From The Intercollegiate Studies Institute:
Our lists include only nonfiction books originally published in English. We define “worst” as books that were widely celebrated in their day but that upon reflection can be seen as foolish, wrongheaded, or even pernicious.
Our “worst” list reveals a remarkable number of volumes of sham social science of every kind. The attempt to understand human action as an epiphenomenon of “hidden” and purportedly “deeper” motives such as sex, economics, or the Laws of History is a powerful yet hardly salutary trend in our century. The presumed “breakthrough” insight that professes to reveal the shape of some inevitable future has time and again proven to be profoundly misguided. And with human life reduced in these theories to a matter for technological manipulation, our century also reveals a persistent attraction to a dehumanizing statist administration of society.
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.
2. Beatrice & Sidney Webb, Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935)
An idea whose time has come . . . and gone, thank 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.
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.
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.
Link to the rest at The Intercollegiate Studies Institute