U.S. Intellectual History Blog

This Week: Roundtable on Democracy in Chains

While some of the hotter debate from the middle of July has died down, the impact of Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains continues to reverberate, especially among historians. This week, a number of us will be posting on different aspects of the book, from libertarianism and public choice to the history of segregation and voting rights in the United States. But we will also address some of the broader issues which the book and its reception raises about how to do intellectual history, how to write well about politically sensitive issues, and particularly how to write good intellectual history for a broad audience.

So please watch this space for further posts on Democracy in Chains and James M. Buchanan, but also be sure to read these two exceedingly insightful reviews of the book by Claire Potter and Bethany Moreton, published just last week. Below, I will kick things off by connecting some additional dots demonstrating James Buchanan’s ties to segregation and restrictions of voting rights in the United States.


One of the complaints that came from many of MacLean’s critics was that she failed to produce enough “smoking guns” to satisfy them. To me this represented a very poor understanding of the nature of historical—and particularly of archival—evidence: even fairly explicit sources require interpretation, contextualization, and even synthesis. History is not just throwing down a quotation and shouting “QED!” anymore than good economics just dumps a bucket of data on the reader, presuming that they will be able to sort things out and reach the “obvious” conclusion.

With that said, I think the following should lay to rest the question of whether tying the millstone of segregationism to the neck of James M. Buchanan is justified.

In the 1976 essay “America’s Third Century in Perspective,” Buchanan twice quoted the former Alabama governor George Wallace approvingly, and one of those references came from a Wallace speech that was specifically about desegregation. Here’s the first quote:

George Wallace’s reference to the “brief-case carrying bureaucrats” strikes home to many because of the demonstrable absurdities promulgated everywhere in the name of liberal progress. (“Third,” 6)

Those brief-case carrying bureaucrats were none other than the architects of busing programs whom Wallace denounced over and over again on the campaign trail in the Democratic primary of 1972.[1] And lest we quibble over whether George Wallace could be invoked benignly in 1972, let’s just stop: as Time magazine wrote that year,

The man who once declared that he would “out-nigger” anybody on the stump, whose most durable public image was blocking the schoolhouse door to blacks, seldom lets a racist tinge color his rhetoric these days. The shift is partly a response to the more moderate temper of the times in the South, partly a reflection of the fact that he no longer needs to. George Wallace has become his own code word; his people know where he stands, and his country style permits infinite shadings of nuance and allusion.[2]

The second quote mentioning Wallace is in a way even more interesting, as it demonstrates both awareness and approval of Nixon’s Southern Strategy.[3] Buchanan praised what he saw as

a populist revolt, a revolt against the oppression of taxes imposed by governments at all levels, taxes that are increasingly seen to support unproductive and essentially parasitic members of society. George Wallace exploited this attitude successfully and expressed it in his slogan, “send them a message.” It was in recognition of the strength of this attitude that Richard Nixon patterned his major electoral victory, and it was this that offered the origin for his second-term theme of budgetary restriction. (“Third,” 7, emphasis added)

Later, Buchanan paraphrases Kevin Phillips’s The Emerging Republican Majority without naming it, writing that “We can sense the emergence of a ‘new majority,’ geographically concentrated in the South, Middle and Far West, and functionally including the ethnic blue collar workers in the Northeast” (“Third,” 10). These two quotes are plain evidence of Buchanan’s approval of using racial desegregation as a wedge issue to pry white votes away from support of the welfare state.

Whether or not Buchanan was committed philosophically to segregation for reasons other than those politically pragmatic uses of eroding what he would call “collectivism” is not within reach of the available evidence—on that, we have no grounds to speculate. But that as late as 1976 he saw the issue of segregation as a potent and valuable tool for advancing his own political program of reining in “Leviathan” is not disputable.[4]


The “America’s Third Century” essay is interesting for another reason: it gives us some more insight into why Buchanan became more and more convinced that his ideas would never be adopted by a majority of the citizens of the United States. In the essay, Buchanan reveals his enormous disappointment with Watergate—but for reasons very different from those which distressed most Americans. Buchanan was frustrated by Watergate because he saw it as derailing Nixon’s incipient turn against the welfare state. He felt that Nixon’s 1972 campaign–and its smashing electoral success–revealed that the tide of history had turned. Watergate, therefore, was Leviathan reasserting itself against an evanescent popular movement against collectivism. Watergate was also a distraction for this movement, diverting the political momentum of the budget fight and throwing everything into chaos. Buchanan felt that there was, in other words, a window open in 1973 that could have been the breakthrough he wanted: a popularly supported counter-revolution.

