Democracy in Chains

Democracy in Chains

The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

Book - 2017
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"An explosive expose of the right's relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, and change the Constitution. "Perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government." --Booklist (starred review) 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. In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite's power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us. Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan's work in teaching others how to divide America into "makers" and "takers." And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan's strategy. Without Buchanan's ideas and Koch's money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. Based on ten years of unique research, Democracy in Chains tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok. This revelatory work of scholarship is also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2017.
New York : Viking, 2017.
ISBN: 9781101980965
Characteristics: 334 pages ; 24 cm.


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Sep 17, 2018

This explains things better than Hillbilly Elegy does.

Jul 11, 2018

A year earlier, Hendrick had attended the conference at Albany that framed the Articles of Union of 1754.[8] For both military and philosophical reasons, Hendrick should be considered one of the founders of the United States.

During the decade between Canassatego's admonition of unity and the Albany Congress, tension between England and France intensified. News of George Washington's defeat at Fort Necessity in Pennsylvania reached the colonists during the Albany Congress, shattering English prestige in North America, and making alliance with the Iroquois all the more necessary as the stormclouds of the Seven Year's War began to form on the horizon. French expansion into the Ohio country had to be thwarted.

All diplomatic roads during this decade seem to lead ultimately to Albany.[9] Even before the Albany Conference, Benjamin Franklin had been musing over the words of Canassatego.[10] Using Iroquois examples of unity, Franklin sought to shame the reluctant colonists into some form of union in 1751 when he engaged in a hyperbolic racial slur (actually subsequent evidence will show that Franklin had a healthy respect for the Iroquois):

It would be a strange thing . . . if Six Nations of Ignorant savages should be capable of forming such an union and be able to execute it in such a manner that it has subsisted for ages and appears indissoluble, and yet that a like union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary and must be more advantageous, and who cannot be supposed to want an equal understanding of their interest. [11]
Franklin also wrote of "the Great Council" at "Onondago" in this letter and how the Six Nations educated their men in "what was the best manner."[13] Clearly, Franklin was fascinated by Native American ideas and customs by the 1750s.

In October of 1753, Franklin, early in a distinguished diplomatic career that would later make him the United States' premier envoy in Europe, attended a treaty council at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At this treaty with the Iroquois and Ohio Indians (Twightees, Delawares, Shawnees and Wyandots), Franklin absorbed the rich imagery and ideas of the Six Nations at close range. On October 1, 1753, he watched the Oneida chief, Scarrooyady, and a Mohawk, Cayanguileguoa, condole the Ohio Indians for their losses against the French. Franklin listened while Scarrooyady recounted the origins of the Great Law to the Ohio Indians (see figure 12):

We must let you know, that there was a friendship established by our and your Grandfathers, and a mutual Council fire was kindled. In this friendship all those then under the ground, who had not yet obtained eyes or faces (that is, those unborn) were included; and it was then mutually promised to tell the same to their children and children's children. [14]

Having condoled the Ohio Indians, Scarrooyady exhorted the assembled Indians to "preserve this Union and Friendship, which has so long and happy continued among us. Let us keep the chain from rusting."[15]

Note: Walter Golden the note taker of the 1774 Governors' Meeting ( NY, Pennsylvania, Delaware, & Virginia ) who had brought them to Pennsylvania for Ben Franklin to print ..who like the idea & 10 yrs. later called it the Albany Plan of Union & he asked Hendrick Mohawk to preside...)course the British had a spy who wrote to the king in 1754)so out of this came the Continental Congress which was the FIRST TREATY with the USA which is recorded by the 1776 Wampum...which enraged George Washington & was recorded by a guy named Morgan whose field note are in the Pennsylvania U museum..those missing pages were given to Dennis Banks who contacted Oren Lyons faith keeper of the Iroquois League.

more on 1744 Pennsylvania meeting:

May 06, 2018

This book should be required reading in any democracy, is that what we have here in the land of the free? This is not a book of opinions and anecdotal stories, it illustrates the systematic (ongoing) destruction of the Democratic state. It is a powerful read.

BTW, the comment by DonnaMeness has absolutely nothing to do with the book by Nancy Maclean.

May 03, 2018

An engaging history of how and why radical libertarian ideas have made their way into mainstream American politics. The book's central thesis, that these ideas (absolute economic liberty for individuals, to the detriment of collective security) could never gain majority support in the U.S., and thus their promulgators seek somewhat covert ways to advance them, is persuasive.

Mar 29, 2018

OMG! If there is one book to read about current politics this is the ONE. If you want to understand the conservative libertarian strategy to bring Democracy down this is the book. She does a great job at simple explanations and gives many insights on how we have in the past and can continue to keep this movement from handing democracy to an oligarchy. It is not a conspiracy. All of her points are clear and easy to follow.

Feb 23, 2018

The below comment is not aging well, is it?

Nov 15, 2017

I never thought I'd be grateful that Donald Trump won the presidency, but if he doesn't lead us all into nuclear annihilation, he might be a better choice than all the other 2016 Republican candidates. As this book convincingly argues, the Republican Party has been effectively hijacked by the sociopaths hiding behind numerous democratic sounding think tanks, academic faculties, and foundations whose goal is essentially to turn the US into an oligarchy. These far right groups, funded by corporations but mostly by the multi billionaire Charles Koch, know their views would not be palatable to the average working American (upon whom they privately heap contempt). They operate through stealth to undermine and subvert American democracy to achieve their ends. Their patron saint was economist James Buchanan who helped to entrench the "propertied classes" in the constitution of Pinochet's Chile. The result was that poverty in Chile rose from 23% of the population in 1970 to 45% by 1987, with wealth becoming more concentrated among the richest. Most non-sociopaths would consider this a resounding failure, but this was Buchanan's goal! He said that people who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species". This is a scary book for anyone who values democracy. While it is about the US, we should be wary in this country as it's clear the far right is employing the same strategies in Canada.

Nov 03, 2017

interesting research, but too much left wing bias for my liking

Oct 07, 2017

This book might be the "Silent Spring" of politics. So much of the effort to radically change what the United States is as a nation and civilized society is contained in the writing. It is hard to write enticingly about politics, but MacLean does so. She offers the wake-up call to take action to save this democracy before it is too late to do so.

tomato Oct 05, 2017

If you want to understand more about what's happening in the U.S. right now, read this book. I saw the author being interviewed on PBS, and decided to put the book on hold. A bit dry to start, but it picks up if you persevere.

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