Ralph and Ron: An Ideological Alliance?
I’m never going to be excited about major party politics. When we come to the finish line, I will hold my nose and vote for the lesser evil, since I don’t see the harm in using my vote. But I’m not going to sit around and speculate about which mainstream GOP or Democratic politician is going to be the frontrunner for 2012. I’ll let others worry about that.
I’d rather focus on the men of principle who sometimes get involved in these races, even though they have no chance of winning. Independent or “outsider” candidates and their campaigns serve a couple of vital functions: they bring viewpoints delegitimized and mocked by the main news sources on the left and right to the forefront, which in turn reminds us that we still live in a relatively free country and haven’t become a fascist dictatorship like China. They can also put some pressure on the major party candidates to take certain issues more seriously.
Recently Judge Andrew Napolitano, the only man on the major networks I can bear to listen to for more than a few minutes, invited Ron Paul and Ralph Nader on his show to discuss the issues and discover the extent to which “progressives” such as Nader and libertarians such as Paul can agree on them. I wasn’t surprised to discover that they agree on quite a bit, as you will see if you watch the video above.
I began to think about what conditions I would have for working with “progressives” in a political context. Ralph Nader is my kind of “progressive”, if there is such a one, because he is not a doctrinaire cultural leftist. While he is apparently pro-abortion, I also have to appreciate the fact that Barney Frank once complained about “Nader’s lifelong lack of interest in major social causes like civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and poverty.” Of course this really means that Nader is more of a libertarian than he may sometimes let on; he’s “for” abortion but he isn’t going to force it on the states necessarily; he’s “against” poverty (everyone is) but he doesn’t necessarily support a massive redistribution of wealth. Nader is simply anti-corporatist, whatever it takes to weaken the political influence of corporations is good enough for him. Here is what he once said to Pat Buchanan about corporatism and capitalism:
Concentrated corporate power violates many principles of capitalism. For example, under capitalism, owners control their property. Under multinational corporations, the shareholders don’t control their corporation. Under capitalism, if you can’t make the market respond, you sink. Under big business, you don’t go bankrupt; you go to Washington for a bailout. Under capitalism, there is supposed to be freedom of contract. When was the last time you negotiated a contract with banks or auto dealers? They are all fine-print contracts. The law of contracts has been wiped out for 99 percent of contracts that ordinary consumers sign on to. Capitalism is supposed to be based on law and order. Corporations get away with corporate crime, fraud, and abuse. And finally, capitalism is premised on a level playing field; the most meritorious is supposed to win. Tell that to a small inventor or a small business up against McDonald’s or a software programmer up against Microsoft.
What I often want to ask left-leaning anti-corporatists such as Nader is this: would you completely stay out of social issues if we on the more libertarian-leaning right were fully behind the anti-corporate agenda? Would you look the other way while we torpedo Roe v. Wade and send the issue back to the states? Would you stop the filthy and perverted sex-ed programs? Would you support school choice and the end of the educational socialism? Would you leave gay issues to the states? Would you just leave religion and culture alone, to those who know best, and focus on what you know, which is reducing the power of corrupt corporations within the political system?
If they could answer yes to these questions, I could work with them. Any conservative who claims to be for free markets should be willing to as well, since corporatism strangles markets and makes them less and not more free. If “laissez-faire” were really in the best interests of the super-wealthy, we wouldn’t see a revolving door between government regulatory agencies and some of the world’s largest corporations. We wouldn’t see former corporate executives writing laws that affect the industries they just left, with of course (wink wink, nudge nudge) no vested interests carried over. We would instead see a concerted effort to support candidates such as Ron Paul. We know by where they put their money, who they support, and what they actually do when they are in the government writing the laws what the corporate bosses really want, and it isn’t a free market. Nader seems to get that. 95% of leftists don’t.
Bottom line is, show me a “progressive” who doesn’t want to force everyone to think and act on the preposterous idea that legalized gay marriage is the same as civil rights for black people, and I’ll show you a “conservative” who wants to roll back corporatism, end military adventurism while maintaining a strong national defense, and leave most “social” issues to be decided at the local level. That includes things that leftish hippies and “crunchy” conservatives have every good reason to want the government to stay out of, such as organic food, alternative medicine, and private/home education.