Ralph Nader

Nader Shrugged

The anti-corporate crusader tries to write an Ayn Rand novel.

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“Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” by Ralph Nader, New York: Seven Stories Press, New York, 733 pages, $27.50

From the Orange County chapters of the Lincoln Club to the interior pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, it’s been a good year for Ayn Rand and especially Atlas Shrugged. Fifty-two years after her book’s publication, Rand’s hero John Galt is still shaping the American political landscape.

Across the tracks from Atlas Shrugged, another American icon with a politically incendiary reputation, Ralph Nader, has been quietly working on a book of his own during the better part of the last decade. “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” takes 17 of our best-known plutocratsâ€"people like Bill Cosby, Ted Turner, Phil Donahue, and Yoko Onoâ€"and puts them on a path to American and global domination through a method antithetical to that of Atlas Shrugged: unvarnished social altruism. These 17 come to be known as the “Meliorists”: people who are making things better.

Nader himself has called “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” his “response to Atlas Shrugged,” and the books do line up in enough ways to invite extended comparison. They’re both national in scope, portraying a dystopic America that can be saved only by daring captains of industry led by a corporate swashbuckler. (Nader’s John Galt stand-in is Warren Buffett.) In both books, character development often runs to caricature, and “dialogues” turn into exhausting economic manifestos. In both books, immense, moralizing speeches suggest an author pulling strings rather than investing the characters with ideas of their own. And both books killed a lot of timber, though Nader’s 733 pages are a backstretch breeze compared to any edition you may have of Rand’s magnum opus.

The first great hint that Nader will fall short in the comparison is that the author feels obliged to hedge on the question of whether he is writing a work of fiction at all. “This book,” writes Nader in the author’s note, “is not a novel. Nor is it nonfiction. It might be described as a ‘practical utopia.’?” Indeed, the text is more wishful thinking than novel on nearly every page, ultimately making it more farcical even than fiction can be.

The slightest of cultural moorings could have helped the book along. Rand, for all her pedantry, always aspires to be the best friend of the creative artist, and sometimes even of the reader, and this comes as a relief, especially for the nonbelievers. Culturally, Nader is tone-deaf, even illiterate, a quality that makes reading his book like watching an accident; you know it’s going to be awful, and it remains awful, but you helplessly watch anyway.

In Super-Rich, for instance, a character named Luke Skyhi (sorry, no choice but to report it) describes a media event where “a quartet of jazz vocalists broke into the theme song Yoko had composed for the glorious weekend, ‘If It Takes Forever, I Will Wait For You, but the Polar Bears Won’t.’?” This is so absurd on so many levels that it may take forever to list them all, but chief among them must be that ’60s icon Yoko, an artist whose enormous wealth derives from the particulars of royalty contracts and song ownership, knows better than to desecrate any well-known music.

As that example suggests, it is culturallyâ€"musically, environmentally, even horticulturallyâ€"that Nader belly-flops. He shows almost no acumen for anything either cultural or natural and even politicizes nature itself. On Rand’s third page, we encounter something of nature: an oak tree. It’s a symbol: It has been struck by lightning and revealed to have a hollow core. Well played. I don’t remember encountering a single species of tree in all of Nader’s 733 pages. In lieu of nature, we encounter sentences like this: “Morning found the early risers strolling through the hotel’s lush gardens, which were alive with colorful bird life.” I picture Nader in Hawaii with a rumpled suit, barely touching the tropics at all, strolling through a very domesticated tropical hotel garden, thinking, “Wow, a colorful bird.” To the ceaselessly self-absorbed man, genus and species cease to matter. This incuriosity is the product of a lifetime of relentless self-promotion, of hotel rooms and broadcast booths and hired time at the National Press Club, fighting the good fight.

As in his thorny political career, Nader’s fantasies for America so often amount to solipsistic goofiness that the ceaseless suspensions of disbelief become part of the entertainment. You ultimately feel like you’re stuck in a room not with any of his characters, or even a book at all, but only with Nader himself; you’re thinking that these hours you spend together will be insufferable and horrifying but also something worth telling your friends about enduring. Did I tell you that in the conclusion to an eight-page speech, Meliorist George Soros quotes Nader’s father? It is sweet, but nothing more brands this work as not only a practical utopia but Ralph Nader’s practical utopia.

