“The damage that the left has done to kids is truly unforgivable,” says radio talk show host Dennis Prager, the founder of Prager University. “It has told them their past is awful, their present is awful, and their future is horrific.”
In this episode of American Thought Leaders, Prager explains what he sees as the widespread indoctrination of students—not just in universities, but also in K-12.
We also look at the politicization of COVID-19 science, the rise of anti-Semitism in America, and what may happen to those who helped U.S. troops in Afghanistan after those troops are fully withdrawn.
Jan Jekielek: Dennis Prager, it’s so great to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dennis Prager: Well, I hope you’re telling me the truth, but you probably are because you came again, and I’m very far from Manhattan. So thank you. By the way, I want to just say you didn’t even hint that I should say this. I not only subscribe to The Epoch Times, the print edition as well as electronic, but we donate. There’s no reason you would know this, but that is how much we admire The Epoch Times. So I wanted to give you a plug on your own show.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, very, very kind of you, Dennis. Just over a year ago, we actually sat down together here, and we were talking about your film “No Safe Spaces” which is about the state of free speech on campus, or perhaps the lack of it. I wanted to look back now that a year has passed. There’s been a lot of discussion about this topic. It seems like there’s been a bit of pushback. Where do you see things today as opposed to a year ago?
Mr. Prager: They’re worse. They’re way worse. And I’m not surprised. First, ironically, about the film. If one wants to see the genesis of the suppression of free speech, watch “No Safe Spaces.” That documentary will give people a clear view of what happens. And it began at the university. Just like awful ideas began with intellectuals, from communism to critical race theory, these things are created in the intellectual and moral vacuum of the university and then permeate the rest of society.
That is what you will see in those safe spaces, what the universities have done to free speech. So it’s sort of a prophetic film, I’m sorry to say. I’m laughing because as I say on my radio show, I prefer to laugh than to cry, but it’s really worth crying about.
One other thing that is worth noting, why I’m not surprised is I’m a student of the left, I have been. I majored in communist affairs. At Columbia, where I went to graduate school, there were seven of us, a grand total of seven out of thousands, I believe, who majored in communist affairs. And I studied Russian for that reason in order to read Pravda. I couldn’t say, “Can I have a tuna sandwich?” But I could say, “The Soviet government condemns the Israeli warmongers.” So I knew Pravda Russian. It’s very funny.
And so I have known the left my whole life, and it’s just something everyone needs to know. Not liberals, and I make this distinction every day, literally every day between liberals. Liberals vote for leftists, for which they will have to answer to God, but they are not leftists. Liberals believe in free speech, leftists have never. So here’s the rule of life. Everywhere, anywhere the left is in control, it suppresses descent.
Mr. Jekielek: How has it gotten worse?
Mr. Prager: How was it for The Epoch Times in trying to monetize on YouTube?
Mr. Jekielek: Well, it doesn’t look very good at the moment.
Mr. Prager: Okay, there you go. It’s getting worse with the control of media, of all forms of expression in Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube, on Google. This is unprecedented. This is the first time in American history, including the Civil War, that free speech is seriously threatened. It is the one thing all Americans agreed on. This is the land of the free, obviously not slaves, but that’s 150 years ago, but otherwise you say what you want.
It’s America, you can say what you want. In Europe, you can be arrested if you deny the Holocaust. Now let me just say, if you deny the Holocaust, you are on as low a level to me as a literal Nazi. There is something perverse about you. However, I agree with the American policy that you can say the most vile things, because once you stop free speech for vile things, you will stop free speech for non-vile things, which is exactly what is happening.
Mr. Jekielek: For example, truthful things.
Mr. Prager: Yes. Well, the most hideous example, perhaps, although there are many, I don’t know if this might be number one is that you cannot speak about any therapeutics for COVID-19 and not be shut down. You cannot talk about ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, zinc, or vitamin D on almost any media platform. I am willing to go on record as I am with you now. I believe that YouTube, Twitter, and the like have along with the medical establishment killed, K-I-L-L-E-D, at least a 100,000 Americans by depriving them of knowledge of therapeutics.
Mr. Jekielek: I just saw a number of commentaries recently, people saying something to this effect, that discussion of this isn’t allowed.
