On the heels of the breach of the U.S. Capitol, Big Tech companies have swiftly censored the President, the emerging social media platform Parler was effectively shut down, and there are growing calls for no-fly lists.
Does the assault on the Capitol warrant such a response?
“We’re living in a gigantic lie that is reminiscent of the Reichstag fire,” argues talk show host Dennis Prager, founder of Prager University.
This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Dennis Prager, so good to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Dennis Prager: Thank you. I’m honored.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, these are incredibly, incredibly difficult times. You’re a voice of reason for many Americans and frankly, at least one Canadian [myself]. I was in the House buildings, in the Cannon Rotunda when everything happened at the Capitol on January 6. I didn’t really understand what was happening at the time. I want to start off by just saying, Dennis, what do you make of this whole situation?
Mr. Prager: There are a lot of components: What was done, how it was reacted to, and how it is being used. I’ll do the third one first. As I wrote in my column this week, this is the Reichstag fire relived, 1933, a month after the Nazis took over—after an election, as it happens.
In Germany, the German parliament was burned down. We’re not absolutely certain who did it, but it seems that a communist did it. Anyway, it didn’t matter to the Nazis who did it, what mattered was what they could use it for, and they used it for the Enabling Act, which they quickly ran through Parliament, and it enabled the Nazis to curtail civil liberties in the name of a national emergency caused by the burning of the parliament of the Reichstag.
Now obviously, we don’t have concentration camps, though I’m not sure they had concentration camps then either because it was probably one month into the Nazi regime. People aren’t being beaten in the streets yet, but the parallels are frighteningly accurate. The curtailing of free speech was the first thing done. Communists and anti-Nazis, whether communist or not, could not express themselves after the fire. The fire was used to say: Look at what’s happening. We have to curtail free speech.
The Left in the United States is totalitarian; the Left everywhere is totalitarian. Liberals are not; liberals are just useful idiots for the Left. And I say this loving, truly loving and admiring the liberals in my life. They don’t realize they’re useful idiots for the Left because they are so preoccupied with fighting the Right. This is the only thing liberals really know because they don’t stand for what they used to. They used to stand for racial integration, they don’t care about that anymore; they used to stand for being colorblind, they don’t care about that anymore; they used to stand for free speech, they don’t care about that anymore.
But the Left—anywhere it has gained power, from Vladimir Lenin, 1917, Russia, to today, there has been no exception wherever the Left gains power, including our universities. It’s a perfect example: the curtailing of free speech at our universities. Everywhere, there isn’t an exception. The Left curtails, suppresses free speech, and there’s a reason for that, because they cannot withstand intellectual argument. [Leftist ideology is] an intellectual balloon. It’s just air or helium inside.
If you puncture it with an idea—that’s why they hate PragerU because in five minutes, we really do undo a lot of what kids are brainwashed to believe, because we make sense. We’re called conservative, but we’re actually just intellectually honest, which the Left loathes.
This must be understood. There was no exception in the last 100 years to the Left taking power and suppressing free speech. They’re using January 6 as the excuse to do so. That Twitter has taken down Parler—or Amazon, technically, has taken down Parler—is a perfect example.
You have people who say that the election was not fair, that it was fraudulently counted. Why can’t one say that? Did they not, for three years—the New York Times, and Twitter, and all of them— say every day that there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, one of the biggest ongoing lies in the history of this country? Nobody was taken down for that provable lie.
I’m agnostic on the count of the election. I have not been preoccupied with it as some have, but it doesn’t matter. You should have the total freedom to say, I don’t think that this was counted legitimately, but you can’t say that. That is now the “Reichstag burning” excuse, the fire excuse. [If] you say that, you’re causing riots. So that’s number one.
Number two, what happened? What happened was fools. Truly foolish people did what they did on January 6, but what is most important is every side has fools. That’s just the way it works. There are foolish leftists, foolish liberals, foolish conservatives, foolish rightists—no side is free of fools. However, you don’t judge a doctrine or a group by its fools. You judge it by the reaction of the group to its fools.
