Special Edition of The Young IPA Podcast – Interview with Dennis Prager

5 April 2018
Special Edition of The Young IPA Podcast – Interview with Dennis Prager - Featured image

In 2009 Dennis Prager launched PragerU which creates concise 5 minute videos on complex political, economic, social and cultural issues. PragerU stands by its claim that viewing all of its videos is a better preparation for life today than attending an American university.

The aim of PragerU is the produce videos that provide a better education than that is offered by American universities.

PragerU’s videos have been viewed 1.25 billion times. 60% of viewers are under the age of 35. 70% of viewers have changed their mind on an important issue after watching a PragerU video.

Dennis Prager was born in New York City in 1948 into an Orthodox Jewish family. He led the Brandeis-Bardin Institute from 1976 until 1982 before embarking on his radio career. Dennis hosted the religion program every Sunday on KABC (AM) in Los Angeles and the station’s daily talk show. During this time he published a nationally syndicated column, his own quarterly journal and numerous books on religion, culture, America and the West. Since 1999 he has hosted a nationally syndicated daily talk show from KRLA in Los Angeles.

On 20 March 2018, James Bolt and Peter Greogry interviewed for The Young IPA Podcast. There was discussion about the state of free speech around the world, the problem of American universities and the critical distinction between liberalism and leftism. Dennis also spoke about the massive success of Prager U and what the young people that have driven that success are telling him.

This is an edited transcript of the discussion.

Listen to the interview here:

The transcript of that discussion is below.

Subscribe to The Young IPA Podcast! We are available on iTunes, SoundCloud and the IPA website.

Dennis Prager’s Appearance on The Young IPA Podcast – Full Transcript

This is an edited transcript of the discussion.

James Bolt – We are now joined by author, radio host, one of the world’s most influential conservative thinkers and founder of the extremely popular YouTube channel PragerU which has over 1.2 billion total video views, Dennis Prager. Thank you for joining us.

Dennis Prager – I’m delighted to be with you, as you can well imagine.

JB – You are in Melbourne with the United Israel Appeal which brings together people to raise money and awareness for the disadvantaged and underprivileged in Israel. Why is the United Israel Appeal’s cause so important to you?

DP – I believe Israel is the moral litmus test, a role that the Jews have played historically. It is a lousy role to play, being the canary in the mine – you die as soon as there are noxious fumes, and then the miners know ‘Oh, there are noxious fumes, we have to fight them’ – and the Jews are playing the role of the canary. Israel is the only State on earth targeted for extinction. Unless one believes in tremendous coincidence, it is not a coincidence that the only State targeted for extinction is also the only Jewish state. Jew-hatred has simply morphed from the individual to the State. You don’t get many people who hate every Jew like the Nazis did, instead you have people who hate the Jewish state. It has simply gone from micro to macro.

It is an amazing thing. Israel is smaller than El Salvador, and the United Nations has spent more time condemning Israel than any other country on earth. So, it is an existential battle for Israel’s existence, and I feel a moral obligation to make people aware of that.

Peter Gregory – Your video on the Arab-Israeli Conflict was, I believe, the most popular PragerU video on YouTube, is that correct?

DP – YouTube, yes, but not overall. Believe it or not, as it happens the most popular video, which hit over 50 million views, is on something that would have no interest to you as non-Americans, and that is about the American electoral college. We don’t vote by direct popular vote; we vote by state. If you win the state by 10 votes, you win all the electoral votes of that state. The founders of the United States wanted states to retain power, not just gigantic cities. That would end all elections, in effect. Nobody would campaign in smaller states. You just win California, New York and you’ve basically done all you need to do.

JB – I guess candidates are still not campaigning in smaller states…

DP – Well, Hillary Clinton found out that was a mistake. Michigan, Pennsylvania and so on. I mean they’re not small states, by any means, but they’re smaller than the big ones. In any event, right after the Trump election there was such an outcry on the left against the electoral college. People wanted to know where they could go on the internet to find reasons for it. Bravo, we were there, already having made two by a woman who works very diligently on this subject – Tara Ross – and it went viral, super viral, hyper viral. We are convinced that it changed the polls in the country in a few weeks. Given that 50 million people in America – at least – saw the video, it clearly had an impact.

