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The Ten Most Harmful Books

Growing up in Utah, where the state motto is, "When the Church (mormons) speaks, the thinking has been done.", The state where the elite attend God's University, BYU, where inscribed on the cornerstone of the library is, "The Glory of God is Intelligence" his not yours, prepares one for this sort of thing. Human Events asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries The purpose of which, I suppose, is to extend the "abstinence only" model to the harmful habit of reading what you choose to read. No sex outside of marriage and no unapproved reading without a permission slip from the right. The subversive that I am I must say I was most delighted that Dewey's "Democracy and Education" made the list. A book, as the blurb points out, that teaches the value of "thinking skills" a radical idea indeed. I was disappointed that Darwin's tomes only rated honorable mention. I don't know what you think, but as the kind soul that sent me the link remarked, this looks like a summer reading list to me. Did they leave any of your favorites off the list? Are you surprised, offended, nonplussed? Speak dear reader.


 

Comments

I'm pleased to live in a country in which the contents of these texts are a given or, where they are not, required reading nonetheless.

I like how they blame Bush's budget defecit on FDR.

Nice to see some Nietzsche on the list. I think quite a few of the books I've enjoyed will be on the bonfire if these kind of people become any more influential.

Lest readers should assume all Mormons backwards, let it be known that many of my churchgoing friends would find this list laughable.

On Liberty? ON LIBERTY?

Oh, that's right... that's the one in which Mill defends the freedom of speech in the search of Truth.

We wouldn't want any of that now would we?

Sieg heil! Heil our thought police! Heil fearless leader!

Great list!!! Absolutely, my summer reading.

Revealing (and predictable) that the wackos fear class analysis more than facism...

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"conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help compile a list"

Isnt this what fasicsts do just before they start the burning?

I dont remember seeing Orwell on the list, maybe they just dont want to burn the blueprint before the prison is finally finished.

C.

The King James version.

Lest I paint the Mormons with too broad a brush, there are many that tuck their dogma away in a safe place and function as rational individuals. It is no different than any large organization. When too much power is placed in the hands of a few you get the ocassional bizarre pronouncements that go beyond just the standard religious miracles are us bullshit.

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I would love to read the explanation to what harm each book would do. I would expect many "pearls" as we usually say in Portuguese.

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Where's Farenheit 451?? Seriously, though, take a look at who contributed to this laughable list. I'm particularly pleased to see that ultra-conservative Hillsdale College is represented. Have a look at what K. Starr had to tell graduates at the 2005 commencement there: http://www.mlive.com/news/jacitpat/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1116151515203410.xml

How delightful to see a professor from my alma mater, Northwestern, on this short list of obstinate judges. I guess I wasted my tuition money by failing to take a class from Prof. Presser and studying several of these "harmful" books in the classes I did take. They were so profoundly harmful that I came out of academia a left-leaning free thinker with compassion for different classes. What a terrible fate!

I'm only surprised by the order of the books on the list.

I would have put #10 higher. But that's probably just me.

Norm and I grew up and live in a place where EVERY school has a Mormon-Church-operated seminary. Even the delineation between the schools and the seminary buildings are fuzzy because they�re often made to architecturally blend in with the schools.

Frightening more than ever is news Utah is going to have to fight the creation/evolution theories in the schools and any mention of homosexuality in ANY psychology textbooks. Even librarians have felt the pressure to remove one alternative weekly newspaper from its periodicals section.

If it weren�t for the internet I don�t know where Utahns would get any glorified intelligence.

Is it any wonder why all Utah Gentiles (what we call all non-Mormons here) don�t look kindly at our public school system.

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I don't quite get the connection between Utah and the Human Events site.

Keynes and Mill? Wow. When some conservatives talk about "individual freedom", you can rest assured that they aren't talking about anything in On Liberty, e.g. freedom of speech, thought, association, and freedom to choose ones own life course and occupation.

can anyone tell me why mein kampf itself was harmful??

Hitler was an evil evil man who did evil deeeds, and he himself was one of the most harmful people of the last century (if not THE MOST.) However, as it says, NO ONE READ IT UNTIL HITLER TOOK POWER!!

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What exactly is the problem? The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf were number one and two. That sounds about right, wouldn't you think? Although, quite frankly, I would put Mein Kampf first and the Communist Manifesto second.
I notice some of you are ready to judge mormons as fascist, despite how illogical that is. I guess Descarte and other famous thinkers aren't on your list. I agree some of those books don't belong and others do. In fact, I would put someone like Rush Limbaugh, I mean, Michael Moore and Al Franken, I mean, Ann Coulter in the list for their extreme hatred of other ideas and how much they actually influence modern day liberals and conservatives. Face it, the modern day media whore a.k.a. political pundit is scary, and the fact that people actually listen to them is even scarier.

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The part where they blame the national debt on Keynes is amusing, considering that Keynes advocated paying down the debt suring economic recoveries, while conservatives have (at least privately) advocated defended deficits for at least 25 years. As Cheney once said, "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."

The connection between the Human Events site and Utah is like its experts on what is dangerous Utah's dominant religion also has a proclivity to protect its members from danger and dangerous books, it is the same connection that exists with any culture that attempts to protect it citizens from thinking. A couple of examples will suffice. Deseret Book Store, an L.D.S. owned store, last I checked had no philosophy section in their store. Contrary ideas being dangerous and all that. I once asked a clerk where I could find such books and she directed me to the self help section. I don't know if it is still true, but in the sixties BYU had no philosophy department at all. Religion having all the answers. Utah also had what we call the rational Mormons, Sterling McMurrin comes to mind, a wonderful teacher in the philosophy department at the University of Utah years ago.

While we can all agree that the world doesn't ever need another Mein Kampf, most of these selections are too outrageous. If we saw this on The Onion we'd be laughing at what great satire it was.

I saw this list a couple of days ago and emailed the outfit that printed it, thanking them for my summer reading list. I had meant to get around to reading all of these books at some point, and to have them all listed in one neat list was so thoughtful of them.