Watergate left him despairing of such a window re-occurring and believing instead that the establishment was too strong to be countered with ordinary popular resistance. Or as he put it, “the damage done by Watergate to Nixon’s attempts to weld permanence into the ‘new majority’ may be mortal, in which case the governmental share in the economy will continue to grow almost without opposition, and more seriously, the government’s interferences in all aspects of our lives will proceed apace” (10).

MacLean’s account of this essay mentions this angle on Watergate but only very briefly (see pages 115ff), and for a very interesting and significant reason. The version of “America’s Third Century” which I’ve been quoting from is the published version which came out in the first volume of the Atlantic Economic Journal in 1976, but the essay was delivered as a talk at the International Atlantic Economic Society’s inaugural banquet in September 1973. MacLean’s account of this meeting draws heavily from archival materials supporting the drafting of this speech. It is from those documents that she draws some of the more self-consciously dramatic but also sinister quotations of the book, from Buchanan telling a group of his cronies “If a history of the Third Century movement is ever written, it can talk about origins in a log cabin deep in the Virginia mountains… A roaring fire will add a bit of a conspiratorial flavor,” to the more direct, less jovial injunction, “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential” (quoted on MacLean, 116, 117).

The published essay of course bear no traces of those gestures toward conspiracy, but on the other hand it does show more plainly how much Watergate affected Buchanan. MacLean’s focus on the 1973 documents helps us see the private thoughts and actions of Buchanan and his associates, while my focus on the 1976 essay helps us understand something more about the way the events after September 1973—Nixon would last almost a year more—mattered to Buchanan and the movement he hoped to build. In 1973, Buchanan referred to “the Watergate mess,” but by 1976 it was of course something much more than a mess.


The last item I wish to point out is the December 1970 Buchanan essay “The ‘Social’ Efficiency of Education,” which sheds some additional light on Buchanan’s willingness to use constraints on the franchise as a means to achieving desired political ends.

Context is key here: in 1970, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act Amendments passed by Congress earlier that year. Those amendments required that states register 18- to 20-year-olds. Some states resisted this new order, and in Oregon v. Mitchell, the Court sided with Congress. By July 1971, the issue was totally resolved when the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was ratified.

Because of the war in southeast Asia, the movement to expand the electorate to 18-year-olds had considerable political momentum—as one can see from the fact that the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was the quickest to be ratified in the nation’s history. (By the way, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Utah have yet to ratify—come on!) Buchanan was therefore writing at a time when an imminent expansion of the electorate was on the immediate horizon, and the expansion seemed likely to usher in a host of voters who were, in his eyes, politically unreliable.

The essay, I’ll gladly admit, is not about voting rights: it’s about public funding for higher education. “If society does not think that it is getting its money’s worth from the educational processes as they exist,” Buchanan asks, “if the admitted advantages of free inquiry are more than outweighed by the negative effects of direct political action by militant groups centering their headquarters on the nation’s campuses, why not simply close down the universities?”

These questions in themselves—especially the treatment of free inquiry as a conditional good (“we’ll pay for free inquiry, but only if it gives us the answers we like”—the Koch motto?)—are disturbing, but Buchanan ups the ante by describing the students and those whom he awkwardly calls “post-students” as “parasites.”

Economic affluence has placed modern man in what I call the ‘samaritan’s dilemma’. He is simply unwilling to force those who refuse to join the system to exist wholly outside the system. He is quite willing to allow for the existence of parasites, those who feed upon him without contributing to his well-being. This is essentially what the student class has already become, and it is also what the postgraduate class may become during the 1970’s. (“Education,” 660)

But the issue is not just financial—students mulcting money from the public under the guise of “learning.” The issue is also, and fundamentally, political.

modern man finds himself being rapidly forced to allow the parasites entry directly into the political-decision process. The spring of 1970 marked the possible beginnings of an important shift in American policy, a shift that I view with much gloom. Students were successful in university after university in politicizing the academe, and, beyond this, they were successful in making their voices heard by political leaders. With little regard for facts, and spurred by the romantic cliches of the moment, the masses formed, with little or no resistance. (“Education,” 660)

Buchanan is clearly, I think, insisting that the electorate should not be expanded to include 18- 20-year-olds: they already have been able to assert themselves politically far too much. But even stopping the expansion of the electorate may prove insufficient. The time was, he argues, when everyone was assumed to have a fling with radicalism in college, but the trouble today is that too many are leaving college with their radicalism intact.

