Duke University historian Nancy MacLean will deliver a lecture titled “The Campus Origins of Today’s Radical Right –and of the Crisis of Our Democracy.” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11.
The lecture will be based on her 2017 book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award in Non-Fiction.
The lecture will be held in the Blue Ridge Conference Center on the campus of Western Carolina University. It is sponsored by the WCU College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Initiative with support from the Chancellor’s Visiting Scholar Fund.
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.” She is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke.
Booklist calls “Democracy in Chains” “perhaps the best explanation to
date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.” The Guardian said: “It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century.”
“Democracy in Chains” recounts the history of what MacLean describes as a relentless campaign by the radical rich to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize everything from schools to Medicare and Social Security, stop action on climate change and alter the U.S. Constitution. MacLean traces this game plan back to the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan, who forged his ideas in an attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education.