Nader: Progressive-libertarian alliance ‘the most exciting new political dynamic’ in US

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, January 13, 2011 15:01 EDT
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Prepare for the rise of libertarian progressives.

That was the message earlier in the week from trends analyst Gerald Celente, who predicted that the rapid acceleration of wealth into the coffers of the ultra-rich would drive a global youth resistance movement in 2011 and reformat long-held political boundaries.

And then there were two.

Longtime American politics gadfly Ralph Nader, a man of many ideas almost diametrically opposed by most libertarian conservatives, said Wednesday that he sees a coming convergence of liberals, progressives and libertarian conservatives in the wake of a worsening financial crisis and dogged partisanship that’s put the government into gridlock.

Speaking to Fox Business’s libertarian host Judge Napolitano, Nader called these shifting alliances “the most exciting new political dynamic” in the US today.

Nader has long been an advocate of overturning “corporate personhood“: an oft’ criticized legal principle that treats massive organizations with vast stores of wealth as individuals under the law.

So how will this left-right alliance begin?

Nader suggested that it already has, thanks to the unity of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the most conservative and most liberal members of their respective chambers. They’ve teamed up to propose cuts to the US defense budget, which has long been by far the largest sector of America’s annual budget, and to push a more thorough audit of the Federal Reserve, the private central bank which controls America’s currency.

Republicans, who were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives on promises to cut government spending, promised to cut $100 billion from the budget in their first year. Relatively few have proposed significant decreases in defense spending, and GOP leadership has outright dismissed the possibility. Some prominent members of the House GOP caucus have even suggested the sum of their austerity measures could fall to only $30 billion, if that.

Republicans in Congress have instead championed their success in extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The Congressional Research Service reported (PDF) that extending debased tax rates to the wealthy will add an additional $5.08 trillion to the US deficit over the next 10 years.

Nader added that the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which recently failed due to a secret hold by a Republican Senator even in the face of support by libertarian conservatives and progressive liberals, could be the linchpin that brings the two groups together.

“The authentic tea partiers hail from the conservative libertarian wing of the Republican party that has been so disrespected and corporatized by the likes of Bush and Cheney,” Nader said. “So here they come into town and they’re going to go after a lot of things the Republican establishment is opposed to.”

He added that a coming “liberal-conservative connection” will ultimately “draw that distinction between the corporatist and the genuine libertarian conservatives.”

Even Napolitano agreed that there’s a “certain philosophical agreement” underlying “the role of government in our lives” that’s become shared by libertarians and progressives.

“The key thing is when they go after all the bloated corporate welfare subsidies, handouts, give-aways, bailouts — they’re going to alienate all these corporate Republicans, but they don’t care,” he said. “The one’s I’m talking about, in the House and Senate, they operate on principle. They don’t care if they’re overruled, if they don’t get the monuments or the freebies. They operate on principle and they’re going to make an alliance with the liberal progressives.”

Speaking to Russia Today earlier this week, trends analyst Gerald Celente explained that “progressive libertarians” would be “libertarian in the sense of government staying out of people’s lives,” and progressive “with the government having control of issues where they can make a difference.”

This video is from Fox Business, broadcast Jan. 12, 2010, as snipped by Mox News.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • Anonymous

    You can’t say what “Marxists” want, because not all Marxists want the same thing. Pretty much all Marxists don’t want a state at all. I don’t really see how you could call yourself a Marxist if you did! Marx himself explicitly de-emphasized his vague recommendations of how to proceed and further explained that one must do whatever is appropriate to the specific time, not adhere to dogma. You don’t have to be a communist to be a Marxist, many social democrats use Marxian ideas. Marxism is primarily about empowerment of the worker, democracy, anti-authoritarianism.

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing improbable about that coalition. There is more common ground than supposed scorched earth between the poles of the political spectrum.

    There is a variety of concerns common to libertarian/constitutionalist/conservatives and social democrats.

    For instances, freedom from corporate domination and from Big Brother (respectively, corporate-statism and the security state) are the types of visions that bridge value dichotomies:
    • individual liberty “versus” true democracy for all
    • laissez-faire economics “versus” capitalism regulated to reduce harm
    • national security “versus” individual, household, and community security

    Corporate Democrats have appropriated the label of “progressive” (Third Way, Center for American Progress, etc., think tanks). That false conflation of agendas serves to obscure an antidemocratic agenda. And so does the hypocritical antigovernment rhetoric of corporate Republicans blind their base to the connection between free market fundamentalism and demise of socioeconomic opportunity.

    The mechanisms that would provide for the public interest are the same mechanisms on which democracy relies: the three branches of the federal government, election campaigns, and mass media. Corporate control of all of these mechanisms culminated in the ruling by five Supreme Court justices that affirmed the absurd concept of corporate personhood and extended that concept by granting corporations unlimited anonymous campaign contributions as free speech under the First Amendment.

    The corporate-statist coup d’etat is complete.