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Authors: Ralph Nader

Unstoppable

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PRAISE FOR
UNSTOPPABLE

“One of Ralph Nader's finest efforts. A bold and lucid handbook for the future.”

    
—Patti Smith

“Conservatives and liberals both look askance at the Leviathan state and realize that promises of ‘doing good' often obscure the reality of ‘doing well' at taxpayer expense. Those looking for opportunities for bi-partisan cooperation should look at the nexus of statism and cronyism.
Unstoppable
shows that opposing such corruption can bring activists of the right and left together to fight side by side.”

    
—Grover Norquist

“Ralph Nader's timely book once again makes him prescient in his insights about American politics. His against-the-grain predictions of a Left-Right alliance is not just a hope, but it is grounded in emerging evidence.”

    
—Cornel West

“Nader at his best-original, indignant, idealistic, and on the lookout for new political alliances and possibilities. A tonic for the cynicism that's poisoning the groundwater of our democracy.”

    
—Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley

“No American in recent decades has done more than Ralph Nader to construct a workable alliance between the principled Right and the sincere Left to salvage our country and our national prosperity, and
Unstoppable
outlines his vital mission.”

    
—Ron Unz, former publisher of the
American Conservative

“Even-handed, erudite, practical, and necessary,
Unstoppable
is Ralph Nader's most broadly accessible book yet. Harnessing his lifelong crusade for the public interest over the corporatist agenda, Nader's convergence manifesto wisely calls for Left-Right alliances with similar goals to shun abstract labels and unite for the common good. Nader's treatise is optimistic and patriotic. He demonstrably shows that effective Left-Right alliances aren't pipe dreams, but historic realities in need of strategic cultivation, for the sake of our future.”

    
—Nomi Prins, author of
All the Presidents' Bankers

“I read Ralph Nader for the same reasons that I read Tom Paine. He knows what he thinks, says what he means, and his courage is a lesson for us all.”

    
—Lewis Lapham

“Thomas Jefferson fretted that, with the passing of the founding generation, the truer patriotism that he knew as the ‘Spirit of '76' would be lost. He need not have worried. Ralph Nader has recaptured the founding faith with an inspired call for a Left-Right coalition of conscience on behalf of democracy, liberty, fairness and peace.”

    
—John Nichols, Washington correspondent for the
Nation
and coauthor of
Dollarocracy

UNSTOPPABLE

ALSO BY RALPH NADER
:

Told You So:

The Big Book of Weekly Columns

Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism

The Seventeen Solutions:

Bold Ideas for Our American Future

“Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”

(political fiction)

The Seventeen Traditions:

Lessons from an American Childhood

The Good Fight:

Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap

In Pursuit of Justice:

Collected Writings 2000–2003

Crashing the Party:

Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender

No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the

Perversion of Justice in America

(with Wesley J. Smith)

Winning the Insurance Game

(with Wesley J. Smith)

Unsafe at Any Speed:

The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile

Copyright © 2014 by Ralph Nader.

Published by Nation Books,

A Member of the Perseus Books Group

116 East 16th Street, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10003

Nation Books is a co-publishing venture of the

Nation Institute and the Perseus Books Group.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address the Perseus Books Group, 250 West 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10107.

Books published by Nation Books are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the United States by corporations, institutions, and other organizations. For more information, please contact the Special Markets Department at the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103, or call (800) 810-4145, ext. 5000, or e-mail
[email protected]
.

Designed by Trish Wilkinson

Set in 11.75 point Goudy Old Style

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Nader, Ralph.

Unstoppable : the emerging left-right alliance to dismantle the corporate state / Ralph Nader.

pages
   
cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-56858-455-3 (e-book)

1.
   
Business and politics—United States. 2.
   
Corporations—Political activity—United States. 3.
   
Right and left (Political science)—United States. 4.
   
Democracy—United States. I.
   
Title.

JK467.N34
  
2014

322'.30973—dc23

2014001991

10
  
9
  
8
  
7
  
6
  
5
  
4
  
3
  
2
  
1

To the memory and writings of Jonathan Rowe—insightful skeptic, optimist, believer in the potential of Left-Right coalitions, and a practitioner of what he preached

and to John Richard, networker and extraordinary advisor to civic reformers.

Contents

Introduction

  
1
     
Convergence: The Sporadic Coming Together of Right and Left Against Corporatists

  
2
     
Conservatism's Authority Figures: Principles Versus Dogmas

  
3
     
Hands Reach Across the Aisle, Though Often Slapped Back by Wily Corporatists

  
4
     
Twenty-Five Proposed Redirections and Reforms Through Convergent Action

  
5
     
Getting to the Actions: Convergences Ahoy!

  
6
     
Obstacles to Convergence and How to Overcome Them

  
7
     
Who Owns America? A Light from the 1930s Illuminates Now

  
8
     
Common Ground for Common and Uncommon Causes, Found in the Thoughts of Much-Cited but Little-Read Conservative Icons

  
9
     
What of the Liberals? And Populist Conservatives?

10
     
Dear Billionaire

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

Introduction

W
hen thinking about the genesis of this book, I remember the days working in my family's restaurant. The premises were spacious: a long lunch counter and many booths filled with townspeople and jurors from the local county courthouse, summer residents at the local lakes and camps, salespeople and travelers driving along busy Route 44 in Connecticut. In those non–fast food days, family restaurants were conveners of talkers, not just eaters. There was much ado about local and larger politics, and lots of free associative talk about the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry or what was going on in the many factories lining the town's streets.

Working the counter and the booths was a great education. It was conversation central, with humor, ribbing candor, and the famous Winsted raspiness. People didn't hide their party affiliations, mostly Democrat and Republican, but they didn't pigeonhole themselves when they gave their opinions or rendered their judgments. They weren't all friends by any means, but they weren't enemies either, all speaking as companionable individuals in a small town where everyone knew each other's ethnicity, religious denomination, and business. I listened more than I talked; therefore I learned.

As a college student, I was a serious, inveterate hitchhiker, eventually using my thumb to cover thousands of free miles in many states to reach my destinations. Once I was in the front seat of the truck or car, it would have been discourteous to promptly fall asleep, no matter how tired I was. Besides, I found talking with the drivers was a way to learn. They each had their expertise, working experience, and homespun life philosophy.

Years later, in 1992, stereotyped politically as an ultraliberal, I ran a brief none-of-the-above presidential campaign in the New Hampshire primary. I had no ads and little money to spend on the four or five trips I made to the Granite state, but of the 342,131 total votes given in a crowded field, I received 6,312, or 1.85 percent. Here's the funny thing: there were
slightly more Republican
than Democratic votes in my total.
1
People were surprised and kept talking about this unexpected dual appeal. I wasn't surprised. I spoke specifically, naming names, and asking for improved health, safety, and freedom of information laws, to be provided by accountable government and corporations in a society where freedom and justice discipline each other, so we can escape license and tyranny. My positions were largely for the benefit of everyone, regardless of creed, ideology, color, race, or gender.

BOOK: Unstoppable
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