All of this may be changing, and very rapidly, if the student and poststudent of the 1970’s is allowed to obtrude his own naive, uniformed, and romantic fancies directly into the political process, while himself remaining a parasite feeding on the rest of society. For the first time, the student’s failure to understand and to appreciate the workings of the market order, for the first time his failure to understand and to appreciate the crucial role played in such an order by the entrepreneur, by the profit and loss, reward-punishment structure of the market, may become critical influences on the formation of social policy. For the first time in the United States, the quasi-comic mouthings of neo-Marxist slogans may come to be taken seriously by practicing politicians, as seems to be the case in 1970. (“Education,” 661)

What, then, is the solution? Sorry for another long quote, but you deserve to hear it from the horse’s mouth:

There is no way that we can get the educational house in order within the medium-term future. If my rather pessimistic picture contains elements of descriptive reality (and I hope that it does not), Western society’s main task is to shift itself, by brute resolution, out of the samaritan’s dilemma, to close off the parasitic option now available to the student and post-students who refuses to conform to ordinary rules of conduct. I wish that I could think modern man capable of even this modest step toward some restoration of sanity. (“Education,” 661)

This is straightforward advocacy of using the market to discipline political dissidents, of shoring up a political order imperiled by the entrance of newly enfranchised citizens by turning the coercive pressures of the market squarely on them to alter their politics or encumber their political participation.

Many people feel that holding public services hostage in order to extract political concessions from those who rely on those public services is wrong. Many people feel that restricting political participation—including the franchise—based on demographic assumptions on how someone will vote is also wrong. James M. Buchanan had no problem with either.


[1] See Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics, Second Edition (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2000), 432.

[2] “A Jarring Message from George,” March 27, 1972, accessible here, page 2.

[3] It’s also worth pointing out how even in this brief essay we see how thickly rooted was Buchanan’s notion of liberty in the drama of North versus South. For him—as for so many others who have seen “states’ rights” as a proper bulwark for individual liberty—everything was dandy before the Civil War: “Fortuitous circumstances held back the actual growth of central government power until well in-to the Second Century. Before the end of the First Century, however, elements of the design had been effectively destroyed. Viable federalism, as a means of checking the expansion in power of the central government, has scarcely existed since the horrible civil war of the 1860’s” (“Third,” 6). Note also that interesting locution “the horrible civil war of the 1860’s”—a phrase that allows for an interpretation of the conflict as lasting beyond Appomattox and into Reconstruction.

[4] Incidentally, let’s settle another question as well. There was some dispute over whether it was plausible to link Buchanan to Donald Davidson via the former’s invocation of “Leviathan” to describe the post-New Deal state. The opposing contention was that there was no reason to do so because Buchanan’s Leviathan was the same as Hobbes’s—there was no need to look for another possible reference. In the “America’s Third Century” essay, however, Buchanan refers both to Hobbes’s Leviathan and to an “American Leviathan”—“Since the Great Depression, we have witnessed a continuing and accelerating growth in the American Leviathan” (“Third,” 6) Now, anyone who has read Anne Kornhauser’s Debating the American State: Liberal Anxieties and the New Leviathan, 1930-1970 knows that a sentence like that cannot plausibly be read apart from a familiarity with the way the word “Leviathan” was reinvented in the 1930s to describe the hothouse growth of administrative agencies regulating the economy. There were numerous invocations of “Leviathan” in that decade, so a reasonable person might respond that it was not necessarily Davidson that Buchanan was alluding to but Charles Beard or Robert MacIver, who both published books with “Leviathan” in the title in the 1930s. But it is not at all reasonable to tell us that our inquiry ought to stop at Hobbes.

20 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Since when did simply mentioning Wallace in connection with the populist backlash of the early 70s constitute “approving” of his candidacy?

    Sorry, Andy, but this is incredibly weak sauce. By this same line of reasoning, any political commentator who lived through the past year and made even a passing reference to Trump’s name in connection with his own use of populist rhetoric is similarly “guilty” of supporting the alt-right nutjobs in his movement.

