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

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Also if the Nazis loved Nietzche so much how come they had the Catholic Church on their side?

From what I can tell, the Nazis liked Nietzsche's hatred of reason, his love of force and his "overman" theory, which fit in well with the whole Aryan super race idea. The Catholic Church didn't do nearly enough to counter Hitler, however, the Nazis were equal opportunity murderers. For example, I know they killed roughly 7,000 Polish priests during the war.

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one of the main reasons the Nietzche is compared with Nazis is because after his death much of his work was altered by his nationalist sister to be more in tune with the feelings of the time. to further illustrate this point, Nietzche actually broke all ties with his long time friend Wagner, because Wagner was a raving anti-semite, and Nietzche despised semitism.

The Ubermensch theory, much like most of Nietzche, is some of the most misunderstood writing in all literature. He describes three levels of his Will to power: the lowest and most primitive is the "blond beast" which seeks to dominate others. the second tier is the will to dominate one's passions (how many people do you know spend their entire lives in the pursuit of the opposite sex?) the third and highest tier was what he called the Ubermensch, which is the will to become self-actualized. It's far more complex than this, but this pretty much covers the essentials.

Objectivism has roots in Nietzche, so my view of Nietzche is slightly more favorable than most.

as for most harmful books, I would have placed Hegel at the top, for two reasons. A: because Kant published in the 18th century and B: Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, and modern Collectivism have their philosophical backrounds in Hegel.

and for the Record, Adolf Hitler was Catholic, and according to my ethics professor (who spent his youth studying the relationship between the Catholic church and the Nazis) the Catholics were in support of the Nazis. Yes there were instances of brutality against the Catholics, but on a whole Catholic support of Hitler is a dark chapter that most have too soon forgot about.

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Q: How do you say "Give me liberty or give me death" in French?

:P:glare: The answer is: "Donnez-moi la liberté, ou donnez-moi la mort", according to the Google Translator.

Have a good day :alien:

Q: What is meliorism?

Edited by Melior
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Objectivism has roots in Nietzche, so my view of Nietzche is slightly more favorable than most.

On what do you base this statement? I know that when she was younger, Rand admired Nietzsche's favorable view of the individual. She even put a quote of his in her intro to the 25th anniversary edition of The Fountainhead. However, Rand qualified her use of the quote because there were important aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy that she believed were profoundly evil. Is there more to this than what I know?

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Objectivism has roots in Nietzche, so my view of Nietzche is slightly more favorable than most.

What are you on about? There might be a few aspects of Nietzches philosophy that might be similar to Objectivism, but look at this quote below, and think about it, and try to rationally justify the claim that Objectivism has roots in Nietzche:

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."
- Nietzche.

Based on this and the little of Nietzche I have actually read I would say it is not accurate to say Objectivism as roots in that evil nonsense. Nietzche might have beleived in the "Overman" , and others might think his concept of such is similar to Ayns Prime Movers, but Ayns Prime Movers are based on a firm philosophical foundation, where the Overman idea is formed on some insane Germans guys paranoia.

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What are you on about? There might be a few aspects of Nietzches philosophy that might be similar to Objectivism, but look at this quote below, and think about it, and try to rationally justify the claim that Objectivism has roots in Nietzche:
People ripping Nietzsche quotes out of their surrounding context was, along with poor translation, one of the main reasons why he was widely misunderstood throughout the first half of the 20th century. And although these misconceptions have largely been corrected within the academic world as a result of the heroic efforts of Walter Kauffman, they are still alive and well in popular culture. The Nazi's were the ones largely responsible for creating the myth that Nietzsche was some lunatic who believed people should live as wild beasts and happily murder everyone who opposed them, but it is hard for this picture to survive a close reading of his work.

However, since we're on the subject:

"Don't you know," he asked, "that we can't sacrifice millions for the sake of the few?"

"You can! You must. When those few are the best. Deny the best its right to the top-and you have no best left. What are your masses but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it? What is the people but millions of puny, shriveled, helpless souls that have no thoughts of their own, no will of their own, who eat and sleep and chew helplessly the words others put into their mildewed brains? And for those you would sacrifice the few who know life, who are life?"