Mr. Prager: Discussion by epidemiologists, by MDs, by professors of public health. I have these people on my radio show regularly, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, scientists, and they’re shut down. It’s a lie that they follow the science. They follow the CDC; they follow the big pharmaceutical companies who are making hundreds of billions of dollars on a vaccines and make nothing on ivermectin. All of a sudden the left, which has attacked big pharma its whole existence, is the biggest fan of big pharma.
Mr. Jekielek: Why? Why do you think that’s the case?
Mr. Prager: This is a very tough question. I understand what’s in it for the CDC: vast sums of money from pharmaceutical companies. So yes, I think they’re corrupt. There’s no doubt in my mind that the CDC leadership like every institution in America has been corrupted. I never said this two years ago. This is all revelatory to me in the last two years. I trusted all of these groups, and now I don’t trust any of them.
But what is in it for the New York Times? They’re not getting money. Well, maybe they are getting big money from big pharma, I don’t know. But why would the New York Times support the suppression of speech on hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin? It is a very, very good question.
Hydroxychloroquine was part of Trump derangement syndrome, which I never used either. I never believed that existed. Now I am certain it existed, that you would prefer Americans die than know about hydroxychloroquine because President Trump mentioned it. That is literally what happened.
I have been on hydroxychloroquine and zinc and ivermectin since the beginning of the lockdown. I have been unmasked since the beginning of the lockdown. I have gathered with 16 people every Friday night for Shabbat dinner since the beginning of the lockdown, none of us are masked. I have hugged strangers, probably 500 strangers at rallies in the course of the last year, never masked. And I’ve not gotten a sniffle.
I’ve had two members of my household, young people living in our home, my step son and his fiance. They got COVID. I did not social distance from them at all. I was closer to them than I am to you right now. No masks. I got nothing.
Mr. Jekielek: And so this was presumably under the advice of your physician.
Mr. Prager: That’s correct, and under the advice of my common sense when I read and read and read. I believe I know more about therapeutics and COVID-19 than 80 percent of the doctors of this country. That’s no compliment to me. It’s an insult to the doctors of this country.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay. Wow. My head is spinning because we can go so many directions here, right?
Mr. Prager: That’s right. That’s why there are a lot of directions. That’s correct. Listen, my head is spinning. When I tell you that I don’t trust the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, the media, the CDC, the NIH, the WHO, there is no joy in me. It is head spinning that the corruption has taken over what should have been honorable institutions, that the State Department puts out BLM flags at its embassies around the world. This is my State Department representing America, and it puts out a hate flag.
The biggest American embassy abroad is in London. It put out a BLM flag. At the same time, the State Department is doing nothing for the 18,000 or so translators that helped our troops in Afghanistan. They will be tortured to death the day we leave and the State Department is doing basically nothing to get them out. This is accessory to murder and torture on the part of the United States State Department.
Mr. Jekielek: So Dennis, what has been revealed with respect to this?
Mr. Prager: You would think this is not in any way a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is a moral or immoral issue. This has nothing to do with politics. We had Republican presidents and we had Democratic presidents in the time we’ve been in Afghanistan. This has nothing to do with politics.
To leave these people to be literally tortured to death, their daughters raped by the Taliban when we leave. Everyone knows that will happen. Everybody knows it, and we’re not taking them out. They’re begging us; they have been for a year: please take us out.
And the State Department is dallying with their applications. I want you to know that story is so troubling to me that I am going to say another thing I’ve never said. It makes me embarrassed to be an American. I’ve never been embarrassed to be an American. What we are doing to the people who helped us in Afghanistan is a crime against humanity.
Mr. Jekielek: There’s a ton of people that communicate with us at The Epoch Times that are very concerned about the direction of the country. Typically, they really care about the country. They value it, but they see things are going in a very, very different direction than what they would hope for and what they would dream about, and they don’t know what to do about it.
Mr. Prager: The best thing that people could do right now is to get their kids out of the elementary school, high school, or college that their kid attends in 90 percent of the cases, 10 percent let’s say are okay. Okay means that they’re just educating. I don’t care if they educate them to be Republicans. That’s not my point. I want them to educate them.
