that people should not be allowed to read the book (unless, of course, you are a follower of Herbert Marcuse, which is a reason I felt his book should have been on the list).

  12. haven o'terrorism Says:

    This is a horrifying discussion.

    Books (that is to say, IDEAS) can only be dangerous in this bullshit “indirect-harm” way in a social or political sense anyway – obviously the currency of any revolutionary idea threatens an established social order much more than it threatens any individual with some kind of instant brainwashing. Which of course it doesn’t do at all! Although…you know, even if it did, that would still be better than a social conformity that made identifying “harmful” and “beneficial” books a proiority. Mao and Hitler and Stalin all put the power of the state behind this kind of ideologically righteous/heretical identification, and not just for kicks, so can we please stop debating the _accuracy_ of this would-be totalitarian listmaking?!? Which in itself is and has been far more “harmful” than any book ever written. I believe a list like this – ANY list like this – is a bottom-feeding piece of ideological crap just hoping that a populist despot will come along and enforce it one day, and it offends my natural liking for democracy.

    The button says “Say It!” Very well, I’ve said it. And by the way, not only do I disagree with the very existence of such a list, but it’s hard for me to imagine one that’d be stupider than this. Hey, they left out Plato and the Bible and Jonathan Livingston Seagull! Good God. What assholes. Bet they got that way from reading too much Tom Clancy or something.

  13. Delta Says:

    Wow, Darwin’s books made honorable mention. You know we’re truly threatened with the Dark Ages 2 when great insights of science are being labeled as harmful.

  14. Bob Kennedy Says:

    Just to bring this full circle…

    Here’s a list of the Ten Most Harmful Comic Books, from me and some other members of the YESand improv comedy site: