Saturday, June 04, 2005

Accentuate the Positive 

As you have certainly read elsewhere, the editors of the right-wing stroke book Human Events recently asked fifteen of the most prominent nitwits in the Human Events rolodex to help them compile a list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." The results, since published online, have occasioned much outrage and hilarity in the lefty blogosphere: in addition to such obvious pick-hits as The Communist Manifesto and Quotations from Chairman Mao, the top ten vote-getters included the Kinsey Report, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by that noted disciple of Satan John Maynard Keynes. Honorable mentions went to (among others) Paul Ehrlich, J.S. Mill, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, Ralph Nader, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, and last but not least, Charles Darwin -- who, according to Human Events and its panel of scholars, once wrote a book entitled Origin of the Species.

We were frankly at a loss to understand why Human Events would publish such a list; surely harmful books should be ignored, not celebrated, lest innocent minds be exposed to and polluted by the toxic ideas therein. Would it not be more responsible, more beneficial to society, to commission a list of the Ten Most Helpful Books -- titles that would introduce young readers hungry for wisdom to the intellectual foundations of conservative thought, both classical and cutting-edge?

When we raised these questions in a phone conversation with an editor at Human Events -- we believe he said "editor," although it sounded like "janitor" -- we were shocked to discover that he agreed wholeheartedly with our objections. The panel of conservative scholars and public policy leaders was hastily reconvened, the votes cast, the ballots counted. It is now our privilege to bring you the results, in ascending order, of that groundbreaking poll:

Human Events and King of Zembla present:

10. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth. This dispensationalist classic, a major influence on Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and James Watt, is a handy one-volume refutation of all those tedious tracts by environmental alarmists. Why should we "conserve" our natural resources when the end times are practically upon us? Use 'em or lose 'em!

9. Richard Herrnstein & Charles Murray, The Bell Curve. A glorious thumb in the eye of political correctness, rigorously exposing Mr. Jefferson's notorious formulation that "all men are created equal" as a load of pernicious bollocks while proving, once and for all, that the American Negro has no scientifically valid reason to be so damned uppity.

8. F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom. Most respondents admitted that they had not actually read this seminal work, billed on the cover as "a classic warning against the dangers to freedom inherent in social planning," but since the author won a Nobel prize for economics in 1974 they felt its inclusion would give the list some much-needed cachet.

7. Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women. The radical feminist and misandrist Dworkin, who famously said that "penetrative intercourse is, by its nature, violent," might seem an odd choice for a conservative reading list. Still, one chapter of Dworkin is enough to make anyone, even the most dedicated horndog, lose all interest in sex for at least a month -- so she can't be all bad!

6. Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box. Behe takes the long-refuted notion of "irreducible complexity" and applies it to molecular evolution, larding his argument with enough diagrams, footnotes, and polysyllabic jargon to intimidate the hell out of any lay reader with Darwinian leanings. Box narrowly edges Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! and Ackerman, It's a Young World After All!, because A) there is no exclamation point in the title, and B) the author, refreshingly for the genre, has an actual degree in science -- which lends the list cachet. (See Hayek, above.)

5. "Tayacan" (a pseudonym), Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare: The CIA's Nicaragua Manual. Hey -- it worked! You don't see that asshole Daniel Ortega flipping us the bird from the state house in Managua, do you? An updated version of the classic eighties handbook could prove invaluable in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and other "hot spots" around the globe, if our so-called leaders could just get over their spineless, namby-pamby torturephobia.

4. Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead. The beloved YA novel of objectivist philosophy, filmed in 1949 with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, proved a sentimental favorite, winning out over the same author's more ambitious (but still unfilmed) Atlas Shrugged. Phyllis Schlafly, the lone woman on our team of experts, said it had been her "lifelong dream" to be "ravished by rogue architect Howard Roark" -- a dream shared, to our surprise, by at least six of her fellow panelists.

3. Dr. William Pierce, The Turner Diaries. Zionists take over the U.S. government, and with their black henchmen march door-to-door confiscating the guns of patriotic white people. Protagonist Earl Turner joins the caucasian resistance and, at novel's end, flies a light plane into the Pentagon with a 60-kiloton nuclear device aboard. Fiction, or prophecy? The moral and political ideas Dr. Pierce explores are by design controversial, and may be subject to misinterpretaton by impressionable readers such as Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 hijackers. But, that said, has there ever been a more rousing fictional expression of America's love affair with the Second Amendment?

2. A. Hitler, Mein Kampf. The only book to make both lists. Never let it be said that Mr. Hitler does not evoke strong reactions, both pro and con!

1. George Orwell, 1984. The indispensible how-to book for modern governance, wittily disguised as a futuristic page-turner. Would the last four years be imaginable without it?

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Stormer, None Dare Call It Treason; Coulter, Treason; O'Neill & Corsi, Unfit for Command (hey -- it worked!); Morris, Dutch; Woodward, Plan of Attack; Heinlein, Farnham's Freehold; Morgan, The Total Woman; Fletcher & Hollander, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington; Weber, How to Pick Up Girls (hey -- it worked!)

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