I also pointed out the irony of one of the concepts they chose to point out in their summation of "Beyond Good and Evil", noting how "...superior men will sweep aside religiously inspired moral rules...to craft whatever rules would help them dominate the world around them," reminds me so much of our current administration - and that I did have to take exception with the term "superior men" unless the context would be that of "those in a place of power over others" as opposed to being "superior" of mind and ability.

I also asked them not to bother to respond as I would be too busy with my reading list to pay any attention to my email for the next couple of months.

How dare that evil Betty Friedan suggest that women might find fulfillment outside of the home!

I couldn't agree more with dende blogger, these people are a shame even to their own group, the question was about the most harmful books, not the books they dislike the most.

notice: ALL MEN for the judges. i count phyllis schlafly in there for obvious reasons. thus, the list is not surprising as the choices underscore the hard-line patriarchial power structure of the Mormons - as well as most other religions.

Stay tuned for their upcoming Ten Most Harmful Books of All Time, in which the Bible will rate a #1 listing due to its unfortunate inclusion of The Sermon on the Mount.

With the exception of "On Liberty" of J.S. Mill (what they were thinking?), it's a pretty good list. Communist Manifesto definitely deserves being at the top of the list.

Yes, all of those it's a reading list for future totalitarians, no doubt about it.

my vote for the most harmful book the world has known: the Bible

I think any book that made you feel like you just lost 4 hours of your life that you'll never get back as the most harmful. Yeah, I'm lookin' at you Alice Sebold, Lovely Bones my ass!

But anything that makes you think and helps you to either adjust or just reaffirm your own moral code is a great book. Whether you agree or disagree with the contents of those books on the list that is exactly what each of them will do. That's what makes them great not harmful.

But I guess those scholars don't want you to have your own moral code, they just want to give you theirs.

Scholars just want to take credit for the effects of good ideas, but no responsibility for effects of bad ideas.

Funny that leftists have no problem blabbering about evils of Washington Consensus for instance (it wasn't a book, but it was compilation of ideas that routinely gets blamed for dealing with shit of progressive making).

Double standard.

Had humans been perfectly rational in some ideal sense, there would be no harmful books.

But we're not like that, and as one sharp, even if crazy woman noted, ideas have consequences reaching beyond a few hours of your life wasted on reading that book.

Those consequences reach from horrible, like tens of millions of dead due to Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, to milder, like decades lost due to Keynesian misunderstandings of economy and South American debts. Yes, the left and "progressives" are to be blamed for it, because that's what they advocated for South America. Bad "neoliberals" (do you know one person that would describe himself/herself as "neoliberal"? it's a curse word) merely get blamed for coping with debts created by Keynes-inspired "progressives", e.g. Salvador Allende.

Sure, the left and misguided, evil books causing millions (or billons) of idiots following them, like in Mao's China, can not get blamed for any consequences.

You all lot have a truly childish worldview.

I'm suprised none of Noam Chomsky's work got even an honorable mention since the right love to try to tear him apart.

Also, Keynes, why is he on the list? His work was to try and save liberal democracy from fascism and communism. Bizarre!

The list gave some good ideas on books I should read that I haven't. :)

Chomsky is irrelevant, he's just an articulate maniac, so he didn't make it there. He'd have to actually have some effect to be dangerous.

Those inspired by Keynes - FDR - merely unnecessarily prolonged Great Depression. Keynes just invented fake crisis and recommended the means that at the end of the day only increased suffering and political risks.

The crisis was solved accidentally, by stopping deflation of the money supply. So no, Keynes doesn't get credit for that.

If some say that Keynes was "misunderstood", that isn't a very good choice, since Keynes himself was never keen on clear explanation whatever the hell he meant. "General Theory..." is famously ambigous and possible to interpret in as many ways as you want. Existence of some eighteen schools of interpretation of Keynes's statements is a good indication of those things being rather unparsimonious.

You don't get credit for healing the patient while your means have nearly killed him, even if patient fortunately survived. He survived in spite of the treatment, not thanks to it.

Field The Whole Team. (thanks Norm)
That silver ring thing is the same as our CTR ring.

It seems that in many of those cases, they are dismissing the author and not the books themselves. Nietzsche a nazi? That's preposterous, especially if they had actually read his works. I mean, the guy broke up his friendship with Wagner for being an anti-semite or whatnot, so don't slap us with that nazi bullshit.

What I meant was, so what if the Nazis loved Nietzsche? They perverted his works into their own propaganda through his sister and careful editing (ie taking stuff out of context).

Oh my god I live in Utah, and I have lived here for all 17 years of my life too. For Mormons, church solves everything--got a problem? Go to the bishop! Need some guidance? Listen to the "prophets." These poor people really can't think for themselves, though most of them are very nice, in a sort of ignorant and childish way. Apparently the legislature is also thinking of joining in on the Monkeys vs. God circus by deciding if "Intelligent Design" should be included in science class. Lucky for me, I will be going off to college next year.

"What I meant was, so what if the Nazis loved Nietzsche? They perverted his works into their own propaganda through his sister and careful editing (ie taking stuff out of context)."

Thanks for showing that those books are indeed harmful.

In ideal world they would be safe. In real world they're not.

"Oh my god I live in Utah, and I have lived here for all 17 years of my life too. For Mormons, church solves everything--got a problem? Go to the bishop! Need some guidance? Listen to the "prophets." These poor people really can't think for themselves, though most of them are very nice, in a sort of ignorant and childish way. Apparently the legislature is also thinking of joining in on the Monkeys vs. God circus by deciding if "Intelligent Design" should be included in science class. Lucky for me, I will be going off to college next year."

..after graduating from which you will be just as moronic and ignorant as you are now, you'll just have a degree, so you'll be even more arrogant, condescending and even less prone to self-examination.

You know, there's this old adage about how it's better to keep than to open your mouth and eliminate the doubt about whether you are ...

