The “most harmful” books

Human Events magazine (which bills itself as “The National Conservative Weekly”) asked 15 “conservative scholars and public policy leaders” to list The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Century. Not suprisingly, Marx, Hitler and Mao took the top three positions. But also making appearances were The Kinsey Report< (“designed to give a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy”), John Dewey’s Democracy and Education (Dewey was a “leading advocate for secular humanism in American life”), Bettie Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique (which “disparaged traditional stay-at-home motherhood”) and John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (“a recipe for ever-expanding government”).

Those earning “honorable mention” included (in rank order): The Population Bomb, John Stuart Mills’ On Liberty, Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Ralph Nader’s Unsafe At Any Speed and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

[T]he ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas [and] the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market[.]

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, dissenting in Abrams v. United States (1919)

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