Princeton just announced that the classics department will not require—to get a BA in classics, you won’t have to know either Greek or Latin. You don’t have to read Shakespeare to get a BA in English at UCLA. They took down the mural of William Shakespeare at the University of Pennsylvania English Department. And they said why, because he was a white European male. So they put up a nonwhite, lesbian female in his place. University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League college.
If you send your kid to an elementary school today, there’s a good chance that they will have what they call, for five-year-olds, they will have a drag queen story hour. A man, not a transgender, a man, dressed as a woman and sashaying and all sorts of things. In other words, sexualizing children from the age of five. This is going on in many schools in America.
Teachers are told not to call their students boys and girls anymore, just call them students because we can’t divide sex or gender into binary units. So they’re not called boys and girls any longer. This started in South Carolina; this didn’t start in New York City. This permeates the country. If you send your child to a typical American school, private or public, you are playing Russian roulette with their values.
And I meet hundreds—probably in the course of a regular year when I travel more, thousands—of parents who have a child or more than one child who was utterly alienated from them because of what they were told at college, basically that their parent is an jerk if they’re a Republican or a conservative who loves America.
Mr. Jekielek: So you’re advocating that Americans just simply remove their kids from school.
Mr. Prager: Yes. At this point, that is the only answer because they only care about money. No students, no money. First of all, a crime was committed against students this year in not having in-class sessions. It was a crime. The number of children who died of COVID is so infinitesimally small that there was no science to have backed up not going. Teachers were either cowards or lazy.
Again, another corrupted profession, the teaching profession. They’re teaching your kids the New York Times lie that America was founded in 1619 when the first slaves came, not in 1776. That the Revolutionary War was fought against Britain to preserve slavery. That’s what your kids are being taught. They’re being taught to hate the best country that was ever created.
Mr. Jekielek: I’m going to talk a little bit about what you said at the beginning here, the teachers either being cowards or this sort of thing. I’m just wondering, there was this kind of panic that was created around coronavirus that I think a lot of people inadvertently may have believed in, not necessarily because of cowardice, just because they were afraid based on information they’re being fed, even if that information wasn’t necessarily accurate.
Mr. Prager: That’s correct. If you rely on the mainstream media, you are being fed panic and lies on a daily basis. I read them and I watch them, but they don’t read us or watch us. On my radio show, I have been reporting that this stuff was a panic and crazed and telling people I’m not wearing a mask, and about ivermectin, and about hydroxychloroquine and zinc from the beginning.
I’ve had doctors on my show regularly, but people who were told, “Oh, don’t listen to talk radio, that’s right wing,” were panicked. There’s no question there was more panic on the left than on the right. There were conservatives who panicked as well. But if you had to divide, everybody knows that that’s true. That the further on the left you get, the more scared you are, the more scared you are of life. That’s my theory before COVID.
Leftists are scared of life. Why did they create safe spaces on college campuses? What’s not safe about a conservative coming to a campus? You actually need a room to play with stuffed animals and watch kittens frolic on a video? That’s what they do in the safe spaces. You need a safe space if somebody you differ with comes to your college. You’re not safe if you’re a black and they read Huckleberry Finn. You’re not safe as a Jew if they read the Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare.
I’m a Jew. I read Merchant of Venice. I slept very well that night. I wrote a book on anti-Semitism, and I’m a committed Jew, and I fought anti-Semitism my whole life. But I’m not a delicate flower. I know that bad things have existed. Shakespeare is great literature even if it’s an anti-Semitic play. That’s just the way it is. Wagner was the greatest anti-Semite in the arts. I think his music is great.
Mr. Jekielek: Actually, I want to read you a headline that I saw in The Epoch Times today. This is related to the first amendment basically. The headline is, “IRS Denies Tax Exemption to Texas Religious Group Because Prayer, Bible Reading Boost the Republican Party.”
Mr. Prager: That’s the headline?
Mr. Jekielek: That’s the headline.
Mr. Prager: Is that actually what the IRS said?
Mr. Jekielek: I pulled a line from what they actually said, and the line is, “The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the D party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRS Section 501(c)(3).” Actually the D party here refers to the Republican Party.
