The Radical Right’s Trojan Horse

Last night Ed Johnson suggested I listen to a podcast, Jennifer Berkshire interview Nancy MacLean, on the subject “The Long Crusade against Public Schools.”  I did, and thus is post.  You can click on the graphic and listen to it yourself.  It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time.

Why should you listen?

Nancy MacLean is the author of Democracy in Chains:  The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Library Copy), which was published in June, 2017.  Her central thesis is that America is under attack from an underground, and stealth group who found in the work of James Buchanan, an economist, and professor at the University of Virginia the ideas to propel the radical right onto its course of undermining democracy.

She networks James Buchanan to the formation of many right leaning think tanks such as the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, the State Policy Network, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Tax Foundation, the Reason Foundation, the Leadership Institute, and more.   Networked in this is the major funding source of much of the right’s movement, and is Charles and David Koch, the enablers of “dark” money further undermining democracy.

Add to this network, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a swamp of an organization that “writes” model legislation that is passed out to state legislators as formal (annual meetings) and informal meetings.  These model “laws” are replicated and then co-sponsored by Republican legislators in their respective states.  It’s kind of a fill in the blank way to write laws, but its influenced state legislatures for years by passing laws that thwart progressive ideas by replacing them restrictive actions favoring business and industry to the peril of local and state citizens.

It’s an important book to explore and share its insights.  The author writes:

this is the true origin story of today’s well-heeled radical right, told through the intellectual arguments, goals, and actions of the man without whom this movement would represent yet another dead-end fantasy of the far right, incapable of doing serious damage to American society. (MacLean, Nancy. Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Kindle Locations 145-146). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition).


About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University.