David R. Henderson  

Nancy MacLean's Distortion of James Buchanan's Statement

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My Econlib colleague Russ Roberts has pointed to a passage of Nancy MacLean's recent book, Democracy in Chains: A Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, in which Professor MacLean left key words out of a quote from Tyler Cowen, thus seriously distorting his meaning.

A Facebook friend, Christopher Fleming, has pointed out that she has done the same thing with a quote from James Buchanan, the main player in her book. See if you can tell the difference between what he says and what she claims he says.

Here's Buchanan, unedited, from "Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative":

The classical liberal is necessarily vulnerable to the charge that he lacks compassion in behavior toward fellow human beings - a quality that may describe the conservative position, along with others that involve paternalism on any grounds. George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" can be articulated and defended as a meaningful normative stance. The comparable term "compassionate classical liberalism" would approach oxymoronic classification. There is no halfway house here; other persons are to be treated as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions, or they are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent. In a very early comment, Dennis Mueller noted that there was nothing in the Rawlsian principles of justice that would condemn a person for beating his dog. Nor should there have been. The Rawlsian discourse was strictly within the classical liberal framework, with natural equality among persons remaining a basic presupposition of the whole enterprise.

Now here's how Professor MacLean states it:
Koch learned as a young adult, from his mentor Baldy Harper, that "the great social problem of our age is that of designing the preventive medicine that will stop the eroding of liberty in the body politic." Harper warned that "once the disease has advanced, a bitter curative medicine is required to gain already-lost liberty." James Buchanan revealed just how bitter the medicine would be. People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs, Buchanan wrote in 2005, "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to . . . animals who are dependent."

In short, she has taken the two options Buchanan laid out, in a passage in which, from context it is clear that he favors the first option--treating people as "natural equals"--and has rejected the second option--treating people as "subordinate members of the species"--and, without even mentioning the first option, she asserts that he favors the second option. This is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?


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COMMENTS (33 to date)
Christopher Fleming writes:

This is from the previous page in Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative:

"As noted in ‘The human species,’ the classical liberal, indeed all liberals, reject the hierarchical classification of persons and comes down squarely on the Adam Smith side of the continuing debate. The postulate of natural equality replaces that of inequality. At the same time, the classical liberal locates the sources of value exclusively in the consciousness of the individual ; there is no other source."

Tiago writes:

I would add a third option: she is absolutely biased against Buchanan. When you are convinced that a person is pure evil, you can see it even when nothing in what this person is actually saying is evil in itself.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Tiago,
I would add a third option: she is absolutely biased against Buchanan.
This isn’t a third option. It could explain her sloppiness or dishonesty, but it’s not a third option.

Another example:

In "Freedom Is Not Enough," MacLean quotes Rothbard on "The Negro Revolution," and says:

"His hope was that it 'might be crippled and defeated.'"

Here's the piece she's quoting; decide for yourself if her description is accurate:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/rothbard-on-the-black-revolution

Jesse C writes:

Tiago - I've seen a few comments like yours around various blogs, explaining her misrepresentations as resulting from biased blindness. I find this to be acceptable for a child but not someone like Ms. MacLean.

Imagine you are talking to a 15-year old and want to persuade him/her that Stalin was a bad person. As bad as he was, I'm sure he said plenty of perfectly fine and innocent things - no doubt some very good things at times. But when you are making your case to the teen, would you ever find yourself twisting the words from a perfectly innocent passage of his writing?

For two reasons, I would not:

1. There ought to be no shortage of "red meat" in his speeches and writings for me to use, and with even a little diligence, I could honestly represent his views in my arguments.

2. If I care enough to write a book with Stalin being central figure with whom I disagree, I would be very worried about double-checking the quotations, their contexts and intended meanings. (Especially true if I have honed such skills, as a history prof ought to have.)

Yes, her bias is blinding, but she's not blinded by it - that's too hard to swallow.

Joshua writes:

The more (or less) generous interpretation here is that she doesn't understand the context and given the choice of "... other persons are to be treated as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions, or they are to be treated as subordinate members of the species..." she understands the first option to be impossible, so the second option is all that is left. It's possible that in her mind James Buchanan has the audacity to state what she believes to be true but dares not state. How else to justify progressive paternalism?

