Filed in the following archives
Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.
Following the scattered paper trail of the late James M. Buchanan—a relatively obscure University of Virginia economist—historian Nancy MacLean provides a riveting story of revelations. It was Buchanan, alarmed by the 1954 Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision, who provided the blueprint for the radical right’s libertarian movement financed by billionaire activists such as Charles Koch. The author’s extensive research has unearthed the movement’s stealthy—and increasingly successful—efforts to limit participatory democracy through Constitutional means.