"Rules: Criticize ideas? Yes. Criticize people for holding those ideas? No"

People absolutely should be criticized for holding wrong ideas. It's foolish.

I wonder if the author of this idiocy would not criticize people of certain ideologies. I mean, what the hell is this whole site about if not relentless and dumb criticism of people of Republican ideology? It's clearly about criticizing people, not ideas (or at least not just ideas).

How about you following your own rules?

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Wow. Scary things books.

These are the real poobahs of the theocracy weighing in on the most fearsome of the fearsome.

Happy to see we've gotten past kicking poor old 'Catcher in the Rye' around.

This list should be called Ten Books That Almost Nobody Has Actually Read. These people seem a lot more preoccupied with anyone interfering with their bottom line than salvation or alieving human suffering. I think they are trying to say in their own fucked up way that Hitler, Mao, and Stalin were liberals. Darwin and Nader harmful? Please tell me this list was composed by the staff at The Onion.

I think this works well as a definer, and Us V.S. Them kind of thing. So, let's say Conservatives can come up with a banned book list...Liberals would leave the list blank; there's no reason to have a banned book list, not one of them has done nearly the damage the Bible has, not one of them has a hidden gun. A book, isn't dangerous.

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If one party does something, the other party won't be too far behind. After all, there's very little difference between liberals and conservatives. It wouldn't surprise me if liberals did create a list, just to keep the three ring circus going. By the way, I've had many morman friends, and they never struck me or my liberal friends as unthinking. Of course, I live in Colorado, so Utah mormons could be different from Colorado mormons.

holy crap - that's one of the most sickening things i've run across

i'd heard that the inquisition was still alive and well, tho somewhat more devious - this seems to be proof of their current attempts to send impressionable people (oh those poor Utahians) even further into the dark ages... and take all their money at the same time! honestly - the theory of money?? c'mon....

Wow, 18 votes for 'On Liberty'? American Conservatives genuinely ARE evil, I'd always thought that was an exaggeration, but this clinches it. And what moron thinks the GIGANTIC deficit is due to 'liberal economics' of J.M Keynes and not the tax cuts and massive spending of G.W Bush?

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"American Conservatives genuinely ARE evil"

If you really believe that, then watch out for those shady liberals. Since conservatives and liberals are pretty much the same, liberals must be evil too.

I grew up in the mormon religion. I spent teen years in Utah. It is suffocating in it's stepfordness as well as has the best parties.

Mormons live to be mormon. Indoctrinated constantly by primary, sunday school, sacrement meeting, priests, mutual, relief society, road shows, family home evening, home teachers, visiting teachers and camp. Whew. As a mormon your life is about being mormon. "In the world but not of the world." or is it the other way around? And the congregation keeping a superior eye on everyone else's "sinning."

Repression brings out a fabulous underground though and I did enjoy being a teen there.:)

"Chomsky is just an articulate maniac"...I guess once again we see how, much as in the radio short, that someone who uses reason, logic and curiosity isn't going down the correct path.

"Funny that leftists have no problem blabbering about evils of Washington Consensus for instance (it wasn't a book, but it was compilation of ideas that routinely gets blamed for dealing with shit of progressive making).

Double standard."

Here's your problem, Mr anon. You're discussing apples and oranges. The Washington Consensus was a set of policies introduced by the Institute for International Economics and implemented to the obvious detriment to South American economies by the World Bank and IMF.

There is an obvious difference between policy and ideas and the books these ideas are described in. Ideas become dangerous when they are applied as policy, so that what was dangerous about the 3rd Reich as not Nietzsche's philosophy, but rather the Nazi implementation of misunderstood tenents of this philosophy.

Likewise, Plato's Republic is a beautiful book full of very interesting ideas, but were we to try to apply it as literal political policy, it would look more like totalitarianism than anything else.

""Chomsky is just an articulate maniac"...I guess once again we see how, much as in the radio short, that someone who uses reason, logic and curiosity isn't going down the correct path."

Chomsky is not using reason, logic and he is not curious, because it's clear that he makes his conclusion before he even starts to analyze this thing.

Chomsky is all about preaching, not about discovery.

Chomsky is using prejudice, obsession and frustration to justify stupid gut-level feelings.

This is a good demonstration of Chomsky's lack of integrity:

http://www.jim.com/chomsdis.htm

"Here's your problem, Mr anon. You're discussing apples and oranges. The Washington Consensus was a set of policies introduced by the Institute for International Economics and implemented to the obvious detriment to South American economies by the World Bank and IMF."

You obviously didn't check what it was.

Those were NOT policies.

Washington Consensus was DIAGNOSIS, it was first and foremost a set of ideas.

Just like ideas of Keynes.

And WC was mostly beneficial, not harmful, unlike Keynes.

""Chomsky is just an articulate maniac"...I guess once again we see how, much as in the radio short, that someone who uses reason, logic and curiosity isn't going down the correct path."

And one more thing: what Chomsky preaches is de facto a standard set of articles of faith in academia, so those are followers of Chomsky that are sheepish in their thinking, not the opponents of Chomsky.

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Norm, last year I met a man who graduated from BYU with a degree in Philosophy. He was unemployed.

You obviously didn't check what it was.

Those were NOT policies.

Washington Consensus was DIAGNOSIS, it was first and foremost a set of ideas.

And you obviously didn't read my post. The Washington Consensus was implemented, and from the moment that it was, it ceased exist in a vacuum and became policy. As for all of its great benefits to the South American economy, I have some Argentinian colleagues who would beg to differ.

I think you're making the common mistake of assuming that Keynes was actually the architect behind the IMF and the World Bank. In fact, at the Bretton Woods Conference, the US rejected Keynes's plan for an international clearing union based on credits instead of a national currency, which would have probably solved most of the trade deficit problems the world is now seeing.

Instead, what came out of the Bretton Woods agreement mostly reflected Harry Dexter White's proposal for the US Treasury, which wanted to ensure an American advantage by establishing the dollar as the world's principal reserve currency.

