In the eyes of Dennis Prager, how is the suppression of opinion in America today unprecedented, and what are the parallels between this and McCarthyism of the 1950’s?
How do liberals and conservatives actually have more in common than they think?
And, what is the full impact of the decline of religiosity in America?
In this episode, we sit down with radio talk show host Dennis Prager, the founder of Prager University. He co-stars in the recent documentary “No Safe Spaces” with Adam Carolla.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Dennis Prager, so great to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dennis Prager: My honor, Jan. Thank you.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, you made the film No Safe Spaces recently. I watched it. We actually talked about it some months back. Excellent film. I recommend it to everybody. In the film, you make an assertion that America should actually be a safe space where people can speak to each other. You kind of flip the idea of safe spaces on its head. What struck me [while] watching this dramatic increase in what they call cancel culture in America is that it is almost like America is becoming a safe space as a whole.
Mr. Prager: In the college sense of safe space, meaning a space to avoid anything you differ with, which means anything conservative. That’s correct. It’s also unprecedented. The suppression of opinion in America today is unprecedented. It dwarfs McCarthyism. There’s no comparison, but there are parallels, because anti-communism was a noble cause. There are those who used anti-communism for ill ends. The Nazis were a perfect example. The left uses anti-racism, which is a noble idea, to be opposed to racism, as it was noble to be anti-communist, but they use it for ill ends. The parallels to the past are so eerie as to be breathtaking.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s fascinating. When you say worse than McCarthyism, that’s a bold statement.
Mr. Prager: Well, it’s not even comparable. This is nationwide. This is prolonged. This has affected big business, newspapers, schools. Eugene Genovese was a Marxist professor. People should read [what] wrote about this in The New Republic many, many years ago. He wrote “In the 50s, I was a Marxist, an outspoken Marxist at the City University of New York” I think it was. “I had total freedom to say what I believed. I had more freedom in the McCarthy era as a Marxist than conservatives have today.” He wrote this 25 years ago.
Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating.
Mr. Prager: Because it’s a fact. It’s fascinating only because it’s a fact.
Mr. Jekielek: How did we get here, Dennis?
Mr. Prager: This, I can explain. The left is not liberal. The greatest crisis is the cowardice and naivete of liberals. A few liberals understand what Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong liberal and Democrat, understands, that the left is his enemy, not the right. The vast majority of liberals think the right is their enemy, not the left. … I can give any number of examples. … On PragerU, I have six examples in five minutes on that very topic, but I’ll give you one.
The liberal ideal is to be colorblind. I see who you, Jan, are, irrespective of your skin color, which is as important as your shirt color. That’s the liberal position on race. That is the moral position. That was Martin Luther King’s position. That is the biblical position. God created Adam. God has no race. Adam is in God’s image. We are all from Adam, who has no race.
The left says that colorblind is racist. In the Orwellian world of the left, good is bad and bad is good. There’s nothing more noble than being colorblind. What does it mean? Does it mean I don’t see your color, literally? Of course not. I see your color, but I see the color of your shirt. Neither the color of your face nor the color of your shirt means a damn thing to me, because I have a liberal and biblical rooting in the issue of race. Leftism values race. It matters. The name of Cornel West’s book is Race Matters. The Nazis thought race matters. The left thinks race matters.
Mr. Jekielek: Now this is, it’s very interesting because it turns some conventional wisdom on its head. I think we may have talked about this a little bit … before, but I think it’s worth talking about again. You make a stark distinction between liberal and left. You offer this one example, but in general principles, how is this different? Because in a lot of people’s minds, and I see it in the literature all the time, it’s the same.
Mr. Prager: That’s the victory of the left—to have convinced liberals that the left is not their enemy. The AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations] knew in the early part of the Cold War that communism was evil. Among the most powerful anti-communist forces was labor in the United States in the 50s. Then as the left took over, they didn’t become pro-communist. They became anti-anti-communist. So if you were anti-communist, you’re a “cold warrior.” That was the term for us who thought the Soviet Union really was an evil empire, like that was a difficult call.
