Nancy MacLean’s generalized rewriting of James Buchanan’s views on democracy

Knowledge Problem

I have only read a small bit of Nancy MacLean’s book on James M. Buchanan, public choice, and politics. I’m reluctant to buy a copy, but I wanted to see if it was as bad as some critics have said. (Now you know something of my limited knowledge of and pre-existing bias against the book. -MG) A few weeks back I spotted a copy in the bookstore. I opened it up toward the middle, scanned a few pages, took a picture of pages 150-151 and a picture of the related endnotes for later reference.

Given the criticism the book was receiving, I was curious how well the book would stand up to a little quasi-random spot checking. Judge for yourself below.

A paragraph on page 151 stood out for appearing to claim that Buchanan reluctantly conceded that despotism might be the only way he would get his favored system into…

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