Mike,

Yes, well a philosophy degree from BYU, isn't that an "oxymormon".

I'm just appreciative that they provided links to Amazon.com so that I might expand my "liberal" library.

Interesting...."Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is nowhere to be found on their list....

"And you obviously didn't read my post. The Washington Consensus was implemented, and from the moment that it was, it ceased exist in a vacuum and became policy."

Then so was Das Kapital implemented and from the moment it was it ceased to exist in vacuum and became policy.

You invent artificial distinction between idea and its application and say that only an application is bad. You do this to escape responsibility for the ideas I think, but if it works out, you forget this rule and happily claim the credit for a "good idea".

"As for all of its great benefits to the South American economy, I have some Argentinian colleagues who would beg to differ."

Of course, they would actually have to follow it. I don't remember that somewhere in WC there was an idea "let's shoot ourselves in the head by foregoing guaranteed exchange of our currency to the dollar, because we're too corrupt to greedy to actually maintain the trust in our banking system; let's just steal the deposits from banks, because we like to spend money via govt so much".

In order to blame the ideas behind WC for this effect you would have to show that they were actually followed and not the opposite of those ideas was followed.

Even your own kind, Bradford Delong admits that:

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/archives/000955.html

"I think you're making the common mistake of assuming that Keynes was actually the architect behind the IMF and the World Bank."

Then you just had a wrong thought.

"In fact, at the Bretton Woods Conference, the US rejected Keynes's plan for an international clearing union based on credits instead of a national currency, which would have probably solved most of the trade deficit problems the world is now seeing."

Given that Keynes himself was rarely clear on what exactly he meant, just what he didn't mean (much like Chomsky), I think it would have failed just as IMF and Bretton Woods has failed.

"Instead, what came out of the Bretton Woods agreement mostly reflected Harry Dexter White's proposal for the US Treasury, which wanted to ensure an American advantage by establishing the dollar as the world's principal reserve currency."

Gee, really? How could that be ever expected? That is so surprising.

That is precisely what's wrong with both Keynes and you leftists: you don't account for all people and nations being inherently self-interested and imperfect.

That is precisely what makes ideas of Keynes, Marx and you dangerous.

That is precisely why compiling the list of books that turned out to be harmful is a great idea.

Ideas have consequences and sooner or later you will not be able to conveniently absolve yourselves of responsibility for them where it fits you.

The propensity of left-liberals here to use those harmful books precisely as their reading list goes beyond the standard knee-jerk reaction of doing opposite of what conservatives do.

It shows that you are attracted precisely to the most evil ideas around. You're sort of Sevre standard of evil. So in this way (and only in this way) you're useful, but you must be constantly fought.

Ideas are not 'bad', unless applied to the wrong context - therefore you should start talking about bad people/systems instead. If a book could be 'bad' because its ideas would be later misused by other PEOPLE, then the only logical conclusion is that nobody should write any books.

Anyone who can read the ideas in these books or any books and can not take an objective stance on the concepts should educate themselves a little more untill they are at the point which they can. I don't mean this to sound as an attack but rather as literal advice.

This isn't about left versus right - but rather different levels of ignorance. Learn from the ideas and mistakes of the past, don't avoid them. While the rest of us are transcending and developing those hiders are descending and bringing the uneducated population back to the dark ages with their easy to understand concepts and attacks.

The fact that one would even think to compile a list of "The Ten Most Harmful Books" strikes me as odd and emblematic of the negative, divisive, and paranoid tone of so much of public discourse these days.

Why not work from the positive side of things like "The Ten Most Beneficial Books"? I'm sure there's lots to argue about here too, but at least from my point of view a more interesting and affirmative endeaver.

Keynes was required reading when I was getting my economics degree. I love the people they picked to be on the panel, too - Phyllis Schlafly? Please.

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Do you think the concern with the reading these books is "When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you?" Oh, wait, that would be in the Nietzsche book they are against. (BTW - Is Freidrich an alternative spelling to Friedrich? I've never seen it spelt that way.)

"Ideas are not 'bad', unless applied to the wrong context - therefore you should start talking about bad people/systems instead. "

No, you should talk about bad ideas - because the idea in some 'platonic' world is completely irrelevant. A formal object in mathematics that does not have its representation in real world may be neutral. An idea about society is automatically applicable, testable and relevant only in context of society. So you can't separate the consequences idea that applies to domain we experience from the idea itself.

"If a book could be 'bad' because its ideas would be later misused by other PEOPLE, then the only logical conclusion is that nobody should write any books."

Nonsense. We don't have the choice of not acting at all, like Ludvig von Mises noted. We have to have SOME ideas. Some ideas turn out to be bad and some turn out to be good.

Please tell me how ideas from "Mein Kampf" may be MISUSED. Can they be applied in "correct", harmless manner?

"Why not work from the positive side of things like "The Ten Most Beneficial Books"? I'm sure there's lots to argue about here too, but at least from my point of view a more interesting and affirmative endeaver."

Sure you can do it, but you miss the point: if a book/idea can be beneficial per se, then logically enough it can also be the opposite, a harmful book/idea.

"This isn't about left versus right - but rather different levels of ignorance. Learn from the ideas and mistakes of the past, don't avoid them."

Mistakes of the past are the result of following some formulas. Be it gold standard or idea of "means of production"

"While the rest of us are transcending and developing those hiders are descending and bringing the uneducated population back to the dark ages with their easy to understand concepts and attacks."

No, it's you and the left who is working on getting the mankind back to dark ages of being motivated by dumb gut-level feelings instead of reason - not the reason like the left likes it, but the reason like in rationality.

Example: the left needs, wants and wishes the people to perpetuate their ignorance of economics so they supported the left-liberal politics. You have to flush your brains down the toilet to persist in being leftist, you have to be persistently and systematically blind to certain ideas and unpleasant facts of life.

It's the left that is trying to get the people back to tribal mode of life along the lines of "collective uber alles".

