Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ralph Nader

American Attorney, Consumer Advocate, Political Activist, Lecturer and Author

"By the time you rise through the ranks, the culture of homogenization has bred the spirit and imagination out of you."

"I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."

"Water is the most precious, limited natural resource we have in this country... But because water belongs to no one - except the people - special interests, including government polluters, use it as their private sewers."

"How much longer will you allow this $20 part to imperil the public?"

"In humor, there is truth. We need to take humor more seriously."

"I have a theory of power: That if it's going to be responsible, it has to have something to lose."

"There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship."

"Information is the currency of democracy."

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."

"It’s about whether we’re going to be able to look forward to our descendants and hand this world over to them in much better shape, so they will look back on us with kindness and with praise – rather than cursing us for our apathy, or our narcissism, or our refusal to stand up tall for justice and freedom in the world."

"Our flag stands for "liberty and justice for all." Our flag must never be misused or defiled as a bandana for war crimes, as a gag against the people's freedom of speech and conscience or as a fig leaf to hide the shame of charlatans in high public office, who violate our Constitution, our laws and our founding fathers' framework for accountable, responsive government."

"[Washington is] corporate-occupied territory... We need more political and civic energies inside the campaign to challenge this two-party duopoly that's trending toward one-party districts all over the country."

"A giant corporation in the White House masquerading as a human being."

"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done."

"A seller-sovereign economy includes sellers who are monopolistic or oligopolistic without being confronted by the ultimate consumers who are organized in monopsonistic or ologopsonistic modes. It is an economy where enormous skill, artifice, and resources are used in getting consumers to buy what the sellers want to sell, notwithstanding the availability of more efficient, safe, economical, durable, and effective alternatives, including that of buying nothing at all."

"A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."

"Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem. We do not send alcoholics to jail in this country. Over 500,000 people are in our jails who are nonviolent drug users."

"As a public interest lawyer, your fund of injustice will never be empty."

"But you've heard him speak about Saddam. For every question we put to the president about domestic needs he has one answer: attack Iraq, attack Iraq, attack Iraq. Psychologists would call this the obsessive-compulsive syndrome."

"Cleanup drive in Washington, to break the grip of the permanent corporate government that makes good people in the Congress not fulfill their own potential."

"Competition, free enterprise, and an open market were never meant to be symbolic fig leaves for corporate socialism and monopolistic capitalism."

"For almost seventy years the life insurance industry has been a smug sacred cow feeding the public a steady line of sacred bull."

"Ford Motor Company's sluggish and piecemeal approach to its automotive responsibilities betrays motorists' safety."

"Greens all over the globe will need to develop the facilities of democracy for voters, workers, consumers, small taxpayers and the environment so that all people may participate in power to advance justice, peace and the pursuit of happiness."

"Half of democracy is about just showing up."

"He should be held accountable by voters for eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken."

"He's got an obsession to immunize corporations."

"How did we ever end up with a democracy where challengers to the entrenched corrupt political system in our country cannot get to tens of millions of voters without going through a gate whose key is controlled by the two major parties who want to exclude reforms?"

"I can no longer stomach the systemic political decay that has weakened our democracy."

"I don't think meals have any business being deductible. I'm for separation of calories and corporations."

"I don't want to exaggerate it, so I'll just say massively more."

"I think the American people are going to fall asleep watching the drab debate the dreary."

"I think there's a great need for a progressive candidate for the presidency... The two parties are very much dialing for the same commercial dollars. The two parties are ignoring issues like a living wage."

"If you choose the lesser of two evils, you will get the evil of two lessers."

"I used to think of California as in the vanguard. Now its school spending is among the bottom 10. We need to increase school funding by more than the trivial amounts being talked about."

"If you don't turn on to politics, politics will turn on you."

"If you know what's going on and know how society can be improved and happiness advanced, you tend to focus on how to get things done that will help health, safety, opportunity, justice, accountability of powerful institutions to the people they are supposed to serve."

"It is extremism when corporations corrupt our government, buy and rent our politicians, block our access to the courts, dominates our executive branch agencies, appropriate middle class tax dollars in the form of corporate welfare, subsidies, handouts, bailouts. That's extremism. It's not extremism to have a Green political party movement that wants to put an end to this."

"It's time for the American people to realize the Muslim Americans are only the latest religious and ethnic group to feel the brunt of political hysteria and abuse."

"I've always been independent, it's a thing with me, ... I don't want to get involved in these internal Green Party disputes, that's for them to settle... I want to extravert the party's agenda."

"John D. Rockefeller wanted to dominate oil, but Microsoft wants it all, you name it: cable, media, banking, car dealerships."

"Let it not be said by a future, forlorn generation that we wasted and lost our great potential because our despair was so deep we didn't even try, or because each of us thought someone else was worrying about our problems."

"Like knowing hostages, the AFL-CIO and its unions march in tandem to endorse the Democratic presidential nominees early in the primary season. They have given up their capacity for negotiation, so frightened are they of the Republicans. Meanwhile, the rank-and-file workers suffer their dwindling status in silence."

"Like sex in Victorian England, the reality of Big Business today is our big dirty secret."

"Members of Congress are like the voters in one respect -- they want to go with the winners."

"Microsoft doesn't respect the antitrust laws, and it has amply demonstrated that it can't be trusted. The company has shown its contempt for any court-imposed changes in its conduct. If the government ends the antitrust case by seeking changes in its conduct, but not in its structure, Microsoft can be expected to creatively evade the thrust of such agreements."

"Moral courage is the highest expression of humanity."

"No presidential candidate should visit Las Vegas without condemning organized gambling."

"Not a single candidate who I am aware of ever looks at the American people and says to them, 'Do you want to be more powerful against the rich and powerful? That's why this campaign is so different."

"Obviously, the answer to oil spills is to paper-train the tankers."