‘Liberals’ for ‘Democracy’

A lot of American liberals don’t like Ralph Nader much. I’ve been trawling through quite a few big American liberal blogs today, which I rarely ever read, and have been quite surprised at the amount of vitriol and abuse directed towards him. A recurring theme is a diagnosis of narcissism, which, as Adam Phillips puts it, often takes one to know one. This post here on Daily Kos resorts to Max Weber, Hannah Arendt and Goethe, in its long-winded denunciation of Nader’s decision to run for President again. The poster calls it an ‘irresponsible exercise of democracy and free speech’. Yet Nader’s decision is perfectly responsible, in democratic terms, because he is asking people to endorse what he is saying by voting for him. They are under no obligation whatsoever to vote for him if they don’t like what he has to say. For this eejit to hold that (s)he is the one best placed to decide what is irresponsible, in terms of democracy and free speech, illustrates his/her own hatred for both.

If the people who voted for Nader had wanted to vote for Gore, they woulda. But Gore, for whatever reason, didn’t do it for them. And he didn’t do it for the tens of millions of American voters who preferred sitting at home on their asses either. This is Nader’s fault, apparently which is why Talking Points Memo calls him Bush’s Chief Enabler. There is a nauseating sense of entitlement in this, combined with no small amount of contempt for the ability of people to make up their own mind about things: whoever voted for Nader really should have voted for Gore but were just too stupid at the time to realise it – if only there were some way of preventing these people from functioning as independent thinkers.

An interview with Nader here:

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February 2008
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