Essay: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE POWERLESS

The setting is a 1966 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing to determine whether Detroit's car manufacturers are sufficiently safety-conscious, and Ralph Nader a young lawyer of Lebanese descent, is there to repeat his belief that they are not. To the subcommittee members, Nader presents a fascinating figure—a David to Detroit's Goliath. "Why are you doing all this, Mr. Nader?" one of the Senators asks. "I became in a sense incensed," Nader replies in the convoluted courtroom language that is his customary way of speech, "at the way there can be a tremendous amount of...