Even the character names Nader invents are mostly sophomoric wheezes on other notables. There is a bloated right-wing blabbermouth named Bush Bimbaugh, identified as the king of shout radio; another broadcaster is called Pawn Vanity. When there is nobody in particular to lampoon, the names are often tritely alliterative: Lancelot Lobo, Michelle Mirables, Roland Revelie, Wardman Wise. The chairman of the House Transportation Committee is Harry Horizon. There is a CEO named Cumbersome and a senator named Crabgrass, bringing to mind a postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress.

If Nader’s novel has one character with human qualities, it is Sol Price, the fabled retail magnate. Sol Price the historical figure is the founder of the deep discount retailers Price Club, FedMart, and Costco, the last noted for taking care of its worker bees far better than Wal-Mart. The Sol Price in Nader’s book is a dry martini-favoring nonagenarian who regularizes his haphazard billionaire life with a Sunday evening brisket when not engaging in Meliorist corporate crusades. He walks away with some of the book’s most compelling moments, one of which comes in the dead center of the novel: Sol pressures Wal-Mart to unionize by brandishing the three board positions he and his billionaire buddies have bought via that good ol’ progressive tool, stock accumulation on the open marketâ€"and the CEO, cornered, capitulates to Price’s demands.

But Nader removes this moment from the province of reality by failing to employ the greatest capitalist tool of all: a calculator. Buying three seats on Wal-Mart’s board? In real life, this kind of hostile takeover would require more than a year’s time, some ambitious proxy votes that all turned out favorably, and at least $30 billion for the stock itself, a steep price even for billionaires. For $30 billion, you could hire 100,000 professional labor organizers at $100,000 a year for three-year contractsâ€"25 top organizers per American store, or one for every 15 Wal-Mart employees. But in Nader’s fantasy, this is simply how billionaires do things, without much thought for cost, time, or ROI.

“America was not built by wishful thinking,” Adlai Stevenson said on Kennedy’s 1960 campaign trail, hoping to save the country from the twin scourges of Richard Milhous Nixon and Norman Vincent Peale. “It was built by realists, and it will not be saved by guess work and self-deception. It will only be saved by hard work and facing the facts.” Rand’s magnum opus sees reason as an ally and wishful thinking as a foe. Nader’s book is the inverse: Full of fantasy and wishful thinking, it challenges reason on nearly every page.

Joseph Mailander (joseph.mailander@gmail.com) is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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  1. A socialist tries to re-write Rand. How hilarious is that?

    1. It’s a perfect example of socialism. They can’t create anything useful themselves; all they can do is feed off of the productive.

      1. Did I mention my brief private-sector job behind enemy lines?

        1. Quiet. The retard is about to speak:

    2. Atlas Shrugged:

      America is ruled by socialist overlords who have turned everyone into lazy drunken Russians and broke everything until John Galt, a robot from the future, comes back in time to save computers from not being created.

      At the same time a slut has a crush on the android, and then they have robot sex in the subway.

      In the end, the Good Guys win by hiding in a ditch, protected by a magic force field.

      Shit, even Mormons laugh at that.

      1. “America is ruled by socialist overlords”

        You at least got that part right, crayon.

        1. DEEEERP DI DERP
          IN THE FUTURERP SOROSIALIST OVERLORDS RULE WITH IRON FIST
          WHEN TEABAGGING IS OUTLAWED ONLY TEABAGGERS WILL HAVE BALLS IN THEIR EYES
          ATLAS HURRRRRRED

          1. That made even less sense than your “coherent” posts, crayon.

            1. That’s because I’m TRIPPIN’ BALLS!

      2. Shit, even Mormons laugh at that.

        And yet, socialists imitate it. As The Libertarian Guy points out, that’s just hilarious.

        1. How is writing the opposite of “Atlas Shrugged” the same as imitating it?

          1. We can’t explain tough things like that to you, crayon. Go back to playing with the cat.

            Just remember to pull out its teeth before you pour the gravy on your cock.

