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Ten Most Harmful Books Of The 19th And 20th Centuries

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That's a good list.

But to name the most evil books, I think I would go with:

1. The 120 days of sodom

It's Sadistic, literally.

Feel free too adddmore.

Edited by BinniLee

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1. Critique of pure reason by Immanuel Kant

2. The Bible

3. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

4. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

5. Beyond good and evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

6. Das Kapital by Karl Marx

7. Qur'ān

8. The Kinsey Report: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey

9. Democracy and Education by John Dewey

10. Quotations of Chairman Mao a.k.a. "The Little Red Book" by Mao Tse-Tung

11. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

12. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte

13. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

14.General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes

15. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

All ages, want to add something more? Or change order?

Edited by BinniLee

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1. Critique of pure reason by Immanuel Kant

2. The Bible

3. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

4. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

5. Beyond good and evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

6. Das Kapital by Karl Marx

7. Qur'ān

8. The Kinsey Report: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey

9. Democracy and Education by John Dewey

10. Quotations of Chairman Mao a.k.a. "The Little Red Book" by Mao Tse-Tung

11. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

12. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte

13. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

14.General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes

15. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

All ages, want to add something more? Or change order?

You have included "Beyond Good and Evil" twice. Why have you mentioned this at all?

It is true that all these books have contributed to: socialism, communism, fascism, Christianity, Islam, feminism, environmentalism etc. But what school of thought do you think Nietzsche has in particular contributed to?

BTW, how did you make up this list?

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My bad, regarding listing it twice.

Irrelevant, even if a book had good influences it doesn't reduce it's harm.

I took copied the other list and inserted additonal books from all ages. Like I said I would welcome any change in the order listed or changes.

I don't hold this list up as the holy grail Atlas shrugged.

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So, I don't mean to say that I fully support Betty Friedan (especially since she was Marxist), but I'm not sure why some people are agreeing that The Feminine Mystique should be on a "10 Most Harmful Books" list. Looking at the description on the website, it says that the book:

...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.

I'm reading it now (I'm not finished with it; I just started "The Comfortable Concentration Camp" chapter), and what it disparages is when a woman's *only* goal in life is to become a wife and mother. It doesn't even seem to say that the role of housewife is degrading, only that it is degrading for it to be a person's only purpose. Friedan actually lists examples of women that are stay-at-home mothers, but fill their lives with other meaningful intellectual pursuits, and these women are shown as balanced and fulfilled human beings. It seems perfectly valid to me to say a major theme of the book is that a woman, or any other person for that matter, should not center their life around someone else.

The Feminine Mysitque is by no means a perfect work and since I haven't finished it, maybe I haven't gotten to the worst part yet. I think it gives too much credit to societal pressures and not enough credit to women to make their own choices. Even so, I still think that it could be a helpful book to get someone to think about their choices in life, and whether or not the reason they made them was in order to refuse personal responsibility for their own happiness. Do people judge this book as harmful because of the book itself or the movement it started?

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This website isn't trying to make it seem like Nietzsche was anything. Furthermore, I'm not aware of anyone here accusing him of being a Nazi, which would be terribly difficult given that he died in 1900.

Richard Wagner and Martin Luther (he who founded the Protestant movement) were proto-Nazis, and both died before the Nazi movement began in Germany. Both were rabid anti Semites. As to Nietzsche, it was his sister Elizabeth who transformed him into a Nazi icon. In fact Nietzsche was a Judeophile and broke with Richard Wagner because of Wagner's rabid antisemitism.

Bob Kolker

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My bad, regarding listing it twice.

Irrelevant, even if a book had good influences it doesn't reduce it's harm.

I took copied the other list and inserted additonal books from all ages. Like I said I would welcome any change in the order listed or changes.

I don't hold this list up as the holy grail Atlas shrugged.

The 2nd last book I bought was Beyond Good and Evil. Thanks for making me feel good about my purchase!

I tried reading Thus Spake Zarathustra when I was younger, but the writing style was too annoying to keep my interest. Since I've heard so much about him, I decided to give him another shot. From what I've read so far, he seems to nit-pick.

I'm a new Objectivist, so I'm not familiar with prevailing objectivist opinion on Nietzsche, if there is one. Why don't you like the book?

Edited by avampirist

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There is also a book by Peter Sanger, I don't know the name of it, but it is supposedly the book that gave birth to nutty animal rights movements like P.E.T.A.

I think you mean Peter Singer...and his book Animal Liberation is probably the one that you are speaking of.

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...

The Feminine Mysitque is by no means a perfect work and since I haven't finished it, maybe I haven't gotten to the worst part yet. I think it gives too much credit to societal pressures and not enough credit to women to make their own choices. Even so, I still think that it could be a helpful book to get someone to think about their choices in life, and whether or not the reason they made them was in order to refuse personal responsibility for their own happiness. Do people judge this book as harmful because of the book itself or the movement it started?

I don't think The Feminine Mystique belongs on a list of harmful books. It's been a good ten years since I read it, but what I remember is that it asks (and answers) the question of why, comparing 1920's to the 1950's, women in America were less likely to pursue a career or higher learning. (For instance, the proportion of college students that were women declined, and more women were quitting college early go get married.) And also where did the idea that women are less suited to things like "quantititative thinking" and "innovation" come from? Where did people get the idea (widespread apparently when the book was written) that women could not be fulfilled by developing and using their minds?

As I recall, the author comes very close to making the case that, just like a man, a woman needs some kind of central purpose (the author does not use this term) in her life, and that filling her life with tasks just to "keep busy" (but which are quite below her capabilities) is not going to be satisfying.

The last part of the book has some calls for various government interventions to help women, but advocacy of these does not follow from the earlier ideas Friedan discusses, so it's easy (especially for an Objectivist reader) to separate the good and bad parts of the book.

There's a good review of The Feminine Mystique by Edith Efron in the July 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter.

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I think you mean Peter Singer...and his book Animal Liberation is probably the one that you are speaking of.

Funny I stumble upon this post tonight, as Singer was some assigned reading for class last night. In just one little chapter about "Environmental Values" he managed to use the fallacy of the package-deal four times! He even goes so far as to ask us why we work to preserve great works of art but not nature. Not to forget how carelessly he throws around the idea of "intrinsic value".

There were so many things wrong with his writing in that chapter it would take too long for me to write it out again as I have on another forum.

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I don't think any book can be harmful to an individual.

I disagree. Bad ideas have the potential to kill by the million, and books are one of the chief vehicles by which complex ideas are transmitted.

Remember that not everone is a researcher, or capable of deep analysis of the ideas presented in a book. The Division of Labour exists for a good reason, and evil men with evil books exploit that economic principle to achieve evil ends. For instance, a lot of people influenced by evil books looked to them in the first place for solutions to issues they had. The content in them will seem plausible and pass the readers' own basic examinations, and likely be supplemented by advice from experts who may also recommend those books. An evil book, contrasted with a merely wrong book, is one knowingly designed by its author to achieve that plausibility while employing deceit, usually in the service of ends at odds with the needs of worldly human life.

If a reader has need of a solution and doesn't have the expertise to judge thoroughly the content of books or what experts say, what else are they to do except go by what seems reasonable to them as far as they can discern it? The readers will then implement those ideas in the books, and the consequences will unfold from there. In that way, books (both evil and not) that have bad ideas in them can be extremely harmful to the reader.

JJM

Edited by John McVey

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I agree with the majority of those that I have read. But I would remove Nietzsche. Though he does have a philosophy which views the world as malevolent. He once in a while expresses such poetic love for the self. And the book is not as dangerous as some others I could think of.

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