Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains prompts Steven Hayward to call for a sensible scholar to write a book titled The Scandal of the Liberal Mind. (I’d prefer that it be titled The Scandal of the Progressive Mind.)
MacLean loves simple majority rule, and of course she hates every aspect of racial discrimination and oppression. Unfortunately for her, in U.S. history, she has to choose one or the other. In the South, where the great majority of U.S. blacks lived between 1865 and the 1960s, the general run of white people held views that adversely affected the well-being of black people—to put it mildly. The best friends the blacks had among the Southern whites were members of the local ruling class—big landlords, merchants, manufacturers, railroad operators, and so forth. Absent the domination of local politics by these oligarchs, the economic conditions of blacks would have been much worse. Given the operation of the type of simple democracy that MacLean adores, the South would have been an immeasurably worse hell for blacks that it was—and it was plenty bad as it was.