The second, interestingly is ‘Did Slavery Cause the American Civil War?’ We had a Professor of History at the US Military Academy, West Point, give the course, and of course the answer is ‘yes.’ That’s the reason the South seceded: Slavery. Interestingly, the left loves us for that video, and I’m not quite sure why. Who really has denied that it was slavery? I don’t know if it’s a left/right issue, but the left says ‘well, if there’s one thing Prager University got right, it’s the Civil War video.’ Ok, fine.

JB – The video on the Middle-Eastern conflict is very popular. Why do you think that video has caught so many people’s imaginations? The ideas that you said there sound basic when you say them, but they’re clearly very revolutionary to some people.

DP – Well I think you answered it in the last sentence. They’re revolutionary to many people. The propaganda against Israel saturates the Western world – and the whole world, you can drown in it. I debated this at Oxford, in another video that is very popular. It’s not a PragerU video, it’s just my video at Oxford. Believe it or not, the topic I debated at Oxford at the famous Oxford Union was ‘who is the greater obstacle to Middle East peace, Israel or Hamas?’ As I said at Oxford it would be as if in the late 1930s there was a debate at Oxford, ‘Who was a greater obstacle to European peace, Hitler or Churchill?’ Who would vote Churchill?

And yet, this was a debate at Oxford and indeed the other side that said Israel was the bigger obstacle. I pointed this out: For the first time in history a democratic, free country was voted the reason for war, not the totalitarian terror state. There is almost literally a broken moral compass. So, if somebody comes along and just clearly says ‘wait a minute, black is black, white is white, green is green and yellow is yellow,’ and if it’s done logically – which is all I work on, logic and reason – it obviously will have a following. And my thesis in that video, is one side wants the other side dead. That’s the line I keep showing. And that’s the case. If Israel disarmed tomorrow, saying ‘we are burning all our armaments and we will fight no longer,’ what would happen? The next day there would be a genocide. If you deny that you are lying to yourself. You are irredeemable if you deny that.

JB – And history shows that so often…

DP – Oh but that’s what they want! They want genocide in Israel. The rape and torture and murder would be Holocaustian. But now imagine if the Palestinians and Hezbollah and Hamas said ‘you know what, we’re burning all our armaments and we will fight no more.’ What would happen the next day in that case? Peace! Peace. If that doesn’t persuade someone what the cause of war is, nothing will.

PG – I’m glad you mentioned Oxford University because we want to talk about one of your favourite topics which is free speech, and particularly free speech on university campuses. We have seen a decline of free speech across the Western world. Why do you think that is?

DP – The left has never valued freedom. Liberals have valued freedom. I make a very strong distinction – and I think all of us who are not on the left must – between liberals and leftists. Liberals are pro-free speech. Leftists have never been, because they are not for any form of freedom. Leftism is as totalitarian as a country will allow it to be. It isn’t always totalitarian, because it doesn’t have the power. But where it has the power, it suppresses those with whom it differs. Period. Or you would say ‘full stop,’ right?

PG – We would say full stop.

DP – So I’ll say ‘full stop’ too.

PG – It took me ages to work out what period meant.

DP – I can imagine. I studied in England for a year, I picked up a lot. This is why the university is so repressed. And I tell people who are in the middle, ‘all you need to know about the left is the university. See what they do when other people say things.’

You guys need to follow Amy Wax. She is a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania is considered one of the Ivy League universities, so it’s one of the most prestigious in the United States. She wrote a piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer – the University of Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia – with another law professor from San Diego that in fact America did well by having middle class bourgeois values, and that they are basic liberal values. Obviously, freedom is an example, but another example is people should get married and they should also have a child after they get married. Marriage was valued, having children after marriage was valued, hard work was valued, and these values are good, and we need them again. We need them reinstated, as it were.