Tighten it up writes:

Baldy Harper:

1) Once the disease (eroding of liberty in the body politic) has advanced;
2) A bitter curative medicine is required to gain already-lost liberty.

Buchanan:
3) People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs = ( ex. recipients of social security and medicare? )
4) There is no halfway house here; other persons are to be treated as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions, or they are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent.

David Henderson:

5) from context it is clear that he favors the first option--treating people as "natural equals"--and has rejected the second option--treating people as "subordinate members of the species"--
6) and, without even mentioning the first option, she asserts that he favors the second option.

7) This is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?

I didn't read the book, but based on what is presented, Baldy Harper in 1) and 2) presents the current state of things in which liberty has already been eroded and we exist in a paternalistic society.

Buchanan states that there is an either/or situation in 4) in which people in 3) must be treated as natural equals in a free society or dependent animals in a paternalistic society (4).

David Henderson states clearly enough that Buchanan favors the first option (5).
Then he makes the claim in 6) that MacLean implies that Buchanan favors the second. That is to say, that MacLean states that Buchanan makes a normative statement in (4).

Not having read the book, going only by the quotes presented, and by the text of the blog, there is no evidence that MacLean's quote of Buchanan is anything except a positive statement of the state of things in a society in which (1) has occurred and a bitter curative medicine is required (2), ie there is no halfway house, as opposed to a normative statement of what Buchanan prefers.

For Henderson to claim (6), he will need to cite other evidence.

Based on what he presents in the blog post, his claim in (7) is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?

For my part, I find it just sloppy.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Tighten it up,
Based on what he presents in the blog post, his claim in (7) is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?
Au contraire, it is you who are being sloppy. You write:
3) People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs = ( ex. recipients of social security and medicare? )
You claim that you are citing Buchanan. But it’s actually MacLean who claims to be citing Buchanan, even though the Buchanan quote says nothing about that. See the difference?

Daniel Zatkovich writes:

I await Tiago's statement regarding Tighten It Up's enormous, obvious bias.

Daniel Klein writes:

Excellent exposure of Nancy MacLean's fraudulence, thanks.

Tighten it up writes:

From the context, which is based upon what you have specifically quoted, it is clear that what I place under the heading 'Buchanan' are references to quotes from your passages, rather than quotes from Buchanan.

I'm not sure how in good faith you could be confused by that. But just in case you were, note how I don't place the lines in quotation marks and follow with a '- Buchanan', or any other notation that would indicate that I am doing anything except excerpting lines from what you posted above.

See the difference?

In any case, you fail to state how my conclusions are wrong.

You might be totally correct in your conclusions of the author and the book. I don't know because I haven't read the book.

However, the argument you are making above, based on what you have cited above, is at best incomplete.

If you want to make that argument you are going to have to present more evidence.

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

The following is extracted from my comment to Greg Weiner's review today at the Libertylaw site.

Here follws the conclusion of MacLean's application for a $50K grant (which she got) to produce this tripe (or offal?):


"Through an accidental discovery followed by extensive archival and other original research, I have unearthed ties between states’ rights activists and leading free-market economists that emerged in the late 1950s and traced their subsequent history of alliance building with sometimes surprising partners over the ensuing half century. Where existing works on neoliberalism begin in the 1970s with crises of profitability and public finance, my work excavates the pre-history of early and ongoing anti-democratic **motives** and goals."
[** supplied]

Utter hubris.

The response of the NEH to that expression of gall, reinforces reasons for its abolition. But, hey, it was somebody else's money.

It should be noted that Buchanan and Tullock examined ** "non-market,"** not "market-oriented, " decision making.

How the hell some writer born around 1960 can purport to “excavate” motives of individuals of that time, in those circumstances, is beyond academic credence. Or is it, in today's Academe?

Jon Murphy writes:

@Tighten It Up
From the context, which is based upon what you have specifically quoted, it is clear that what I place under the heading 'Buchanan' are references to quotes from your passages, rather than quotes from Buchanan.

I came to the same conclusion Prof. Henderson did. Prof. Henderson has a well-earned reputation for being a very careful thinker and writer. He's not prone to making sloppy mistakes, and definitely not making bad faith arguments, as you assert. I try not to, as well. It is possible, perhaps even probable, your comment was confusing.