Mr. Prager: Well, I got to say there is truth to the fact that the people who take the Bible seriously are more likely to be Republican. It’s one of the reasons I like Republicans, because Bible’s the greatest work ever written. It’s got more wisdom than all of Harvard put together, let alone other universities.
And it’s why I’m writing, over the course of 10 years, a five volume commentary on the first five books. It’s called “The Rational Bible.” I admit, this is a plug, but nobody writes Bible commentaries to become millionaires, so I think I can get away with it. I know biblical Hebrew extremely well, and I’ve been teaching this all of my life. When you understand those first five books, everything in the world—in the Western world certainly and the Judeo-Christian world everywhere—is based on the first five books.
The Old Testament is based on those. The New Testament is Christianity, is Judaism, it’s where we get the 10 commandments, God creating the world, the Adam and Eve story. The Exodus, love your neighbor as yourself. It’s all there. And they’re right. If you take biblical value seriously, you’re far more likely to be on the conservative side. That is exactly right.
You do believe that there is male and female, that there is a binary, to use their term. There is a binary distinction in the human race. There’s male and female. No one denies that there are males who identify as females and vice versa. No one denies that. I certainly don’t, but that doesn’t mean that the world is not divided between male and female. To say that men give birth is an absurdity, it’s beyond lie. It enters the realm of the absurd that the well-educated are the only people who say that and that anybody who takes the Bible seriously thinks it’s ridiculous.
Makes the IRS argument accurate. The more people who take Judaism and Christianity seriously, the fewer leftists you will have in this country. And the IRS is in service of the left like every government institution. So ironically, their logic is right, their morality and their legality is wrong. That’s no reason to stop a prayer group from being tax exempt. And by the way, if they get away with it, eventually it will happen to many other institutions, including churches and synagogues.
Mr. Jekielek: How do you think this will play out in court ultimately? I imagine there will be some kind of—
Mr. Prager: Well, interestingly, just this week, a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court that Catholic relief services, Catholic charities who have been a major factor in adoptions in America, can on religious grounds, only give children for adoption to a married man and woman, not to a pair of married or unmarried two men or two women. That shocked me in a good sense. It’s a very rare good shock these days.
The entire Supreme Court agreed that Catholic charities have religious freedom. Any normative Christian or Jew believes that God would like families to be headed by a husband and wife who are married. We do not deny that gays can love one another. I am the godfather, my wife and I are godparents, to a gay couple’s children. We have no issue with the fact that there are people who love each other deeply who are of the same sex.
Our only issue is, is there an ideal? And there is an ideal. The nuclear family, that is a husband and wife, is the ideal. We understand some people cannot meet that ideal, just like the ideal is to get married. We understand that there are single people who can’t get married. We live in the real world, but to deny that there isn’t ideal—42 percent of children in the United States are born to an unwed mother. Is that a good thing? We know 85 percent of the men in jail for a violent crime grew up in fatherless homes, 85 percent. You want to get rid of violent crime? Keep dads in the house. It has nothing to do with guns. It has nothing to do with poverty. It’s dads.
Mr. Jekielek: I can’t help be stunned by what we’ve seen happening in America and Canada, my home country, in the past few months. It seemed like there’s been this latent anti-Semitism, basically just kind of waiting to come out at the right opportunity and all sorts of, frankly, shocking, stunning obviously anti-Semitic activity.
Mr. Prager: I wrote a book on that called “Why the Jews?: The Reason for Anti-Semitism.” The thesis is that anti-Semitism is the greatest indicator of evil that we have. The Jews are the miner’s canary. The canary is in the mine with miners. When there are noxious gases, the canary dies before the miner even knows there are bad gases. The canary’s death warns the minors, bad stuff here.
When the Jews are attacked, it’s a warning to society there’s bad stuff going on. Anti-Semitism is the first indication of a society in decline. I don’t care if people like Jews. I’m a Jew. I don’t care if you like me. I care if you hate Jews. This notion, I don’t walk around caring if you love Jews. I don’t love Jews. I love some Jews. I love individuals. I don’t love any group. But if you hate the group, if you hate Jews and that gets widespread, the society is doomed.