She was condemned by half of her fellow professors at the University of Pennsylvania faculty, and now – and you can read a Wall Street Journal editorial on this – she also said that affirmative action does not help blacks, and that is why the black graduation rate is lower than others. Because by changing and lowering standards for black students you have made it much harder for them to do well, as it would be true for me or anybody. If you lower standards to accept me, I wouldn’t do so well. And Black Lives Matter, which is a truly fascistic, violent movement, has said – and I’m paraphrasing – ‘we warn the University of Pennsylvania if you do not fire this professor, we will disrupt your campus.’

We are a week away from the deadline, but this is what the left does. Black Lives Matter, which is a truly dangerous organisation to liberty and indeed to human life, I believe, is a hero of the left. They have been given $100 million by left wing organisations, by either the Ford Foundation or another one, I mean even the so called ‘mainstream’ organisations. So the university reflects the left’s suppression of free speech and of freedom generally. And why do they do it? Because they can’t win on the merits of argument.

PG – You mentioned in this speech that you made recently to the Conservative College Students Action Summit this distinction between leftism and liberals, which I thought was really interesting. Do you mind going through that again for our listeners?

DP – Freedom of speech is one perfect example of a left/liberal difference. The most dramatic is race. Many American campuses have a black dormitory, an all-black dorm. You have to be black to live in that dormitory. This is the antithesis of liberalism which believed in racial integration, which believed the ideal is to be colour blind. The left is the antithesis of colour blind. The left is the most race-honouring ideology since the Nazis. Now, I’m not comparing them to the Nazis, they’re not building concentration camps or gas chambers, I know that. But in terms of race, the last big ideology to honour race was Nazism. And now the left, they honour race.

There is a list – people can follow my tweets and they can see this list, I actually put it out in a tweet last week – from the University of California of what are called ‘micro-aggressions.’ Statements people make that they may not think are racist but really are. Here is an example: If someone says ‘I only believe in one race, the human race,’ that is a micro-aggression. To the left, to say that ‘there is only one race, the human race,’ – what is a beautiful concept, what is a beautiful liberal concept and conservative one – that is now considered racist. That is a classic liberal/left difference. It’s embodied in a man – who I’m sure is known to some Australians – Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard University, lifelong democrat, lifelong Hillary Clinton supporter – well not lifelong, but as long as she’s been in politics – and liberal. And he said, and it will be in a film that Adam Carolla and I are putting out called No Safe Spaces so you will see it, but I play it on my radio show – which by the way, anyone in Australia can hear if they just listen to the app. You don’t want to listen to it live it’s 3am Australian time.

PG – You got up for that this morning didn’t you?

DP – I did indeed.

PG – That’s commitment.

DP – It was commitment and I kept saying it to my audience, ‘God, am I committed to you.’ Anyway, Dershowitz said, ‘I’m a lifelong liberal democrat and my enemy is the left, not the conservative, not the right.’ Liberals do not understand that the enemy of liberalism is not conservatism – the enemy of liberalism is leftism.

PG – I think that’s actually an emerging trend, there are more lifelong left wing academics and commentators who are coming out against what we call ‘identity politics’ and leftism.

DP – Good, I hope you’re right! Identity politics is racism. It is a cute word for racism.

JB – Going back to your point that it is now considered a micro-aggression to say that you only believe in one race – the human race – you pointed out in a recent debate at UC Berkeley that had that been the predominant view of people in the 1600s and 1700s, there probably wouldn’t have been a slave trade, which I think is such an interesting thing. It’s now considered racist what would have destroyed one of the most racist things ever done.

DP – That’s correct. If everybody believed there was only one race, you could not have justified black slavery.

JB – Not at all. Also in that debate-

DP – Thank you by the way for reminding me, it was a good point!

JB – It blew me away.

DP – I forget a lot of my good points, so thank you.

JB – I was watching the video going ‘yeah I need to use that, I’m going to steal that.’

DP – Yes, steal it, enjoy it.

