Duke professor Nancy MacLean comes to The Regulator Wednesday evening to talk about her stunning new book, Democracy in Chains
I'll cut to the chase. In all of our 40 years, The Regulator has never hosted an event for a more important book about American politics than this one.
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America tells the story of a little-known economist named James McGill Buchanan, whose ideas and strategic vision, dating back to the 1950's, lie at the heart of today's hard-right, libertarian conservatism. The Koch brothers may be bankrolling this effort, but it was Buchanan who supplied the ideas and strategies (like the spreading of misinformation, radically gerrymandering state legislative districts, etc.) that has made their money effective. Buchanan began his work at the University of Virginia in 1956, then moved to George Mason University in 1983. He died in 2013.
In recent interviews, Nancy MacLean summed up Buchanan's work by saying:
"In a nutshell, he studied the workings of the political process to figure out what was needed to deny ordinary people -- white and Black -- the ability to make claims on government at the expense of private property rights and the wishes of capitalists. And then he identified how to rejigger that political process not only to reverse the gains but also to prevent the system from ever reverting back. He sought, in his words, to "enchain Leviathan," which is why I titled the book Democracy in Chains."
"Buchanan gave the advice to others on the right and to his corporate funders and donors that for capitalism of a kind they wanted to thrive, democracy must be enchained. Democracy must be, in effect, shackled, to prevent the majority will from being expressed, because it would take too much from people of great wealth, and that would be a problem for them."
And Sam Tanenhaus, reviewing Democracy in Chains in the July/August issue of The Atlantic, says: "What we think of as dysfunction is the result of years of strategic effort....To see all this as simple obstructionism, perversity for its own sake, is a mistake. A cause lies behind it: upholding the sanctity of an ideology against the sins of the majority."
Come hear Nancy MacLean Wednesday night at 7:00. I assure you you'll come away with a better understanding of what is going on in our beloved country.
Here are links to just a few of the recent articles and interviews with Nancy MacLean:
"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 and taught others how to divide America into "makers" and "takers." 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 a call to assembly to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.
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.
Thursday, July 20, 7:00PM
The Regulator welcomes Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse, author of American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, for a reading and book signing. In October 2013 Monica Hesse drove to Virginia to cover the trials of Charlie Smith, the culprit behind an arson spree terrorizing Accomack County. American Fire is the incredible story of what she discovered while covering the case: a once-thriving coastal retreat gutted by a punishing economy, a community buttressed by fierce loyalties, and the twisted love story that sparked it all.
"A true-crime saga that works in every respect." -★Kirkus Reviews
". . . A page-turning story of love gone off the rails." -Publishers Weekly
Monica Hesse is a feature writer for the Washington Post. A finalist for a Livingston and James Beard Award, she is also the author of Girl in the Blue Coat. She lives in Washington, D.C
PRESCHOOL STORY TIME
Wednesday, July 26, 10:15AM
Join us for Preschool Storytime at The Regulator with Amy Godfrey. Free!
Wednesday, July 26, 7:00PM
Odie Lindsey, author of We Come to Our Senses: Stories, comes to The Regulator for a reading and book signing. For readers of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Redeployment, Lindsey has written a searing debut exploring the lives of veterans returning to their homes in the South.
After serving in Operation Desert Storm, Odie Lindsey did not mention his deployment for 12 years.When he watched a new generation of soldiers deploy to the same battlefield in 2003, his repressed memories and experiences came flooding back. Lindsey's debut collection is the product of this reckoning. In 15 stories, the effects of war manifest on an intimate, everyday level-in obsessive behavior to be clean, in drug-fueled binges in Nashville honky-tonk bars, in predilections for reckless driving or compulsive sitcom watching.
We Come to Our Senses highlights the struggles to reconcile the traditional war narrative with the senselessness of combat and the inability to readjust to life at home. The result is virtuosic in style and commanding in message.
"This is almost a novel in stories, thematically linked like Phil Klay's Redeployment, but more particular in its examination of the new American veteran." --New York Times Book Review
Odie Lindsey's stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, the Iowa Review, Columbia, and the anthology Forty Stories, among others. A veteran, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
WHERE'S WALDO PRIZE PARTY
Sunday, July 30, 3:00PM -- -- Sponsored by The Regulator Bookshop and Sustain-a-Bull
Waldo returns to support Durham's Shop Local Movement!
The WALDO SCAVENGER HUNT starts in Durham on July 1 and culminates in a big PRIZE PARTY at The Regulator on Sunday, July 30 at 3PM. Stop by The Regulator to pick up your FIND WALDO LOCAL Passport and go find Waldo at local participating Durham businesses to qualify for prizes! Visit participating businesses through the end of July and get your passport stamped or signed for each Waldo you spot. Then bring your stamped passport on July 30 to The Regulator Bookshop for a party! We'll have a big Waldo shindig with snacks, prizes, family-friendly activities, and a raffle for the GRAND PRIZE. Come dressed as Waldo and join the fun! Remember to bring your "Where's Waldo" passports!