Addicted to novelty since 2001

Guns Don’t Kill People, Books Do

Via Rebekah, here’s a charming list from a conservative think tank: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Here’s what they’ve got on the fourth worst global threat, The Kinsey Report:

Alfred Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University who, in 1948, published a study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, commonly known as The Kinsey Report. Five years later, he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The reports were designed to give a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy. “Kinsey’s initial report, released in 1948…stunned the nation by saying that American men were so sexually wild that 95% of them could be accused of some kind of sexual offense under 1940s laws,” the Washington Times reported last year when a movie on Kinsey was released.

The title of this post isn’t entirely in jest. These same conservatives would argue that guns aren’t at fault for gun violence–why not apply the same logic to books? How popular would Mein Kampf have been if it hadn’t been, you know, been written by a guy who went on to be the genocidal leader of German? According to Wikipedia, it sold very slowly before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933.

8 Responses to “Guns Don’t Kill People, Books Do”

  1. Matthew

    Think tank? Seems more like an Anti-Thinking Tank. Sure, I’ll give them Mein Kampf and Mao’s Little Red Book, I suppose. But what’s left of the list looks to me like any publication that that had the temerity to suggest that:
    a) the unfettered pursual of wealth is not the best form of government nor is it the best aim in life;
    b) the Christian worldview is not the only and correct one;
    or c) women could possibly want to or are able to do more than raise families.

    Utterly terrifying. I mean, DARWIN? The Christian fundamentalist undercurrent is strong yet unstated.

    They say “The Nazis loved Nietzsche”. I suppose their attempt at logic goes something like – the Nazis loved killing Jews, killing Jewish people is terrible and wrong, therefore anything the Nazis love is terrible and wrong. You fail your first-year logic class, people. I suspect “The Nazis” loved all sorts of things, some of which many of us love too – alcohol, mothers, beautiful members of whichever gender one is interested in, sunny days, dogs… Whatever. The statement is idiotic and virtually meaningless.

    How significant is it that the group of 15 that assembled the list appears to be made up of 14 men and one woman?

    And by the way, from my point of view, Nietzche’s characterization of life as being “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” is a brilliant observation of humanity, and ever more apt in this day and age, harmful or not.

  2. Dean

    Equally instructive is the Honorable Mention list, which includes:

    On Liberty
    by John Stuart Mill

    Madness and Civilization
    by Michel Foucault

    Coming of Age in Samoa
    by Margaret Mead

    Unsafe at Any Speed
    by Ralph Nader

    The inclusion of Nader and Mill, in particular, are interesting.

  3. Melanie

    I’m pleased to own 5 of the books on the list. The people who assembled the list are not only all male, except for 1 women, but I’m also willing to bet they are mostly all white, middle class and middle aged. Makes for a great diversity of opinnions eh?

  4. Darren

    Augie: The NRA (which I didn’t actually cite) is also the #1 anti-gun law lobbyist in the country. I don’t think they’re “a trigger happy society of murderers” but they regularly advocate for ridiculous positions, such as:

    * A repeal on the assualt weapon ban
    * They’re against waiting periods to purchase weapons
    * They regularly try to stretch the 2nd Amendment in ways it, in my opinion, was never meant stretch.

    In short, they’re not all puppies and kittens, either.

  5. Augie De Blieck Jr.

    The assault weapons ban was meaningless, redundant, and ineffectual.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with a waiting period, but I can see where they’d want to maintain the purity of the law with regards to that. It’s like the ACLU advocating the removal of The Ten Commandments from any courthouse. There’s nothing in the law which prevents those from being there, but the ACLU wants to prevent ANY weakening of the “separation of church and state” that was created whole cloth by an activist Supreme Court judge nearly 100 years ago.

  6. Darren

    Augie: I’m not particlarly keen to debate the efficacy of American lobbyist groups (I’m unsure why you’ve introduced the ACLU). I was just pointing out that, in addition to firearms education, the NRA advocates a host of pro-firearms positions.

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