    Don’t believe me? Just swap out the names/phrases of the “offending” passages:

    “Donald Trump’s reference to “draining the swamp” strikes home to many because of the demonstrable cronyism witnessed everywhere in the name of liberal progress.”

  2. “This is straightforward advocacy of using the market to discipline political dissidents”

    This interpretation is utter nonsense, as well as a reminder of why it is important to note the context provided by an understanding of Buchanan’s own biography. His grievance with academia at the time he wrote this was not with simple political dissent or activism by the newly enfranchised. He was specifically referring to the physical violence that erupted on the UCLA campus while he was a faculty member there. The Organization US murders of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins took place in a classroom a few hundred feet from his office. During the same year the UCLA Econ department received credible bomb and arson threats. Whatever one may think of political protests, these events crossed the line into physical violence – violence of the type that put faculty and students in danger, and in one case left two people dead. Buchanan’s book “Academia in Anarchy” is specifically about the problems he describes in this article.

    For all your prattling about the importance of historical methods, Andy, you’ve proven incredibly sloppy in your own attempts to exercise them.

  3. Phil,
    Since you’ve been so fond of using the CTRL+F function to make your arguments in the past, let’s try that with the “Education” article. Searching for “violence” (any form) or any of the incidents you cite turns up… zero results. You are right that violence was an important part of his argument in Academia in Anarchy, and he talks about it there at length, but rather than supporting your case, its presence in one text and not the other seems to indicate that he was going for something quite different in the “Education” article. Unless he was trying to be very sly, I don’t see why he would suddenly forget to mention violence in the “Education” article if it was really so important to his point as what you say.

    A more plausible reading would be that he understood violence as one problem among many within the student population, and as a problem that characterized only a small percentage of that population. In the “Education” article, he was looking at the more general case, and the problems characterizing the general case were a pervasive radicalism or political unreliability and a willingness to live off government largesse. Those were the larger problems he felt required a solution. Violence was a subsidiary issue–not, as you argue, the central matter or overriding concern.

    • As I noted in my previous post, Andy, Buchanan’s early 1970s comments on universities should be read in the context of the argument he laid out in Academia in Anarchy.

      Plowing into this article without the context of Buchanan’s body of work on the topic is something akin to writing a political history of the Declaration of Independence without any awareness of John Locke.

      You preach a rigorous methodology for conducting intellectual history and regularly suggest others have fallen short when it comes to assessing MacLean’s reading of Buchanan. But the more interesting question is this: why are your own attempts to interpret Buchanan so careless?

      • And more specifically, what do you think he means by “the student and post-students who refuses to conform to ordinary rules of conduct”???

        That’s a point taken straight out of Academia in Anarchy – that, in order to serve as a functional host to intellectual exchange, universities need to have certain basic expectations of lawful and civil behavior of all parties involved. His evidence that this expectation was breaking down was – you guessed it – political violence.

      • Phil,
        I spelled out above why I think it’s not necessary to discuss violence in connection with this essay: if Buchanan thought it was as fundamental a part of the general problem as you argue, he would have been far more explicit than a vague allusion to “ordinary rules of conduct.” “Ordinary rules of conduct” could also refer to a lack of deference in the classroom, or to attitudes expressed in newspapers (he mentions “underground rags”), or even to patterns of dress or hygiene. It needn’t even refer to political violence–it could refer to nonviolent forms of political protest like sit-ins.

        Buchanan (and his coauthor Devletoglou) had no trouble being specific and clear in identifying particular cases of violence that concerned them in Academia in Anarchy. There is no reason why he could not have been similarly concrete in the “Education” essay. That he wasn’t suggests we need to look beyond that single context. Even Academia in Anarchy after all was about a broader range of student behavior than just political violence.

      • You’re advancing a very strange doctrine for interpreting this article as a historical record – one that strips it of all context and proceeds to speculatively comment on its meaning based on how you wish to reinterpret its words.

        If a famous scholar writes a short piece containing a synopsis of his thoughts on X, is it not reasonable to check his work from that same time and see if he wrote anything else on X? And if it just so happens he wrote an entire book on X shortly before publishing the synopsis piece, is this fuller elaboration of the concept not a crucial contextual record for interpreting the shorter piece? As opposed to an alternative of supplanting it with you own uninformed thoughts on a scholar you barely know?

