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derrida derrida is offline
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 08:45 AM        "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries&
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7591

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles and then voted on a ballot including all books nominated. A title received a score of 10 points for being listed No. 1 by one of our panelists, 9 points for being listed No. 2, etc. Appropriately, The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing.

1. The Communist Manifesto


Authors: Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
Publication date: 1848
Score: 74
Summary: Marx and Engels, born in Germany in 1818 and 1820, respectively, were the intellectual godfathers of communism. Engels was the original limousine leftist: A wealthy textile heir, he financed Marx for much of his life. In 1848, the two co-authored The Communist Manifesto as a platform for a group they belonged to called the Communist League. The Manifesto envisions history as a class struggle between oppressed workers and oppressive owners, calling for a workers’ revolution so property, family and nation-states can be abolished and a proletarian Utopia established. The Evil Empire of the Soviet Union put the Manifesto into practice.


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2. Mein Kampf


Author: Adolf Hitler
Publication date: 1925-26
Score: 41
Summary: Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was initially published in two parts in 1925 and 1926 after Hitler was imprisoned for leading Nazi Brown Shirts in the so-called “Beer Hall Putsch” that tried to overthrow the Bavarian government. Here Hitler explained his racist, anti-Semitic vision for Germany, laying out a Nazi program pointing directly to World War II and the Holocaust. He envisioned the mass murder of Jews, and a war against France to precede a war against Russia to carve out “lebensraum” (“living room”) for Germans in Eastern Europe. The book was originally ignored. But not after Hitler rose to power. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, there were 10 million copies in circulation by 1945.


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3. Quotations from Chairman Mao


Author: Mao Zedong
Publication date: 1966
Score: 38
Summary: Mao, who died in 1976, was the leader of the Red Army in the fight for control of China against the anti-Communist forces of Chiang Kai-shek before, during and after World War II. Victorious, in 1949, he founded the People’s Republic of China, enslaving the world’s most populous nation in communism. In 1966, he published Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, otherwise known as The Little Red Book, as a tool in the “Cultural Revolution” he launched to push the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese society back in his ideological direction. Aided by compulsory distribution in China, billions were printed. Western leftists were enamored with its Marxist anti-Americanism. “It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S. imperialism,” wrote Mao.


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4. The Kinsey Report


Author: Alfred Kinsey
Publication date: 1948
Score: 37
Summary: Alfred Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University who, in 1948, published a study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, commonly known as The Kinsey Report. Five years later, he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The reports were designed to give a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy. “Kinsey’s initial report, released in 1948 . . . stunned the nation by saying that American men were so sexually wild that 95% of them could be accused of some kind of sexual offense under 1940s laws,” the Washington Times reported last year when a movie on Kinsey was released. “The report included reports of sexual activity by boys--even babies--and said that 37% of adult males had had at least one homosexual experience. . . . The 1953 book also included reports of sexual activity involving girls younger than age 4, and suggested that sex between adults and children could be beneficial.”


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5. Democracy and Education


Author: John Dewey
Publication date: 1916
Score: 36
Summary: John Dewey, who lived from 1859 until 1952, was a “progressive” philosopher and leading advocate for secular humanism in American life, who taught at the University of Chicago and at Columbia. He signed the Humanist Manifesto and rejected traditional religion and moral absolutes. In Democracy and Education, in pompous and opaque prose, he disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking “skills” instead. His views had great influence on the direction of American education--particularly in public schools--and helped nurture the Clinton generation.


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6. Das Kapital


Author: Karl Marx
Publication date: 1867-1894
Score: 31
Summary: Marx died after publishing a first volume of this massive book, after which his benefactor Engels edited and published two additional volumes that Marx had drafted. Das Kapital forces the round peg of capitalism into the square hole of Marx’s materialistic theory of history, portraying capitalism as an ugly phase in the development of human society in which capitalists inevitably and amorally exploit labor by paying the cheapest possible wages to earn the greatest possible profits. Marx theorized that the inevitable eventual outcome would be global proletarian revolution. He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.


