Milwaukee Area Labor Council Delegate Meeting
Wednesday, October 4th at 6:30pm
Special Guest: Professor Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains
About the book:
“The malevolent incompetence of the Trump White House packs a certain entertainment value, but it is also a distraction; a bumbling misdirection in a long confidence game. At stake, as historian Nancy MacLean underscores in her new book, Democracy in Chains, is not just political power, not just the final dismantling of the New Deal order, but the very future of our democracy.
Whatever the fate of Donald Trump and his cronies, the rule of the radical right — in Congress, in statehouses, in the courts — will remain largely unchecked. And with each electoral cycle or legislative session of that rule, the prospects for challenging it fade.
Democracy in Chains is a remarkable book. At its core is a startling archival discovery: the unsorted and unprocessed papers of the University of Virginia economist James McGill Buchanan. Buchanan was a quiet but central figure in the making of the modern right: indeed, in MacLean’s account, Buchanan appears — like a libertarian Zelig — at each critical juncture in this history. …
As an economist, Buchanan was instrumental in developing the moral vocabulary not only for a zealous veneration of property rights, but for a deep suspicion of affirmative state action. As a southerner, taking up his appointment at Virginia in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, he did not hesitate to champion states’ rights — and massive resistance to integration — as if these too were just abstractions of economy theory. As an academic, he was a fierce and reliable shill for corporate benefactors, most notably and generously Charles Koch — who shared Buchanan’s blind faith in the market, his contempt for democracy, and his willingness to play the long game.
While this is a work of history, MacLean’s overriding goal is to shed light on our current moment; to better understand the roots, arguments, goals, motives, and methods of the radical right. MacLean is interested in how we got here, but Democracy in Chains is really about what comes next — for the Right and for the rest of us.”
Read the rest of the review at–
The book is available locally at Boswell Books and on Amazon.