This is why I say the tragedy is the liberal inability to understand that they have nothing in common with the left except one thing: big government. Liberals believe in big government and the left believes in big government. They have nothing else in common. Liberalism has always been pro-capitalist. Leftism has always been anti-capitalism. Liberalism believes in free speech. The left, from Lenin to your university today, does not believe in free speech. The left has never believed in free speech. Wherever it can, it suppresses it. Nothing is new, except the power of the left in America.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s fascinating. So we have speech, we have race.
Mr. Prager: Capitalism
Mr. Jekielek: Capitalism. Big government, there’s agreement.
Mr. Prager: Patriotism, love of America. Liberals stand for the flag. Leftists think it’s honorable not to stand for the flag.
Mr. Jekielek: You would almost think, if you were to look at some conservative publications that all liberals don’t stand for the flag. This is I guess, speaking to your point.
Mr. Prager: I try to teach fellow conservatives to make the distinction, both for intellectual honesty, and in the hope that some liberals will come over to our side, like [Alan] Dershowitz, like Dave Rubin and some others. Here’s the irony. I’m known as a conservative. I wear that as a badge of honor. … The only difference between my values today and when I grew up as a liberal Democrat is with regard to big government. Reagan turned me around when he said “Government is the problem, not the solution.” [“Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”] He was right. Then the more I thought of it, I thought, “Whoa, government really is the problem.” Without big government, you can’t have genocide. … Of the greatest massacres in the world of the last hundred years, only one was not perpetrated by big government, when the Hutus massacred the Tutsis in Burundi, in Rwanda.
Mr. Jekielek: Fascinating again, the connection of genocide.
Mr. Prager: Right, I know. It’s unbelievable that people don’t stare reality in the face. You need big government to do big evil. Now, you can say you need big government to do big good. Okay, but let’s be intellectually honest. I’m not going to risk it, because the more powerful the government, the more you must believe in the goodness and integrity and courage of the leaders … with all that power. Being a realist, I know that human nature is not basically good, so I don’t want to give flawed human beings a lot of power.
Mr. Jekielek: … We started talking about this so-called cancel culture, as silencing of dissenting voices that you say comes from the left. This seems to have gone really into overdrive following this horrible killing of George Floyd a few weeks ago. It’s like the world has changed somehow, in America, at least it seems to me.
Mr. Prager: They use that as an opportunity. These are the people that say “follow science.” They don’t follow science. They don’t follow facts. The National Academy of Sciences last year said that in all their studies, they could not find anti-black bias in terms of killing on the part of police. [This includes] a study at Harvard, by a black professor I might add, Michigan State, [and the] University of Maryland. The sum total of unarmed blacks killed two years ago, this is the last year we have statistics, was either nine or fifteen, depending on what you call unarmed. Nine or fifteen. The sum total of whites was either nineteen or twenty-five. More than blacks. There’s zero reason to say this is systemic racism.
There is zero reason to say America is racist. There is zero reason to say the cops are systemically racist. There are racist cops, there are racist Americans. I’m a Jew. There are anti-semitic Americans. America is the best country, best non-Jewish country Jews have ever lived in. This is the best non-black country blacks have ever lived in. Now it is; it obviously wasn’t when there was slavery. I’m talking about now and in the post-civil rights era.
Mr. Jekielek: Yet, we witnessed hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters out there basically ostensibly protesting systemic racism or racism.
Mr. Prager: Right. They’re protesting a lie. This is the power of the media. The media is controlled by the left. *The left for the left.* Again, there are conservatives who lie and there are liberals who lie, but they both believe truth is a value. Leftism has never posited truth as a value. On the left, the truth is what they say it is. That’s why Lenin called the Soviet paper “Pravda.” Russian, I speak, unlike Polish. And “pravda” of course means truth.
Mr. Jekielek: Also in Polish, [“prawda” means truth] by the way.
Mr. Prager: Is that right?
Mr. Jekielek: Yes.
Mr. Prager: Fascinating. The Soviet view was, whatever the Communist Party says is true is true. That is the view on the left in the United States. They actually teach kids there’s white truth, and black truth and other truth. Objective truth is now taught to be a white supremacist idea.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay, I hadn’t heard that.