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7. The Feminine Mystique


Author: Betty Friedan
Publication date: 1963
Score: 30
Summary: In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan, born in 1921, disparaged traditional stay-at-home motherhood as life in “a comfortable concentration camp”--a role that degraded women and denied them true fulfillment in life. She later became founding president of the National Organization for Women. Her original vocation, tellingly, was not stay-at-home motherhood but left-wing journalism. As David Horowitz wrote in a review for Salon.com of Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique by Daniel Horowitz (no relation to David): The author documents that “Friedan was from her college days, and until her mid-30s, a Stalinist Marxist, the political intimate of the leaders of America’s Cold War fifth column and for a time even the lover of a young Communist physicist working on atomic bomb projects in Berkeley’s radiation lab with J. Robert Oppenheimer.”


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8. The Course of Positive Philosophy


Author: Auguste Comte
Publication date: 1830-1842
Score: 28
Summary: Comte, the product of a royalist Catholic family that survived the French Revolution, turned his back on his political and cultural heritage, announcing as a teenager, “I have naturally ceased to believe in God.” Later, in the six volumes of The Course of Positive Philosophy, he coined the term “sociology.” He did so while theorizing that the human mind had developed beyond “theology” (a belief that there is a God who governs the universe), through “metaphysics” (in this case defined as the French revolutionaries’ reliance on abstract assertions of “rights” without a God), to “positivism,” in which man alone, through scientific observation, could determine the way things ought to be.


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9. Beyond Good and Evil


Author: Freidrich Nietzsche
Publication date: 1886
Score: 28
Summary: An oft-scribbled bit of college-campus graffiti says: “‘God is dead’--Nietzsche” followed by “‘Nietzsche is dead’--God.” Nietzsche’s profession that “God is dead” appeared in his 1882 book, The Gay Science, but under-girded the basic theme of Beyond Good and Evil, which was published four years later. Here Nietzsche argued that men are driven by an amoral “Will to Power,” and that superior men will sweep aside religiously inspired moral rules, which he deemed as artificial as any other moral rules, to craft whatever rules would help them dominate the world around them. “Life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker, suppression, severity, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and, at the least and mildest, exploitation,” he wrote. The Nazis loved Nietzsche.


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10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money


Author: John Maynard Keynes
Publication date: 1936
Score: 23
Summary: Keynes was a member of the British elite--educated at Eton and Cambridge--who as a liberal Cambridge economics professor wrote General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in the midst of the Great Depression. The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.


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Honorable Mention

These books won votes from two or more judges:

The Population Bomb
by Paul Ehrlich
Score: 22

What Is To Be Done
by V.I. Lenin
Score: 20

Authoritarian Personality
by Theodor Adorno
Score: 19

On Liberty
by John Stuart Mill
Score: 18

Beyond Freedom and Dignity
by B.F. Skinner
Score: 18

Reflections on Violence
by Georges Sorel
Score: 18

The Promise of American Life
by Herbert Croly
Score: 17

Origin of the Species
by Charles Darwin
Score: 17

Madness and Civilization
by Michel Foucault
Score: 12

Soviet Communism: A New Civilization
by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Score: 12

Coming of Age in Samoa
by Margaret Mead
Score: 11

Unsafe at Any Speed
by Ralph Nader
Score: 11

Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Score: 10

Prison Notebooks
by Antonio Gramsci
Score: 10

Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson
Score: 9

Wretched of the Earth
by Frantz Fanon
Score: 9

Introduction to Psychoanalysis
by Sigmund Freud
Score: 9

The Greening of America
by Charles Reich
Score: 9

The Limits to Growth
by Club of Rome
Score: 4

Descent of Man
by Charles Darwin
Score: 2


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The Judges

These 15 scholars and public policy leaders served as judges in selecting the Ten Most Harmful Books.

