The problem with the Library of Congress’s most influential books
The American Spectator‘s Daniel J. Flynn doesn’t like the Library of Congress’s “Books That Shaped America.” That exhibit has 88 books and none are “explicitly conservative” although there is plenty of liberal fare (Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Betty Friedan’s The Feminist Mystique, Randy Shilts’s And the Band Played On). Many of these left-wing books have been influential, but as Flynn points out, the inclusion of Margaret Sanger is bizarre:
Perhaps the most preposterous inclusion is Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s quackifesto Family Limitation, which is neither a book nor, thankfully, very influential. The 1914 pamphlet suggests the anti-malarial medicine quinine, which in large quantities can cause uterine paralysis, to prevent pregnancy. Elsewhere, Family Limitation prescribes laxatives as a method of birth control: “A very good laxative (though it is a patent medicine) is Beecham Pills. Two of these taken night and morning, four days before menstruation, will give a good cleansing of the bowels, and assist with the menstrual flow.”
Like so many with laxatives on the brain, Margaret Sanger was full of, well, you know. Women heeding her advice got full of babies.
While one might argue that the anti-child, contraceptive mentality of Sanger and Planned Parenthood has captured the public’s imagination (more than a million abortions every year speaks loudly to this point) at the same time, the Baby Boom occurred a single generation after the publication of Sanger’s pamphlet.