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The Ralph Nader Reader Paperback – November 7, 2000
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In a pop media culture dominated by dismissive irony and cloying sentimentalism, how do we talk about a true American political hero? The answer is, we don't. After 40 years in the trenches, Ralph Nader, the standard-bearer in the battle for the rights of the disenfranchised and the consummate American citizen, is still being ignored by the mass media. Reading The Ralph Nader Reader may lead one to view that oversight as less than accidental.
Nader has tilted against injustice wherever he has found it, and he has found it in spades in corporate America. Beginning with his crusade against the auto industry in the early 1960s, Nader went on to fight for the rights of workers by helping create the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as for a citizen's right for access to government documents in the creation of the Freedom of Information Act. He has often stood resolute before the juggernaut--and more often than not, the juggernaut has flinched. His investigation of corporate crime led him to see a far-reaching problem of accountability. Corporations are supposed to be accountable to the people and laws of America, but what happens when the government exempts corporations from these responsibilities? Nader gives one of many shocking examples: "Of America's 250 most profitable corporations in 1988, 45 reduced their tax liability to less than 10%, 6 received refunds." This and countless other examples of corporate-government malfeasance have led Nader to focus increasingly on reestablishing democracy in America. He advocates citizen groups at the local level to be watchdogs for their own interests--be it as voters, taxpayers, workers, consumers, or shareholders. "It is time for a civic rebellion, Jeffersonian style," he writes.
So is there an effort to keep Nader out of the media? When you realize, as Nader points out repeatedly, that one corporation owns 800 radio stations across the U.S., that a handful of corporations control the vast majority of television networks, and that The New York Times owns The Boston Globe, you see that he has ticked off the wrong people if he wants his voice to be heard in America. But his voice speaks clearly in this book, and gives us all an ideal of citizenship and democratic action to strive for. But beware The Ralph Nader Reader--once you take the red pill, you'll have to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, and once you see, you may find yourself doing something about it. --Steve Andersen
About the Author
For over four decades RALPH NADER has challenged corporations, government agencies, and institutions to be more accountable to the public. From fighting for car safety in the 1960s, to opposing the policies of the World Trade Organization, to running for president, Nader continues to be a relentless force for grassroots activism and democratic change.
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Nader makes no apologies if you can't understand what he's writing about. If you can't, maybe you need to educate yourself. Spineless insults and suggestions that he is simply part of the "intellectual elite" are just that, spineless. If this is your view, then I guess you are part of the "ignorant mob".
The 20th century may be the "American Century", but certainly not in terms of maintaining American Democracy or the spread of American Exceptionalism, which has been mistaken by the right wing of this country as global manifesdestiny.
Nader fights the impossible fights because you don't win by giving up. Democracy is hard and Nader shows us how hard it is. Liberty always is.
A final point. Nader didn't lose the election in 2004. John Kerry and the American people did. If the American people couldn't put 2+2 together to see what a bumbling fool President Bush was, then they deserve him. His candidacy wasn't about winning. It was about bringing some sanity to and insane system. Try to outguess history and suppose a Nader presidency would ruin America, but what makes you think things will keep humming along as they are? You're in for a disappointment.
America stands at the point where Great Britain did last century. A global empire rotting from within, overburdened by debt and vassal states wanting their own independence. No empire ever lasted forever, and always fell of its own sins. We need to decide what our future will be as a nation that is not the policeman of the world, and with an economy that will not be able to depend on cheap oil. What kind of futre we have and the liberties we retain depend on our choices now and forever. Let us not put it in the hands of corporate raiders and bought politicians.
c) The way to get rid of this mess is to get rid of Big GOVERNMENT! Not add more. This makes no sense whatsoever. There is a reason why conservatives keep saying that we should lessen the size of the government. Translation: make lessen government regulation on corporations. This is not a theoretical argument whatsoever. You can take a look at Sweden as a country that has high taxes, a strong economy and most importantly in my opinion a higher standard of living than the United States. Corporations should not be eliminated but it is the job of government to regulate them so that they are forced to respect the environment and the rights of workers and tax payers. Lessening the government gives corporations and unfair edge against consumers. The free market does not work like it should according to Adam Smith's theories. Several companies do dominate each industry and can band up to maximize profits at the expense of the normal every day Joe. We should not expect corporations to have morals. They were not designed to. But if we regulate them via the government then we can force them to not infringe on our rights and lifestyles. And of course, if we stay informed and vote then we will be the ones telling the government in what direction to regulate corporations. Its not too complex of a process to understand.
This book is a good buy especially for those that are not too knowledgable on Ralph Nader. I believe that had the entire nation known as much about him and his work as they did about Gore or Bush, he would have won the election.
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