The leftist worldviews are emotional syndroms, not intellectual stances.

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He, bb, don't you miss Carl Bark's Scrooge McDuck stories? Now, THESE should be epitomes of leftwing ignorance...

"A formal object in mathematics that does not have its representation in real world may be neutral...An idea about society is automatically applicable, testable and relevant only in context of society." "We have to have SOME ideas. Some ideas turn out to be bad and some turn out to be good." "Please tell me how ideas from "Mein Kampf" ...can ...be applied in "correct", harmless manner?"

An object of abstract mathematics may have a physical representation 500 years from now, just as it happened with tensors. Same happened with theoretical fluid mechanics in the early days - it was all abstract - now we use it routinely in CFD codes. The difference with ideas shaped in a social context is that in the latter case, anybody can wrap their minds (correctly or not) around them. It's the time scale that you confuse, not the applicability, which in terms of indefinite future tense, is always possible. By your reasoning, investigating nuclear fission may have been a bad idea, given Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the possibility of a future all-nuclear war.

Therefore, all ideas are just that, before you decide to act, one way or another (discarding ideas, yours or others is another from of acting). Only then, they become bad or good ideas, i.e. is acting that creates the colour. I personally don't blame Marx for the plague that was Soviet Union to Russia and Eastern Europe, but rather the people that chose to apply those ideas. After all, the Western Europe countries reverted to social systems after passing through the 'liberal economy' concept.

I haven't read "Mein Kampf" to be able to formulate any judgement. On the other hand, euthanasia is considered a humane option in few places, and barbaric elsewhere. Is it a bad or a good idea? Well, depends how you apply it. You could apply it to the terminally ill, by their own consent, etc, or you can apply it to everybody above 55, regardless.

However, I was delighted by Nietzche's book, and its ideology use by Nazis doesn't make it a bad book. If we were to take it ad literam, the damage in human lives done by PEOPLE using ideas from the Bible is far larger than the one that flowed from Mein Kampf.

Man, I just LOVE neo-conservatives and all the bullshit they spew with such condescension and arrogance.

I mean, of all the great ideas of the last three centuries that have led to the formation of our modern, liberal, and mostly free societies here in America and in Europe, how many of these ideas came from what could be considered "right" (conservative) thinkers and how many came from "left" (liberal) thinkers?

By the standards of "right" or "conservative" idealism of the 18th and 19th and 20th centuries, we'd still have despotic rule by the aristocracy; little or no protection for the fundamental rights (free speech, the right to vote for leaders, due process, etc) of citizens (especially if said citizens are racial minorities or women); workers would still be working 15-20 hours a day in inhuman conditions for little pay and zero benefits (or as slaves); our water and air would be polluted beyond belief; a majority of citizens would live in squalor while the very wealthy would live in unbridled opulence; only the wealthy would be allowed any formal education; and so forth.

What, did you neo-conservative jackasses skip your history lessons that covered European and American history from 1600 to 2000? "Liberalism and liberal thinking was (and is) soooooo EVIL??" This despite the fact you enjoy the fruits of all its gains?

I love how neo-conservatives sneer that "liberals just don't get it." What we're not getting is beyond me, but I do know I love the irony of living in an age where we take our freedom and rights so much for granted that some of the more petulant and spoiled brats among us have the audacity to trash the very mechanisms that led us to this wonderful, free, safe, equitable, and prosperous existence in which we all enjoy.

Neo-conservatives are becoming fabulously entertaining with all of their ignorant, knee-jerk idealism and faulty logic�all delivered with a sneering contempt�such as their idea of fire-breathing patriotism without any personal sacrifice (patriotism�s justification by faith, not by deeds, or chickhawkism), and the many other delightfully stupid and self-evidently hypocritical stances they take with such arrogant bluster.

I just wanna pinch neo-conservatives� cute, chubby cheeks. There�s no need to �discuss� or even argue with them, because, like any follower of a false religion or phony philosophy, they�re always right and everyone else is wrong, and they will prove it by shoving their foot into your throat until you quit arguing or die.

Liberalism, by definition, is flexible, capable of admitting error, and certainly not perfect or absolute in any way, shape, or form. Liberalism contains no dogma or certainty of thought, but it does allow for the synthesis of competing ideas and philosophies. It is an organic construct that places a high value on the free exchange of ideas. Liberalism doesn�t fear or hate ideas; it only fears and hates the dictators of certainty, whether they come in the form of theocracies, aristocracies, or hyper-nationalist, fascist and/or corporatist states (Nazis, Soviets, et al.).

Neoconservatives are hyper-nationalists who espouse corporatism, and who, for the most part, seem incapable of admitting failure or error despite the obvious evidence of both in their ideas and policies. Here are two recent exapmples: 1) The Iraq War and occupation; 2) The application of Chicago School economics in the Third World.

Morons and punks, the whole lot of them. Let's just keep giving them enough rope to hang themselves. And they will.

ALSO: have you noticed the propensity of right-wing trolls to hide behind anonymous identities in blog comment sections? This proves very well their true (lack of) courage of conviction. It may also explain why they talk so tough about war, but are too chickenshit to put their (or their kids') candy asses on the line for the war they want so badly.

And yet we STILL call them fellow citizens. But only barely.

Among the many scary things about this list is the so-called legitimacy of the "judges" from the academy. These aren't marginalized puppet schools we're talking about here; this is Northwestern, Princeton, Seton Hall and Mississippi State. It gets harder and harder to shock, but I couldn't believe at first that a tenured and oft-honored professor from Princeton would be on such a panel. Now THAT is scary. I know, I know, I'm going down the road to censorship if I claim that someone with his views shouldn't make tenure. It's a slippery slope. But damn, I went from laughing about the books that are considered "harmful" to the fearful realization that these folks have an awful lot of power. It's interesting that the right has appropriated the left's pursuit of intellectual diversity and inclusion for their own ends - but the irony is that such a belief is the kind of thing that would be in one of these books.