Indeed, I found it very much so. I read it several times and I am still not sure what conclusions you reach. I think you are objecting to Prof. Henderson's conclusion that Ms. MacLean says (quoting Henderson here) "In short, she has taken the two options Buchanan laid out, in a passage in which, from context it is clear that he favors the first option--treating people as "natural equals"--and has rejected the second option--treating people as "subordinate members of the species"--and, without even mentioning the first option, she asserts that he favors the second option. This is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?" Reading the Buchanan quote and the MacLean quote, it seems to be quite clear Prof. Henderson's conclusion is correct.

Plus, contextually, she's done that (misquoting them to appear they are saying the inverse of what they are saying) to other authors, notably Tyler Cowen.

So, I think it's unfair to accuse Prof. Henderson both of arguing in bad faith and for sloppy thinking/writing.

Bradley K. Hobbs writes:

This is so egregious a misuse of scholarly norms she deserves excommunication from her profession. With Roderick Long's notes professional historians have a clear pattern of bold and forthright deception. This cannot be defended as a "one-off mistake".

Arnold Kling writes:

I wonder if it would be appropriate for someone to write an article for an academic journal pointing out the violations of scholarly ethics in her book. Maybe submit it to the historians' equivalent of the Journal of Economic Literature.

Violations this extreme should not go unpunished.

Tighten it up writes:

1) MacLean, Henderson and I all agree that Buchanan prefers 'Classical Liberalism'.
2) MacLean, Henderson and I all agree that Buchanan believes that there 'is no halfway house'.
3) MacLean, Henderson and I all agree that in what Buchanan describes as 'Classical Liberalism', Buchanan believes "other persons are to be treated as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions"
4) Maclean, Henderson and I all agree that in what Buchanan describes as NOT 'Classical Liberalism' (NOT capitalized as a logical term), Buchanan believes [others] "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent."
5) In the quote above "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent.", Henderson and I agree that 'are' in this reference means 'will be' rather than 'ought to be'.
6) Henderson and I agree that Buchanan prefers that 'others' are not 'to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent.", hence his support of what Buchanan refers to as 'Classical Liberalism.
7) In the referenced quote from MacLean's book, MacLean states that Baldy Harper warned that "once the disease has advanced, a bitter curative medicine is required to gain already-lost liberty."
8) This quote posits that we currently reside in a society in which we have already lost liberty.
9) Henderson and I agree that we reside in such a society.
10) In a society in which we have already lost liberty, Baldy Harper states that "a bitter curative medicine is required to gain already-lost liberty."
11) MacLean posits that in the society under discussion, in which we have already lost our liberty, there will be '[p]eople who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs' who will, presumably, require state assistance.
12) MacLean states that according to Buchanan, that there can only be two possibilities.
12a) That people are individually responsible for their own actions;
12b) That people "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent."
13) Therefore '[p]eople who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs' will be subjected to 'a bitter curative medicine', which is to say,
13a) they starve,
OR
13b) Those '[p]eople who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs', who require, and are given, state assistance end up in the category of 12b) in which they "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent."

It's entirely possible that MacLean believes that Buchanan in (5) above interprets 'are' to be 'ought to be' rather than 'will be'. If so, there is no evidence presented here for that argument. If Henderson wants to make that argument, the text shown in his blog does not establish that.

It is possible that the quote "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to . . . animals who are dependent." would have been better served by substituting '[will be] for the actual words 'are to be'.

However, while that argument can be made in the other direction, that is to say substituting an interpretation of the text for the actual text puts the onus on the interpreted text, it is not an effective argument that quoting the text, instead of a bracketed interpretation of the text, is prima facie evidence of bad intent.

The paragraph quoted from MacLean reads that according to the philosophy under discussion, 'a bitter curative medicine is required'. She then describes that 'bitter medicine in option 13b) dependency, as it is described by Buchanan.

She could have added option 13a), let them starve, but I don't think she is making the argument that Buchanan preferred that option either.