Hitler not only destroyed the Jews, he destroyed Germany. And that’s a very scary thing to any intelligent non-Jew. This is a bad thing. Having said that, we have to be honest, the overwhelming majority of attacks, obviously we had the terrible attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh, for example, but overwhelmingly, the physical attacks and the verbal attacks are coming from Muslims and blacks.
That’s just the fact, people don’t say it because there is no courage in America, except on the right. There’s no courage even among liberals. There is Alan Dershowitz and a few others, but it’s very rare. It shouldn’t take courage to say what is true, and that is true.
When people say America is getting more anti-Semitic, the implication is that it is another function of white conservatives, but it isn’t. In fact, they’re the most pro-Jewish, that’s the irony.
So it’s important, because the propaganda is that it’s white supremacists who are hurting Jews. And while they exist, they’re a minimal group in number and a minimal number of the anti-Semitic attacks. And let’s put this thing to rest to that anti-Zionism is not an anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism means that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist. Zionism is the Jewish national movement to establish Israel. If out of the 212 countries on earth, the only one you think doesn’t have a right to exist is the Jewish country, it’s fair to call you an anti-Semite. Okay?
If you think out of all the countries in the world, only Italy has no right to exist, you’re anti-Italian. You might like Italian opera. You might have an Italian friend. You might like Italian food, but you’re an anti-Italian if you don’t think Italy has a right to exist. The whole world is 200 something countries and only the Jewish one, the size of New Jersey. It’s okay for 22 Arab countries to exist, for 50 plus Muslim countries, but well, not one little Jewish one smaller than El Salvador. Please give me a break. You’re an enemy of the Jews if you’re an anti-Zionist.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, in this climate where ostensibly, minorities are supposed to be the oppressed groups and certainly Jews throughout history have definitely played that role objectively. Why does it seem to be okay to be anti-Semitic?
Mr. Prager: Anti-Semitism is unique. That’s why I wrote this book, “Why The Jews?” It’s a very complex thing, but I accept the thesis of two non-Jews, Edward Flannery, a Catholic historian wrote about this and so did Ernest van den Haag. I think he was secular, conservative, brilliant mind, brilliant mind. Wrote for National Review. He wrote “The Jewish Mystique,” one of the most powerful books ever written explaining Jews. And his theory was very simple. The Jews brought a judging God into the world, and they’ve never been forgiven for it. I agree with that.
Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. And the other scholar you mentioned?
Mr. Prager: Same thing, Edward Flannery. In his book also, I’m paraphrasing, the Jews brought God into the world and have not been forgiven for it. And he points out as a Christian that anti-Semitism among Christians is really a hatred of Christianity because Jesus is Jewish, all the apostles are Jews. And he’s right. It’s ultimately an anger at the Jews for giving them the Bible generally, including the New Testament, because it makes demands on you, and people don’t like demands.
They don’t like, as I said, a God who judges and gives you all these rules to live by. It’s a nuisance. It’s better to follow your heart. And the Bible warns against following the heart more than it warns against any other thing in life.
Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating. That wasn’t the answer I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting.
Mr. Prager: We’ll see. You’ll come back. I’m the man with the unexpected answers.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s actually interesting. We’ve talked about this a bit in the past, but I’m very curious about—I think you’ve described it as what makes you tick, what makes you want to pursue the things you pursue. What’s going on in that mind of Dennis Prager?
Mr. Prager: I can tell you what makes me tick in a couple of sentences. I hate evil. That’s what makes me tick. I always did. I don’t like when people hurt other people who are innocent. That’s it. I didn’t like it when I was a kid. I was the tallest kid in class, always, and I used to beat up bullies. And I spent my life beating up bullies. Now the biggest bullies are the leftists in the United States.
There are bullies outside of the United States, the Chinese government, it’s also left as it happens. But I really don’t like bullies and as long as I have the health and the mind to do it, I fight them. My favorite verse in the Bible, if you asked 1,000 people who believe in the Bible, they wouldn’t pick this verse, but I do. It’s my favorite verse. “Those of you who love God must hate evil.” [Psalm 97:10] If you don’t hate evil, you don’t love God.
