It's even earned its own Wikipedia section, the first paragraph of which is worth quoting in full:
In 2017, Duke University historian Nancy MacLean published Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Her book claims that Buchanan saw a conflict between "economic freedom and political liberty", and that he sought (in his own words) "conspiratorial secrecy" in pursuit of what George Monbiot has described as "a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich". The book has garnered heavy criticism from both libertarian and non-libertarian writers for its perceived flaws in the use of quotes, sources, and the accuracy of its overall thesis. In particular, the claim that Buchanan supported segregation has been disputed as untrue and contradicted by evidence that MacLean's book omits. Buchanan played a key role in bringing prominent South African apartheid critic W.H. Hutt as guest lecturer to the University of Virginia in 1965, during which he also sharply condemned Jim Crow laws.Also, "Legal scholar Jonathan H. Adler alleges a pattern of misrepresentation in MacLean's book, including truncating quotes to present them as saying the opposite of their original meanings ..." Mr. Conner, who apparently has never read anything by Mr. Buchanan, accepts everything Nancy says as gospel truth.
Whatever opinions he attributes to Mr. Buchanan are likely not accurate and not worth arguing about. So let's focus on Mr. Conner's expression of his own opinions.
If you still think of libertarianism as the quaintly eccentric blend of laissez faire economics with concerns such as privacy rights, civil liberties, and antimilitarism, you are behind the times. That old-time libertarianism has been marginalized by a hardcore, right-wing, enemy-of-humanity libertarianism fashioned by Buchanan and the Koch Brothers.So the mud that supposedly sticks to Mr. Buchanan is now attached to the Koch brothers--on the basis of no other evidence. News for Mr. Conner: the Koch brothers support abortion rights, the legalization of marijuana (and probably other narcotics), gay marriage, and a prohibition on government spying on citizens. Are these opinions that Mr. Conner classes as "enemy-of-humanity libertarianism"?
It gets worse. Mr. Connor apparently has a telepathic connection with the Kochs and knows what they are thinking. They "want above all else to decrease their taxes and minimize governmental regulation of their businesses." Really? How does he know that? How does he reconcile that with the opinions listed above?
Then, of course, there's Pinochet and Chile. Mr. Conner asserts,
If there is any lingering confusion regarding libertarian commitment to genuine individual freedom, it should be laid to rest by their interpretation of the 1973 Pinochet coup in Chile. To this day libertarian polemicists continue to hail that abominable crime against humanity as an “economic miracle” confirming the wisdom of free-market economic policy.
...The “miracle” they wrought was built upon the destruction of a vital labor movement requiring the murder and torture of tens of thousands of trade-unionists and their supporters. It was liberty for wealthy investors and property owners at the expense of the life, liberty, and happiness of the majority of the Chilean people.So granted, Pinochet was a brutal guy who murdered lots of people. But he was hardly alone: similar brutality reigned over much of Latin America at the time: Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, to name a few. All of those governments have a lot of blood on their hands.
But only Chile experienced sustained economic revival. As Wikipedia puts it,
The economy of Chile is ranked as a high-income economy by the World Bank, and is considered one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. Although Chile has high economic inequality, as measured by the Gini index, it is close to the regional mean.
In 2006, Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.Mr. Conner blames "los Chicago Boys" (including Buchanan) for all the murders, while not giving them any credit for the economic success story. Yet free market economics has clearly and unambiguously succeeded in Chile, despite the crimes committed by Mr. Pinochet (not Mr. Buchanan).
Then Mr. Conner reduces Buchanan's economic thought to a caricature (boldface mine).
As for reductionism, Buchanan’s “Public Choice Theory” reduces real-world economic decision-making to the sterile abstractions of mathematical game theory. In a universe where human beings always act like purely self-interested automatons, game theory could perhaps offer some useful insights into economic behavior. But Buchanan applies mathematical models based on misanthropic assumptions about human nature to complex social interactions.Mr. Buchanan almost certainly never said any such thing--surely he wasn't that stupid. But if you replace the word always with often or on average, then you'd probably get closer to what he actually thought. Or it might be more accurate to say that while humans do not always make decisions based on economic reasoning, when they do they tend to maximize their economic outcomes. And so game theory does offer useful, empirically-validated insights about economics.
Though it's odd that a self-proclaimed Marxist is arguing against the supremacy of economics. Didn't Marx say something about all of history being about economic class struggle?
Finally we get to the makers and takers shtick. Mr. Conner attributes to Buchanan the notion that entrepreneurs are the makers, while workers and poor people are the takers. Again, this supposes that Mr. Buchanan is an idiot.
More likely, both the entrepreneur and his employees are all members of the maker class. They, after all, produce all the goods and services we consume. And I suppose we can reluctantly agree that poor, disabled, sick welfare recipients are in the taker class, though I doubt that's who Mr. Buchanan was talking about.
The most egregious takers are not poor people, but rather government bureaucrats, public employees, and their tax-supported sycophants and hangers-on. I'd certainly put Nancy in the sycophant category. Despite her private school affiliation, her salary is paid for substantially by taxpayers (in the form of student loans, research grants, and tax exemptions granted to universities).
Nancy, who advertises herself as the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy (is that her preferred pronoun?), has clearly established a new low for the quality of "research" at Duke University. Since when does a dishonest book slandering a dead economist count as "scholarship"?
Compare Nancy, for example, with Jennifer Burns, professor of history at Stanford and biographer of Ayn Rand. It's an excellent book, but by reading it you will never discover Ms. Burns' opinions about either her subject or her subject's beliefs. It is that honest and fair-minded.
That's what scholarship should be.