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Parental advice: the fifty worst books of the 20th century October 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in disaster, Domestic Church, error, foolishness, General Catholic, rank stupidity, reading, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.

Plus, I add some of my own.

The conservative Intercollegiate Review has put together a list of the 50 most disastrously influential books of the 20th century.  You’ll have heard of some of them, others probably not.  Since I have a lot of readers with school-age kids, I thought this use might be useful.  Homeschoolers probably won’t come across many, if any, of these books in their curricula, but those with kids in public or private school likely will, and they are even more likely to be seen at the college level.

I highlight a few of what I agree are the worst “idea” books of the 2oth century, then add some of my own:

1. Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)

So amusing did the natives find the white woman’s prurient questions that they told her the wildest tales—and she believed them! Mead misled a generation into believing that the fantasies of sexual progressives were an historical reality on an island far, far away. [progressive fantasies and practiced perversions have played the dominant role in bringing about the sexual revolution – misery loves company, and they have long sought to bring as many down to their level as possible. Also explains their hatred for God]

3. Alfred Kinsey, et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)

So mesmerized were Americans by the authority of Science, with a capital S, that it took forty years for anyone to wonder how data is gathered on the sexual responses of children as young as five. A pervert’s attempt to demonstrate that perversion is “statistically” normal. [Actually, there is tremendous evidence Kinsey even sexually abused infants.  This is a man who was a close disciple of the satanist Crowley and who practiced almost all the perversions he “discovered” were so “widespread.”  They were not, his methods were near total crap, but he provided the rationalization for perversion as “normal” and introduced previously unmentionable subjects into polite society. No single man probably did more harm to souls in the 20th century than Kinsey, precisely because he made progressives feel their kinks were normal, and he struck a huge blow against Christian morals]

4. Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (1964)

Dumbed-down Heidegger and a seeming praise of kinkiness became the Bible of the sixties and early postmodernism. [On this point, run from Heidigger, Hegel, Harnack, Nietzsche……really any philosopher post-1600 that is not named Suarez, Teresa, or orthodox Catholic.  Only read the endarkenment philosphes with great caution and a firm grounding in the Faith.  I think everyone from Locke and Hobbes to Voltaire and Montesquieu should only be read by mature minds]

5. John Dewey, Democracy and Education (1916)

Dewey convinced a generation of intellectuals that education isn’t about anything; it’s just a method, a process for producing democrats and scientists who would lead us into a future that “works.” Democracy and Science (both pure means) were thereby transformed into the moral ends of our century, and America’s well-meaning but corrupting educationist establishment was born. [American education has never recovered.  The implosion started here.]

Theodor W. Adorno, et al., The Authoritarian Personality (1950)

Don’t want to be bothered to engage the arguments of your conservative political opponents? Just demonstrate “scientifically” that all their political beliefs are the result of a psychological disorder. [Crap research from a progressive to arrive at a predetermined result – all non-progressives are Nazis waiting to happen]

Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Our Selves (1976)

Or, Our Bodies, Our Liberal Selves. A textbook example of the modern impulse to elevate the body and its urges, libidinal and otherwise, above soul and spirit.

Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (1968)

What this scientist proclaimed as an inevitable “fact”—that “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s—turned out entirely “evitable.” [Just leftist wishful thinking – and the constant trend among scienticians to fail to incorporate vital data into their analyses just because it would prove them wrong. In this sense, he is the godfather of the global warming industry]

Harvey Cox, The Secular City (1965)

Celebrated the liberation that accompanied modern urban life at the precise moment when such liberation came to mean the freedom to be mugged, raped, and murdered. Argued that “death of god” theology was the inevitable and permanent future for modern man just before the contemporary boom in “spirituality.”

Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life (1919)

A pernicious book that celebrates the growth of the welfare state and champions the unlikely prospect of “achieving Jeffersonian ends through Hamiltonian means.” [Yeah, how has that worked out.]

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (1958)

Made Americans dissatisfied with the ineradicable fact of poverty. Led to foolish public policies that produced the hell that was the 1960s. [And the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s…….]

John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936)

This book did for Big Government what Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring did for the tse-tse fly.

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (1979)

Bored with the real Gospels and real Christianity, professors of religion were thrilled to find out how important—not to mention feminist and pre-Socratic—these fragments were.

The Pentagon Papers as Published by the New York Times, Based on Investigative Reporting by Neil Sheehan (1971)

Publicizing the blunderings of “the Best and the Brightest” did nothing but undermine the new president’s—Nixon’s—statesmanlike efforts to salvage the mess in Vietnam bequeathed to him by JFK and LBJ. [Funny how it always works like that. Of course, Nixon didn’t help himself by panicking at the revelations. He could have turned them to his political advantage quite easily. Yet another mistake from a fatally flawed man]

Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907)

“[The Church] should therefore strengthen the existing communistic institutions and aid the evolution of society from the present temporary stage of individualism to a higher form of communism.” Eek! [I include this to show how long modernism – which is nothing but a program to make Christianity subservient to leftism – has been around]

Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race (1920)

This founder of Planned Parenthood published Adolf Hitler’s eugenics guru in her magazine in the early 1930s. That Women and the New Race sprang from Sanger is no surprise.