Mr. Jekielek: What strikes me is that I think many people, even with secular persuasions or a left-wing mindset, might say the same sort of thing makes them tick.
Mr. Prager: They would, but they make up evils, like America being a white supremacist society. You’re right. They’re fighting evil too. They just make up the evils they fight. They don’t fight real evils. I realized this as a kid. I was a liberal Jew, which is redundant in New York. I couldn’t imagine who would vote Republican.
I remember thinking, whoa, there are people who don’t hate communism, do they know what the communists have done, killed a hundred million people? None of them were combatants. I don’t understand how could they not be anticommunist, and they weren’t. Liberals were, but leftists were not. And that’s how I knew from the beginning the left does not hate evil. The left makes up evils.
I write a column every week. People are invited to read it, and you publish it to my great joy. And I wrote one a couple of years ago, it’s titled “The Left Fights Statues, The Right Fights Evil.” They’re really good at bringing down statues. They think that that if you take down a statue, you’ve really fought evil. You’re fighting the good fight if you teach kids that this country stinks. But this country has been more good than any other country. So when they fight this country, they’re not fighting evil, they’re helping evil.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to just touch on the white supremacy point. So you don’t think white supremacy is an issue in America?
Mr. Prager: That’s correct. It exists. But just as I have said my whole life, there are anti-Semites in America, yet I don’t think it’s an anti-Semitic country. It’s the best country Jews have ever lived in outside of Israel. And it’s a fact; it is the best. It’s why a Jew wrote “God Bless America.” Most people don’t know it’s a Jew who wrote that. Jews knew how lucky they were to live in America, even when they couldn’t get into country clubs, even when they couldn’t get into law firms, even when they couldn’t get into Harvard because they were anti-Semitic, but they still knew it’s the best country that they had ever lived in.
Mr. Jekielek: In this climate that we discussed a little bit earlier, a lot of Americans that talk to us wonder where the nation is going. What do you envision are these kind of universal values that could bind Americans of different faiths, persuasions?
Mr. Prager: I have a book out called “Still The Best Hope.” I explain the left and I explain America. And my explanation of America is that we have a trinity, just like Christianity does. The American trinity, I did not make up. It’s on every coin. That’s how I discovered it: E pluribus unum, in God we trust, liberty. That should be the three binding values of all Americans. If we can’t be bound with that, we have a big problem. That’s the American trinity.
That’s why those are the three mottoes on coins, and it’s the only country in the world that has those mottoes on its coinage. E pluribus unum, from many, one. We don’t care where you’re from. We don’t care what your race is. We don’t care your ethnicity. We don’t care whatever, but we are to be Americans.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up your identity. I have a very strong Jewish identity. My kids went to Jewish day schools to learn Judaism and Hebrew. That’s great. I broadcast from the most Armenian city outside of Armenia in Glendale, California. I think it’s great if they send their kid to an Armenian school, nobody has a problem with that. I just want them to know that they’re American and feel American.
It’s not too complex to have a number of identities in you, but we have to unify as Americans. Liberty is the unique American gift. Well, the French gave America the Statue of Liberty, not England, not itself, not Germany, not Japan. They gave it to America. The freest country in the world’s history, less free today than ever in American history because of the left, because the left doesn’t believe in freedom; it believes in equity.
And the third is “in God we trust.” Even if you’re an atheist, you recognize, you should recognize the role that God plays in American values, that our inalienable rights come from God. If God is not the source of our rights, then our rights can be destroyed. The notion that our rights are from God makes them inalienable in the words of the Declaration of Independence.
If our rights come from men, by that I mean men or women, then they can be destroyed by men. So God is essential to the American value system. A lot of secular conservatives don’t know this, and they’re wonderful people, and they’re unfortunately naive.
Mr. Jekielek: So you said something interesting. Let me see if I got this right. Are you saying that equity is antithetical to freedom?
Mr. Prager: Correct.
Mr. Jekielek: Explain that.
Mr. Prager: Yeah, sure. In Norway, if I run a company, I am not free to put anyone I want on my board of directors. Half of them have to be women. I have lost the freedom to choose my board of directors in the name of equity. United Airlines announced that it was going to make sure that half of its pilots were going to be female or people of color. So there’s no longer liberty that is governing who becomes pilots.