  4. I agree with Magness. Additionally:

    1. Regarding Buchanan’s suggestion that public subsidies to higher education might be better spent elsewhere: I consider religion a net negative to society and think religious organisations’ tax exemption should be ended. I’m somewhat motivated by the calculation that this would give them less money to spend and “encumber their political participation”, shifting public policy in my preferred direction, on, say, euthanasia. Do you find my position “coercive” and “disturbing”?
    2. Buchanan felt that 18 year old undergraduates around him were too callow to have the vote. Meh. When I’m grading, I’m not sure I’d disagree. (Regarding the “Old enough to fight and die, but not old enough to vote!” slogan, J.C. Bradbury argues Buchanan was anti-draft).
    3. I don’t see how the Watergate section shows Buchanan becoming “more and more convinced that his ideas would never be adopted by a majority of the citizens of the United States”. He seems to think that in 1972 he had the majority of citizens on his side: Nixon’s plan to shrink government was “much more closely attuned to what I have called mainstream American values than is that of his opposition. His electoral victory supports this presumption.” The plan was killed in Congress by “special interests”, but if only Buchanan could get average citizens to wake up and listen to him he could carry the day. There’s some pessimism but it’s all very milquetoast stuff and *much* less grouchy than lots of stuff that was said on the left after Kerry lost and 11 states banned gay marriage by referendum in ‘04.

  5. For further context on James Buchanan’s admittedly pessimistic works on education from the late 1960s and early 1970s, see Fleury and Marciano (2017).

    If, for the sake of convenience (why else?), we restrict our analysis to Buchanan’s “The ‘Social’ Efficiency of Education,” we see that he is concerned with more than what Andy Seal calls “political dissidence,” although that seems part of it. In his assertion of the usefulness of the diminished constraints of family, church, and law, Buchanan’s negative examples include the child who takes the “baby’s candy” and the “potential arsonist”–those who do not respect property rights and those who do not share “mutual respect for the rights of other men,” respectively. He later warns, “if college buildings burn so do barns.”

    Buchanan is also concerned that student protesters have been successful in “politicizing the academy.” Finally, Buchanan is worried that students–in the absence of the influence of family, church, and law–have become so seduced by those “instant and romantic appeals” encountered in the academy that they fail to understand market relations and now force their “passions” onto society.

    Thus, when Buchanan speaks of “order,” he is concerned not only with “neo-Marxist” politics but also with campus violence and academic freedom. He had experienced both campus violence and violations of academic freedom himself, directly, at UVA, UCLA, and VPI. Buchanan is also concerned about, as his title suggests, the “social efficiency” of higher education. Previously, colleges and universities existed in part to present “heretical challenges” to stir “responsiveness in the institutional order;” now, in the ruins of the “institutional structures,” they have become wildly disruptive.

    We may wish that Buchanan’s essay had been written much differently, with a gentler word than “parasite” and with some acknowledgement of the positive role of student protests in the Civil Rights Movement. That said, his concerns are not illegitimate. After all, accreditation involves some degree of examination of campus climate and decision-making processes–and, of course, the AAUP would want to ensure that such accreditation involve assurances of faculty academic freedom in decision-making processes. Institutions of higher learning have long justified their public funding in terms of accountability–“beneficient influence,” “social efficiency,” etc.

    If we consider Buchanan’s article to be essentially problematic, we have to ask when the taxpayer–himself or herself perhaps not college-educated–can refuse to fund a set of institutions of higher education? How might he or she judge value? For Andy Seal, are the answers, “Never” and “You must not?” That would seem to be undemocratic in its own way.

  6. ban Magness and Bernstein. they have time and time again proven themselves dishonest. they’ve had plenty of time to speak. their mission is to dissemble, distract, and make us look away from what is as jaw-droppingly obvious as what happened in Charlottesville (of “all places”) and in Trump’s news conference. the “libertarian” right has used the strong currents of hatred of blacks (and Jews) to advance its economic mission.

    I mean, it’s remarkable that anyone can argue about the overtones of Buchanan quotations that consistently use the word “parasite,” which has been a well-known and identified term of antisemitic prejudice since the 1920s in the US. there is no doubt. Buchanan knew exactly what it meant, and so do those who use it today. Was Buchanan himself “antisemitic”? who knows. But did he know that the word “parasite” invokes emotional anti-black and anti-Jewish responses in his readers? Magness and Bernstein will disingenuously continue to answer “no.” But experts on racism, see e.g. the SPLC, see it otherwise. This is all over their comments: they redefine racism so as to get Buchanan out of it. The trick is in their redefinition of racism, not in the readings of Buchanan. This discussion has been had over and over again; the best account of it, in my opinion, is in Bonilla-Silva’s seminal, widely-respected RACISM WITHOUT RACISTS. You can bet Bernstein and Magness would argue every bit as vociferously with every conclusion in that book, as they do with MacLean and your own work.

