Friday, August 1, 2014

Ralph Nader in San Francisco: Name Dropping Mises and Hayek

Ralph Nader spoke in San Francisco yesterday, at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on the top of Nob Hill. The event was sponsored by the Commonwealth Club and he spoke about his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

I am going to review the book separately sometime next week, so I won't get too much into the specifics of his view here, though, I do want to mention he does see political advocacy as the primary method for advancing social change, whereas political advocacy barely makes my list.

That said, he did make a number of observations and comments that I do want to report on now. He said that his advocacy for a Left-Right alliance to dismantle the corporate state was getting a much better reception among right wingers that left wingers.

He mentioned that the Koch brothers are pro-tax on solar power, and pushing the position, and implied that it was because of their large oil holdings.

At one point, he mentioned both Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and called them "credible humanitarians." Unfortunately, he cited Hayek for his least libertarian position, that is, Hayek's support for government aid to the indigent, up to a “minimum of subsistence” for everyone.

Nader incorrectly pronounced Mises' name twice. He called him MYses instead of MEses.

He predicted that "The dynasty will return," in the 2016 presidential race. Predicting it will come down to Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush.

He said he would like to see a couple of billionaires enter the race to split up the two party system and make it a 3 or 4 man race. He said he has written to 20 billionaires urging them to run.

He also said he would like to see, "None of the above" as a choice on the ballot.

He said he liked Elizabeth Warren's positions on the big banks (I cringed) but said she was not good on foreign affairs and chiefly held Obama's interventionist foreign affairs positions. He said it was probably because she doesn't know much about foreign affairs, but he said he held her to a higher standard.

He also said that when drugs are decriminalized you no longer will have "drug traffickers," you will just have store clerks.

He also told a story about the ban on smoking on airplanes that he helped push into law (Which BTW is not a libertarian position. Each airline should be allowed to set their own smoking policy.)

He said that the ban ended in 1988 and he actually had a flight on the last day smoking was allowed on planes. He said that he was the last person on the plane and that his seat was way in the back and that he could see the person's face light up that he was going to be sitting next to when he realized Nader was going to be his seatmate .

It turned out the seatmate was a smoker.

He said that as soon as he sat down, the guy next to him lit up cigarette after cigarette and blew smoke in his direction for the entire flight (Washington D.C. to Buffalo). And he gave Nader one final blow to the face after the plane landed.

Nader asked the guy after the flight, "Are you satisfied now?" The guy answered, "Yes." Nader replied, "Good because that's the last time you are going to be able to do that on a plane."



  1. "whereas political advocacy barely makes my list"

    Care to give us your list, Robert?

  2. Pardon my cynicism, but that last story about smoking in airplanes sounds a bit too perfect to be true.

    1. That's exactly what I thought, it does fit well with the "victimhood" narrative the Left likes so much though.