Magazine article New Internationalist

Democracy in Chains

Magazine article New Internationalist

Democracy in Chains

Article excerpt

Democracy in Chains The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean (Scribe, ISBN 9781911344681)

In 2013, history professor Nancy MacLean made a serendipitous discovery while conducting research on the campus of George Mason University, Virginia. In a pile of correspondence in the office of recently deceased academic James Buchanan she found confidential letters from the 1990s, detailing massive funding of Buchanan's Center for Study of Public Choice by the billionaire and Tea Party backer Charles Koch. Realizing that here was evidence of the long-running libertarian campaign to reshape American politics to their advantage, she dug further.

What MacLean discovered - as described in her highly readable account - is a lavishly funded plot to replace representative government with the principle of 'public choice'. Behind this benign-sounding phrase lies a deeply pernicious theory, expounded by Buchanan, which argues that no society is free unless every citizen has the right to veto public policy and that no-one should be taxed to improve the lot of another. …

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