Re: nader traitors

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From: Matt Jensen (
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 14:13:46 PST

Maybe so, but Gandhi also made tactical concessions. Such as in his first

"When Jan Christian Smuts, the harried leader of the South African
government, offered a civil-rights compromise that seemed honourable,
Gandhi accepted it despite the violent opposition of militant Indians who
asserted that this was a "betrayal." Compromise and trust, he argued, is
the essence of non-violent struggle. "Even if the opponent plays him false
twenty times," he said, the civil resister must be "ready to trust him for
the twenty-first time - for an implicit trust in human nature is the very
essence of his creed.""[1]

More important than what tactics Gandhi used is the fact that he and his
followers were all acting by and for themselves. But in the U.S.
election, Nader supporters' votes had consequences beyond themselves. If
you're willing to go to jail to publicize the Nader platform, feel free.
But if you knowingly vote for a candidate/platform that you believe will
make life worse for other people, you've moved on to a very different
moral question.

Furthermore, all Nader voters had the right to vote, unlike the Indians
who lived in South Africa. Gandhi practiced civil disobedience to gain
basic human rights. Can you show an example *after* they won their rights
where Gandhi suggested a refusal to participate in normal politics?

The problem for the Nader supporters wasn't that an evil system was
keeping them down. The problem was that, pre-election, they couldn't
persuade more than a tiny fraction (5%) of the voters that they were the
best choice. And when people finally got in the voting booth, half of
that 5% decided that the bird in the hand (Gore) was worth two in the
bush (revitalized Green party after four years of Bush). And if you want
to find ways to gain the loyalty of more of the American public, being a
spoiler in a race this tight wasn't it.

-Matt Jensen


On Tue, 21 Nov 2000, Dave Long wrote:

> This ties back in with the Game Theoretical Gandhism: Gandhi says
> that when someone tries to force one's choice by setting it up as
> the lesser of two evils, don't let them.
> What he goes on to say is that following such a strategy at times
> will involve the need to be strong enough to suck it up, and take
> on the outcome of (short term) greater evil.

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