Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is Ralph Nader the anti-Ayn Rand?

If Ayn Rand's life thesis is Atlas Shrugged, I think I just found its antithesis in this week's New Yorker. Raffi Khatchadourian writes that Ralph Nader "has been secretly working on his first novel":
...The book, called "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!," is seven hundred and thirty-six pages long, and it contains dozens of characters, many of them real people... who act out Nader's political fantasies. By the last page, most of the reforms that Nader has been arguing for all these years end up being enacted. Corporations are neutered. Third parties win. America is reborn."
So where Rand argued that only the super-rich can save us by following selfish aims, championing the dollar and driving the bloodsucking government into the ground, Nader will argue that only the super-rich can save us by thinking of the greater good, enacting wise regulation and driving corporate greed into the ground. How's that for a philosophical grudge match?

It sounds like Nader's even aiming for a Rand-sized tome, though he's got a few hundred pages to go if he wants to match Atlas Shrugged. That shouldn't be too hard if he follows Rand's formula: just have his protagonist outline his philosophical worldview in a climactic courtroom scene or rogue takeover of the nation's media. No problem! Rand's digressions are always cut and paste; they could be in any book, anywhere. Maybe Nader could just make his final chapter be In Pursuit of Justice — just drop that puppy right in there, and he'd satisfy the perfect Ayn Rand template. What a masterstroke of poli-sci-fi agit-prop that could be.

I'm intrigued to read Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, if only to see it go eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth with Atlas Shrugged. That pairing of fictional ambitions is definitely unsafe at any speed.

Ayn Rand / Ralph Nader (thesis / antithesis?)


Anonymous said...

the book is great... and, unlike Ms. Rand, Mr. Nader has actually done a lot of great things for us... most folks can't name even 3 laws he's responsible for like the FoIA, OSHA, the EPA and so much more... if you haven't seen then you don't really know who he is... and the democrats blaming him for their losses is like a hooker blaming their v.d. on Mother Theresa...
see also

rob getzschman said...

Thanks for the links - FoIA, OSHA and EPA is a hell of track record! However, if I understand your simile, the democrats are hookers, Ralph Nader is Mother Teresa, and the presidential elections of '00 and '04 are venereal disease? Might need some work before you go to press with that one. ;)

Edward said...

You may not like it but there is a state foia that allows government officials and others to obtain information that you may deem private that is actually considered public information.