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A Note on MacLean’s Charge that Calhoun is an “Intellectual Lodestar”

I’m happy that the Chronicle of Higher Education published this letter of mine.


Also, here’s an additional fact to further reveal the absurdity of Nancy MacLean’s claim that public-choice scholars have as “their intellectual lodestar” John C. Calhoun: in his 2003 encyclopedic – 790 dense pages – survey of public-choice scholarship (Public Choice III), Dennis Mueller doesn’t once mention Calhoun.  That’s a bizarre omission if public-choice scholarship and ideas “trace back to John C. Calhoun.”

The only plausible conclusion is that Nancy MacLean – she having learned that Calhoun pondered alternatives to simple and unrestrained majority rule, but she also unaware that such ponderings have been done by many other political thinkers before and since Calhoun’s time – hallucinated that Buchanan was inspired by Calhoun.  She then mistook her hallucination for a fact.