            1. HURR DURRR
              I DUNNO LOGIC FAIL
              TOUGH GUY EXPLAINS TOUGH THINGS LOL
              DURR HURR DERP

              1. I did make a mistake, I’ll admit, as I shouldn’t have presumed your ownership of a penis.

                I deeply apologize for the error.

                1. HURRRP DUUUUUURRRRP
                  ONLY PENISES ON THE INTERNET
                  NO GIRLS ALLOWED
                  DERP DERP DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERP

  2. I’ll read this, right after I read Liberace’s autobiography. I promise.

    1. I’d read that. I bet it’s a campy fucking hoot!

      1. What was all that about his brother, George, anyway? I only ask because Bugs Bunny used to always say “my brother, George” when he was doing his Liberace impersonation.

        1. I don’t remember that, but I looke it up on wikipedia, which sheds little light on the subject:

          “Born in Menasha, Wisconsin, he was the elder brother and business partner of famed US entertainer Liberace (Wladziu Valentino Liberace or “Lee” to his friends). He appeared regularly on his brother’s syndicated TV show in the 1950s as violin accompanist and orchestral arranger.

          “George Liberace died of leukemia in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was interred in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.”

          Looking up quotes on IMDB…seems maybe it was just a reference to the fact that George was on Liberace’s show a lot. I don’t know.

  3. Thanks Mr. Mailander. You have saved me from even contemplating the idea of possibly even looking at this ‘book’ let alone read it.

  4. As someone here previously noted, Ralph Nader has been perpetually stuck in the anger stage of dealing with the death of his son (killed in a Corvair about 50-years ago. Same as Cindy Sheehan. Sad, really.

    1. Is that a fact or a joke? Citation, please! I can’t Google verification of that.

      1. It’s a joke.

        Ralph Nader never had a son.

        Which is also an awesome title for a Western or a name of an indie college band.

        1. Who’d fuck Nader? Morris’ mom?

          1. Is it possible for you to post something without an F-bomb?

            1. LIBERTARIAN GUY RELEASED THE FUCKING FURY!!!
              HE RELEASED THE MOTHERFUCKING FURY!!!
              YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, MOTHERFUCKERS, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN!!!

            2. Don’t like it, don’t read it.

              1. Wow, that’s so libertarian.

                1. It IS libertarian. We don’t encourage censorship.

                  Look, Loser, if someone is pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to read these forums, you’re in a world of hurt. Good luck getting out.

                  If, however, you’re holding the gun at your OWN head, forcing yourself to read these forums… well, there’s no hope for you.

                  1. Censorship involves state action, not somebody on a message board pointing out how rude you are.

                    People like you give libertarianism a bad name.

                    1. Do you have a right to not be offended?

                      Where are your libertarian credentials, by the way?

                    2. My credentials are right there in my name. That way everyone knows that when I call Ralph Nader a “whore,” it’s an expression of my deeply-felt (if not deeply understood) political principles.

                    3. Police yourself, Loser. It’s not your job to follow me around and pretend to have some sort of moral/philosophical high ground.

                    4. And, may I be so bold to add, why are you singling me out?

                      There are plenty of freedom-loving folks on here who use “F-bombs”, Loser, I fully expect you to be, from this point forward, just as vigilant and critical of each and every one of them.

                      Now, hop to it.

                    5. Because you’re a nigger faggot, that’s why.

                    6. Racist.

                    7. I’ll start things off for Loser… B+ Obama is taxing the holy fuckin’ hell out of me. Fuck!

                    8. Looks like I have a stalker. Haven’t had one of those since one of my friends’ exes started following me around because he was convinced her and I were cheating behind his back.

                      That guy’s in prison, now, by the way.

                    9. Great story! And the moral is, don’t expose Libertarian Guy as a fatuous, pompous ass, who doesn’t know what “libertarian” or “censorship” means, because then you’ll probably end up in prison! (Disclosure: this post was posted by Loser, who originally exposed Libertarian Guy as a fatuous, pompous ass, who doesn’t know what “libertarian” or “censorship” means, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Libertarian Guy is in fact a fatuous, pompous ass, who doesn’t know what “libertarian” or “censorship” means.)