Within an hour, every leading Republican thoroughly condemned what happened. It took Joe Biden five days to react to the riots all over the country. That was not [just] smashed windows, but was the burning of police cars, burning of businesses all over the country. Five days before [that], he tweeted a tepid thing [like], Well, I understand what people were doing, but we don’t want violence, that’s not right. I don’t even remember it. I just looked this up to be intellectually honest to say, yes, he said something. But were any of those people prosecuted?
The Democratic mayors and governors where [riots] happened basically cheered them on. They didn’t say, Yeah-ha, ra-ha. What they said [was], We’re not going to do anything about it, no arrests. The response was, Let’s get rid of police, not Let’s get the police in to stop this mayhem.
Our side is far more moral than their side, and the proof is our reaction to our bad guys versus their reactions to their bad guys. Six months of riots, of violent riots—that’s what a riot is. By definition, it’s violence. How many have been brought before a trial, let alone sentenced to anything? So we’re living in a gigantic lie that is reminiscent of the Reichstag fire.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, I happened to be thinking of a tweet that I saw from Wall Street Journal journalists that I respect covering China. It said something to the tune of, I see the China hawks much more concerned about denouncing censorship and curtailment of freedom of speech than I see them condemning what actually happened on the sixth. This was the sentiment. What’s your reaction to that?
Mr. Prager: The China hawks are more interested in condemning the suppression of free speech than they are condemning January 6th?
Mr. Jekielek: Correct.
Mr. Prager: Whoever tweeted that, give an example of a Republican who did not condemn January 6, any leading Republican—I don’t mean their brother-in-law [who] is a Republican. Secondly, in terms of the threat to this country, they’re incomparably imbalanced. The disgusting events of January 6 do not threaten this country nearly as much as the suppression of free speech does.
The whole point of America was freedom. The Left is suppressing, oppressing the greatest feature of the United States. I’ve said this my whole life, and most of the time people didn’t take it seriously. They take me seriously—that I acknowledge—because people don’t like to confront evil. People like to deny it. It’s too painful to confront the evil. The Left suppresses liberty everywhere it takes power.
There is no exception in the last 100 years, and it is happening incredibly in the country of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, for which they [leftists] have contempt. There’s no comparison. And what threatens the country—a foolish, stupid, wrongheaded, vile attack on the Capitol, which reopened for business within hours—versus the ongoing suppression of free speech. It’s not symmetrical.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s fascinating. Over the last few years, I’ve been learning about the value precisely of free speech and how it differs here, at least traditionally, from other countries and other places. Here’s this question: What we saw with Parler, you mentioned, we saw in rapid succession; we saw Google and then Apple banning the app on app stores. Then subsequently, Amazon came out and said that it’s removing their servers, effectively. This all happened within a day or a couple of days of each other. This isn’t the government suppressing speech. This is big tech participating and doing it. Tell me what you’re thinking here.
Mr. Prager: Well, it is big tech, but it’s obviously done in the service of the Democratic Party. They’re thrilled if there is no opposition to what they do, if there’s no airing of what they do. Look, the mainstream media serves the Democratic Party and the Left. It has no other purpose. I say this with sadness.
I used to get the New York Times. I still get it. I read what I don’t agree with much more than I read with what I agree. But, this is painful to say as one who has read it his whole life, it now reminds me of Pravda. And I say that because I studied Russian at the Russian Institute at Columbia. I think you and I have talked Russian, is that correct?
Mr. Jekielek: A little bit of Polish to Russian?
Mr. Prager: Oh, that’s right. Exactly. Yes, right. I studied Russian, not in order to be able to order a sandwich, but in order to read Pravda. That was the School of International Affairs. I feel when I read the New York Times as I felt when I read Pravda. You read between the lines. The purpose is not to deliver news, the purpose is to deliver a case for the party. And in that case, it was the Communist Party, in this case, it’s the Democratic Party and the Left.
