A Short List of the Worst Lists of all time

1. The List of the Top Ten Useful Inventions that went Bad
Listverse.com is the sort of place I’d normally love to stumble upon when I was trying to distract myself from something I was supposed to be doing.  However their list of the top ten useful inventions that went bad is itself a good idea that went really, really bad.  Let’s examine their top two inventions that didn’t quite work out.

2. Concentraton Camps
Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts set up “refugee camps” to provide refuge for civilian families who had been forced to abandon their homes for one or other reason related to the Boer War. However, when Lord Kitchener succeeded Roberts as commander-in-chief in South Africa in 1900, the British Army introduced new tactics in an attempt to break the guerrilla campaign and the influx of civilians grew dramatically as a result. Kitchener initiated plans to- “flush out guerrillas in a series of systematic drives, organized like a sporting shoot, with success defined in a weekly ‘bag’ of killed, captured and wounded, and to sweep the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas, including women and children.” Of the 28,000 Boer men captured as prisoners of war, 25,630 were sent overseas. The vast majority of Boers remaining in the local camps were women and children. Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps.

Well, concentration camps are definitely an idea that went bad, saying that they were a good idea that went bad seems like a bit of a stretch though. That is like saying forced relocation of indigenous populations is a good idea that went wrong when thousands of Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears.  Maybe they are both just evil ideas that turned out even worse.  However, as far as ideas that went bad go, concentration camps are a hell of a topper. I wonder what could have beaten them out for the top spot on the list?

1. Ecstasy
Anton Köllisch developed 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine as a by-product of research for a drug to combat abnormal bleeding. It was largely ignored for 70 years until it became popular in the dance clubs of the early 80s. It was only when the Rave culture of the late 80s adopted Ecstasy as its drug of choice that MDMA became one of the top four illegal drugs in use killing an estimated 50 people a year in the UK alone. Its inventor died in World War I.

Are you fucking kidding me? Ecstasy beats out concentration camps? Do you you have any sense of proportion?  Even if you are the sort of person who thinks drugs are inherently wrong, surely you can’t think they are worse than the Halocaust.  I mean ecstasy kills 50 people a year, so it will top concentraton camps in 120,000 years.


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