Mr. Prager: Yes, that’s right. This is increasingly the view [and is accepted] just like critical race theory. It will become the norm that what you call objective truth [is not accepted]. I just gave the objective truth on the number of unarmed blacks who were killed. That’s from the Washington Post—not the opinion page of The Washington Post, I might add. Will any of the hundred thousand protesters say, “Whoa, I really protested on the basis of a lie.” Will one Democratic governor say, “It’s not true what you’re saying. There isn’t systemic police brutality against blacks.” No matter how many facts you give them, because they will call it—they won’t say it in these words [but] they will say in effect—”Those are white facts,” or they will say you’re racist for stating those facts.
Here’s a perfect example of white truth [and] black truth. I was taught in the 70s at Columbia University, that only whites could be racist. That is the normative left-wing view. So [Louis] Farrakhan is not a racist because he’s black. … By the way, why isn’t “All whites are racist” [itself] racist? If I said all blacks are anything, it would be called racist. But if you say all whites are something, that’s not racist. This is an example of white truth and non-white truth.
Mr. Jekielek: The way I was taught it—I remember this actually quite distinctly because I remember thinking, “Hmm?”— is that basically the whites are the oppressors, and only the oppressors can be racist.
Mr. Prager: Yes. That’s absurd. If a black guy hates whites, and he picks a white and he shoots the white, was that a racist act? Is he an oppressor? Only the majority can oppress? … Can there be black racists in Africa? That’s what I used to ask at Columbia. They said, “Well, they don’t oppress anybody, only fellow blacks,” so I guess they don’t do it on a racial basis. We’re living in the world of the lie. Gigantic lies.
… It’s the same thing with the Women’s March. There’s a gigantic lie that women are oppressed in America. How many women went on the Women’s March? A million? I don’t know what the number was. These people live in make-believe land. I believe one cause of all of this—aside from believing what they were taught from kindergarten and believing the media, which is a lot of brainwashing—is boredom.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay.
Mr. Prager: People need a cause. Viktor Frankl—which is the book that most influenced me after the Bible—said that the greatest need of the human, even greater than sex, is meaning. By the way, it’s easy to prove that he’s right about sex. There are people that don’t have sex, [in]voluntarily or voluntarily even, or because that is the way life worked out or Catholic priests or nuns, who are happy people. But you can have all the sex that you ever wanted, and if you don’t have meaning, you will not be happy. Meaning is the single greatest need of the human being. With the death of belief in America, belief in God, belief in Judaism or Christianity, you have to believe in something.
So now, anti-racism is the current religion. Environmentalism is a secular religion. Anti-racism is a secular religion. Feminism is a secular religion. People need meaning. They need community. Demonstrations give you meaning and community instantly. … [Recently] there were three groups: protesters, destroyers, and looters. … Most of the looters were black, young blacks, that I saw in videos. I may be statistically wrong, but that’s what I’ve seen. How many of them go to church regularly? The answer is close to zero. Let’s be honest. With all the solutions from the left, they never speak about, “Maybe religion, maybe that might be a good thing.”
So boredom is a huge factor in the left’s success. Americans have it so good, that if they don’t believe in America, in liberty, in the Constitution, in the Bible, the whole gamut of Judeo-Christian values and American values, then they will have to come up with some other evil to fight. As I have said my whole life, those who don’t fight real evils fight make-believe evils.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s interesting that you say this. I had Curtis Sliwa on the show from the Guardian Angels in New York, who were trying to basically protect property and things like that from the looters. He had a similar analysis of the different groups and talked about how most of them were gangs, actually, and this was organized. You’re talking about this community, so for those folks, the gangs were the communities.
Mr. Prager: Well, I ask another question. How many of the looters, or the destroyers, grew up with a strong father in their life? It’s a huge issue.
Mr. Jekielek: Right, and this is postulated by a number of people that I’ve spoken with, especially recently, as being one of the really big problems in America.
Mr. Prager: Well, this is a good example again of white truth. They never raised the fact that between 70% and 80% of black children are born to unwed mothers. If you raise that, that’s called racism. It’s not called a truth that we need to debate. It is dismissed as racist.
Mr. Jekielek: The destroyers [looters], as you call them, I think were predominantly not black, actually.
Mr. Prager: … I would love to know their upbringings. If their father saw a video of them smashing the windows of a cafe, of a coffee shop, would he be proud? “Well done, son.” It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? As a father, I find it hard to imagine.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s interesting. Actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot is the decline of religiosity in society. You’re saying this is kind of the foundational problem. How is this connected with the father figure?