That’s the state that we are now in. Big tech—when they started putting PragerU videos on the restricted list, people would say: They’re free to. It’s their private companies. They don’t have to allow you to speak and put your videos up.
So I’ve often asked people this question, and I have never gotten an answer. I’ve asked it on the radio. I get a lot of answers to my questions on the radio. What if Delta, American, and United announced, if you walk on with the Wall Street Journal, you cannot fly? Or if you walk on with a MAGA hat, you cannot fly our airplanes? But why can’t they do that? If there is unlimited freedom of private companies to not serve the public, but only the public that they agree with politically, why can’t they do that?
You can’t come onto our plane with a Trump T-shirt. We will not serve you. Why is that any different from what Apple and Twitter and Amazon are now doing? Again, because as I learned, repetition is the mother of pedagogy. Everywhere the Left takes power, it suppresses free speech. So this is another example.
Mr. Jekielek: In this vein, I’ve seen all sorts of messaging on Twitter and elsewhere about people creating lists of people who were either challenging the election results in Congress or of Trump supporters and all politicians, with no shame, so to speak.
Mr. Prager: This is so awful. This compiling of blacklists to ruin the lives of people that you differ with—except for minimal blacklists of Hollywood communists or alleged Hollywood communists—has not happened in American history. I will tell you, I am now emoting, I hereby announce it: I’ve not only loved America my whole life, but I have also thought highly of the American people. They’re not the exact same thing, obviously.
My disappointment in many fellow Americans is very deep. The snitches, the blacklists like you just mentioned, the Left has made a worse American, just as they made a worse Russian, or a Chinese, a worse Hungarian, a worse Pole. You’re from Poland, and I know a lot about Poland because eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were my fields of study. People don’t know this.
Very few people in communist countries were members of the Communist Party. It was a huge honor, and people groveled because you didn’t get into it if you didn’t grovel. In effect, that’s what we have now: I will grovel to show how woke I am. I will be with the powers that be.
In the communist country, the power is with the communists; here it’s with the Left. So look at how great I am; I will one-up my neighbor. I will get even more names of people who said something that was pro-Trump or challenged the election.
Did three years of lying about Russian collusion not challenge the election of Donald Trump? When we had power …, did we compile lists to ruin the lives of the people who believed the Russian collusion lie? It doesn’t occur to us to do that. See, conservatives have a distinct disadvantage. We don’t really want much power over people. The Left wants power over people. We want to be left alone. The conservative just wants to basically be left alone.
They laugh at Calvin Coolidge, president in the 1920s, because he did nothing. To many of us, Coolidge was a great president because he did so little. I want the federal government to do as little as possible. Some things it has to do. It has to protect me against foreign enemies. I recognize that. On rare occasions, it has to intervene when states refuse to [agree] on major issues of civil rights. But other than that, I don’t want to think about the government. I want to think about my family, my friends, my Bible commentary that I’m writing. That’s what I want to think about. I want to think about Bach and Beethoven.
But they don’t let me do that. I have to think about what they’re preoccupied with, and that is their power. Your question is very painful to me because I realize that a lot of my fellow Americans are not good people. No longer good people—let me put it that way. The Left has made them worse. I always ask this question on the air, “Are you a bad person and then join the Left, or are you a decent person, then the Left makes you indecent?” I think it’s both. A lot of people otherwise decent have been morally corrupted by the Left to do what they’re doing.
A nurse from Sacramento sent me a letter, gave me her name and everything, an RN [reigstered nurse]. It was found out that she had attended a rally with regard to counting the vote. She’s now suspended from work.
There’s a piece out today of a librarian—this is really something. I don’t remember what city—eight years a librarian. He got an American Library Association email to support BLM in the work that he does as a librarian. He wrote back: “We shouldn’t really have politics in the library. The whole point of the library is to offer all sides.” And he was fired. What the Left has done to the American Library Association, the American Nursing Association, the National Association of Realtors, baseball, football, late-night television—it has corrupted every single thing it touches.
