Remember: the U.S. Constitution and its amendments are all “chains on Democracy”
Original title: Remember: the First through Twenty-Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution–as well as the very structure of the United States Constitution itself–serve as “chains on Democracy.”
(Changed because I think I may have broken WordPress.)
What then, of “chains on democracy”? It is true that Buchanan did not think much of unfettered, majoritarian politics and favored constitutional rules that restrict majority rule. But the foregoing discussion should already make clear that this conclusion was not based on an anti-democratic instinct or a desire to preserve the privilege of a few. Instead, Buchanan’s careful analysis, originating in his seminal work with Gordon Tullock, “The Calculus of Consent,” led him to the conclusion that in choosing a political framework (“constitution”), all individuals will typically have good reasons to favor some restrictions on majority rule in order to protect against the “tyranny of the majority.” As he argued, democracy understood simply as majority rule “may produce consequences desired by no one unless these procedures are limited by constitutional boundaries” (Buchanan 1997/2001: 226). In other words, what justifies “chains on democracy” for Buchanan are his commitment to individual autonomy and equality, and his emphasis on consent as a legitimating principle for political arrangements. To paint his endorsement of constitutional limits on the use of political power as motivated by an anti-democratic desire to institute oligarchical politics is to fundamentally misunderstand Buchanan’s sophisticated, subtle approach to democratic theory, which was committed above all to the idea that political arrangements should redound to the benefit of all members of a community.
Dr. Nancy MacLean’s book “Democracy in Chains” is an abomination and a slander against libertarians by a federally-funded hack.
(I mean, if receiving Koch funding makes you a hack, then isn’t the fact that Dr. MacLean’s federal funding indicate her own allegiances–in this case, to the boot forever stomping on a human face?)