Mr. Prager: Well, I’ll come to the father figure in a moment and the connection to the secular problem. Just, it’s worth again repeating. I’ll put it in a phrase that is attributed to G. K. Chesterton. We’re not sure he actually said it, but I didn’t come up with it. I don’t want to take credit, but it’s a brilliant phrase. “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing. They believe in anything.” It’s a brilliant, brilliant insight made at the end of the 19th century. That’s exactly when Christianity died. When Christianity died in Europe, you didn’t get beauty. You got Nazism and communism. There are some beautiful things now, that’s true, but there are big prices paid even without Nazism and communism in Europe. But I don’t need to get into that.
As for the father figure in religion? You’ll find this fascinating. I’m writing the third volume of my 5-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible, because I know biblical Hebrew well. I’ve taught it my whole life. I need to explain it to people, because if it’s not made relevant, it’s not worth reading the Bible, so I explain it and make it relevant. I have taught the Ten Commandments all of my life, and I have vacillated on which is the most important. For many years, I said “Do not steal” was the most important, because murder is the stealing of a life, adultery is the stealing of a spouse, a false witness is stealing of justice, so everything is ultimately stealing something. Oddly enough, I now believe “Honor your father and mother” may be the most important, because I realize in my lifelong study of totalitarianism that all totalitarian movements sever the authority of parents, first thing they do.
Mr. Jekielek: Wow, okay.
Mr. Prager: Komsomol in the Soviet Union, Hitlerjugend [Hitler Youth] in Germany, there’s always a movement to sever parental authority. The left in America is severing parental authority. First, it severed the father to begin with. You don’t need a father. “You can marry the state,” that’s what a lot of women were told. “If he won’t support you, we will.” There was article after article in the New York Times—I bring this to the attention of my listeners on my radio show—about how ultimately, fathers are not necessary. … People should look it up: Are fathers necessary? New York Times.
Anyway, now, here is the way it goes. The human being is a very complex creature, and can do evil easily. It is hard to make good people. It is easy to make rocket scientists. It is hard to make good people. You have, first God is the moral authority. “I say, ‘Do not murder.’ I say, ‘Do not steal.’ I say, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Everybody knows the verse “Love your neighbor as yourself.” They don’t know the end of the verse. “I am the Lord, your God.” “I’m the one who’s telling you to love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s not a suggestion from Moses or from some committee.
Next authority, you need a whole series of authority figures in life to have order and civilization. God, then parents. Parents made it into the Ten Commandments. That’s huge. It’s the only human we’re told to honor, and it’s the only human we’re not told to love. Love your neighbor, love the stranger, love God. In the New Testament, love your enemy. Never told to love your parents. Whether you love your parents or not is your issue. God’s issue is that you honor them. So God, then parents.
I’ll give you other authority figures that the left has removed: teachers. Teachers are no longer authority figures. Teachers can’t discipline their kids. I’ll never forget—and I’m not saying this was good, but I’ve got to show you the difference. I went to yeshiva, Jewish religious school, until I was 18. I talked in class a lot, and the teachers found me to be a nuisance. One day in 8th grade, the rabbi picked me up and threw me over the desk. When I tell this to kids, they go, “What did your parents say?” I said, “If I’d had told my father that the rabbi threw me over the desk, my father would have thrown me over the desk,” because the assumption is the teacher is right. We have no such assumption today. You get a bad grade, parents complain to the teacher. They don’t complain to their kid. “Why’d you give my kid a D?”
Then, another authority in civilization is the police. The police are regarded with contempt on the left, and they are treated that way by many on the left. They are spit at, they are reviled, they are basically called evil, and in fact now, there’s a call just to get rid of them, defund them. So no God as moral authority, no parents as moral authority, no teachers as moral authority, no police as moral authority. What is left on the left is the state. The state has taken over for all of these others. That is the authority. That is why “Honor your father and mother” is a bulwark against totalitarianism. It’s a remarkable thing, and it’s one of the reasons I’m a big fan of the Ten Commandments.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s an absolutely fascinating perspective, frankly.