"The difference with ideas shaped in a social context is that in the latter case, anybody can wrap their minds (correctly or not) around them. It's the time scale that you confuse, not the applicability, which in terms of indefinite future tense, is always possible."

The point is not even applicability or its lack.

It's a false diagnosis that makes people get into errors with disastrous consequences, whether deliberately or not. A false idea about society has bad consequences in the society, what's so hard to understand about that.

"By your reasoning, investigating nuclear fission may have been a bad idea, given Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the possibility of a future all-nuclear war."

A nuclear fission is an idea about physical world.

Not social world. Investigating physical world isn't equal to saying "society works like this and that".

You made up a bad analogy. This is the weakest form of logic.

Investigating physical world doesn't force you or motivate you to do this or that in society.

An idea that "profit is unpaid portion of the working day" does.

"Therefore, all ideas are just that, before you decide to act, one way or another (discarding ideas, yours or others is another from of acting)."

No. Little but ideas controls people, like Keynes wrote. You can't separate knowledge from action as action is limited by knowledge. You can't act for free market if all you literally knew were Marxian ideas.

I think you are evil and you are trying to make a mental equivalent of this sort of installation where sheep are running and are limited by them so they had no option but to go the way you want.

"Only then, they become bad or good ideas, i.e. is acting that creates the colour."

Acting is inseparable from knowledge. You can't act outside your knowledge for crying out loud.

"I personally don't blame Marx for the plague that was Soviet Union to Russia and Eastern Europe, but rather the people that chose to apply those ideas."

Bullshit. Marx is precisely to blame, as he deceived himself and people into cargo cult, an error.

"After all, the Western Europe countries reverted to social systems after passing through the 'liberal economy' concept."

Not because of lack of trying by the left.

" haven't read "Mein Kampf" to be able to formulate any judgement. On the other hand, euthanasia is considered a humane option in few places, and barbaric elsewhere. Is it a bad or a good idea? Well, depends how you apply it."

No. There's only one world and one reality. Somebody must be wrong about euthanasia, one way or another. It's possible everybody is wrong. But you can't just do away with claiming that there are no bad ideas and lay all blame on people.

A person is an actor following an idea - why should all of the blame lay with mistaken person believing in the mistaken idea? That is an error of knowledge, not morality.

Yet bad consequences are there.

"You could apply it to the terminally ill, by their own consent, etc, or you can apply it to everybody above 55, regardless."

You're talking more complex system of ideas than just euthanasia itself. That's not "policy" (which is idea as well after all), that's smth more elaborate.

"However, I was delighted by Nietzche's book, and its ideology use by Nazis doesn't make it a bad book."

It makes it dangerous idea, just like dangerous substance is just that - both can be used in the manner that has bad consequences.

There are dangerous people, dangerous substances and dangerous ideas. You can't exclude ideas from the set of dangerous things because you feel like it. That's arbitrary and baseless.

"If we were to take it ad literam, the damage in human lives done by PEOPLE using ideas from the Bible is far larger than the one that flowed from Mein Kampf."

Thanks for showing you are clinically insane and dangerous.

You demonstrate that political views are not following rational thought - and that somebody can be all of the following: educated, fanatic, insane and evil.

"I mean, of all the great ideas of the last three centuries that have led to the formation of our modern, liberal, and mostly free societies here in America and in Europe, how many of these ideas came from what could be considered "right" (conservative) thinkers and how many came from "left" (liberal) thinkers?"

Don't mix contemporary left with J.S. Mill, Adam Smith, John Locke, Frederic Bastiat, and the like.

The American "liberals" are a misnomer: everywhere else in the world you are correctly called "the left".

I know that Frederic Bastiat sat on the left side of the parliament. But that doesn't make him any less opposite of Marx for starters.

"By the standards of "right" or "conservative" idealism of the 18th and 19th and 20th centuries, we'd still have despotic rule by the aristocracy;little or no protection for the fundamental rights (free speech, the right to vote for leaders, due process, etc) of citizens (especially if said citizens are racial minorities or women); workers would still be working 15-20 hours a day in inhuman conditions for little pay and zero benefits (or as slaves); our water and air would be polluted beyond belief; a majority of citizens would live in squalor while the very wealthy would live in unbridled opulence; only the wealthy would be allowed any formal education; and so forth."

Except that is a different sort of conservatism you talk about. See, the more you write, the more ignorant or lying you show yoursef to be.

I like the definition of Dinesh D'Souza: conservatism in America means conserving the results of American revolution.

"What, did you neo-conservative jackasses skip your history lessons that covered European and American history from 1600 to 2000? "Liberalism and liberal thinking was (and is) soooooo EVIL??" This despite the fact you enjoy the fruits of all its gains?"

Except that I'm not even conservative, ignorant.

"I love how neo-conservatives sneer that "liberals just don't get it.""

Because you don't. And don't take the name of liberalism in vain, you stole it. The original liberal writers are close cousins of contemporary libertarians. Not of the cousins of social democrats lyingly calling themselves "liberals".

In Europe (down here) nobody is that stupid to call a social democrat "a liberal".

"What we're not getting is beyond me, but I do know I love the irony of living in an age where we take our freedom and rights so much for granted that some of the more petulant and spoiled brats among us have the audacity to trash the very mechanisms that led us to this wonderful, free, safe, equitable, and prosperous existence in which we all enjoy."

The only danger to civil liberties and economic liberties is big activist govt beloved by the leftists (again, don't call yourself liberal bc you don't deserve that).

US govt went to war - big deal. That's not an outcome I like to see, believe it or not, but hardly an expression of fascism. You merely lyingly screech about Republicans trying to establish some idiotic police state bc YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE LEFT. No cause whatsoever, you blew it all.

"I just wanna pinch neo-conservatives� cute, chubby cheeks. There�s no need to �discuss� or even argue with them, because, like any follower of a false religion or phony philosophy, they�re always right and everyone else is wrong, and they will prove it by shoving their foot into your throat until you quit arguing or die."

