Can a Minority Overthrow the Majority?
Book Review

Feeley, Dianne

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/05/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23316

Feeley reviews Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean.




There is a growing understanding about the radical liberatarians' links and operational methods. Many of us are now aware of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and how it shapes model laws that are then introduced into various state legislatures. These are designed to restrict voter rights, curtail teachers' union rights to negotiate their working conditions or limit access to birth control and abortion.

Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America traces the construction of this ideology and its methods. She begins in mid-1950s Virginia, as its elites react to Brown v. the Board of Education. She focuses on the work of James McGill Buchanan, a shadowy figure whom she identifies as crucial in codifying "public choice" economics. Given a wide mandate, Buchanan was invited by the University of Virginia to chair the economics department and set up a center, which became the Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy and Social Philosophy.

Buchanan's secret mission statement for the center was guided by two traditions: 1) the unrestricted "free market" economic policies of 19th century England and America and 2) the ideas of "Western conservatives" who feared a "revolt of the masses" and sought new ways to "secure social order."
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