Mr. Prager: Well, credit to you. This will sound odd perhaps, but since I believe it, it doesn’t matter to me if it sounds odd. I’ve been speaking for many decades and been interviewed for many decades, and it’s fascinating to me, there are two types of interviewers: those who hear what you say, and those who don’t. You [Jan] hear what the respondent says. You do. I’ve no reason to cultivate your good will. Your reaction is impressive, because when one hears this stuff for the first time, wow, that’s very important, and that’s what you’re saying.
It is very important. The arrogance of the modern era: we don’t need God, we don’t need the Ten Commandments, we are the source of right and wrong. You see the repercussions now, where we live in this world of the lie, so it’s big.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s very interesting that you talk about how the left or leftists don’t believe in an objective truth, and truth is what I say it is at any given time.
Mr. Prager: Truth is what furthers the progressive cause. That’s the way I would put it. They would not say “the truth is what I make up.” [but] they act as if truth is like it was in the Soviet Union. If it advances the party’s cause, then it’s true. That is why any truth that is stated that undermines a left-wing argument is not refuted. It is labeled as evil. That’s the issue with the race issue. You are a racist if you say that you should be colorblind, but okay, you could say that is opinion. You are a racist if you say that white racism is a far less significant problem in black life than the absence of fathers. The issue is not “we will refute your argument with data.” Your argument is false, because it undermines the left-wing view.
Mr. Jekielek: I have to get back to that in a moment, because … I’ve described a situation like this in the past with respect to Communist China, this kind of reality that you’re just painting. Never occurred to me, frankly, until this moment to look at it in this direction [with] what’s happening in America.
The thing I wanted to mention before going down that road is the power of language. I’ve been thinking about this term “black lives matter,” because it’s obviously true. I hope that everybody watching this program believes that as a concept. However, there’s an organization called Black Lives Matter as well. Somehow these two topics, these two concepts are conflated, right? It’s almost like … you have to kind of say you’re behind the organization, even though you might not be. We all agree that black lives matter.
Mr. Prager: Right. Yes, the left is brilliant at doing that. It would have been like saying [about] some socialist workers party. Are you for workers? Yes, I’m for workers. Are you for the Workers Party—which is often the name of a Communist Party? No. They do evil. So they take the name of a good cause and kidnap it, as it were. If you are pro the cause and anti the group, it’s not a distinction that the left will allow you to make. If you believe black lives matter, you must support BLM. That’s the left-wing jargon, and it works. Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, General Motors, they’re all supporting an organization that loathes capitalism, for example, loathes liberty, loathes Israel. Left-wing Jews support it. It loathes Israel, but it’s called Black Lives Matter.
Mr. Jekielek: So, going back to what I was just talking about, often I’m kind of astounded by this saying that we’ve heard a lot from Communist China, which is, “you’ve hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” It’s actually kind of a similar conflation.
Mr. Prager: That’s right.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s fascinating. Again, I hadn’t connected those things.
Mr. Prager: Communism, or left-wing totalitarian ideas, are not race-based or ethnic-based. They never caught on in American, like in other places. France had a very big communist party. Italy had a very big communist party. Greece had a very big communist party. We had a very small communist party. But the left took over media and academia, the two overwhelmingly great influences on kids’ lives, on young people’s lives, and it worked.
It’s painful to me, who still gets the chills when I see the flag-waving and the national anthem playing. I wonder what percentage of 20-year-olds get the chills when they see the flag and hear the national anthem. I suspect it is the lowest percentage of chilled individuals in American history. The American flags are removed from campuses, because students say, “Oh, it’s a symbol of xenophobia or racism.” How many campuses have an American flag? It’d be an interesting study to embark on.
Mr. Jekielek: … I want to look at communist China a little bit here, because one of the things that my wife said to me—who is, as we discussed, Jewish—is that … what communist China’s leadership did with respect to coronavirus is the “and then they came for me” moment. That’s how she described it. That was another one of those things that I thought, “Whoa, I can’t believe you just said that, but wait a second.” I wanted to throw that out there.
Mr. Prager: Well, okay, but in the famous “Then they came for me,” it was “First they came for the socialists, … I was not a socialist. … Then they came for the Jews, … I [wasn’t] a Jew.” Who did the Chinese come for first in that parallel?
