A National Public Radio review of the book has been published under a title that makes a direct refrence to libertrainism, 'Democracy In Chains' Traces The Rise Of American Libertarianism.'
The primary theme of the book seems to be that the public choice theorist James Buchanan formed a secret cabal to take over the government.
From the book's blurb:
Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.The NPR review was written by Genevieve Valentine. She writes:
In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.
Buchanan headed a group of radical thinkers (he told his allies "conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential"), who worked to centralize power in states like Virginia. They eschewed empirical research. They termed taxes "slavery." They tried repeatedly to strike down progressive action — school integration, Social Security — claiming it wasn't economically sound. And they had the patience and the money to weather failures in their quest to win.I have ordered a copy of the book to see for myself what is claimed, but is should be noted that either MacLean or Valentine makes some questionable statements.
As MacLean lays out in their own words, these men developed a strategy of misinformation and lying about outcomes until they had enough power that the public couldn't retaliate against policies libertarians knew were destructive.
For one, Valentine writes:
Charles and his brother David Koch have been pushing the libertarian agenda for more than 20 years.It is not clear if this is Valentine's view or that of MacLean, but whosever view it is, it is off by a couple of decades.
Charles Koch was a key founder of the libertarian Cato Institute 4 decades ago.
David Koch, 37 years ago, was the 1980 candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket.
Valentine writes that the Kochs operated "alongside players like Dick Armey and Tyler Cowen, there are cameos from Newt Gingrich, John Kasich, Mitt Romney, and Antonin Scalia."
If she thinks any of these people hold libertarian positions---or anything close to it, she has no idea what libertarianism.