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Democracy in Chains

Author: Nancy MacLean
Publisher: Penguin
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Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist for the National Book Award The Nation's "Most Valuable Book" “[A] vibrant intellectual history of the radical right.”—The Atlantic “This sixty-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and eventually take the government itself is at the heart of Democracy in Chains. . . . If you're worried about what all this means for America's future, you should be.”—NPR An explosive exposé of the right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution. 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. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us. Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan’s work in teaching others how to divide America into “makers” and “takers.” And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan’s strategy. Without Buchanan's ideas and Koch's money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. 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 also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.


Summary of Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean

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Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean: Conversation Starters James McGill Buchanan was an economics professor at George Mason University who died in 2013. He was a Nobel Prize winner whose political ideas could very well be the primary cause behind the political divisiveness that the United States is going through. His teachings directed America's billionaires to adopt an agenda that promote despotism and threaten democracy. Buchanan proposed using stealth for right wing groups to sow doubt in people's belief in the democratic institutions that serve them. Multi-awarded author and history professor Nancy Maclean digs deep into Buchanan's ideas and its destabilizing political repercussions. Democracy in Chains won the Lannar Foundation Cultural Freedom Award, The Nation's Most Valuable Book of 2017, and the 2018 Lillian Smith Book Award. A Brief Look Inside: EVERY GOOD BOOK CONTAINS A WORLD FAR DEEPER than the surface of its pages. The characters and their world come alive, and the characters and its world still live on. Conversation Starters is peppered with questions designed to bring us beneath the surface of the page and invite us into the world that lives on. These questions can be used to... Create Hours of Conversation: - Promote an atmosphere of discussion for groups - Foster a deeper understanding of the book - Assist in the study of the book, either individually or corporately - Explore unseen realms of the book as never seen before Disclaimer: This book you are about to enjoy is an independent resource meant to supplement the original book. If you have not yet read the original book, we encourage you to before purchasing this unofficial Conversation Starters.


Endangered Dreams

Author: Kevin Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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California, Wallace Stegner observed, is like the rest of the United States, only more so. Indeed, the Golden State has always seemed to be a place where the hopes and fears of the American dream have been played out in a bigger and bolder way. And no one has done more to capture this epic story than Kevin Starr, in his acclaimed series of gripping social and cultural histories. Now Starr carries his account into the 1930s, when the political extremes that threatened so much of the Depression-ravaged world--fascism and communism--loomed large across the California landscape. In Endangered Dreams, Starr paints a portrait that is both detailed and panoramic, offering a vivid look at the personalities and events that shaped a decade of explosive tension. He begins with the rise of radicalism on the Pacific Coast, which erupted when the Great Depression swept over California in the 1930s. Starr captures the triumphs and tumult of the great agricultural strikes in the Imperial Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, Stockton, and Salinas, identifying the crucial role played by Communist organizers; he also shows how, after some successes, the Communists disbanded their unions on direct orders of the Comintern in 1935. The highpoint of social conflict, however, was 1934, the year of the coastwide maritime strike, and here Starr's narrative talents are at their best, as he brings to life the astonishing general strike that took control of San Francisco, where workers led by charismatic longshoreman Harry Bridges mounted the barricades to stand off National Guardsmen. That same year socialist Upton Sinclair won the Democratic nomination for governor, and he launched his dramatic End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign. In the end, however, these challenges galvanized the Right in a corporate, legal, and vigilante counterattack that crushed both organized labor and Sinclair. And yet, the Depression also brought out the finest in Californians: state Democrats fought for a local New Deal; California natives helped care for more than a million impoverished migrants through public and private programs; artists movingly documented the impact of the Depression; and an unprecedented program of public works (capped by the Golden Gate Bridge) made the California we know today possible. In capturing the powerful forces that swept the state during the 1930s--radicalism, repression, construction, and artistic expression--Starr weaves an insightful analysis into his narrative fabric. Out of a shattered decade of economic and social dislocation, he constructs a coherent whole and a mirror for understanding our own time.


Chains of Persuasion

Author: Benjamin R. Hertzberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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Democratic politics seems to inspire religious conflict - politicians consistently use religious differences for political gain, while religious nationalism and nationalistic reactions to religious diversity are on the rise in much of the world. And yet predominant theoretical accounts of liberal democracy provide citizens precious little applicable guidance in making judgments about religion's proper role in their political societies. Chains of Persuasion provides a new moral framework to guide citizens' evaluations of religious politics. Rejecting claims that religion must be relegated to the private sphere or that all attempts to evaluate its political roles are oppressive, Benjamin Hertzberg argues that democratic ideals are robust enough to assess the full range of ways religion influences democratic political life. Hertzberg's analysis draws on critical theories of religion, philosophical debates about public reason, deliberative and instrumental justifications of democracy, and democratic virtue theory. He argues that citizens must recognize that democracy is a way-of-life, with crucial implications for civic society beyond formal political institutions, in order to attend to the ways in which religion can both enhance and undermine democracy. He applies this framework by criticizing American public discussions of two prominent religious minorities: Mormons and Muslims. If citizens are to make judgments consistent with democratic norms, they must pay more attention to the nature of religions' authority claims instead of merely evaluating the values religions proclaim.


Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies

Author: Kaare Strøm
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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This is the most ambitious and comprehensive account of the institutions of democratic delegation in West European parliamentary democracies. An international team of contributors provides unprecedented cross-national investigations of West European political institutions from 1945 until the present day.


To Break Our Chains

Author: Jerome Braun
Publisher: BRILL
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These essays are a distillation of Jerome Braun’s work in interdisciplinary social science, and especially sociology. Thus they exemplify pragmatic critical theory by dealing with culture and personality, cohesiveness and nihilism in modern societies, and the relation between community and democracy.


University in Chains

Author: Henry A. Giroux
Publisher: Routledge
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President Eisenhower originally included 'academic' in the draft of his landmark, oft-quoted speech on the military-industrial-complex. Giroux tells why Eisenhower saw the academy as part of the famous complex - and how his warning was vitally prescient for 21st-century America. Giroux details the sweeping post-9/11 assault being waged on the academy by militarization, corporatization, and right-wing fundamentalists who increasingly view critical thought itself as a threat to the dominant political order. Giroux argues that the university has become a handmaiden of the Pentagon and corporate interests, it has lost its claim to independence and critical learning and has compromised its role as a democratic public sphere. And yet, in spite of its present embattled status and the inroads made by corporate power, the defense industries, and the right wing extremists, Giroux defends the university as one of the few public spaces left capable of raising important questions and educating students to be critical and engaged agents. He concludes by making a strong case for reclaiming it as a democratic public sphere.


The Power Worshippers

Author: Katherine Stewart
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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For readers of Democracy in Chains and Dark Money, a revelatory investigation of the Religious Right's rise to political power. For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. But in her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: America's Religious Right has evolved into a Christian nationalist movement. It seeks to gain political power and to impose its vision on all of society. It isn't fighting a culture war, it is waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy. Stewart shows that the real power of the movement lies in a dense network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and pastoral organizations, embedded in a rapidly expanding community of international alliances with likeminded, anti-democratic religious nationalists around the world, including Russia. She follows the money behind the movement and traces much of it to a group of super-wealthy, ultraconservative donors and family foundations. The Christian nationalist movement is far more organized and better funded than most people realize. It seeks to control all aspects of government and society. Its successes have been stunning, and its influence now extends to every aspect of American life, from the White House to state capitols, from our schools to our hospitals. The Power Worshippers is a brilliantly reported book of warning and a wake-up call. Stewart's probing examination demands that Christian nationalism be taken seriously as a significant threat to the American republic and our democratic freedoms.


Free Speech and Democracy in Ancient Athens

Author: Arlene W. Saxonhouse
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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This book illuminates the distinctive character of our modern understanding of the basis and value of free speech by contrasting it with the very different form of free speech that was practised by the ancient Athenians in their democratic regime. Free speech in the ancient democracy was not a protected right but an expression of the freedom from hierarchy, awe, reverence and shame. It was thus an essential ingredient of the egalitarianism of that regime. That freedom was challenged by the consequences of the rejection of shame (aidos) which had served as a cohesive force within the polity. Through readings of Socrates's trial, Greek tragedy and comedy, Thucydides's History, and Plato's Protagoras this volume explores the paradoxical connections between free speech, democracy, shame, and Socratic philosophy and Thucydidean history as practices of uncovering.


Food Democracy

Author: Sue Booth
Publisher: Springer
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This book explores the links between food and democracy. It addresses how democratic principles can be used to shape our food system and takes a practical ‘how-to’ approach to using democratic processes to regain control of the food we eat. It also highlights what food democracy looks like on the ground and how individuals, communities and societies can be empowered to access, cook and eat healthy food in ways that are sustainable. Food democracy, as a concept, is a social movement based on the idea that people can and should be able to actively participate in shaping the food system rather than being passive spectators. The book is useful for university and advanced TAFE courses that cover topics examining food in health sciences, social sciences and other areas of study. It is also relevant to health practitioners, nutritionists, food advocates, policy makers and others with a keen interest in exploring an alternative to the industrial food system known as “Big Food.”


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