Arnold Beichman
Research Fellow
Hoover Institution

Prof. Brad Birzer
Hillsdale College

Harry Crocker
Vice President & Executive Editor
Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Prof. Marshall DeRosa
Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Don Devine
Second Vice Chairman
American Conservative Union

Prof. Robert George
Princeton University

Prof. Paul Gottfried
Elizabethtown College

Prof. William Anthony Hay
Mississippi State University

Herb London
President
Hudson Institute

Prof. Mark Malvasi
Randolph-Macon College

Douglas Minson
Associate Rector
The Witherspoon Fellowships

Prof. Mark Molesky
Seton Hall University

Prof. Stephen Presser
Northwestern University

Phyllis Schlafly
President
Eagle Forum

Fred Smith
President
Competitive Enterprise Institute
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Spectre X Spectre X is offline
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 11:55 AM       
Wow, they know very little about what the books actually advocate.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 12:24 PM       
guns don't kill people. books do.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 01:30 PM       
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Originally Posted by Spectre X
Wow, they know very little about what the books actually advocate.
it's not so much about what they advocate, it's more about what has been put into practice because of them.

and there is NOTHING redeemable about Mao Zedong. NOTHING.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 02:23 PM       
No "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince"?
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 02:38 PM       
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Originally Posted by ItalianStereotype
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre X
Wow, they know very little about what the books actually advocate.
it's not so much about what they advocate, it's more about what has been put into practice because of them.

and there is NOTHING redeemable about Mao Zedong. NOTHING.
I know that there's nothing redeemable about Moa. I never said that.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 02:41 PM       
not saying you did. but I've heard some things.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 02:49 PM       
Okay, just so we're clear on this.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 07:41 PM       
I think they probably got that list a bit backwards. Books like Mein Kampf were not really in themselves harmful, since it wasn't the books but the various leaders and demogogues that really spread the harmful ideas around. And did these people think that reading the Kinsley Report caused people to have pedophilic urges? I do suppose the Communist Manifesto was probably a pretty effective pamphlet for indoctrination.
But I imagine more minds were changed and more action was provoked by people who read books like the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, or that ridiculous book by Margaret Mead, which had a pretty big influence on much of the nonsense in sociology today.
I'm glad Origin of the Species isn't in the top 10, but the fact that its 'honoroably mentioned' its still pretty stupid. It's ridiculous for conservative academics to be opposed to the idea of evolution at this point.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 08:23 PM       
That list is fucking bullshit. I can't believe Kinsey was number FOUR!

And the point on Dewey, I loved it: "Democracy and Education, in pompous and opaque prose, he disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking “skills” instead."

Right, this is what's wrong with our public education system. Thank GOD we're still a heavily industrialized nation of hard hat workers, rather than a nation of mid-level service providers and specialists. Only were we the latter would such critical thinking "skills" be necessary. Phew!

And as for the Keynes and Nader books getting "honorable mention," they can go fuck themselves. And what the FUCK is On Liberty doing on this list....!?