Based on the evidence presented in this blog post, the claim that the last sentence in the MacLean quote is a normative statement from Buchanan, rather than a positive, if picturesque, description of Buchanan's view of dependency in a NOT Classical Liberal society, is not supported without additional material. At best, it shows that it is possible to interpret the text so that MacLean is making the case that Buchanan prefers that people be treated "as subordinate members of the species, akin to . . . animals who are dependent."

Showing that there is the possibility that the text can be interpreted in such a way, is not showing that the text can only be interpreted in such a way, or that it absolutely was meant to be interpreted in such a way.

The claim ' This is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?' requires that level of proof and supporting evidence.

Again, I have not read the book. It is entirely possible that it is chock full of supporting evidence for the blog's claim. But sufficient evidence was not presented on the blog post itself.

RPLong writes:

@ "tighten it up"

I haven't read the book either, but your first comment made seven annotated points and your most recent makes 17.

Now, by all accounts, MacLean's book is aimed at laypeople, which suggests that your time would have been better spent actually reading the offending passages in MacLean's book and coming to your own conclusion than creating a 24-point chain of logic to demonstrate that Henderson's blog post alone doesn't offer sufficient evidence to sway your opinion.

You're clearly a sharp thinker. I'd love to see you apply an additional 24 points of logic to MacLean's writing after having read the passages cited in Henderson's blog post.

Steve S writes:

If you read the passage kind of scattershot and filter it through a mind primed to take issue with Buchanan's work you can find the misunderstanding.

Start with the sentence:

"Dennis Mueller noted that there was nothing in the Rawlsian principles of justice that would condemn a person for beating his dog. Nor should there have been. The Rawlsian discourse was strictly within the classical liberal framework..."

OMG beating dogs is OK with James Buchanan. What a bad man. What did he say up there?


"...other persons are to be treated as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions..."

Well this is what I, Professor McLean, believe. I can't possibly agree with a monster like Buchanan on anything, so...

"...or..."

Ok so this must be what Buchanan believes to be true.

"...they are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent."

Wow. He thinks there should be no punishment for beating dogs and he thinks other people should be treated as sub-humans.

I had to re-read the sentence about Rawlsian principles to make sure I understood. McLean probably went back to re-read and was already primed to find something diabolical. This is the most charitable interpretation possible.

Steve Verdon writes:

Tighten It Up,

Might I suggest you tighten up your thinking and your writing. Reading your comments is excruciating in that they are anything but tightened up.

In reading Buchanan from "Why I, too, am not a conservative," It is quite obvious that Buchanan did not espouse that people "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent".

Now, MacLean on the other hand has absolutely asserted that Buchanan thought people "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to that accorded animals who are dependent". How you can conclude otherwise is a mystery to me. I'll chalk it up to a complete failure ate reading comprehension.

She completely omitted the first option and simply asserts that is how Buchanan felt.

By the way, this point you claim you are citing from Buchanan, "People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs..." is not from Buchanan, but is from MacLean.

Also, your point 12 is dubious too because you are assuming it follows from MacLean's claim and not Buchanan's. This also renders 12a and 12b suspect too. In fact, everything past that point is just rubbish based on a flawed reading of the material you have been presented with.

Jon Murphy writes:

@tighten it up

Your points 1-4 in your most recent post are unjustified from the evidence provided. Henderson and Buchanan agree; MacLean does not share that interpretation. In fact, the quote provided in the blog post (and many other places where she was quoted) calls into question your assertions 1-4.

Your point 8 is incorrect. The statement does not posit anything of the sort that we are already past the point of lost liberty. All it is saying is once that point is reached [it makes no determination whether it has been reached or not], then bitter medicine. for example, if I say "once a person becomes overwhelmed with debt, he may declare bankruptcy," doesn't mean a person is already in bankruptcy. It's just stating a condition necessary.

Your points 11-13 do not follow from the given MacLean quote.

RL Styne writes:

Great find, Roderick. She is very clearly looking for normative positions where none exist. Surely someone will take the time to fully rebut this fraudulent nonsense.

Jon Murphy writes:

@RL Styne:

Surely someone will take the time to fully rebut this fraudulent nonsense.

I know Steve Horwitz is doing a review for Cato. I don't know when it'll be published, however.

Goodspkr writes:

[Comment removed. Please consult our comment policies and check your email for explanation.--Econlib Ed.]