                    10. Just pointing out what can happen to stalkers… and those who have a censorship-minded worldview, even if they don’t outrightly espouse censorship.

                      Note that Loser hasn’t posted since his initial, misguided outburst. One wonders why.

                    11. How and when did Obama place an additional tax burden on you?

                    12. And we’re back to semi-coherence from crayon.

                      No way you could be just one person.

                    13. My name is Crayon: for we are many.

                    14. he has implicitly done so with taking debt… it increases future tax liability (not to menton wil drive interest rates up).

                    15. Such bullshit.
                      Are you explicitly paying more in taxes because of Obama?

                    16. We WILL be, crayon. And you’ll think it’s a GOOD thing.

                    17. Because you are the Libertarian Nostradamus and you can see into the future!!!!!!!!!!

                      The Libertarian guy Nostradumbass has spoken!

                    18. Okay… prove there WON’T be tax increases.

                      Go. Now. Do it, schmuck.

                    19. You and EJ claimed there would be tax increases.
                      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, Nostradumbass.

                    20. There will be more taxes. Even borrowing means more taxes, they are just deferred. Likely it will be a combination of overt taxes and monetization, which is very ‘regressive’ tax because it hits hardest people who can’t move their assets out of currency.. ie the poor and marginal wage earners.

                      Wake up and smell the unemployment, NPRBots. There is no free lunch. The situation we are in is ample evidence of profligate spending from the left and the right.

  5. So much of Nader is so close to a libertarian ideal, but the whole is somehow its polar opposite.

    Consumer Reports is exactly the type of outfit that I envision replacing much of the government in my super-awesome Utopian dreams.

  6. The chairman of the House Transportation Committee is Harry Horizon.

    Named after what his mother saw as she watched his conception.

    1. Lovely.

  7. Please Ralph, dig a hole, bury yourself, and have someone slosh some dirt over you…

  8. I gotta admit, i’m tempted to read this. Out loud, to my friends, preferably while we’re all high as hell.

    1. I recommend heroin, and possibly, you’ll be able to make sense out of what I’m sure is a wonderfully “enlightening” tome.

    2. Everything is better when you’re TRIPPING BALLS!!!!!

      http://i294.photobucket.com/al….._balls.gif

  9. Let’s just wait 50 years and see which book is not only still being read but still making lists of “most influential books of the last X years”. (Anybody read The Iron Heel lately?)

    I do appreciate the review, though. It seems like the book is really telling of Naderite psychology: people don’t do things because it’s a rational response to economic or political incentives, they do things because they really want to make things better (“Meliorists”? really?) or they are evil and don’t care. He really does think capitalists are monocle-wearing, mustache-twirling, sneering Snidely Whiplash types, doesn’t he?

    1. “He really does think capitalists are monocle-wearing, mustache-twirling, sneering Snidely Whiplash types, doesn’t he?”

      Who’s greed killed his kid.

      1. Killed his kid? Again, I have to ask for citation of that as a fact.

        1. Facts about Nader

          Married to Ayn Rand, and the only person Ann ever gave head to. Caught cheating with Ann Arbor multiple times.

          He is only 4’2, making him the shortest presidential candidate since Richard Nixon. His cock is 22 inches, he is also the most stable candidate the US ever had.

          He’s an Arab, and thus an America-hating terrorist.

          He must be presumed to be very beautiful on the inside.

          Once proposed to British journalist Ali G that it is would hard to collect methane from cow farms for energy because “they haven’t come up with a way to attach a box to the cow’s asshole.”

          Helped John Kerry by finding some votes on the ground that Kerry had dropped by mistake. This was repeated numerous times.

          Never laughs. EVER. Except that time when everyone thought he’s laughing but he was just directing satellites.

          Still plays with action figures.

          His campaign bus is a bicycle (he’s in the Green Party).