Mr. Jekielek: I don’t know how else to say this, but there are probably a lot of people watching this show who would think of themselves as Left.
Mr. Prager: They think of themselves as liberal. It’s a distinction that—I’m sorry to interrupt you—I’d be very interested to know, those people, are you a leftist or liberal? I have a video out and an article out on six differences, big differences, between them. That’s what I would have to really know. Anyway, go ahead. Let’s say they say that they’re Left or liberal, go ahead.
Mr. Jekielek: I think there are a lot of good people who in their own minds will identify as Left, and will have what are commonly thought of as some left-wing perspectives, and perhaps what I’m asking you to do right now is to explain to me, why you are so categorically, basically, denouncing these people?
Mr. Prager: The Left only does horror. The liberals construct or build, conservatives build, leftists destroy—that’s why. It’s an irredeemably bad thing, just like fascism is irredeemably bad. Every group in history has had some nice people in it. Nice people in the micro doesn’t mean that they can’t be awful in the macro.
I don’t know how much you would remember from communism in Poland. There was no doubt in my mind that there were nice communists in Poland. There’s no doubt in my mind: people who love their families, love their friends, and were loyal to the Communist Party, which put freedom-loving Poles in prison camps and sometimes killed them. You can be nice and do incredible damage to your society.
Mr. Jekielek: I’ve been thinking about this: We’re in this situation where a significant portion of this country and not just this country, frankly—to some extent, it works this way in Canada, and Poland, and other places—but it’s almost like different parts of society are living different realities, different narratives, right?
Mr. Prager: Right! I’m sorry, go on.
Mr. Jekielek: Please jump in.
Mr. Prager: Yes, that’s entirely accurate. But here’s the challenge: We know their reality; they do not know ours. We read them, we study under them, we watch them, and we hear them. They don’t read us, they never studied under us, they don’t watch us, and they don’t hear us. That’s the difference.
That’s one of the reasons they never debate us, one of the reasons when, on the rare occasions they do debate, they lose the debate because we know all their arguments and they know none of ours. They live in an alternate reality; we do not. We know what they believe. They know only what the New York Times and Columbia University told them. We know what the New York Times and Columbia University tells us, but we also know what The Epoch Times tells us. It’s a very big difference.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s a huge difference, in fact, but it’s a recipe for eternal division. I don’t know what else to say here.
Mr. Prager: Yes, I say this with sadness, I would like to separate from the left parts of the country. You keep the big cities, we’ll take the rest of the country, and we’ll see who produces happier and finer human beings in 50 years.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s a huge thing to say.
Mr. Prager: I know. I don’t know of an alternative. The gulf between Left and Right is greater than the gulf between North and South in the Civil War. What can I tell you? None of this brings me happiness. I have children and grandchildren. I wanted them to grow up in the same relatively happy, peace-loving, freedom-loving America that I did and that my father did.
My father was an Orthodox Jew, and he was born in the United States. He did his senior class thesis for City College of New York on anti-Semitism in America. So he really knew about the law firms that would not allow Jewish lawyers in, the country clubs that would not allow Jews in, their redlining against Jews buying homes, different places, the quota system at Harvard against bidding more Jews, and yet my father enlisted. He didn’t have to. He was not of the age. He was a little older, and he had a wife and a child. He did not have to enlist.
He enlisted in World War II because he loved this country and spent the two to three years in the Pacific as an officer on a transport. My father raised my older brother and myself to believe that we were the luckiest Jews in Jewish history, to live in America—the man who wrote his thesis on anti-Semitism in America—because my father was wise enough to compare America to all other countries, not to utopia.
Does America have racists? Yes, but America is the least racist multiracial country in the history of the world. You’re a lucky Jew to live here, you’re a lucky black to live here, you’re a lucky anything to live here. But the Left teaches everyone but whites or white males that they’re oppressed. It creates angry people, and angry people are not happy, and angry people do a great deal of harm.
Mr. Jekielek: The president is being accused of inciting these riots and frankly of inciting insurrection. How do you read that?
