January 27th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Loy Yang just latest critical asset to go offshore

EDITORIAL Behind the power shift in the Middle East

CANBERRA OBSERVED Freedom of religion just an afterthought?

GENDER POLITICS Family Court washes hands of gender-dysphoric kids by Patrick J. Byrne

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Western sanctions have forced Russia to upskill

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS China exerts soft power on our southern neighbour

ENVIRONMENT Senate committee puts marine life before people

SEXUAL ABUSE Royal commission report ignores cause of abuse

HIGHER EDUCATION Critical thinking and the culture of skepticism

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS U.S. urges Taiwan rearmament to counter China threat

PHILOSOPHY A reflection on thoughts of Richard Dawkins

MUSIC Group theory: A good band is greater than its parts

CINEMA Darkest Hour: A long time till dawn

BOOK REVIEW 'Populism' and the new social divide

BOOK REVIEW Poems outshine dross of inept introduction

POETRY

LETTERS

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DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS:
The deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

Nancy McLean

$35


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Book description

An explosive exposé of the man and the ideas behind the well-heeled right's relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatise public education, and curb democratic majority rule.

Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over US government is a secretive political establishment with deep and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. This book names its true architect — Nobel Prize–winning political economist James McGill Buchanan — and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

In a brilliant, engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how these ideas were forged in a last-gasp attempt to preserve the white elite's power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. By recasting the era's legal and social-movement successes, Buchanan developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the majority's ability 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 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, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan's strategy. 

Based on ten years of research, this revelatory work tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok, and is a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.

About the author

Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry (a New York Times‘noteworthy’ book of the year) and Freedom is Not Enough, which was called by the Chicago Tribune "contemporary history at its best". The William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.


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