And hey, how about the fucking Turner Diaries? No harm towards Americans there, huh? Fucking morons. +
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:02 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Papa Goat
...or that ridiculous book by Margaret Mead, which had a pretty big influence on much of the nonsense in sociology today.
I haven't read the book, but I'm curious as to what's ridiculous about it?
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 10:31 PM       
It was written by a woman. Speaking of which, why the hell isn't Ayn Rand on the list?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 01:50 AM       
Coming of Age in Samoa was one of the most important books in modern anthropology, in that it established the claim that human nature is entirely malleable and based on culture alone.
It was also very poorly researched considering how relied upon it was. Supposedly Mead didn't even speak to or live with any Samoan adults and based her account of an idyllic, sexually and socially liberated Samoan culture on the statements of a few adolescent Samoan girls who were probably just exaggerating their sex lives and making fun of her.
Regardless, the book is pretty much entirely wrong about Samoan culture, and more importantly, about the broader sociological and psychological claims it makes.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 01:00 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Papa Goat
Coming of Age in Samoa was one of the most important books in modern anthropology, in that it established the claim that human nature is entirely malleable and based on culture alone.
It was also very poorly researched considering how relied upon it was. Supposedly Mead didn't even speak to or live with any Samoan adults and based her account of an idyllic, sexually and socially liberated Samoan culture on the statements of a few adolescent Samoan girls who were probably just exaggerating their sex lives and making fun of her.
Regardless, the book is pretty much entirely wrong about Samoan culture, and more importantly, about the broader sociological and psychological claims it makes.
We will probably never know the exact nature of Samoan culture. The claims that the subjects interviewed by Mead were lying were brought by a man who interviewed them after they had been converted to Christianity by missionaries. I don't think it's likely that such women would speak frankly about sexual experiences to anyone, least of all an older man. (Mead was a graduate student at the time of her research)

Also, it's pretty well known from a wide body of anthropological research that certain non-western cultures are far more sexually permissive compared to cultures of the west.

There probably is an evolutionary root to human behavior, but no one seems to know exactly what it is yet. We do know however, from comparitive ethnography, that cultural constants are few and far between.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:29 PM       
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It was written by a woman. Speaking of which, why the hell isn't Ayn Rand on the list?
Wrong list. Check out the "ten most boring books of the 20th century." She wrote at least two or three of them.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:12 PM       
I can't believe FDR keeps running up deficts! Fucking bastard! How this 123 year-old Democrat continue to rule over America's fiscal policy! Maybe those Republican Bible lovers will get in someday and fix the system.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:35 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by derrida
There probably is an evolutionary root to human behavior, but no one seems to know exactly what it is yet. We do know however, from comparitive ethnography, that cultural constants are few and far between.
What about gender relations and roles? There are a few significant constantly different roles for men and women across all cultures. Very few societies have ever been substantially polyandrous, certainly far fewer than the number of polygamous ones, female infedility is almost always considered worse than male infedility, matriarchy is far less common than patriarchy, and to my knowledge there has never in history been an all female army.

These differences are probably based on evolutionary differences based on the reproductive roles of men and women. Infidelity in women is considered worse since female infedility interferes with the assurance of paternity for 'married' men. The need for married men to be sure of paternity is also the reason you don't see a lot of polyandry going on. Polygamy happens when individual males accumulate enough resources to 'acquire' and support numerous wives, and makes good reproductive sense for all concerned, since the women can be assured of support for themselves and their offspring, and the man can use his resources to improve his reproductive success by being able to father children with multiple women. This ability for men who acquire significant resources to have the ability to father more children likely contributed to the evolution of aggressive male behavior, including war, since genetic tendencies that facilitate the acquisition of material resources and power can be selected for in males. Kinship based government is another fairly common feature of smaller societies.

As for the differences between cultures, I'd say a lot of the differences are either mostly aesthetic or are based on environmental conditions, like the abundance of species suitable for domestication and agriculture or for hunting and gathering.

There are exceptions to most of these things of course, but the tendencies are still pretty noticable.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:49 PM       
You've read "The Red Queen," haven't you
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:55 PM       
No, just took a course called Biopolitics last term, and it was awesome
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:57 PM       
Sounds cool I just mentioned that cuz I read that book today and it said the same thing you said about Mead's book (although I didn't read that part til after I asked you what made the book ridiculous )
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:06 PM       
ya, I got that stuff about Mead from a book called The Dark Side of Man by Michael Ghiglieri, which is actually kind of a crappy book in a lot of ways, but it does have some good points about reproduction and evolution.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 11:57 PM       
Not that I don't appreciate what you wrote, goat, but Mead's real point was that emotionally turbulent adolescence is not an unavaoidable consequence of the human genome because there exist cultural institutions that allow teenagers to come to terms with the increased responsibilities of adulthood and attendant social expectations. According to Mead, among the Samoans this took the form of a period of free sexual experimentation before eventually establishing a more-or-less monogamous household. Please explain to me why you think Mead's conclusions are false.