(We The Living, deleted passage)

Also, compare the first part of BGE 259 which precedes the section you quoted

To refrain mutually from injury, from violence, from exploitation, and put one's will on a par with that of others: this may result in a certain rough sense in good conduct among individuals when the necessary conditions are given (namely, the actual similarity of the individuals in amount of force and degree of worth, and their co-relation within one organization). As soon, however, as one wished to take this principle more generally, and if possible even as the fundamental principle of society, it would immediately disclose what it really is--namely, a Will to the denial of life, a principle of dissolution and decay.

with the following extract from Ayn Rand's early (1934) journals:

The fault of liberal democracies: giving full rights to quantity (majorities), they forget the rights of quality, which are much higher rights. Prove that differences of quality not only do exist inexorably, but also should exist . The next step -- democracy of superiors only. This is not possible without a very high and powerful sense of honor. . . .
And so on.

Ayn Rand's mature ethics and politics are certainly very different from Nietzsche's. But they are a development of his thought (albeit a significant one), just like her metaphysical views were often a development of Aristotle's. I doubt that AR could have written the Fountainhead if Nietzsche hadnt written BGE and TSZ.

Edited by Hal
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From what I can tell, the Nazis liked Nietzsche's hatred of reason, his love of force and his "overman" theory, which fit in well with the whole Aryan super race idea. The Catholic Church didn't do nearly enough to counter Hitler, however, the Nazis were equal opportunity murderers. For example, I know they killed roughly 7,000 Polish priests during the war.

The Nazis loved Neitzche because his sister Elizabeth kept track of all of his note books after he went crazy. Elizabeth was a Nazi and let them pick and choose out of context quotes to support their ideals. They mostly just liked "Thus Spake Zarathusrta" because of the style in which it was written. It had a biblical prose, which the Nazis liked, because that meant that it was easier to take slogans from the work out fo context.

It's great that this website tries to make it seem like Neitzche was a Nazi. In fact, he rejected racisim. But that doesn't stop anyone from making misinformed blanket assertions.

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It's great that this website tries to make it seem like Neitzche was a Nazi. In fact, he rejected racisim. But that doesn't stop anyone from making misinformed blanket assertions.
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.

While I seriously doubt that Nietzsche would have supported the Nazis, it is undeniable that he held reason in low regard, which the Nazis did as well. I also think they would have looked favorably on his statement that "Life itself is essential assimilation, injury, violation of the foreign and the weaker, suppression, hardness, the forcing of one's own forms upon something else, ingestion and - at the least in its mildest form - exploitation."

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While I seriously doubt that Nietzsche would have supported the Nazis, it is undeniable that he held reason in low regard
Well, I would deny it. While reading Nietzsche's work, I have always found a constrast between 2 seperate (and apparently contradictory) strands of his epistemology. While he sometimes does seem to submit to a radical perspectivalism (perhaps most apparent in "On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense" and the opening 'chapter' of BGE), this has to be balanced against the many favourable comments which he makes regarding science and knowledge in general.

I think your concept of 'reason' roughly corresponds to what Nietzsche termed the Apollonian. But while Nietzsche did dislike the archetype of detached scholarly intellectuallism which he saw personnified by Socrates, I think its incorrect to say that he actually rejected the Apollonian outlook. I would instead say that he thought it had to be counterbalanced by its Dionysian opposite - a purely Apollonian personality is dispassionate and detached, which Nietzsche would think of as being fundamentally anti-life. The ideal man would be a combination of both Apollonian and Dionysian elements, rather than being one of the "scholarly oxen" (to borrow a phrase).

Edited by Hal
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Hal, if you have access to the Objectivist Forum, you should read the article written by Dr. Ridpath that appears in the February and April 1986 issues. Particularly in the April 1986 issue (Part II of the article), he does a nice job of describing Nietzsche's view of reason.

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I know neither one of these items of destruction are actually "books" but how about all that utterly limitless verbiage about relgion and socialism which chokes our world? So so much of it seems like pitiful propaganda of very low quality which can't influence or hurt anybody--but what quantity! All these endless volumes of Jesus and Marx (and company) seem to hit us high and low, direct and indirect, obvious and subtle, friendly and mean, etc. The harmfulness of this numbing, pulverizing, insidious, unending stream of intellectual trash seems almost beyond compare and is almost two ultra-powerful "books" in themselves. :nuke:

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This website isn't trying to make it seem like Nietzsche was anything.

