- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 53 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 13, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B072J2MTWT
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America Audiobook – Unabridged
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Let me get down to the nub of what is already the most significant dispute between MacLean's critics and her defenders (bracketing the substantial portion of her critics whose one-line reviews betray that they clearly haven't read the book): MacLean's argument is based on a careful and detailed juxtaposition of the rationales adopted by libertarians in the 1950s and 1960s, and the concrete social and political context raging around them at the time (most crucially, the resistance to court-mandated de-segregation). Those who believe that MacLean must produce a smoking gun and ballistics analysis--say, an admission by Buchanan that he opposed integrated public schools because he didn't like African Americans--will I'm sure continue strenuously to deny that there was any connection between the libertarianism of the era and broader conservative agendas. Anyone committed to the belief that intentions and agendas have to be gaged by attention to concrete historical context (not least by a consideration of the audiences and venues for which statements were designed) will find MacLean's patient, detailed and comprehensive research indispensable.
One of the most fascinating and enduring lessons of MacLean's book is that the relationship between libertarianism and conservatism is vexed and far from inevitable--as are the relationships of either of these to Republicanism, states rights theory, or religious activism. Anyone interested in any of these topics should read this book. Which is easy advice, because it's engagingly and lucidly written, enabling readers to make their own decisions.
MacLean begins at the beginning, with the southern slave colonies writing limits to majority rule and federal protection for their "property" into the U. S. Constitution. "One man (or woman) one vote" was never the Founding generation's project. No person of African heritage had any rights than a white man was obliged to honor. The current takeover of our country was organized in Virginia by white supremacists who opposed the U. S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that racially separate schools cannot be equal. They began to tear down public tax support for education from kindergarten through university. Success today includes such cuts in tax funds that college students carry unbearable student loan debts, tax money goes more and more to private schools like the segregation academies of the fifties and sixties, and an avowed enemy of public education is now the U. S. Secretary of Education. The conspirators hid in economics enclaves at the University of Virginia, University of Chicago, other institutions and later Virginia Tech before, with Charles Koch millions, essentially buying George Mason University.
Their goal is simple: leave wealth alone. Limited taxation only for internal policing and external military defense. Sell (or give to wealth people and corporations) public property. "Outsource" public services from garbage collection to prisons to profitable corporations. Leave the poor, the young, the elderly, the sick to fend for themselves. Jesus was mistaken , they published: The Good Samaritan was wrong because helping those who are down and out merely created "parasites" who would exploit those with wealth rather than earn their own way. Worship the Golden Calf, scorn the Golden Rule.
Their methods are straightforward: to tear up the social contract. As articulated by David Stockman, President Reagan's' budget director, they would have to fight "Social Security recipients, veterans, farmers, educators, state and local officials, [and] the housing industry" whose middle class buyers relied on mortgage tax deductions. Unable to finance their massive tax cuts and military spending, the president "forsook the fact-based universe." The Kemp-Roth bill slashed taxes on the wealthiest but tripled the national debt so that by 1989 it amounted to 53 percent of gross domestic product. And having departed the fact-based universe, they began denying the human role in climate change. Now, we have "alternative facts." No coincidence. This was the plan. Now, we do not know what to trust.
Stealth methods included "counterintelligentsia" deployed in universities, "think tanks", newspaper and magazine and radio and television, and more recently, in social media to portray government as the enemy, social security and Medicare as "bankrupt", environmentalists as dangerous (See War on Coal!), and the super wealthy, the 1%, as the only possible rescuers of the country.
The ultimate goal is to change the U. S. Constitution so that wealth can never be taxed without unanimous consent.
Democracy in Chains concludes that we have at most two or three years to prevent the complete the stealth of our democracy. The "Kochtopus" tentacles are sunk deep in every nook of American democracy. Read. Discuss. We need know the enemy so that we may be able to make America safe for democracy.