JB – Alright, cool. Just for our viewers and listeners that haven’t seen it yet, about four days ago they released a video of a debate you had with two students at UC Berkeley. You raised the topic that conservative students are now too scared to speak in universities and the students brought up that if it was true for conservatives then it was just as true for people on the left. I was kind of getting the feel from them that no conservative student had ever come up to them in private and said to them that they really felt out of it in class or they didn’t feel like they could contribute. So what do you say to the way conservative students are now so silenced that even their friends aren’t aware they’re being silenced, the marginalisation is getting that bad?

DP – I write a weekly syndicated column in the US which is obviously on the internet so anyone can read it, and I wrote about this. I taught Jewish History at Brooklyn College – that was my first full time job – and I wrote a book on anti-Semitism, so I know a lot about that subject. There is a name that most Jews are aware of, but most non-Jews are not. It’s called Marrano. Marrano is a Spanish name for Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which went for about three hundred years but was at its height at the end of the 15th century. Jews would hide their ‘being Jewish’ at home, not tell anyone, and they would act Catholic publicly. What we have in America today, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have it here as well, is Marranos who are conservative. On the outside, they are just like everyone else, and privately they’re conservative, or even – God forbid – a Trump supporter.

Let me give you a really dramatic example. I conduct orchestras as an avocation. I love music, and I’m obviously immersed in it. So last year, I conducted the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was a great honour for me and it was a great night. There were charges made against me of being a racist and fascist. ‘How could an orchestra play for a racist and fascist?’ Because any conservative is. So, you’re not even allowed to conduct an orchestra if you’re a conservative. The New York Times covered this ‘controversy’ of a conservative conducting the orchestra of a very left wing city at a major concert hall. It was a hatchet job piece, and I wrote about how they report things in another article.

I received letter after letter, email after email, from members of orchestras all across America. I know orchestras – the biggest orchestras, the most famous, most prestigious. ‘Dear Mr Prager, I just want you to know I am a Marrano in my own orchestra.’ A violist from one of the most prestigious orchestras in the country – obviously I won’t mention her name – has been a violist for 40 years, said ‘none of the members of the orchestra know that I am conservative.’

PG – That’s pretty telling.

JB – Yes.

PG – We, as in the Institute of Public Affairs, get contacted by academics in Australia, saying that they are conservative, and they are so glad there is one organisation that makes those comments, but none of their colleagues know either that they are a conservative.

DP – That’s right, that’s exactly right. So you have it here? I would assume.

PG – Definitely, absolutely. Anyway let’s talk about something slightly more optimistic. Prager University is obviously wildly, wildly popular. 1.2 billion views, and 60% of those views are people under the age of 35 I believe. So there’s PragerU, and then we have people like Jordan Peterson who are also very wildly popular with young people. Do you see young people actually wanting to be challenged and wanting to hear these kind of ideas?

DP – Actually yes. Just let me explain because I also do a lot of work on happiness. I’ve written a book on it and I do an hour of my show a week since 1999 on happiness. It’s a very important subject to me, because I think it’s a moral attribute not just an emotional state. There are two definitions for optimist if you look in the dictionary, it’s very interesting. Definition number one is: ‘One who believes everything will turn out well.’ I am not definition one.

PG – Ok.

DP – But definition two I am and that is: ‘One who sees the positive in any given situation.’ So I am about to tell you that I am optimistic – guardedly – on number one vis-à-vis the next generation, in the sense that if we can get to them they’re open to hearing. Not all. Many have been truly indoctrinated in America beginning in elementary school. I don’t know what the term you use for first school is?

JB – Primary school.

DP – Primary school, yes. And then what do you say for high school?

JB – High school.

DP – High school as well. So, I’ve now begun to say on my radio show that high schools are actually worse than universities right now. At least at a University every so often a speaker will turn up who is a conservative. There may be riots, but he or she shows up. I am very rarely invited to high schools, I’m regularly invited to universities. I spoke on happiness at a prestigious high school where I live in southern California, and it took years to get permission, and I spoke on happiness! And that was controversial!

But if we can get to them, they will say ‘that makes sense.’ That’s all I ask. I am conservative because it makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to raise the minimum wage and have more people go out of business so they hire fewer people and then the government supports more people. That’s the only reason I’m against keeping on increasing the minimum wage.