When I said "website" I meant the one from which the book list was taken, not the forum. Furthermore, many people (obviously) consider Nietzche to have given birth to the Nazi's ideals (even though he died in 1900, which I was aware of, thank you). These people are mostly misinformed and react strongly to Neitzche without ever having read him.

And Yay! You, too can take quotes out of context! :nuke:

Edited by Megan Robinson
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And Yay! You, too can take quotes out of context! :)

I'm a pleasant guy so I won't respond rudely to your comment, but the nature of an internet forum is such that one must pull quotes "out of context" because it's difficult to post an entire philosophical work here.

By the way, I pulled the Nietzsche quote from Vol. IV of WT Jones History of Western Philosophy before I had even looked at the passage on the Human Events website. It's a fairly well known quote of his, and you can read it in section 259 of Beyond Good and Evil.

http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/...oodandevil9.htm

I don't see anything from the full context of the quote that would give it a different meaning than one derives by reading it "out of context".

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I definitely would not put the Kinsey report in there. It got rid of a lot irrational mores of the 1950's. The modern cults of hippies have largely corrupted it.

Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto are obvious choices; the Peter Singer book that lead to the founding of PETA is called Animal Liberation.

EDIT: I would actually put Marx's Capital before the Manifesto as I believe it was the more influential work.

Edited by LaszloWalrus
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I think that one of the ten should be The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. Or some other by him.

There is no-one in the field of psychology who did such a mess and what is even worse is that many of his bad ideas prevails till today in the minds of many people. What is especially bad about his work is that he was one of the first who maintained that we are not responsible for our deeds or at least he is one of the best known proponents.

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There is another one, that came into my mind while watching political debate in TV. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes. I have chosen him (and his most influential book) from economy because with his ideological fellow Marx he is maybe the most famous advocate of statism.

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There is no-one in the field of psychology who did such a mess and what is even worse is that many of his bad ideas prevails till today in the minds of many people.
It's true that his views can be used as an excuse, however that along should not devalue them. Latest researches in the field of brain studies have brought many ideas of his back to life, so it's not that clear that you can simply dismiss his points.
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It's true that his views can be used as an excuse, however that along should not devalue them. Latest researches in the field of brain studies have brought many ideas of his back to life, so it's not that clear that you can simply dismiss his points.

Surely there are some points in his work which are useful - as far as I know he made many contributions to the theory of psychotherapy (I don´t mean his techniques but his description of the relationship of patient and tehrapists). But in my opinion his mistakes in his theory of personality overweigh these pros. I don´t think that public knows much about his better part of the work. It knows rather about his mistakes some of which are enspoused by many people (e.g. his ideas concerning sexuality of children; division of mind emphasizing unconscious; his therapy which can be much more damaging than curing - and is rather long and expensive; and so forth).

Concerning researches - I have heard about some rasearch that is supposed to validate some of his views on unconscious. They have proved nothing what he said, they used the term in other meaning than Freud did. But I don´t know whether you hadn´t meant some other.

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Objectivism has roots in Nietzche, so my view of Nietzche is slightly more favorable than most.

I too am very fond of Nietche, but my first introduction to him was a translation(more of a rewrite actually) of his final unfinished treatise, Will to Power By H.L. Mencken. It was nietche whitewashed through a reasonable mind and was absolutely excellent. Anyone curious about his philosophy would do well to read that book. Very intelligible and almost objectivistish in tone.

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The article also includes an honorable mention of runners-up.

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Do you have any idea how -Origin of Species- got on the runner up harmful book list?

And why wasn't -The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion- on the list?

Bob Kolker

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I think that one of the ten should be The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. Or some other by him.

There is no-one in the field of psychology who did such a mess and what is even worse is that many of his bad ideas prevails till today in the minds of many people. What is especially bad about his work is that he was one of the first who maintained that we are not responsible for our deeds or at least he is one of the best known proponents.

Whatever else Freud's theories are, they surely do not constitute a science. For some doctrine or discipline to be a science it has to make testable predictions about the world. Freud stopped doing medicine at some point and found a kind of cult.

A ditty on the matter comes to mind:

Oh Doktor Freud, Herr Doctor Freud

How we wish you had been differently employed

Instead of fiddling with neurosis

You could have cured sclerosis,

Oh what a waste, Herr Doktor Freud.

Bob Kolker

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