Third-party presidential contender and environmental activist Nader (Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism, 2011, etc.) offers “an attempt to start a new conversation about our problems.”
In a follow-up to The Seventeen Traditions (2007), the author reiterates his defense of civil liberties, environmentalism, anti-corporatism and anti-militarism, and calls for renewed civic engagement and activism. He appeals to the legacy of Madison and Jefferson, as reflected in his defense of small-town communities capable of supplying their needs through their own efforts. Though he advocates for cuts in defense spending, Nader supports the military's globally significant medical research in combating yellow fever and malaria, and he is grateful for its contribution to his own initial work on automobile safety. He would now like to see the military contribute such skills to water safety and food preservation. Nader's legal background shapes an interesting discussion about the history of corporate charters in the United States. He shows that the right to form corporations through state-level charters was originally specific to a particular purpose, and the modern corporate form, with eternal life, limited liability and general capacity, results from willful political transformations. This discussion gives a sharp focus to an otherwise diffuse narrative about the dangers of corporate greed. The author also charges that President Obama “has exceeded Bush's lawless example” with his war in Libya; the Bush administration “was a dress rehearsal for its successor.”
Less a new conversation than a restatement of an older agenda.