A Duke University professor suggested that conservatives and libertarians “seem to be on the autism spectrum,” according to a Tuesday report.
Nancy MacLean, a Duke history and public policy professor, made the remark during a February lecture on her book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” reported Campus Reform.
MacLean responded to an audience question asking about the motivations of economist James Buchanan, whom she asserts founded the libertarian movement, and whether Buchanan’s ideas stemmed from “personal greed” or “malevolence.”
“As an author, I have struggled with this, and I could explain it in different ways. I didn’t put this in the book, but I will say it here,” MacLean said. “It’s striking to me how many of the architects of this cause seem to be on the autism spectrum—you know, people who don’t feel solidarity or empathy with others, and who have difficult human relationships sometimes.”
The author made a caveat, saying “I don’t know, that is speculation,” but an audience member later used the term “autistic libertarians” in a question.
MacLean teaches courses on North American history and U.S. social movements during the spring 2018 semester.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to MacLean for comment, but received none in time for press.
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