You're barking at the wrong tree, dickhead.

"Liberalism, by definition, is flexible, capable of admitting error, and certainly not perfect or absolute in any way, shape, or form."

Yes, your "definition" of liberalism is indeed flexible - you dump whatever you want in there.

"Liberalism contains no dogma or certainty of thought, but it does allow for the synthesis of competing ideas and philosophies."

Really? No axioms, no dogmas and so on? Classical liberals tended to be pretty dogmatic about what they believed into actually. Take Adam Smith and his unending hostility to - well, prototypes of contemporary LABOR UNIONS. Or Frederic Bastiat's rather dogmatically clutching to free trade. Or even Ricardo's systematic hostility to big landowners.

"It is an organic construct that places a high value on the free exchange of ideas. Liberalism doesn�t fear or hate ideas; it only fears and hates the dictators of certainty, whether they come in the form of theocracies, aristocracies, or hyper-nationalist, fascist and/or corporatist states (Nazis, Soviets, et al.)."

You're masturbating in public.

"And yet we STILL call them fellow citizens. But only barely."

There you go, smth needs to be done about it, no? No tolerance for those who you don't like. Please continue, do show your true colors to the world.

It's a good example inherent intolerance - so much that you didn't even wait to dump me into the "neocon" category.

And PLEASE for the love of God stop calling yourselves liberals - you're for anything but liberty. As long as liberty means a chance of hedonism for you, you will be for it - but only that long.

"But damn, I went from laughing about the books that are considered "harmful" to the fearful realization that these folks have an awful lot of power."

Say, when do you start shooting kulaks? They have an awful lot of power, you know.

You're not worthy of the title European, you're a horrible representative and I hope the good folks here don't think less of us.

"You're not worthy of the title European, you're a horrible representative and I hope the good folks here don't think less of us"

You're not worthy of the HUMAN BEING title, slave.

Congrats, BB, you just tried to argue without using any arguments.

Don't mix contemporary left with J.S. Mill, Adam Smith, John Locke, Frederic Bastiat, and the like.

But I will mix the contemporary left with Erasmus, Voltaire, Jefferson, Debs, and so forth. It all began with the humanists in the 12th century, then through the Ages of Reason and Enlightenment, straight through to the American progressives at the turn of the 19th into the 20th century, then through the New Deal, Civil Rights, and Great Society. I could go on here, but I think most people get my drift. Call it what you will, but its all the same tradition.

Except that is a different sort of conservatism you talk about. See, the more you write, the more ignorant or lying you show yourself to be.

Eh? How is it different? Oh, are we talking about the "modern" conservatism that fought against civil rights, workers rights, environmentalism, AIDS funding, Social Security, Voting Rights, et al.? The more you write, and the cheap insults you use, prove you're either going through life with massive blinders or you are the disingenuous liar.

The only danger to civil liberties and economic liberties is big activist govt beloved by the leftists (again, don't call yourself liberal bc you don't deserve that).

Once again: eh? Double eh?How about the big government we have now, the big-spending "conservative" government with its massive deficits? I guess "big government" is OK when defense contractors (conservatives one and all) all gorge at the federal feeding trough, but it is NOT ok when the people do? How curious an attitude.

You're barking at the wrong tree, dickhead.

A typical anonymous troll being the typical internet "tough guy" and resorting to pejoratives and dick references. I don't think I got personal with you, tough guy; I was speaking in general, but I guess you took it personally, you poor little immature child. In real life, standing before me, you'd crap yourself before you spoke to me in such a disrespectful manner, I assure you. I am not a coward who hides behind anonymity (check out my weblog linked below). Ah, but that's what we get nowadays, little right-wing trolls who are all talk but no action. A battalion of you little stinkers couldn't invade a cheerleader camp.

You arguments are weak and fraught with piffle and selective perception. In fact, your argument style indicates a bordeline personality disorder.

Silly comeback BB, surely you can do better, or will you just continue to humiliate us decent Europeans with your insane pro Bush ramblings here?

Is bb's only argument cutting and pasting people's words, then following them up with sarcastic statements?

She needs to learn how to articulate an argument, not chide people. Poor dear :(

What's worse, is that she probably feels that she is actually changing people's minds, actually making progress, when in fact she is doing more to make the divide worse. Her venom is doing nothing more than making things worse. Calm down bb.

I genuinely want to hear your views, just be less indignant in your tone...please.

bb Let's play your gam eof deconstructing ideas into sentences and words, and attacking when there's no substance left in the bits. Also, please forgive me for not sticking strictly to arguments, and also paying back some of your 'clever' remarks. Here we go:

"The point is not even applicability or its lack. It's a false diagnosis that makes people get into errors with disastrous consequences, whether deliberately or not. A false idea about society has bad consequences in the society, what's so hard to understand about that."

It's their judgement that gets people into error, not the ideas they read from books. I hold my point that if you rule out judgement as the essential process that precedes action, any book would then be dangeraous. Your paragraph ended with the usual unecessary spit. Have a napkin!

"A nuclear fission is an idea about physical world."

I was talking about researching nuclear fission, not how Physics are ideas about physical world (against which, alas, you have no power of argumentation, 'cause it's Physics). If you want to go into nuclear fission with me, and how we apply it, I'd advise you go back to school first.

"You made up a bad analogy. This is the weakest form of logic."

In case your attention span collapsed, it was you who started the analogy between mathematics and social issues. I actually found it to be a CREATIVE analogy, since it allowed further discussion. And by the way, saying it's a 'bad analogy' doesn't stand as argument.

"Investigating physical world doesn't force you or motivate you to do this or that in society."

Dr. Mengele and Japan's Unit 731 personnel would agree with you 100%. Congrats! If nuclear fission is studied to make a bomb, then motivation is right there. Oppenheimer would disagree with you, and he knew better, becuase for him causality was obvious.

