Public Choice and the Origins of the Radical Right: A Review of Nancy Maclean's Democracy in Chains – The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

15 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018 Last revised: 16 Feb 2018

See all articles by Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: January 24, 2018

Abstract

Democracy in Chains is a heck of a read, but it is, at its core, fundamentally flawed. Its core is a confrontation with James Buchanan and the origins of public choice theory, which argues that public choice is a backlash to both the New Deal and the civil rights movement. The flaw reflects MacLean’s misapprehension of the content of public choice theory and its implications, a misunderstanding of what Buchanan actually believed (or, at least, claimed to believe), and, therefore, an unwarranted leap from Buchanan’s role in creating public choice theory to all things nasty about right-wing politics.

Keywords: Nancy MacClean, James Buchanan, public choice

JEL Classification: B-25, B-31, H-10.

Suggested Citation

Thompson, Fred, Public Choice and the Origins of the Radical Right: A Review of Nancy Maclean's Democracy in Chains – The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (January 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3109054 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3109054

Fred Thompson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6228 (Phone)
503-370-3011 (Fax)

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