Brave Thinkers

Illustration by Quickhoney

Name: Ralph Nader
Job: Perennial Third-Party Presidential Candidate
Why he’s brave: He’s irked everyone from politicians to auto makers, but his warnings about wealth and power have proven prescient.
Quote: “As the years pass and things get worse, the laws become themselves an instrument of injustice.”


Many on the left considered Nader’s candidacy in 2000 a brave stand against a dangerously homogenized two-party system. But much of their admiration curdled after Al Gore was denied the presidency, and as Nader went on to undermine John Kerry and Barack Obama. Throughout, however, Nader has evangelized under the slogan “There’s too much power and wealth in too few hands.” After the financial collapse—and the banker-friendly responses of both Bush and Obama—Nader’s ideas, on this score at least, increasingly seem vindicated. His recent crusades have made him deeply unpopular and cost him respect he had built over a lifetime as a consumer advocate and environmentalist. But if anyone is entitled to say “I told you so” following the government’s handouts to the likes of AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America, surely it’s the Unreasonable Man.

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in National

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In