The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Duke Historian Nancy Maclean's Wacky Conspiracy Theory

The Koch-Trump feud is just part of the conspiracy to amend the Constitution in talk show host Mark Levin's image.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


Readers will recall that Duke Historian Nancy MacLean wrote a horrible book filled with errors, misrepresentations, and speculation, on the late economist James Buchanan. The book depicts Buchanan as the intellectual mastermind of a Koch-driven plot to destroy American democracy in favor of libertarian oligarchy.

By now, no one who is really paying attention should take the book, or MacLean, seriously (see here for a particularly devastating recent review). Unfortunately, however, the book seems to have staying power, and is even being cited favorably in the academic literature by people who should know better.

But then there is this, from Phil Magness:

For those of you who were wondering how Nancy MacLean would explain away the recent Koch/Trump feud, wait no longer:

It's all just a ploy to divert people's attention over to Trump's twitter account so they don't notice the Koch plot to install Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, which will have the effect of securing James Buchanan's control over the judiciary from beyond the grave for just long enough until the Kochs, via ALEC, can execute a second stealth plot to call an Article V convention that will rewrite the constitution based around Buchanan-inspired principles as apparently manifested in that crappy "Liberty Amendments" book written a few years back by by right wing radio talk show host Mark Levin.

Note: I am not making any of this up, or exaggerating in the slightest. She actually said all that on Bill Maher's show this evening.

One can come up with a slighly more charitable take on what MacLean said, but only slightly. UPDATE: Perhaps it's worth noting that not only was it entirely predictable that MacLean would come up with a conspiracy theory to explain the Koch-Trump feud, but that I predicted it.