Saturday, April 17, 2010
The theory of democracy is hopelessly out of line with the way the United States practices democracy, said Laura Nader, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, on Friday during her address in Maxwell Auditorium.
“The democratic vision that we gave to the world is believed in different parts of the world,” she said. “We have given the world a vision they are excited about.”
During the lecture, titled “If You Want to Spread Democracy You Have to be One,” Nader, the sister of four time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, spoke about how corporate America destroyed democracy, the one thing for which it is admired by the rest of the world. Nader called for an anthropological study of the United States to discover what went wrong in American democracy.
People in the United States are taught the ideology of democracy, Nader said. But the practice of democracy has been lost as corporations are slowly starting to control everything; and Americans need to start reacting to get the practice of democracy back on track, she said.
“If you don’t, then you’ll lose more and lose more, and you’ll lose it incrementally,” she said.
She also said there has been a 100-year transition from regional capitalism to corporate capitalism. Communities that have built enterprises with their own hands and their own prosperity have lost hope because corporations are “claiming the fruit of all their labor, their own and their children’s prosperity,” she said.
“A cultural revolution of the gospel of wealth is replacing the gospel of work, which means a superiority of capital over labor,” Nader said.
To fix the shift away from democracy, in which hard work is valued over wealth, the United States needs people from other parts of the world to come and study the nation to get a diagnosis of what is wrong, Nader said. Outsiders can help us recognize problems, which Americans are reluctant to admit to and fix, she said.
Not only are Americans reluctant to fix their problems, they are lying to themselves and believe they have no problems to fix, she said.
“Lying is more than deception,” Nader said. “The liar wants what is unreal to be accepted by actuality. Untruth becomes reality.”
Megan Lucas, a freshman international relations major, said the lecture was interesting because Nader defined what made a democracy effective and ineffective from a new perspective.
“I really liked the fact that she was looking at this from an anthropological perspective,” she said, “rather than a political science perspective.”
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