          1. Wait, this is actually really funny. This can’t be the same crayon who was posting upthread.

            1. Despising Nader as well as Libertardians is very easy, since they are cut from the same pompous echo-chamber cloth.

  10. But what’s the plot?

  11. Tone-deaf? That’s an ironic choice of words for a critic whose chief criticism of a utopian work is that it does not adequately approximate “real life.” Sure, “colorful bird” may not be the most evocative prose, but criticizing Nader because he doesn’t write like Nabokov misses the point, doesn’t it? Having spent 40-plus years relentlessly advocating for social reforms that have saved literally tens of thousands of lives, Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination regarding the potential for human progress. Mr. Mailander crunches a few numbers and retorts, “That could never happen.” Sounds like it’s Mailander who is tone-deaf — snide too, but that’s a given among Nader’s detractors.

    1. Jeez Ralph….at least have the balls to drop by and use your real name!

      1. YOUR TRIPPIN’ BALLS!!!!

    2. Yes but, which “tens of thousands of lives” did he save?

    3. “Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination regarding the potential for human progress.”

      The problem with the progressive mindest is that it’s usually just a temper tantrum over the fact that what IS isn’t what SHOULD BE, and this ‘should be’ is usually derived from an infantile view of humanity. The result of all this is usually that attempts at making the world better make it worse. After all, thousands of years of civilization, and we haven’t progressed mentally by a step. Our illusions have gotten more complex, sure. Our gods are sleeker and more aerodynamic. We have cars, cell phones and all that stuff…but we’re not so much different than we used to be. Same monkeys, different jungle. The only real mental or spiritual progress occurs at the individual level. You can’t save groups, only herd them.

    4. Sure, “colorful bird” may not be the most evocative prose, but criticizing Nader because he doesn’t write like Nabokov misses the point, doesn’t it?

      No. The criticism is not the writing, but the fact that Nader is so isolated from the real world he can’t be bothered to pick a particular type bird to admire.

      Having spent 40-plus years relentlessly advocating for social reforms that have saved literally tens of thousands of lives, Nader…

      Long before Green became popular Chevrolet developed an inexpensive, fuel-efficient car. Nader’s first triumph was to kill it in such a manner that Detroit abandoned the experiment for several decades.

    5. Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination regarding the potential for human progress

      Did you actually read it though?

    6. Even a utopian novel has to make some sense.

  12. “Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination”

    Collective imagination is a figment of yours.

    1. Clever. Don’t worry, imagination doesn’t require taxation.

      1. is your middle initial V?

      2. Clever has nothing to do with it. Nader is a sick hate-filled bastard. He’s akin to Old Man Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.

        1. Nader is also a whore. He owns shitloads of stocks, and is far from the pauper he portrays himself to be – kind of like how Michael Moore slouches around looking like a mere working man.

          Fucking liberals.

          1. Jealous much?

            1. Nope, just pointing out the hypocrisy.

              Try reading this review, if not the book:

              http://www.libertyunbound.com/…..tyles.html

              Or are you too busy whackin’ off to Mao?

              1. And if they hadn’t been financially successful you would’ve mocked them for being poor losers who squandered their opportunities.

                1. No, I don’t do that.

                  Now, Chad… you might ask him, he’s pretty good at such things.

                2. Besides, the point of the book is the hypocrisy of liberals who bash the very system that made them millionaires.

                  But you’ll overlook that, won’t you.

                3. The liberal trap:

                  If you’re not rich and successful, you’re a loser.

                  If you ARE rich and successful, you cheated/inherited it/stole it/made it off the backs of the poor… and we’re gonna take at least half of it, if not more.

                  Nailed it.

                  1. No, you’re the one who thinks poor people are losers who aren’t “bootstrappy” and hardworking enough.

                    1. Liar. Post your proof.

      3. Try telling that to a successful artist. Dipshit.

        1. Nice. Mailander must love having people like you and EnoughAboutPalin cheering him on.

      4. “imagination doesn’t require taxation”

        We’re working on that.

    2. I imagine collective imagination being something like that device The Riddler made in Batman Forever.

      1. That was not the Riddler. That was Jim Carrey playing the 60s TV show version of the Joker, but in a Riddler outfit.

    3. He’s just failed to notice that out collective imagination has been trashed by drunken yahoos. Tragedy of the Commons.

