I ran across this old article on Human Events earlier today,
and found it to be a pretty telling statement about the modern
conservative movement and its intellectual underpinnings. Human
Events asked “15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders:
to rate the most dangerous books of the last two centuries, and the
results are as predictable as they are entertaining.
While of course the list highlights the kind of books you might
expect, like The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf,
a number of the books that received a high number of votes
demonstrates a great deal about what passes for conservative
Clocking in at number five is John Dewey’s Democracy and
Education, which proposed the crazy idea that education should
focus less on vocational training and indoctrination and more on
critical thinking skills and human development. DANGEROUS!
Coming in at number seven is Betty Friedan’s The Feminine
Mystique, which suggested that women might be interested in
fulfilling careers and lives outside of traditional roles. It’s
probably only a coincidence that the only woman on the panel was
Phyllis Schlafly. DANGEROUS!
Best of all was one of the honorable mentions. John Stuart Mill’s
On Liberty. Yeah. Perhaps the most important 19th century
book about the need for freedom from the state’s authority. Anyone
else remember when conservatives wanted to limit the power of the
government over individual lives? DANGEROUS!
Is it just me, or are the people most likely to declare that books
are dangerous are the people least likely to be able to read them?