Mr. Prager: Those are left-wing lies. First of all, they never quote. It’s fascinating. Every time I read a leftist saying the president incited the riot, they never cite any line from his speech. You will find this fascinating. I’m always waiting. Did I miss it? I read every word of the speech, so I think, did I miss it? He said to them, Now after this (I’m paraphrasing), I want you to go peacefully. He says, peacefully to the Capitol. He said go peacefully. There was not a hint of rioting, of taking [the Capitol] over, or anything like that.
As for insurrection, this is what the Left does to language. It’s a lie. There was no insurrection. If there were insurrections, it was when people took over downtown Seattle, or would build their own little world in Seattle or Portland or New York City and defy the government and did not allow people in. That’s an insurrection.
We didn’t even use the language there, but this is what they do. They manipulate language. It’s like “global warming is an existential threat.” Really? Al Gore said it was an existential threat [and] we had 12 years, in the 1990s.
There’s a riddle I made up: What do you call a religious person who says the world is coming to an end? A crackpot. What do you call a secular person who says the world is coming to an end? An environmentalist. I don’t make up any riddles, but I made that one up.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s a funny thing. One of my questions was, what do you think it will take to reunite America? But I think you’re already telling me that you don’t see that happening.
Mr. Prager: The only way we could reunite is if we share the fundamental values of the United States, what I call the American trinity. I took it many years ago. My book “Still the Best Hope” explains it, that we have a trinity in America like Christianity has the Trinity, and it is found on every coin: Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust. The only way we’re going to have unity is to believe in those three things.
The Left would agree with me. If you have opposite values, then you can’t be united. So yes, I have very dark visions of what the Left has done, will do in the next two years. The acceptance by America of Democratic governors putting people with small businesses out of business while protecting Walmart— this was astonishing to me. The ability of people, like in my state, California, basically people who are getting their salaries are putting people who don’t get salaries into the poorhouse. That’s what these lockdowns were about.
When I visited Florida to see one of my sons and his family, and to give some speeches, in December, I wrote a piece—I write a column each week. People are certainly welcome to read it, and it’s called, “The Sovietization of California.” I dreaded coming back home for the first time in my life. I moved to California in my 20s, in the 1970s, and I was so thrilled to do so—unlimited freedom. It was just so exciting to come to California, and now it is depressing to come to California because Democrats run it.
Republicans run Florida. It’s a free state—people can eat in restaurants. I took a picture of people eating inside a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Man comes over to me, recognized who I was and knew exactly what I was doing, and he said to me, “You’re taking a picture of people eating in a restaurant?”
I said, “That’s right.” He knew I was from California. This was something to show back home: Look, people can eat in restaurants, but not where the Democrats are in charge, or at least in California, certainly. They suppress freedom, and Americans apparently are OK with it.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, in this vein, I noticed a column that you wrote that was, frankly, absolutely fascinating to me, titled “The Good German.” I’m going to get you to talk about this a little bit in a moment because it spoke to something that I’ve been thinking, just watching the events of the last few years.
What struck me about them [the “good” citizens] is that I never realized that there’s some portion of the population that can be programmed, so to speak. I just never imagined that this kind of reality existed, but I feel like I’ve been watching that to some extent over past years. …
Mr. Prager: That’s the reason that I wrote that piece. I have changed in the last year. I have come to realize that as a Jew. I was on the Holocaust Museum board, I’ve written a major book on anti-Semitism, why the Jews [are]—to be honest, I can’t say “obsessed” but close to obsessed with the Holocaust. How could such evil take place?
It was before I was born but not much before I was born. People always talk about “the good German,” not the Nazi, not the one who beat up Jews or even snitched on Jews who were hiding, [but those who] just did nothing, and that German was held in contempt. I wrote, not just the good German, the good Russian under Stalin, not the guy who sent anybody to Gulag, not one who snitched on a neighbor for listening to the Voice of America or Radio Free Europe—just the quiet get-along guy. I don’t condemn them nearly as much as I used to.