  13. (The book) might be described as a ‘practical utopia.’

    Oxymoron alert: Utopia as a literary art form has a long and redolent history of never proving practical. It is the political equivalent of the perpetual motion machine. Utopian political systems have killed millions, and continue to impoverish tens of millions.

  14. “Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination regarding the potential for human progress. ”
    What does “collective imagination” mean?
    “potential for human progress”, explain please.
    I am not a shrink but I play one on posting boards and Nadar is not right in the head.(no pun intended)
    When someone writes, “If It Takes Forever, I Will Wait For You, but the Polar Bears Won’t.”, it is a joke, a parody, obviously, but if it isn’t, and it looks like it isn’t, the writer needs help.
    Fortunately, Nader isn’t a voilent pearson.

  15. There is no John Galt.

    If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day, things would be little different three years from now than they are today. The second’s and third’s in command would rise one step up the ladder, and the business, government, or organization would continue on as it was.

    1. A clear indication of your world-view’s central flaw:
      It doesn’t recognize the clear fact that people are different. You don’t recognize that some people are just ‘better’ than others. This is what’s underlying your assumption that one person running a company is as good as the next. You think Microsoft would have gotten to where it is today without Bill Gates? Do you think Biden would do as good a job than your man-crush Obama?

      1. “Microsoft” would not exist without Gates, obviously. But without Gates, IBM just would have picked someone else to write their OS, or done it internally, and nothing would have been terribly different except the names in the history books.

        If Obama didn’t exist, Hillary would have won, and nothing would be that different.

        What was your point again?

        1. “If Obama didn’t exist, Hillary would have won”

          Fucked either way.

        2. If they picked another operating system, would it have been as good?
          Anyway, all of the inventions throughout history couldn’t have been made by just anybody, and taken to an extreme, your position is absurd. The world would definitely NOT be the same. Also, if one guy is as good as the next, why didn’t you vote for McCain?

          1. “Also, if one guy is as good as the next, why didn’t you vote for McCain?”

            That’s like asking someone who they chose between Bush and Dukakis. Fail either way.

            1. So vote Republican.
              It’s the libertarian way.

              1. In the last twelve years, I have voted for exactly two Republicans – Ron Paul, in last year’s primary, and for a local guy I know and trust, about six years ago.

                In that time, I have voted for three Democrats… none above local-level political office, though.

                Now, tell us again about this “libertarian way”.

          2. There is nothing invented nowadays that isn’t simultaneously being invented by a dozen other groups. Progress comes via a thousand micro-improvements, most of which involved large numbers of “inventors”…and none of whom were critical.

            1. Tell us how inventions and innovations would be better under your vision of government, Chad.

              This should be interesting.

            2. Sweet lord, we’ve lost him completely.

            3. I thought Marxists were supposed to support the idea of progress coming through revolutions.

              You can’t even keep your dime-store political philosophy straight.

        3. If IBM had developed an internal OS without the aid of Microsoft, there would have been no OS for reverse-engineered IBM “clones” to run, and the commodity PC market never would have driven costs down to the shockingly and wonderfully cheap levels we enjoy today.

          Choices in the 90s would have been limited to IBM or Mac, and either would cost thousands of dollars for a single computer.

          Microsoft, for all its faults (and there are many) created a level-playing field market which allowed companies like Compaq, Dell, etc. to exist, which made everything cheaper for everybody (even the Mac users.)

          It also lead to a relatively universal personal-computer platform which made Linux possible, so even freeloading hippies owe a debt of gratitude to Balmer and Gates.

          1. Um… Commodore was around then, too.

            Thank God for Linux.

        4. IBM approached Gates and asked him to develop an operating system for their PCs. He turned them down. Wasn’t interested. They came back to him because they couldn’t find anyone else, and only then did Gates agree. Now he is heralded as a visionary.

    2. “If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day, things would be little different three years from now than they are today.”

      If past experience tells us anything, Apple Computer will probably go straight down the shitter within a year or two of the death of Steve Jobs.

      Carly Fiorina almost single-handedly destroyed what was once the great HP.

