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Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader's view on NAFTA

Pat Buchanan is an arch-right political commentator and three-time presidential candidate who is considered well to the right of the Republican Party. He opposes NAFTA. Ralph Nader is a political activist and perennial presidential candidate who is considered well to the left of the Democratic Party. He also opposes NAFTA.

These guys don't like each other much, at least politically.

Why, then, do they agree on so important an issue? Is it for the same, or for different, reasons?

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Pat Buchanan is an arch-right political commentator and three-time presidential candidate who is considered well to the right of the Republican Party. He opposes NAFTA. Ralph Nader is a political activist and perennial presidential candidate who is considered well to the left of the Democratic Party. He also opposes NAFTA.

These guys don't like each other much, at least politically.

Why, then, do they agree on so important an issue? Is it for the same, or for different, reasons?

I appreciate this question, since I know both men. I worked for Buchanan in New Hampshire in 1992 and Iowa in 1996. I went to the University of Hartford, where Nader used to teach. I'm in a unique position to help you here.

I've spoken to Buchanan about NAFTA several times personally. Here is my paraphrase of his responses:

Sovereignty is important. It protects the culture of a people. Pat has no problem with Mexicans (their shared Catholicism does not hurt), but, since wages are so low in Mexico in comparison to the US, NAFTA could only hurt American wages without helping Mexican ones.

One thing that Pat does have a problem with is Mexican nationalism in the US. Many immigrants are coming to the US for political reasons, the so called "Azatlan" movement, that seeks to annex much of the western US to Mexico. This hostile movement is, to a great extent, part of his opposition to more immigration and NAFTA.

Pat is not "arch right." He is a typical conservative of the pre-world war II variety. Keep in mind that up until the creation of Buckley's National Review, conservatism was anti-capitalist, anti-Enlightenment, agrarian and, quite often, royalist. Only during the Cold War did this change. In fact, it is bizarre that the term "conservative" is now applied to those who support Enlightenment capitalism and "free markets." Conservatism came into existence at the end of the 18th century precisely to oppose this.

Pat's two books on this topic take each side of the question: the Death of the West is cultural and deals with the attacks on western culture in general. On the other hand, The Great Betrayal is a summary of his views against free trade from a purely economic point of view.

There is only one difference between Nader and Buchanan: the stress on the importance of culture. Nader avoids the topic altogether, but Pat ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader's view on NAFTA. If they agree on the importance of an issue is determined.

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