The number of Americans who have gone along with the suppression of liberty without a Gestapo, without an NKVD (that was the predecessor to the KGB, the Soviet secret police), without Gulag, without Auschwitz, without Dachau—I no longer judge the quiet German or Russian like I used to if people can be that intimidated into silence in this country without being shipped off to camps.
But of course, to be fair, they don’t want to be fired like the RN or the librarian and have no job. The Left won’t send you to Gulag, the left will simply make it impossible for you to earn a living. Now, I’d rather have earnings problems than death problems, but the Left is vicious.
By the way, I do believe if they have the power, they would send people like you and me to reeducation camps, not death camps—I don’t believe that, but absolutely reeducation camps. They obviously cannot tolerate alternate voices, for good reason as I pointed out earlier in our interview, because everything they say is a lie and when we speak, that is made apparent.
I’ll give you an example of a gigantic left-wing lie—the 1619 Project. The New York Times invented a lie— for which they got a Pulitzer Prize from the Pulitzer people who award lies of the Left—that America was founded in 1619 and fought the Revolutionary War against Britain in order to maintain slavery. That was called a lie by anti-Trump liberal historians like Sean Wilentz at Princeton. A lie—and it’s being taught in thousands of schools as we speak.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, I want to go back to this example of the RN that had attended presumably a rally that had to do with challenging the election, and then was put on some kind of suspension, as I understand it. From what we’re hearing, there are a lot of people out there who are concerned that there’s this kind of conflation happening between people who … were in Washington, D.C., to challenge the election and the people who violently entered the Capitol, [that] all these people are the same. I just want to get you to speak to this.
Mr. Prager: Yes, of course! Of course they’ll do that. Why not? A leftist, unlike a liberal or a conservative, a leftist does not ask himself, Is what I’m saying true? I think for most of us, there’s a little voice that says, Wait, don’t exaggerate; that’s not quite true. They don’t have that voice. Their voice is, How do we gain power and smash our opponents?
What we will have though, is inevitable: If you do not allow civil dissent, you will get uncivil dissent. There’s a powder keg. The Wall Street Journal even called on the president to resign, and I was disappointed in a paper that I love. But anyway, it’s OK, you live with disappointment as you grow up in life. Part of being a grownup is living with disappointment.
So I was disappointed in the Wall Street Journal editorial board, but be that as it may, they pointed out that all they’re doing by stifling every voice is making more people realize that there is no civil way to express dissent against the Left—and they’re right, there isn’t. More and more, every avenue of civil discussion is being choked off, so you will get uncivil discussion.
Eighty million people, probably 100 million—not everybody voted—can’t stand the Left. We believe they’re thugs, and they are. I have a civil way of speaking. I have a radio talk show at PragerU. Nobody guarantees me that they won’t be shut off in some way—they would love to shut us off—but I don’t experience that because I can say everything I want to say. I fully acknowledge that. The average American cannot.
Who’s going to fire me? My employers want me to speak out, so I don’t have the same rent hanging over me that this nurse or librarian does. This cannot continue, these things explode. I fear for that. That’s why I would like a civil removal of us from their society. The first thing people need to do is take their kids out of regular school, private or public.
There are some decent ones. By this very simple measure, I have two questions to ask a parent. Will the school teach the 1619 Project? If it does, the school is a left-wing propaganda seminary, and it will likely produce a kid who considers your values despicable. Why you would want to send your child to a school to learn to have contempt for what you treasure, is a riddle.
I know it’s hard. It’s hard to take your kids out, it’s hard to start with homeschooling, it’s hard to find a good school, but there is no choice. So the first thing to do is millions of Americans must remove their kids from these places.
The other question to ask after the 1619 Project is, do you have drag-queen story hours for kids here? It’s a common thing now in elementary schools to have first graders see a drag queen read to them a story.
If you don’t care about either—that your child learns that America is a cesspool, [that] it was not founded with slavery but in order to preserve it—then absolutely have your kids stay in school.
