Meliorists Unite: Review of Ralph Nader’s “Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us”

This goes out to occasional ARL contributor Harry Dexter White, lately missing in action again, but always here in spirit. 

Ho, Mr. White, your shining prince and notorious dragon-slayer, Mr. Ralph Nader (first among meliorists it seems) has sent along a most beautiful carriage to take you to the ball.  There, he will engage your most fanciful desires for peace, fairness, and popsicles (oh, wait, that might be my dream rearing its head). 

Alas, if we’d only known, all the world needs now isn’t “love, sweet love“, but, rather, the super-rich…or, at least, the super-rich who are also super-smart and have super-big hearts.  You know, the philanthropic super-rich who also believe that, were it not for unfair tax laws, their genius and labor would have only led to the accrual of small fortunes.  (Among his heroes:  Warren Buffett, George Soros, Ted Turner….well, you get the idea…and, oh yeah, Bill Cosby and Yoko Ono for comic relief.) 

But, these heroes, having super-big hearts, well, they’ve found themselves sitting on huge mountains of cash that they know – in their super-big hearts – that they just shouldn’t have..  Cash they’ve held onto – out of principle, mind you – not having seen fit to simply donate their largess to the US Treasury (where it would have gone if they’d actually been forced to “do the right thing”). 

And, thankfully, now (in Nader’s head) it seems that they are finally ready, at long last, to use their super-powers (and super-big mountains of cash) for good.  The sort of good that only super-rich atheists can conjure up.  Oh, yes.   

And, oh no, I don’t mean that they’ll simply continue to create goods and services that people want to buy, or simply invest in the productive capacity of human labor and industry, or simply continue to reap unfair profits that, greedily, must be re-invested, again, and again, simply  to propel the whole ugly profit scheme forward yet again, round after round after round.  NO!  Not that, please, dear God me, not that.

No, being super-smart and super-rich and super-big-hearted surely comes at a price, a (dare I say it) sacred duty to fix the messed up world once and for all.  Nobody else can do it, obviously, but the super-smart and super-big-hearted super-rich who, believing they are taxed too lightly, apparently, still have no desire to simply give their ill-gotten gains to the government.  I wonder, would that be too much like throwing it away?

Why, its almost like a cosmic accident, then, that they’ve been so unfairly taxed and, as a result, been able to accrue such super-big mountains of cash.  It presents, after all is said and done, a genuine opportunity to use their super-big brains (steered by their super-big hearts) and use their super-huge piles of immoral booty to do what government can’t (or simply won’t) do. 

Why, yes, this small, but super-powerful, cabal of supermen and superwomen can (and must) manipulate society for their own good, giving them, at long last, the democratic tools that have been deliberately kept out of their limited (non-super) reach.

And that, I’m sure, is just exactly how democratic principles have always been fostered.  Were it not for small, but super-smart, super-powerful, super-left-wing, atheistic cabals, we’d not even know what democracy was, or how it worked, or why its a good thing, or whether or not its ever worked.

Thank God Warren Buffett and George Soros for this (ooops, went off the track again there) virtual super-natural opportunity.  Afterall, Nader’s hero’s (and Nader himself) would never resort to the sort of superstitious nonsense that looks to God for guiding principles.  Oh, no, they are far more grounded than that, even when exercising their own god-like imaginations. 

“Goodness”, as any rational human should already know, only comes from the sort of brutal competition that, almost inexplicably, only allows the super-smart (or the super-lucky) to rise to the top of the evolutionary heap, necessarily suppressing their potential for super-goodness until just such a time when it can really be used for good. 

This book, I think, can be found in the “Fantasy” section of your local bookstore, right between “Fallacy” and “Farce”.  Based on Chapter 1, it seems like a roaring adventure and, likely, a fairly accurate depiction of Warren Buffet’s, George Soros’, and Ted Turner’s actual thought processes, errr, I meant to say wet-dreams.  Somebody please let me know how it all comes out.

Harry Tuttle  


2 responses to “Meliorists Unite: Review of Ralph Nader’s “Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us”

  1. Well, Harry, you might be right in this regard: It wouldn’t be the first time that so-called “progressives” were so clearly and utterly confused about the nature of reality, let alone the real impact of their meddling.

    At the very least, they are disingenuous about their true goals. In this book, for instance, Nader makes a case against “bigness”, an outcome that may only apparently be promoted through more centralized control and manipulation. I’d call that some sort confusion or, worse, outright deception.

    As for meliorism, you should know that Nader actually dedicates the book “to the Meliorists, their advocates, beneficiaries and all those who follow to broaden and deepen their pioneering footsteps in reality.” If you’d like, we might even agree to put that one in the same sort of “deception box”. “Pioneering footsteps in reality”???? Come on….

    But, here’s the sticking point for me on meliorism itself, and one on which Nader, I think, really isn’t so confused. The belief that “things are getting better” can only be supported by: a) rather narrowly defining the metrics of achievement (something you’d never do, I’m sure), b) totally ignoring the fact that man is a flawed creature, implicitly required to reconcile his imperfection with his creator, and c) or that man will not ever, through his own effort, be capable of erasing or even mitigating the ruinous effects of that imperfection, errr, sin.. .

    Nader, it seems, would fall rather neatly into that sort of meliorist camp, at least insofar as he clearly believes that mankind, utterly apart from any sort of “divine providence”, is capable of achieving some sort of nominal perfection. (And, surely, you wouldn’t go that far?)

    The fact that this “road to perfection” might actually be achieved (if only through the super-assistance of some sort of super-shephards – those whose vision and talent rise above the more simple-minded and superstitious flock) is just the sort of hubris and cognitive dissonance that you’d expect from a progressive. Mankind is screwing things up and must, therefore, be saved by…..wait for it…..mankind (but, hey, only a special few of them).

    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t, for the life of me, imagine anything less true. Like you, I do believe that things tend to be “better” (as opposed to “perfect”) whenever economic, political, and religious liberty is the rule, rather than the exception. But, hey, there I must draw the line.


  2. Ralph Nader is not ‘first among meliorists.” By definition progressives seek change. They tinker with things in a misguided attempt to improve them. Meliorism is profoundly conservative. We meliorists, because we think things are going along swimmingly, have a profound distrust of progressives, because they seem so intent on mucking up the real progress that is happening as we speak.

    If Nader was a meliorist he would instead have written a book “How the super-rich are saving us as we speak.” In which he would describe the progress in the fight against global poverty, perhaps with some charts from Hans Rosling or some of the arguments that come out of the excellent libertarian economists at George Mason. Part 2 would examine how this progress has been made not by well intentioned international charity, but by technological change, open markets and the good governance to support them.

    After an appreciation of how awesome things are and how they got that way, part 3 would be a tentative collection of ideas about how to make things even better or at least how not to muck them up. Because at the end of the day inside each one of us, even meliorist, there is a progressive trying to get out. “Progressive” as in someone who desires improvement. Not “progress” as in dim witted Krugmanian acolyte.

    Viva la Revolution Marginal

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