Mr. Jekielek: Well, ostensibly, first of all, the Chinese communists came for the Chinese people.
Mr. Prager: That’s right. Well and groups within China.
Mr. Jekielek: Right.
Mr. Prager: And Hong Kong now.
Mr. Jekielek: Right.
Mr. Prager: And Taiwan next.
Mr. Jekielek: Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong.
Mr. Prager: Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong, Christians. That’s correct. One of my videos at PragerU—and I’ve only done 10% of the videos, I want to make that clear—but one of mine is, Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism? It’s a very important video. Every kid should see that; every college kid should see that video. Like all our videos, it’s five minutes long. We don’t tax your time.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, give me a hint here.
Mr. Prager: Oh! Well, one reason is that the left has written the history. … I am happy as a Jew that there was such study [scrutiny] of the Nazis and the Holocaust. It was worthy of study. But as a human, I am not happy at the ignorance and inattention to communist evil. Mao killed at least 60 million people, maybe 80 million. And Stalin is between 20 and 40 million. The Ukrainians were starved to death, deliberately starved to death. If a peasant stole food, he was killed. The hero of the Soviet Union in the early 1930s was a boy named Pavlik Morozov, because he snitched on his father. He was Ukrainian. He snitched to the communist authorities, “My father stole food for the family.” They executed the father and made a postage stamp with Pavlik Morozov. It’s a perfect example.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, and it circles back to your [point about parents]
Mr. Prager: Yes. [The state is a] Substitute for the undermined parental authority. Kids are told in America in some places, “If your parents say something racist, you should let us know.” Something racist, remember, is that “I believe you should be colorblind.” That’s called racist.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, this is actually another interesting vantage point here. … I’ve heard from a number of people that since coronavirus, so many people are stuck at home for prolonged periods of time, forced into homeschooling, so to speak. What I’ve been hearing—and I don’t have any data on this at this point—is that a lot of them are kind of thinking this might be a good idea.
Mr. Prager: I hope that’s true. You know that Harvard Magazine just published an article by a professor about a professor who wants to ban homeschooling, because that gives parents authority over the state. It’s a perfect example. The left loathes homeschooling. In Germany, you can’t do it. It’s actually banned.
Mr. Jekielek: Really?
Mr. Prager: Yeah.
Mr. Jekielek: Of all places.
Mr. Prager: Isn’t that odd? Maybe they’re afraid you’ll teach your kid to be a Nazi. Here, they’re afraid you’ll teach your kid to be a Christian.
Mr. Jekielek: Germany, it’s fascinating to me because there’s also this kind of affinity for communist China.
Mr. Prager: Is that right?
Mr. Jekielek: Certainly Poland. Well, you know, an interest in doing business.
Mr. Prager: Oh, well I think that’s true for all of western Europe. See, the collapse of Judeo-Christian principles has an effect. You stop thinking morally. You use moral terms—we love humanity, we want to save the planet, we’re anti-racist. So the Chinese government is a totalitarian one? What do we care? The Iranian is a totalitarian theocracy? What do we care?
Their greatest single aim is to have another Holocaust of Jews? They say “We wish to eradicate Israel.” It’s the only country on earth that announces it wants to eradicate another country on earth. The Europeans are dying to do business, and the Democrats and the never-Trumpers hate Trump for getting out of the Iran deal that Obama made. They claim to be moral thinkers. That’s the delusion of the left.
Mr. Jekielek: The whole Iran deal fascinates me in that from what I remember, there was a quite high percentage of people who didn’t want it back in the day, right?
Mr. Prager: Yeah, it doesn’t matter though. The combination of the universities, The New York Times, and Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, and the President of the United States? You’ll prevail over the majority of Americans. That’s what Obama had with the Iran deal.
Mr. Jekielek: We’re in a very difficult time in American history, let’s say. You mentioned this at the beginning: an unprecedented level of censorship.