I have to tell you, I am tweeting out a picture from one of your trams. I just took it yesterday, I took this picture, tell me if you’re familiar with it. It’s some guy, an angry guy, and it’s about the horrible notion that medical care should be for profit. Have you seen that?

JB – I haven’t seen the ad but I’ve heard of this.

DP – I’m tweeting it out to the United States. That is a classic example. In other words, it is a bad idea for people to make money helping people medically. Do you know how stupid that is? It is just stupid! It is immoral and stupid! So let me ask them a question: If it is immoral to make money on people’s health care, why is it moral to make money on people’s food?

PG – That’s right.

DP – You need food more than healthcare. Or housing, and the truth is they don’t believe you should make money on those things! They find all of that noxious. They don’t think, they feel.

To understand the left, all one must understand is they do not think they feel. ‘I feel for the poor,’ ‘I feel for the indigenous people,’ ‘I feel for blacks,’ ‘I feel for the Palestinians.’ ‘What is right?’ is not a left wing question. ‘Whom do you feel for?’ is the question.

JB – With young people at the moment, a theme that comes up on this podcast a lot is that the revolutionary position or that teenage rebellion is to actually be conservative or classical liberal when it was to be left for so long.

DP – Well, I’m not that optimistic. I hope you’re right. I believe the left is involved in child abuse. First of all, by telling boys and girls you are not a boy or you are not a girl until you affirm it later in life. I’m sure it’s true here, but I know it’s true in the United States that teachers are told not to call first graders – 6 year olds – boys and girls. You can’t impose a gender identity. In the New York Subway system, our tube in New York… do you say Subway or Tube for the train?

PG – Just ‘the train.’

DP – Neither! The underground train in New York, the New York Subway system, along with the Tube in London, they no longer make announcements ‘ladies and gentleman.’

JB – Our national airline carrier has made the same announcement last week, they are going to stop referring to passengers as ‘ladies and gentleman.’

DP – Is that right?

JB – Yes.

DP – What, Qantas?

JB – Yes.

DP –Virgin Australia?

JB – I don’t know if Virgin’s done it.

DP – I expected it from Qantas, yes. That’s astonishing. So what are they going to ask then on passports? ‘With what gender do you identify? Male? Female? None? Non-binary? Cis-gender?’ What will Qantas do now?

JB – I wasn’t in that meeting so I don’t know what they’ve decided on but we’ll let you know.

DP – By the way, it is not only abusive of children. It’s a beautiful thing to be a boy or a girl. That there is a tiny percent, tiny infinitesimal percentage of humanity that has gender dysphoria, is a tragedy, but you don’t abolish the notion of gender because of that. There is an absurdity at the root of this, because even the transgender identify as a gender. A transgender identifies as a boy or a girl, almost nobody identifies as neither. And because of them I’m not going to change the world. So even for the transgendered it doesn’t make sense to abolish ‘ladies and gentlemen.’ The transgender does think of him or herself as a lady or a gentleman.

JB – And in fact, in many cases they’d be relieved that someone finally referred to them as a man or a woman.

DP – Yes exactly!

PG – Be that as it may, does the digital revolution provide opportunities to reach young people in a new way?

DP – Completely. This is a gift from heaven. However, I am deeply worried about Google, which owns YouTube. We are in a lawsuit against them because they have put 40 of our 300 videos on the restricted list, which means libraries cannot show them, schools cannot show them, and any parent that blocks pornography can’t show them. We have a history of the Korean War banned, what’s pornographic about that? One of the most mild-mannered historians in America, Victor Davis Hanson, gives the course.

JB – He’s a handsome man.

DP – Yes he is.

JB – And you were just saying before, even customs officials in Australia are able to reach your videos in ways that would never have happened 20 years ago.

DP – That’s the gift, that’s why I mentioned to you I’m speaking in Romania, I think before we got on the air.

PG – Yes.