Rob Bradley writes:

Working from a flawed worldview/premises, the evidence must be parsed or a new framework adopted.

Gabriel Kolko sinned in this way in his day, which might be an example to compare to Professor MacLean.

Hazel Meade writes:

I'm just curious as to whether Nancy McClean or her book are at all influential. I see a bunch of people responding to her, but I've honestly never heard of her and seen her mentioned outside of libertarian message boards.
Maybe I'm just not reading widely enough?
Is see supposed to be the next Naomi Klein?

Joshua writes:

Hazel Meade - I wondered the same thing. This book seems to be getting a lot of press based on the Amazon page. Atlantic, NPR, O, Booklist (Starred), Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, etc. all speak very highly.

I'd guess it aspires to be similar to "Dark Money" which got a lot of mindshare last year criticizing the Koch bogeymonster.

Bob Murphy writes:

TightenUp, I'll join the crowd too...

I get what you think you are showing, but you are simply wrong.

Here's her quote:

Harper warned that "once the disease has advanced, a bitter curative medicine is required to gain already-lost liberty." James Buchanan revealed just how bitter the medicine would be. People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs, Buchanan wrote in 2005, "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to . . . animals who are dependent."

So, in her telling, they weren't making a positive description about the way things are right now. Rather, Buchanan is allegedly saying what the "medicine" will need to be, in order to go back to liberty. Clearly Buchanan can't be saying, "Wow, right now the bureaucrats at the Social Security office are treating check recipients as animals." No, he is saying (in her telling) "In order to break out of this system and restore liberty, we need to start treating Social Security recipients as animals. It's a bitter medicine but it's the only way."

Also, the "are to be treated" is clearly giving the innocent reader the impression that Buchanan is recommending it, rather than saying "They are currently being treated this way."

If you asked 1000 people what Buchanan was saying from her treatment, 999 would think he was advocating treating people like animals. The other person would be distracted by his smart phone.

FletchforFreedom writes:

Tighten it up,

You make a critical error that undermines your premises right at the outset and overlook the clear evidence that David Henderson's point is more than adequately supported in the material provided.

You erroneously conflate Buchanan's dichotomy regarding the alternative means of treating one's fellow man with the acceptance or application of the principle to the circumstance of the "bitter curative medicine". That, in fact, is the fundamentally dishonest conflation that MacLean engages in (the absurdity of starvation being an alternative is devastating to one's credibility but not applicable to the fundamental problem).

Buchanan does neither more nor less than to describe the alternative means of treating our fellow human beings in the context of the oxymoronic connection in "compassionate classical liberal". At no time does he ever suggest that there is any circumstance in which people ever should or need be treated in any manner other than "as natural equals, deserving of equal respect and individually responsible for their actions". Buchanan doesn't describe the alternative as something that should EVER be adopted. MacLean, in obvious dishonesty, conflates the condition of the "compassionate", non-classical liberal alternative with Baldy Harper's notion of a "bitter curative medicine" when no such linkage exists in order to make the entirely bogus chain that you suggest: liberty is impaired - bitter medicine is needed - treating others a subordinate members of the species is the bitter medicine. And you fell for it. The reality is that Buchanan spelled out the alternative means of treating human beings having nothing to do with any proposed curative. And, separately, Harper suggested that impaired liberty justifies a bitter curative medicine (unspecified here) with no identifiable connection to Buchanan's alternatives.

One might even argue that there is nothing inherently bitter (except the vitriol heaped upon it) to the curative of restoring liberties by ceasing to fund state-directed charity, but that is a matter for another day.

Hazel Meade writes:

I'm going to go with delusional, which might be considered an extreme form of sloppy.

Some people are so absorbed into their tribe's belief system and worldview, that they honestly believe all sorts of bizarre things about their opponents, including reading into things they say, stuff that simply isn't there. On some level I suspect Nancy MacLean reads that statement and thinks "Ahha! What James Buchanen really thinks is that people should be treated as subordinates, he's just trying to say it obliquely!"

There are plenty of people just like this on the right wing, but they usually don't hold elevated posts in academia.

Tighten it up writes:

I appreciate the thoughtful, and other, replies.