    Drop them. They are dishonest, end of story.

    Otherwise, thank you for your excellent work.

    • That’s an outrageously funny parody on the more unhinged elements of the academic left, thanks, a got a big belly laugh.

    • I’ve found the best way to deal with Phil is to hold him to the same standards he hold MacLean to and treat him with the same charity. For example, he claimed: “MacLean does in fact claim that Buchanan and Nutter’s paper influenced policy. Where is her evidence?”

      After I pointed out to him that: 1. She claimed the exact opposite of this and 2. if she HAD claimed it, it would undermined the central premise of her entire book. He stopped saying it. And I only had to repeat it 2 or 3 times.


      • Actually, John, she claims on p. 70 that the paper’s timing “strongly suggests coordination with Jack Kilpatrick in an eleventh-hour push to persuade the legislators to go further.” I’ve pointed this out to you several times, but you brush it aside as a mere suggestion (as if innuendo makes MacLean’s case any more reputable). Or ignore it entirely.

        A similar pattern emerges whenever your own utterly bizarre claim about segregation comes up: “Massive resistance collapses, so he can bring Hutt in to help fight unions, who cares if he is also fighting segregation? That’s a dead issue in 1965 anyway, let him have his fun.”

        Your default response is to either parse the timeline in ahistorical ways or to pretend that you never said what you plainly said. I’m left to conclude that you are either a deeply confused individual, or you have congenital issues with truthful depiction.

      • Folks, if you are wondering if Phil is actually disingenuous in his attacks on MacLean’s book, I think you now have all the evidence you need. If you are interested, I have 1,651 word response to him that he has chosen not to respond in my last comment on this thread, in which every one of these arguments is addressed and (I believe) trounced. He is pretending it isn’t there:


        As for this latest nonsense, which he has repeated over and over:

        1. Phil’s claim that I ‘brush aside” MacLean’s line about Kilpatrick is simply untrue. Yeah, MacLean only “suggests” that it was coordinated with Kilpatrick. That is why she used the word “suggests.” Disbelieve her suggestion if you wish, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a suggestion. Bringing it up here shows his mastery of the non sequitur: whether or not they coordinated, is completely, utterly, absolutely irrelevant to whether or not Buchanan nfluenced the legislature. Everyone note how he changed the subject?

        2. Yes, it is fair to say that Massive Resistance, both as legal movement and a social movement had collapsed by 1965. You’ll note that Phil merely ignores his previous strawman argument where he charged me with claiming that “segregation had collapsed” which it most certainly had not.

        3. As for Prince Edward County: Perhaps Phil could distinguish between the state legislature privatizing schools and Prince Edward County privatizing schools. Which it did.. Which was in line with Buchanan’s advice. Which was a disaster. Which was completely unpredicted by Buchanan. And which he remained silent about for the rest of his career. Which, any defender of Buchanan should acknowledge as a moral failing of Buchanan. But Phil prefers to pretend it never happened.

      • These are your own words, John:

        “Massive resistance collapses, so he can bring Hutt in to help fight unions, who cares if he is also fighting segregation? That’s a dead issue in 1965 anyway, let him have his fun.”

        Since you’re obviously not interested in an honest discussion of what they entail, I’m content to leave them for others to interpret. In doing so I’m also confident that any sensible historian would conclude that segregation was anything but a “dead issue” in 1965.

  7. Buchanan, during the segregation crisis in Virginia, threw his lot in with the hardcore segregationists by advocating for school privatization. He promised that great benefits would accrue to Virginia if they privatized schools. When Prince Edward County took his advice and did so, African-American students went without schooling whatsoever. Segregationists, and libertarians, were delighted with that outcome. Buchanan never mentioned it again. Clearly, he was fine with segregation.

    • “When Prince Edward County took his advice and did so”

      Didn’t you just dispute my characterization of MacLean’s portrayal of Buchanan as influencing policy? That’s an odd position to take, seeing as you turned right around and asserted that Buchanan did in fact influence policy.

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