But if either of those things disturbs you, you have to take your kids out of school. We have to have an alternate place of decency, truth, celebration of America, celebration of the Judeo-Christian value system that made this country, and we cannot do it in any of their institutions, so we have to disengage from their institutions.
Mr. Jekielek: As you mentioned, Dennis, obviously, this is no small task that you’re suggesting, probably for most people. What about a person like this nurse, in her situation? What are your thoughts to people that are in this type of a situation or potentially in this type of a situation? What should they be doing now?
Mr. Prager: I don’t know what the nurse should do. I want to have her on the show and talk to her about that, but I will tell you an interesting story. I am very involved in classical music. I conduct orchestras periodically. I conducted a Haydn Symphony at the Disney Concert Hall a couple of years ago. I’m not a professional musician, but I guess [I’m] an advanced amateur.
Anyway, I’m very involved, and conservative musicians from all over the country know that, and they write to me. I’ll give you an example. I won’t say what orchestra it is, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the country. He’s a violinist and he has been in touch with me. During the lockdown, he went through deep self-questioning: How long more can I keep quiet? My colleagues in the orchestra don’t know I’m conservative. And he came out. He came out of the closet.
Six members of the San Francisco Symphony, one of the leading orchestras of the country, a couple of years ago when I gave a speech in San Jose, asked if they could have dinner with me. They were thrilled to have dinner with me, but I’m telling you, I was more thrilled to have dinner with them. They may not be able to believe that, but it’s true. To be with six members of one of the great orchestras of the country, to me, that’s like a kid with a baseball star, or baseball star team.
Anyway, they showed up, three of them are wearing PragerU T-shirts. So my first question: “Do your fellow members of the orchestra know about this?” They said absolutely. Of course, this is a combination of San Francisco and artists, so you’re going to get left-wingers overwhelmingly. When people stop being afraid, the bullies are intimidated.
They correctly surmised that the Left are bullies—that’s their forte. We don’t do this to them. An orchestra that had mostly conservatives would never treat the guy on the left the way they treat us. There’s no symmetry, as I said earlier.
So I’m hearing … a cellist with the Dallas Symphony, another one of the great orchestras, he’s come out. He’s made podcasts. Now, these people are secure because they have a sort of tenure in the orchestra, so that’s important to note.
I don’t know what the story is with [the person] being an RN, and obviously, the librarian didn’t have tenure. But at least if you have job security, you must come out of the closet. For your own sake, or you’ll eat yourself up.
A woman, a violist, in another one of the great orchestras of the country—because the New York Times covered my conducting the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra, conservative talk-show host conducting the orchestra, [in] one of the left-wing cities of the country—she wrote to me: “35 years, Dennis, I’ve been a member of this orchestra. No one knows I’m conservative.” That’s sad.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, as we’re speaking, the U.S. House is preparing an article of impeachment against the president, and the president is defiant as I understand it, with eight days to go. What’s next here?
Mr. Prager: I never know what’s next. I can only tell you that when you lie to yourself, self-delusion, whatever the word might be, when Joe Biden says, I want to unite the country, is he supporting the impeachment of a president a week before he’s leaving office anyway? Do you think that impeachment of the president is going to help unite Americans? The idea is preposterous.
I’m not a member of the Trump camp. I supported the president for four years because he did so many good things. I never particularly cared for many of his tweets. It’s irrelevant. I opposed him during the primaries, wrote articles against him. They’re on the internet, people can read [them]. I never met the president in my life.
The attack on the president is not an attack on the president. It’s [an] attack on me and the 74 million other people, and more than that. [It says] we have contempt for you, and they do. They think we’re deplorable. They show pictures of some crackpot—turns out to be a crackpot wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt in the Capitol.
How many people saw all the burning of American flags that took place in left-wing demonstrations all of this year, much of this year, past year. If Nancy Pelosi’s aim is to further alienate half the country, she should go ahead with what she’s doing. This is all catharsis because another trait of the Left is they’re children; they’re not grownups. They emote.