"No. Little but ideas controls people, like Keynes wrote. You can't separate knowledge from action as action is limited by knowledge. You can't act for free market if all you literally knew were Marxian ideas."

You conclude your arguument before you start ("No"). Are you 5 years old? I agree to some degree that ideas control people (there are other things too, like feelings, physical constraints, etc). However, it's people own ideas of reality that control them (I'm not talking about slaves here). That's why you have to check both sides of every coin that you pocket (that's a metaphor, not logic - careful!). Coming back to your tirade, I doubt that anybody ever knew only 'Marxian' ideas, since they were formulated somewhat in contrast to 'free market' principles. Connection exists in opposition, not only in sequence. Everything is connected, since unlike in Physics, the new system did not include the old one as a particular case. Only then, you'd have the total unawarness that you were referring to, unless you assume from start the complete ignorance of people in countries where the system was in place. I wouldn't go that far.

"I think you are evil and you are trying to make a mental equivalent of this sort of installation where sheep are running and are limited by them so they had no option but to go the way you want."

The first part is brilliant (the evil part), but shows paranoic tendencies. I don't know where you came with the whole sheep image above, but it doesn't represent my argument, or what I believe. However, it points to the same pathology.

"Acting is inseparable from knowledge. You can't act outside your knowledge for crying out loud."

I agree that one's acts and knowledge are inseparable, but acting MUST BE separable from the knowledge you pick-up from the books (which would be somebodyelse's knowledge, I suppose), unless you decide on your own will to OWN those ideas. Unfortunately, crying out loud doesn't make you anybody right, either.

"Bullshit. Marx is precisely to blame, as he deceived himself and people into cargo cult, an error."

Before you overheat on this issue, I'm not defending Marx here. He was a pen-pusher, and he may have self-deceited himself (assuming he was honest). More to blame in my opinion are Lenin, Stalin and those who decided what the applied version of the system was going to be like - it was certainly not a cargo-cult for them, but the mean to achieve and maintain power. If you think the Soviet Union was created in 1918-1922 based on ideas (as opposed to the will to power), you have serious problems with your perception of past and present history.

"Not because of lack of trying by the left."

What is 'left' anyway? I just pointed to the evolution trend, not to its causes. A balanced person would have seen the reverse as the result of trying form the 'right' (you know, as the opposite of 'left'), and avoided an unecessary branch of the argument. If you feel that you need to continue down that path, please elaborate more.

"No. There's only one world and one reality. Somebody must be wrong about euthanasia, one way or another. It's possible everybody is wrong. But you can't just do away with claiming that there are no bad ideas and lay all blame on people. A person is an actor following an idea - why should all of the blame lay with mistaken person believing in the mistaken idea? That is an error of knowledge, not morality."

You started with the conclusion again. How can you balance your arguments, when your convictions are so strong, anyway? And why should euthanasia (or any idea for that matter) be only bad or only good? Polarizing the reality doesn't make it easy to grasp, unless for sheep. I still think that same idea in different setting can be good or bad, depending on who holds it, when, where, why, etc. The easiest way to prove me wrong (as in mathematics) is to take some ideas and prove that they're always rigth or wrong. And then, do the same with the rest of them.

You seem to put a lot of faith in leaders, not in the people, when absolving individuals of being inoculated with bad ideas ("mistaken person believing in the mistaken idea?"). Unless I'm physically forcing you to, you shouldn't kill just because I tell you that it's a good idea.

As for the 'knowledge of error', that's another pearl (did it hurt releasing into the world?), since an error of knowledge is still knowledge, as it was proven by the history of science countless times.

"You're talking more complex system of ideas than just euthanasia itself. That's not "policy" (which is idea as well after all), that's smth more elaborate."

The 'more complex' system of ideas, stems from trying to APPLY the 'euthanasia' idea in the first place. Causality again, stemming from 'euthanasia' , should have not though stopped your argumentation. Therefore, the example still stands, and you didn't disprove the duality of the seed concept, just by stating that >.

"It makes it dangerous idea, just like dangerous substance is just that - both can be used in the manner that has bad consequences. There are dangerous people, dangerous substances and dangerous ideas. You can't exclude ideas from the set of dangerous things because you feel like it. That's arbitrary and baseless."

Again, all ideas are dangerous, depending on who uses them, if the criterion is 'bad consequences', as long as one doesn't refuse the causality chain and the responsibility of the individual.

I'd like to stop for a second, a point to your definition of 'bad idea = idea with bad consequences'. This may be useful later.

As for the second part, you failed to mention that there are dangerous cats, dogs, religions, mountains, rivers, medicine, and probably the whole worth of Webster's nouns. I exluded infinity minus one because we were talking about ideas (as found in the books). If you choose to exclude infinity minus three and feel better about it, go ahead!

"Thanks for showing you are clinically insane and dangerous."

It's not that I have to counter-argument this one, since it's too easy. I'd like however to point you back to my post, and invite you to prove wrong what I've wrote (pasted next): >

You further wrote, "You demonstrate that political views are not following rational thought - and that somebody can be all of the following: educated, fanatic, insane and evil."

You're off the mark here by light-years since: - I haven't expressed my political views; - I am not fanatic, and I really don't know how can you possibly deduce this from my posts. You're bordering hate speech. - I am not insane, and my employer's psychological evaluation (among other things) can prove it.

The evil part (like in the 'axis of evil') is childish, and ever-recurring in your post. I sincerely hope that you're not honest when posting, and you do it just out of spite and pure pleasure of bashing, which is an intellectual activity as well. In case you are honest, I'd suggest professional help.

Radu,

You definitley handed bb her ass. I would love to hear what she has to say now.

Well, i wont take sides, but i must say i love hearing a debate (even with all the harsh words). I wish i were a better debater/arguer. I enjoyed this thoroughly.

I have been away from the PC all weekend (kind of liberating) I have been reading and catching up.

Way to go radu! Well articulated, I wonder if she (bb) is still reading these posts.

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