Flimsy Sanity: Nader as Spoiler

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nader as Spoiler

I hate when Nader is described as a spoiler. I think he is a Fixer similar to the hero of the story by Bernard Malamud of the same title - a hopeless idealistic pariah who just wants a better, more fair country. Critics say Nader say is ego maniacal but as far as I can see anyone who runs for any office, even at the local level, has a high opinion of themselves or they couldn't last a day. At least Nader possesses the attributes that any politician should be required to possess - the ability to speak and write - and one the others do not - the ability to tell the truth. I just don't think he has a cadre of speechwriters like Hillary or Bush or Cheney who can twist the words so that nothing gets said.
Two choice mentality of either/or is insane in a country this size. Old time elections in communist countries with just one candidate who wins by 90 percent is just as ludicrous as giving 300 million people two choices of corporate whores. Although they all preach just one God, even my small town of 5,000 people gets a choice of 13 Christian churches. When I go to the grocery store, I get 20 choices of cereal.. When I go to the polls, I am supposed to pick the lesser of two evils rather than choose a good person because some people say that voting for a third party candidate is just throwing your vote away. The truth is that voting is simply when "anonymous people raise or lower things in esteem by the weight of sheer numbers". The majority of people stay home on voting day because (a) they know it is a sham or (b) they don't care.
The problem with the two party system is that it is stagnant and self preserving with no room for people who want improvement. Both are bullies who will not allow any third party candidates to participate in debates and are too corrupt to eliminate the enemies of "one man, one vote" (the very essence of democracy)-the electoral college, diebold voting machines, Washington DC disenfranchisement, spending caps on campaign funds etc. The League of Women Voters sponsored debates of old are now just canned responses to pre-prepared questions. The hive mentality of each party is evident when both repeat the same phrases continually. You cannot spoil something that is already rotten. I say that dissatisfied people that continue to support these parties are the problem, not an individual who is trying to fix the system and just will not give up.
People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal "families" — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob. Jaron Lanier


  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous RJ Adams said…

    You are totally right about the "either/or choice mentality" of American politics, and it applies equally to other countries also. Third parties are often targeted by the two 'majors' as vote-stealers, and in this case - where Nader pulls a very small percentage of the vote - it is easy to make that accusation seem realistic. In fact, in 2000 it probably was a reality. When a third party is auspicious enough to draw a higher percentage of the electorate away from the major parties, as is the case with the Liberal Democrats in British politics, then it becomes a serious headache for the 'majors', as it can pull votes from both, acting as a political buffer that is good for the electorate. Of course, the effectiveness of that buffer is dependent on the popularity of the party. At present, the Lib-Dems are relatively ineffective in British politics (due to a series of weak leaders) and the political stage in Britain has moved nearer to that of America, with the policies of the two 'majors' virtually indistinct from each other.
    America is as politically polarized today as the UK was twenty years ago, but for different reasons. Americans, generally, have a 'football team' mentality towards their politics - particularly those on the right - and persuading them to vote for an obvious loser would be near impossible.
    Nader would have more chance if he were to form another political party - rather than riding the Green ticket, or as an independent. Voters still instinctively vote for the party, rather than the person, although personality will play a major role. It is in this deapartment that Nader really loses out

  • At 11:12 AM, Blogger Not Your Mama said…

    Americans, generally, have a 'football team' mentality towards their politics - particularly those on the right

    There lies the problem. I/we (not far left but definitely polar opposites of the current right) have to take this attitude to insure we don't hand the country back for another 4 to 8 year stint with the insane people who've taken over the opposition.

    I have a favorite candidate who is not one of the "top 3" (Bill Richardson) and I'll vote for him in the primary. If he does not manage to make a decent showing in the primaries, I'll have to vote for a candidate who does. If I don't then I'm accomplishing nothing but splitting the vote up and helping the republicans maintain their stranglehold on the country. I can't in good conscience do that just to try and make a point.


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