Mr. Prager: … Aside from my [radio show and] fireside chat every week for Prager University, I now have started answering questions on live Facebook once a week for an hour. Somebody wrote in, I don’t remember what state—they come from other countries as well, but this was an American question. “They are planning to all take a knee at my place of work. If I don’t, I will be fired. Dennis, what should I do?” Now, can you imagine if there was a business that said, “Tomorrow we’re all getting together, and I want you all to make the sign of the cross, and if you don’t, you’re fired.” The country would erupt against that business. It would be put out of business. They would be arrested, or they would be put in jail. But the left-wing religion, whatever it is at any given moment: environmentalism, feminism, Marxism, or anti-racism that we can coerce. It is okay to fire somebody who doesn’t take a knee against racism.
Mr. Jekielek: Everything you’re describing turns the concept of being anti-racist, what does that actually mean in this day and age? It’s used one way, but it means something quite different.
Mr. Prager: Right. It means “help us crush any opposition to the left.” That’s what it means. … That’s what anti-fascism meant for communism. That’s exactly right. It’s what anti-communism meant for fascists.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay, Dennis, so what’s your prescription?
Mr. Prager: Well, the immediate prescription and the long-range prescription—I work more in the long-range—but the immediate is to fight, is to put on Facebook a good article or a good interview. If you’re unfriended, they were never friends. I would never unfriend somebody if they sent me, or if a relative sent me, a liberal or left-wing video. I would never unfriend them. It wouldn’t even occur to me to do so.
I’ll give you an example of the difference in tolerance. [This] story was told to me by Adam Carolla on my radio show. He and I made No Safe Spaces. Ellen DeGeneres, … not even a year ago, was at a football game with former President George W. Bush in Texas. She was denounced by leftists on her Twitter page and Facebook. She was just denounced. “How could you be with that right-wing conservative ex-president? The man who “Bush lied, people died.”
Adam Carolla made the point that not one conservative said, “Bush, how could you be with that lesbian left-winger?” It doesn’t matter to us. Of course, you should watch a football game with a gay left-winger or a straight left-winger or a gay conservative or whatever. It’s football. We don’t poison everything. They poison everything. The hate is 98% from the left.
By the way, talking about football, … I could not watch a football game now. After [Commissioner] Roger Goodell … “America is racist. It’s systemically racist. Whites are racist.” … These players, including white players, are saying to their fans, “You’re scumbags.” Because, let’s be honest, a racist is a scumbag. I’m sorry about the use of language. I don’t know. Nice. What am I going to say, naughty? A racist is a terrible human being. That’s a very bad thing to be. Here is what the theory is. “We can call the fans lowlife racists, but we expect them to cheer for us.” My dignity alone would not allow me to do that. I could not watch a football game now, knowing the contempt with which they hold me because of my race. It’s astonishing that people will cheer them on. Well, except for leftists.
So you have to fight. That’s the immediate. The long-range is, we have to return to the American trinity. It’s not the Christian Trinity, the American trinity. It’s on every coin. I didn’t make it up. I made up the term, but it’s on every coin: Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, [and] In God We Trust. That’s the unique American value system.
Not equality. Any serious movement to material equality involves violence. At the very least, stealing from people. The French Revolution put equality into its trinity—liberty, equality, fraternity—and ended up with the guillotine. American Revolution did not and ended up with the freest society in the world. France made the Statue of Liberty not for itself but made it for America. You can’t have it, the Founders said, without God. You don’t have to be a Christian, but the God, if you will, of the Ten Commandments at minimum, because if your rights come from man, man can take them away. And E Pluribus Unum? We know you can have blacks, you can have Asians, you can have Native Americans, you can have whites, you can have every nationality, but we’re all American—from many, one. Those three are the only way to preserve America as America, and all of them are being warred on by the left.
Mr. Jekielek: Big task ahead, in your mind.
Mr. Prager: Big. That’s correct. … Civilization can be crushed in one generation. Germany was the most advanced artistic cultured country in Europe. People say how could the country that gave us Beethoven and Bach and Schiller and Heine give us Auschwitz? It’s a common question. Of course, it’s not asked at colleges today because they never heard of Beethoven, Bach, Schiller, Heine, or Auschwitz. Nevertheless, those who heard of them ask that question, and the answer is, it can happen anywhere. We are watching the undoing of American liberty in one generation, in our case, by those who call themselves progressives.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis Prager, I think I’m going to have to end with that. Even though I don’t like to end on this kind of note, I think it’s important.
Mr. Prager: It is, thank you.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. Prager: My honor.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.