It’s certain the non-woman and the non-person of color has lost that freedom to become a pilot. And United Airlines is no longer free to choose the best pilots. It’s constant. Imagine if baseball teams or any sports team was told, “You’re not free to hire the best shortstop or the best quarterback, whatever sport it is. You have to meet an equity goal.” Then you’ve lost freedom.
Freedom and equality—not equality of opportunity, not equality before the law or before God, that’s a given. But freedom and equality are in fact in opposition. And that’s why the American revolution is in opposition to the French revolution. Their big thing was equality; our big thing was liberty. They produce the guillotine, and we produce the freest society in human history.
Mr. Jekielek: Build that for me a little bit, because I don’t think that’s necessarily obvious to everybody.
Mr. Prager: The French revolution devolved into the guillotine, because they didn’t emphasize liberty. They emphasized equality. So they called each other comrade. That was big. Everybody is equal, no king anymore.
Another big thing is the removal of authority. In the name of equality, we remove authority, parental authority. All cults hate the parental authority. That’s why I consider “honor your father and mother” to be such an important one of the 10 commandments, because the family is a bulwark against dictatorship and dictatorships know it.
In the Soviet Union, you were to listen to the party, not to your parents. You were told that from the beginning in Komsomol, the Soviet youth group. And for Hitler, your leader was Hitler, not your parents or the Nazi Party. This is a very common thing in cults to remove parental authority for the state. The state becomes the enforcer.
America wanted liberty, so we wanted a very small state. The French wanted equality, so they wanted a very big state. You can’t enforce equity or equality without a powerful state. But the powerful state is the antithesis of individual liberty.
And we are seeing that today, the state gets stronger and the individual gets weaker. We celebrated the individual, the first society to do so. The state is there to enable you to be free. That’s the American view. The left-wing view is the state is there to take care of you. Those are antithetical views, and you’ll get a lot more freedom when the state is only there to enable you to be free if that’s how it regards itself.
The left is so loathing of freedom. It would like to bundle us into apartment buildings. Your houses are too big. Why do you need a house when you can live in an apartment? Get out of your car. The car is a symbol of liberty. You go where you want and when you want. I love the car for that reason, because I love liberty and that gives me liberty. Getting everybody onto trains is not freedom. Got to go by the train’s schedule, not yours.
It permeates all of life, this issue. It’s in my commentary, “The Rational Bible,” because it’s right there. When the Israelites leave Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery, what did they do? They complained to Moses and to God, “Take us back to Egypt. We ate better.” They didn’t want freedom. They wanted better meals.
Mr. Jekielek: So Dennis, with PragerU, you communicate with a lot of young people all the time. And of course not just young people, but older people who are concerned about the young people. As we finish up, what would you say to them today?
Mr. Prager: First, it’s important to note, and it’s a sad note, what the left has done to young Americans is unprecedented. It has hurt them terribly. Number one, it has told them their past is awful, their present is awful, and their future is horrific.
Their past is awful. They’re Americans and the American past is basically unredeemably evil. The present is awful. This is a systemically racist country, and you might die of COVID. And your future is even worse because there’s an existential threat to biological life from global warming. Think about that.
The generation that grew up in the depression and World War II had more hope and certainly more love of country. That was my father’s generation. They were happier in their primitive apartments. My father fought three years in the Pacific in World War II. He was happier than kids going to college today who have never seen a gun, let alone a warship. The damage that the left has done to kids is truly unforgivable.
So let me say to young people, your past is awesome. Every culture on earth had slaves. What makes America different is not that it had slaves, it’s that it abolished slavery. It’s the best country on earth for a black human being to live in. It’s why millions have come to live in this country. In the past, 360,000 came here from Africa as slaves; Now, millions have come here from Africa as free people wanting to live here.
I always ask and I never get an answer from a person of the left. If America is systemically racist, why do so many millions of blacks want to move here? Are they stupid? They didn’t get the message? They love it here. They are among the most successful immigrant groups in American history, Africans to America in the last 50 years. They’re doing great and they love it, and they want to come in more millions.