First of all:

Bob Murphy:
"If you asked 1000 people what Buchanan was saying from her treatment, 999 would think he was advocating treating people like animals. The other person would be distracted by his smart phone."

Ha! Though perhaps the numbers are reversed. I think it more likely that 999 out of a thousand are distracted by their cell phone.

Steve Verdon:

"Might I suggest you tighten up your thinking and your writing. Reading your comments is excruciating in that they are anything but tightened up."

I'm sorry you find the format excruciating, but we are having a disagreement. I have found that in order to avoid miscommunication and falling into a substance-less back and forth, it is better to step through the argument one step at a time, allowing the reader to easily identify where it is that we disagree, or are miscommunicating.

For example, Jon Murphy was able to identify steps 1-4 and step 8, as where he believes that I am mistaken. His reply is succinct and efficient, and narrows the disagreement to a place where we can focus our thoughts, the better to come to a mutual understanding.

Your reply itself, cites steps 12 as a shortcut, implying that you find the format perhaps excruciating, but also functional.

having said that, I appreciate the replies. I'll attempt to respond to some of them.

Tighten it up writes:

First of all, let me address what I had thought obvious, but apparently not.

The paragraph quoted from MacLean begins with:

"Koch learned as a young adult,".

Those who spend time reading literature with which they don't already agree, apparently rare, will recognize this common literary device.

For those others, beginning a paragraph with "Person X learned...' implies that everything that follows concerns person X, and should be understood in that context.

The author is positing whatever follows "Koch learned as a young adult,"is what Koch learned as a young adult.

Are the quotes that follow what Harper and Buchanan taught?

That is a different question that requires a separate discussion.

What is going on in this blog post, again only including what is contained in the blog post, is Henderson arguing that what MacLean states Koch learned as a young adult from Harper and Buchanan, is 'incredibly dishonest', because Henderson thinks Buchanan prefers not to [treat] people as "subordinate members of the species".

Well, I happen to agree with Henderson on Buchanan not preferring that option. But that is neither here nor there.

Specifically, if Henderson wants to make the argument that MacLean is 'incredibly dishonest', because Buchanan did not prefer that people be treated poorly, then he needs to quote MacLean stating that Buchanan preferred treating people '[as] subordinate members of the species'.

A quote that shows what she believes Koch learned as a young adult from his understanding of Buchanan and Harper, is not germane.

Surely there must be quotes galore that Henderson could have picked that shows exactly what he is claiming, a direct quote in which MacLean states that Buchanan believed, not Koch, not Henderson, not anyone else but Buchanan himself, believed that it was his preference that people be treated as 'subordinate members of the species'.

The fact is that he failed to do so, while making the accusation:

"This is either incredibly sloppy or incredibly dishonest. How likely is it that it's just sloppy?"

He went with incredibly dishonest. I'm going to go with incredibly sloppy.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Tighten it up,
At least I finally now understand your claim. Your claim is that the paragraph is all about what Koch allegedly learned and not about what Buchanan believed.
I think it’s real stretch to read it that way. The reason is this. She writes:
People who failed to foresee and save money for their future needs, Buchanan wrote in 2005, "are to be treated as subordinate members of the species, akin to . . . animals who are dependent."
In other words, MacLean is claiming that Buchanan wrote that. She’s not claiming that Koch believed Buchanan wrote that.

hanmeng writes:

In "The Negro Revolution" that Roderick T. Long directs us to, Rothbard writes, "There are two ways by which it might be crippled and defeated", so it may sound as if he's concocting a plan, but he goes on simply to give what he calls a "prognosis" for a likely outcome. So MacLean's citation is simply dishonest.

Besides, at the conclusion of his article, Rothbard presents the libertarian position:

"...the Negro Revolution has some elements that a libertarian must favor, others that he must oppose. Thus, the libertarian opposes compulsory segregation and police brutality, but also opposes compulsory integration and such absurdities as ethnic quota systems in jobs....

"...some Negroes are beginning to see that the heavy incidence of unemployment among Negro workers is partially caused by union restrictionism keeping Negroes (as well as numerous whites) out of many fields of employment. If the Negro Revolution shall have as one of its consequences the destruction of the restrictive union movement in this country, this, at least, will be a welcome boon."

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