I don't think you can discount instances of polyandry and matriarchy in formulating a sociobiological account of the species. I think that if you look at each case, the deployment of aspects of biological sexual dimorphism for certain activities corresponds to specific dominant economic modes which may or may not have been predominant throughout the development of the species.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 12:51 AM       
- What about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 01:17 AM       
This conversation is turning me on.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 12:09 AM       
I still say the Turner Diaries belong on there, too.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...mment-opinions

JONATHAN CHAIT
The Right's Wrong Books

June 3, 2005

I try very, very hard not to think of the conservative movement as a gaggle of thick-skulled fanatics. To help me along in this process, I seek out well-reasoned commentary from conservative intellectuals such as Tod Lindberg of the Washington Times and Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review. But my efforts at ideological toleration inevitably get spoiled when something comes along like Human Events magazine's list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries."

Human Events is a conservative weekly that Ronald Reagan was known to favor, and which the Wall Street Journal called a "bible of the right." It compiled its list by polling a panel of conservative academics (such as Robert George of Princeton University) and Washington think-tank types (such as Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute). As such, it offers a fair window into the dementia of contemporary conservative thinking.

One amusing thing about the list is its seeming inability to distinguish between seminal works of social science and totalitarian manifestos. Marx, Hitler and Chairman Mao sit alongside pragmatist philosopher John Dewey and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. You'll be comforted to know that Mao, with 38 points and a No. 3 ranking, edged out Kinsey, with 37 points. "The Feminine Mystique," meanwhile, checks in at No. 7, with 30 points, just behind "Das Kapital," which totaled 31 points.

Harmful books that got honorable mentions but couldn't crack the top 10 include John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty," Sigmund Freud's "Introduction to Psychoanalysis" and Charles Darwin's "The Descent of Man." Oh yes, and Lenin's "What Is to Be Done." (If you don't see the link between arguing for individual rights, exploring scientific mysteries and constructing a brutally repressive Bolshevik terror state, then clearly you're not thinking like a conservative.)

Interestingly, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a czarist forgery that incited countless massacres and inspires anti-Semites around the world to this day, failed to rate a mention. On the other hand, "Unsafe at Any Speed" and "Silent Spring," which led to such horrors as seat belts and the Clean Water Act, did. (Given that "Unsafe at Any Speed" launched the career of Ralph Nader, who went on to put George W. Bush in the White House, I wonder if conservatives might one day deem it one of the most helpful books of the last two centuries.)

Possibly even more amusing are the explanations for each book's inclusion. They read like 10th-grade book reports from some right-wing, bizarro world high school. John Maynard Keynes' seminal "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" argued that during recessions governments should cut interest rates, reduce taxes and increase spending, and during expansions do the opposite. It makes the list because, Human Events explains, "FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion debt." (But didn't Keynesian policies help win World War II and then produce 25 years of phenomenal prosperity? And wasn't that debt less than a trillion dollars before Reagan took office?)

The squib on "The Feminine Mystique" begins with a fairly anodyne summary of Betty Freidan's pioneering feminist tract. Rather than explain what's so dangerous about allowing women the choice of having a career, though, Human Events proceeds to quote a review that "Friedan was from her college days, and until her mid-30s, a Stalinist Marxist." Not just a Stalinist, but a Marxist to boot!

Personally, I fail to see how Friedan's communist past — she was 42 when she published "The Feminine Mystique" — would discredit her insights about the repressive nature of a world in which women were discriminated against or barred outright from most professions and much of public life. Especially because the conservative movement was itself heavily salted with ex-communists. But then, my mind has already been poisoned by Dewey, Mill and other liberal relativists.
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