This list of “most harmful books”, from a right-wing website, has been making the rounds. The usual suspects are in evidence: Hitler, Marx, Keynes, Friedan. And a few unexpected names – John Stuart Mill gets an honorable mention?! WTF?
Much has been made of the creepy book-burning connotations of the list; but I think it’s worth asking what they mean by “harmful” before writing them off as a bunch of censoring fascists. Harmful to readers, or harmful to humanity as a whole? If the latter, at least one of the books has some claim to it’s position. IF you believe that Marx and Engels are responsible for Communism, and IF you believe that Communism is responsible for Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, et al (two very big IFs), then The Communist Manifesto could be considered the cause of over 110 million deaths – making that little book four times more harmful than the Bubonic Plague. It’s a stretch, but I can see their reasoning. Using that logic, there is some logic for including Dewey in that list too – although he wasn’t responsible for widespread carnage, just the dumbing-down of several generations of children.
Most of the others are on more dubious ground, however.
Various commentators have pointed out that through the Amazon Associate links for each book in that article, Human Events gets a cut of every book purchased as a result of people clicking-through from that list. If their goal is to suppress the books, they are off to a lousy start.
Anyway, enjoy reading what your friendly neighborhood Bible-bangers consider dangerously subversive reading material…