I will write a piece just on my arguments for why all leftists are children—not all liberals. Always make the distinction. One of the reasons is children expect their parents to be perfect. And when they become a teenager, they realize their parents are flawed. The mature teenager, or 20-year-old or 30-year-old understands: You know what? My parent did his or her best. I’m not talking about sick parents [who] beat children and so on. But basically, the mature individual knows my mother is a flawed human being just like every other human who’s lived—not a hypocrite.
Dad said to never curse, and then I heard him use the S-word. Oh, he’s a phony! That’s a child. They’re children. With regard to life, America is not perfect. [To say] Jefferson was a hypocrite, Washington was a hypocrite, my father is a hypocrite—this is the child-speak instead of [saying] that flawed men made the freest country in the history of the world. That’s the truth, but that’s an adult way of looking at the Founders.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, one other thought that comes to my mind right now is that there are powers out there like Communist China. I just did an interview about a comprehensive human rights report that was put out. It chronicles horrible, horrible things, and of course, also subversion of the West by the Chinese Communist Party to some extent. These people [the communists] love to see this type of feud because, as I think you made very clear, it’s tearing the country apart. I look at America as a Canadian and frankly—one of the reasons I wanted to do this show in the first place—as the bulwark for freedom and for liberty in the world, as the beacon of hope. Sometimes that’s hard to see right now.
Mr. Prager: That’s right. I title my book “Still the Best Hope,” taken from Lincoln’s statement about America as the last best hope for earth. Everything the Left touches, it ruins. There is no exception to that. I first realized that in music. Then I saw it’s true for everything: art, architecture, universities, high schools, elementary schools, sports, late-night TV. Whatever the Left touches, it ruins. It’s a force of chaos. It’s a tsunami of destruction.
The thing they would most like to destroy is the United States. How else do you explain, Let’s make 11 million people who have come here illegally [into] citizens. They basically want open borders. An open border means your country does not exist any longer as your country. It means anybody can become a citizen in any number. There’s a lesson here: Liberty is a value, not an instinct.
It’s been said and it’s a lie: People yearn to be free. No, they don’t. They yearn to be taken care of. That’s the reason that the Left makes this Mephistopheles-type trade with people, this deal: Give us power, we’ll give you things. You will lose your freedoms, but so what? You’ll have free medical care and free college.
That’s what they said about Castro: Yes, it’s not a free country, but they have free medical care. That’s what they would say. It’s a common statement on the part of the Left. Medical care is awful for anybody who’s not in the Communist Party in Cuba—awful. It’s pathetic. You have to bring your own pillow, your own bedding to a primitive hospital.
People are prepared to give up their liberty in the name of safety and now, as well in the name of anti-racism, always a higher cause than freedom. If for three generations, you don’t teach young Americans that it should be the land of the free and the home of the brave, you will get people who don’t value freedom and who aren’t brave, and that’s the state we’re in.
However, it’s not hopeless. Look at The Epoch Times and your continuing success, which I celebrate. PragerU has a billion views a year. When I walk through airports, it’s really something to see the young people who come over to me—young people. So it’s sort of a race, and that’s why they’re shutting down everything they can because as I said, they can’t handle dissent for good reason. There’s no intellectual substance to leftism. It’s all anger.
Anger is very powerful, and people revel in their anger. I guess there must be a joy in thinking that you’re a victim. I hate it. My whole being rebels against being thought of and thinking of myself as a victim. But I would say a good chunk of humanity revels in it.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis, any final thoughts before we finish up?
Mr. Prager: When I visited Normandy Beach in France, I saw thousands of graves, 20-year-olds basically. I took a vow. I did. It’s the only vow I ever took. If these guys could die for America and freedom, the least I could do is live for America and freedom. I don’t want those guys to have died in vain. If the Left wins with its suppression of liberty, every one of those guys died in vain.
Mr. Jekielek: Dennis Prager, it’s so good to have you on again.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.