H. G. Wells, The Open Conspiracy (1928)

Wells emerges as the comically earnest would-be John the Baptist for a new religion of temporal salvation to be ushered in by a vanguard embracing “the supreme duty of subordinating the personal life to the creation of a world directorate.” Oh, my. [SF writers are often nuts]

My own list.  First, in addition to some names mentioned above, anything by:

  • Norman Mailer
  • Gore Vidal
  • Susan Sontag
  • Carl Rogers (whose methods played a HUGE role in destroying religious life)
  • Bertrand Russel
  • Arthur Schlesinger, Jr
  • Skinner
  • HG Wells
  • Arthur C. Clarke: once my favorite science fiction writer, his relentless, militant atheism and constant jabs at Christianity compromise whatever good elements he has.  Plus, it seems his atheism may have been driven by grave personal sins including abuse of boys.
  • Rachel Carson
  • Betty Friedan
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Naomi Klein
  • Howard Zinn
  • Upton Sinclair
  • Karl Marx
  • Freiderich Engels
  • Charles Darwin
  • Ralph Nader
  • Foucault
  • Leftists generally
  • Descartes:  Yes, brilliant, but also insidious.  Be very wary.

Specific other books:

  • The Catcher in the Rye: convinced whole generations of youth that authority was irretrievably corrupt and that rebellion/being an aloof, condescending jerk were “good”
  • Anything on the Gnostic Gospels: unless you have a rock-solid grounding in the Catholic understanding of Scripture avoid these like the plague
  • Les Miserables – anti-Church bias at its finest
  • The Grapes of Wrath:  just too preening
  • Atlas Shrugged – I don’t like Ayn Rand, she was amoral and had essentially no love for her fellow man
  • Mein Kampf

Enough for now.  I look forward to your recommendations.  If you include the 19th century a number of other books should jump on the list: Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto, The Origin of Species, etc.



1. c matt - October 13, 2015

If by worse you mean totally sucked and of negative value, it is hard to beat that Al Gore trash he wrote about the planet. I can’t even recall the name of it. The only reason it had any sales at all was because liberal professors forced their captive audiences to buy it. Its only redeeming quality was that it was, and remains, totally un-influential.

2. red6020 - October 13, 2015

I would also include any of David Hume’s work. Concepts like “Hume’s fork” or “Hume’s guillotine” are based on false metaphysics/logic and have been corrupting philosophers and seeping into the general population for nearly three centuries now.

You want to know why many exclude morality as irrational, unreal, subjective, or something else? Look to Hume. He “demolished” the opposing arguments, as I’ve heard so many (semi)educated people say.

Tantumblogo - October 14, 2015

Yes, good addition. Thanks!

3. Steven Cass - October 14, 2015

I would include “Ulysses” by James Joyce. Immoral, anti-Catholic. Also, didn’t “Lady Chatterly” make a big impression back in the day? Philip Larkin wrote a poem “Annus Mirabilis” that claimed that sexual intercourse (meaning, the modern sexular-pagan version) didn’t begin until the end of the ban on “Lady Chatterly”.

Tantumblogo - October 14, 2015

Oh, great input…….You have to be careful with Joyce, certainly. I always thought he was very overrated. Write off DH Lawrence entirely, and I don’t know about Oscar Wilde.

AmileJones1516 - October 14, 2015

Joyce? Sorry, but I’m not buying it. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel all young Catholics should read at least once, as long as they are aware that Stephen Dedalus is not a literary figure to emulate. Ulysses is overrated (in the sense that it is the greatest 20th century novel) and features an amoral protagonist, but anti-Catholic? He hated the Church as a result of Irish politics and disillusionment, yet he never besmirched its name. One chapter is written in the form of a catechism for crying out loud. Ulysses is Dublin in 1904; you cannot dismiss a work like that because its author was a lapsed Catholic. Joyce did not inject prejudiced venom against the Church into his writing because he intended without bias to reconstruct the home of his youth, in all of its glory and misery. His allusions to the faith alone reveal his understanding of it and are worth one’s time and consideration. You can still enjoy a work by an author you fundamentally disagree with on religious terms.

4. Marguerite - October 14, 2015

Why Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? He painted society as he saw it and in fact, the priest was forgiving when Jean Valjean stole the candlesticks. There is the Christian theme of forgiveness in the novel. I disagree.

5. taw723 - October 14, 2015

Les Miserables should be banned if for no other reason than for the anti-monarchist, pro-revolution themes. Anything that glorifies the destruction of monarchy and the establishment of a republic should be banned on principle, but that’s the monarchist in me speaking.

A different book that should be avoided for its negative influence would be The Stranger by Albert Camus. While it can be read as a criticism of nihilism if one is inclined to already believe it is an evil system of thought, it was not how it was intended. Camus was a strong believer in the absurdity of human existence, and this work is a testament to amoral, nihilistic, wasted, and downright evil lives. A work to be avoided by anyone who is not well versed in both Catholic theology and right philosophy, not to mention common sense.

6. AmileJones1516 - October 14, 2015

Love that Nader made your list. But I would not write off all of Michel Foucault’s oeurve, especially his theoretical work in literary studies and linguistics. I’m also curious about your thoughts on Milton’s heterodox writings, which I’m reading at the moment for one of my courses.

Tantumblogo - October 14, 2015

It’s been forever since I read Paradise Lost. I would say his description of the Fall are really wacked out, and reveal a scary amount of pent up lust just trying to break out. I was never a fan of Milton, I found him histrionic and very long winded. YMMV. Since it’s been 20+ years I can’t recall enough, but generally my reminiscence is negative

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