      If Masaru Ibuka had not been running a little company called Sony in the 1950s, the entire nation of Japan would have been considerably less prosperous during the second half of the 20th Century.

      Sometimes the players at the top DO matter.

    3. If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day, things would be little different three years from now than they are today.

      I can think of one difference: who would you blame for the failure of socialism? Obviously not the socialists. See, you need these guys.

    4. The 1000 richest, most powerful, I’d mostly agree with you, but the most productive? No way. If it hadn’t been for Einstein, it would have probably been decades before general relativity had been discovered. Same thing for Newton, Edison, Pasteur. Without Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, there would have been no Apple, and personal computers would have been much harder to use for a long time.

      Without Churchill, history might have turned out very differently. If not for Osama, there would still be a world trade center. Individuals matter.

    5. generally agree with that ( with some exceptions)
      That is the beauty of free markets.

      1. Free markets are an illusion. Only government can save us.

    6. Fucking Marxist historical meterialism.

      Newsflash baby: History is not inevitable and detemrinistic. it is chaotic. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Or should I say, “individuals”.

      You’re a 19th century retard regurgitating second-hand Marxism.

    7. Don’t be so sure of that. Case in point: The A&P Grocery chain. In the first half of the 20th century, it was a powerhouse retail chain. The Wal-Mart of its day. Then the sons of the founders died, and the person they had been grooming to take over had died before they did. The seconds, thirds and fourths took over, and ran it into the ground. It’s a good bet that many of you who don’t live in NY or NJ don’t even know it exists.

      So no, it’s no guarantee that a company will survive in the scenario you mentioned. Not even companies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart.

      1. In that case, another company will take it’s place and market share.

    8. If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day, things would be little different three years from now than they are today

      They would be different because resources would have been allocated less efficiently.

      Markets are evolution, as they are a product of evolution and operate the same way. An innovation is a mutation, most fail. Failures cease to utilize resources. Some succeed and the human condition is improved thereby.

      The reason collectivists states are poorer and less productive per capita is because they impede ‘mutation’ rates, stop them all together, or in the case of ‘planned economies’ introduce perverse and destructive criteria for success. Mainly they change ‘success’ to mean ‘political access’. Innovation is rare and difficult. Paying off politicians is easy and trumps innovation. Failure that would result from poor or misallocation of resources does not occur, and in fact becomes preferred by the political class.. real success obviates the need for, and challenges the existence of, the political class.

      The engine of happiness and prosperity is evolution. The free market is the beast of burden allowing an elite political class. The wise political parasitic class doesn’t kill the host animal, but this is what is occurring now. The fleas are breeding and the beast of burden is becoming sickly.

      In other words, spending is positively correlated with unemployment. It will only get worse.

  16. Whoops. I wrote that. I put your name on accident. I’ve done that twice now…

    1. I am additive that way.

  17. If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day… I would be so busy masturbating, I wouldn’t have time to piss on their graves.

    1. If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day… I’d be helping with Choad’s masturbating duties.

      Mommy would approve.

      1. Hey, we can only do so much through legislation… but I’ll put out a bill proposal on killing a rich person a day. Sounds right up my alley.

  18. Hey check out who just died..

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200…..ol_price_2

    1. You see what you’ve done, Chad?

    2. Nader made me a character in his book?! AAArrrrrrggggghhhhhh…..

  19. Why Nader is a hack:

    But in his personal life, about which [Nader]…lives well, using a D.C. mansion that he apparently owns (though the title is in his sister’s name), earns millions from speaking and writing, and invests in ? big, multinational corporations! He has net assets of about $4 million, most of it in corporate stock, such as the $1 million he owns in Cisco Systems, not to mention his stocks in major defense contractors such as GE and IBM. He controls nonprofit organizations and trusts, all secretly run, with his family members on the governing boards. His charitable foundations give away 4% of their assets every year, the lowest amount possible to keep their IRS tax-exempt status. The remaining assets are also in corporate stock, including telecom monopolies such as Verizon, BellSouth, and Qwest.