If you’re in college and believe the lies you’re told about America, I’m just asking you to ask yourself, gee, why would all these blacks come from Africa? They got to be crazy. Did Jews move to Germany in the 1930s? No. Right? Because that really was systemically anti-Semitic. People don’t go where they’re hated. They go where they have vast opportunities. This is the land of opportunity for a black human being and every other human being.
The day you awaken—it’s funny that the word woke is used—but the day you awaken from the world of the lies of the left, you’ll be a happier person. There were no happy leftists. They were happy liberals and unhappy liberals, happy conservatives and unhappy conservatives. There were no happy leftists. How could they be happy? They loathe their country, they loathe Western civilization, they loathe themselves and they are frightened. They’re frightened horribly of the present and of the future. That’s a recipe for misery.
Every poll shows that people on the right are happier. And so I would ask you read us, watch us, listen to us. There were so many of us on the internet and in writing. If you think that you’re intellectually alive, just watch us and read us just in order to dismiss us. At least you’ll know what you’re rejecting. But there’s a danger, they know there’s a danger.
When I go to colleges to speak, I know that I could undo four years of propaganda in one and a half hours of speaking. Watch my speech on the internet at the University of Wyoming on “Why Socialism Makes People Selfish.” The vast turnout of young people’s reactions were pretty clear. Wow, this makes sense. Socialism isn’t beautiful, it’s ugly.
So I say to young people, your elementary school, high school, and college has probably conspired to make you unhappy and angry. It’s a lousy way to be at your age. It’s a lousy way to be at my age. But youth has always been the place for a certain carefree life, for a certain optimism. And they rob you of it. That’s wrong.
Mr. Jekielek: So aside from leaving school, and aside from reading and watching conservative authors and video, what should be done? What should we do?
Mr. Prager: I think you should take the possibility that religion might be a good idea. I think you should embark on taking whatever religion you were raised in. I generally believe people should give the one they were raised in a chance. You may reject it for another one, that’s fine, but give the one that you rejected a chance. It’s probably deeper than what you think you rejected.
You’re going to live untill 100. The average young person today is going to live to 100 years. So if you took one out of your 100 years to experiment with religion—not spirituality, which means nothing. It’s a word that means nothing—but with religion, that is with a religious community, studying the Bible, attending church or synagogue, trying to find one that gives you depth, not politics, it could have a very big impact on your life.
I’m a religious Jew, and I observe the Sabbath, which is also in the 10 commandments. And by the way, I would start since you asked or since I’m answering, start with my 10 videos on the 10 commandments. It’s five minutes each, since this is not a year, this is 50 minutes, but they will give you an idea of the depth in just the 10 commandments five minutes at a time. It’s at PragerU. It’s free, so no commercial here.
But I observe the Sabbath, the Shabbat, as it is in Hebrew. So when Friday sunset comes and I’m on broadcast, I don’t go on television. I don’t watch television. I don’t listen to radio. I don’t even read the newspaper. I take a 24 hour vacation from secular life. It is one of the reasons for my happiness, for my health, for my friendships, for my happy family, that is my single favorite thing in religion.
I speak at my synagogue every week. I teach the Bible. I was telling my synagogue the other week that I’m reading a book on intermittent fasting, because I’ve been doing this for three years. I fast 15 to 20 hours a day, 15 to 18 usually. I don’t find it very difficult, but I do believe it’s healthy for you.
In his book, the author made a point, it’s worth taking a fast from anything that you’re addicted to. It’s a very intelligent point. So you can control yourself and not have it, whatever the it is, control you. Do intermittent fasting from video games, do intermittent fasting from ____ you fill in the blank.
So I got up and I told my synagogue, “You know what the Sabbath is, it’s a fast from secularism.” I take a secularism fast every week, and it’s one of the reasons for my happiness and joy. And I have you, my community, and I have my Friday night dinners with my friends and my Saturday lunches. And I wouldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for the Sabbath. To have this day just away, an island in the sea of work, in the sea of secularism of the rest of the week. So I would offer this to the young people.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, Dennis Prager, it’s been such a pleasure to have you on again.
Mr. Prager: It is my pleasure.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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