    It is no surprise that his hidden ownership of these various entities involves conflicts of interest, as when he pushed hard in speeches and legal briefs to break up Microsoft, all the while standing to gain enormously should the breakup have occurred, or when he privately brought shares in Ford while hammering General Motors. (Remember the Corvair?) And, oh yeah, while he praises unions, he blocks unionization of his own organizations.

    From the book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, by Peter Schweizer.

    1. I goofed on parsing the first line:

      “But in his personal life, about which St. Ralph is very secretive, things are different. He lives well” is how it should read, directly quoted from the book review below:

      http://www.libertyunbound.com/…..tyles.html

  20. In the immortal words of Dorthy Parker “Atlas Shrugged is not a book to be tossed lightly aside. It must be thrown with great force.” Nader is the punchline to the sort of joke London Lee would have found unfunny.

    Nice job of surveying the wreckage, Joe.

    1. Gene Debs|12.15.09 @ 5:11PM|#

      Tone-deaf? That’s an ironic choice of words for a critic whose chief criticism of a utopian work is that it does not adequately approximate “real life.” Sure, “colorful bird” may not be the most evocative prose, but criticizing Nader because he doesn’t write like Nabokov misses the point, doesn’t it? Having spent 40-plus years relentlessly advocating for social reforms that have saved literally tens of thousands of lives, Nader wrote a book that attempts to expand our collective imagination regarding the potential for human progress. Mr. Mailander crunches a few numbers and retorts, “That could never happen.” Sounds like it’s Mailander who is tone-deaf — snide too, but that’s a given among Nader’s detractors.

  21. I am not going to read atlas shrugged or this crap. Fuck Rand Fuck Nader.

    1. Thanks. I’m still confused about why I’m supposed to take Rand seriously. She was the ugly, nerdy debate-club captain with a crush on the sociopathic bully. She and Nader deserve each other.

      1. You, sir or madam, are retarded.

  22. I’ve long held a peculiar suspicion about the leftist mindset, and this review has pretty much nudged me into certainty. They are absolutely incapable of recognizing quality. Everything is no better or no worse than any other thing. All labor is of equal value irrespective of the fruit it bears. Rand has never done a whole lot to provoke my interest, but her drunken swaying atop suspension of disbelief has commanded my respect. Wesley Mouch, Kip Chalmers or Cuffy Meigs are absolutely ridiculous things to name your kid, yet you can’t help but sense that some poor schmuck, somewhere is lugging around one of these unfortunate handles. Nader, try as he may, can’t grasp the mechanism that makes this work, yet displays complete confidence in presenting his literary abortions to the world as if they’re equally effective.

  23. I didn’t see anyone mention that the stock purchase violates the Clayton Act.

    Ralph Nader vs. antitrust law. Interesting!

  24. Fuck Nader. Fuck altruism. Fuck the world and the way it is becoming.

    P.S. When Nader dies, everyone will say ‘RIP Nader’. I will say ‘BIH NADER’. BURN IN HELL.

    1. I’d point out how you’re cheapening the debate by using F-bombs, but I’m too much of a coward to actually come back and say so.

  25. “If tomorrow, the 1000 richest, most powerful and productive people in America started randomly dropping dead at the rate of one per day, things would be little different three years from now than they are today.”

    Which means that we are already living in Rand’s dystopia, after the strike.

  26. both books killed a lot of timber, though Nader’s 733 pages are a backstretch breeze compared to any edition you may have of Rand’s magnum opus

    Good books are never too long, but 1000+ pages is indeed a challenge when your reading material rarely exceeds 140 characters.

  27. It’s not merely coincidental that both Rand and Nader eschewed parenthood. That would have required too much human feeling.

    1. Stupidest Comment of the Day Award??.
      Congrats!

  28. I’d just like to throw in a comment here before I read all the others – I just checked the customer reviews on amazon.com and it appears that there’s a legion of people who fucking love this book. I mean, after reading the review, i was imagining that the average consensus would be kinda low… but I’m wrong. The average customer rating is 4.5 stars. So what the hell? Is there actually that many people out there that love this shit? Now I have to read Nader’s book like I read Marx- getting to know the enemy

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  32. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight.

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