DP – Oh I’ve gotten invitations, and it’s all from young people. Do you know what I get the most from young people? And this is just what I get, PragerU gets fifty times more than I personally get. The thing that I most often get is ‘this is the first time I have heard a way of looking at reality that is not left-wing.’ They didn’t know it existed.

PG – Yes.

DP – A young man from Venezuela called my radio show – he listens in Venezuela – and he said ‘I just want you to know I didn’t know there was an alternative to the left, because in Venezuela if you run against the left, you’re just another leftist.’ He opened my eyes to that fact. Venezuela has been truly destroyed by the left. It was a wealthy country, relatively speaking, in Latin America. And first Chavez and now Maduro has ruined the country. There’s opposition to Maduro, but it’s another left-winger.

So in other words, the reason for the cancer is never identified. It is as if ‘oh Maduro and Chavez, they’re awful, but leftism is beautiful.’ That’s the thinking!

Then the Pope. The Pope is a left-wing thinker with Catholic theology. He is indistinguishable from any leftist. Indistinguishable. But he also happens to believe in the Virgin Birth, and in the Catholic Catechism obviously and other things that are specifically religious. But his values are one hundred percent Latin American left.

JB – Let’s talk about PragerU, obviously we’ve been referring to it a lot, and hopefully our listeners and viewers are already fans, and if not, go out and search for it. It’s been wildly popular, what do you think explains this popularity and did you expect it?

DP – In my book on happiness called Happiness is a Serious Problem I have a chapter on expectations. I said if you have high expectations you’ll never be grateful, so drop all your expectations and then you’ll be grateful because you can’t be happy if you’re not grateful. Gratitude is the mother of happiness. So I have no expectations in life. Every day I wake up healthy I go ‘Wow.’ I really mean it. I learned this in my third year in University. I studied in England, and I studied among other things comparative religion, and my professor was an Englishman who became a Buddhist, Trevor Ling.

He wrote a major work on religion, and he said ‘all pain in life comes from desires and expectations not fulfilled.’ So therefore the Buddhist aim is to drop all desires and expectations. I don’t believe in dropping desires, I think it’s a healthy thing. But expectations? He changed my life in a day, I’ve never had expectations since.

If someone had said to me ‘Prager University will have six hundred-million views in a year,’ I would have laughed. I would have said ‘that is absurd, I will thank God if we have six million.’ I didn’t even think of sixty million, only because I don’t have expectations. Now that it has happened, it does make sense. It’s very rational – no yelling, very professionally done, tremendous amount of work in every video. There are editors after editors, I am involved in the writing of every single video, and we have terrific people giving them. The illustrators are geniuses in my opinion.

JB – Yes.

DP – They are, there’s no question about it. I give them half the credit. And Allen Estrin – the man whose idea it was – he realised five minutes is the perfect length. And for those who think you can’t get important points across in five minutes, they’re entirely wrong. It is an incredibly long period of time for wisdom. You can’t get how red blood cells operate in five minutes, but we don’t give courses on the human body and biology we give courses on wisdom. Of which there is none at the universities.

PG – In reading about PragerU a lot of pieces noted that there is not much material about US President Donald Trump at the moment, is that deliberate?

DP – It is deliberate, we are not overtly political. We want to influence your way of thinking and then you will translate that into the directly political. But we do have ‘What’s the difference between left and right,’ I give those in fact, it’s a serious of courses, differences between left and right. You can differ with me all you like, obviously, and people do.

I get this very often. I’m stopped regularly by people who recognise me and say something sweet, and they say – men as well – ‘Dennis I really love you.’ It’s very sweet when they say that, I’m very touched. But then they say ‘but you hear that all the time.’ And I say to them ‘actually I don’t hear that all the time – just google ‘Dennis Prager’ and ‘a-hole’ and you will get at least fifty-thousand hits.’ So, there are a lot of people who can’t stand what I’m doing and saying.

Mother Jones, one of the leading left wing – that’s not even liberal – left wing magazines in the United States just did a very long piece on me and PragerU. They obviously differed with stuff, but it wasn’t a hit piece, to their credit. And they noted that we are changing millennials’ minds. They said ‘if you’re not aware of what PragerU is doing, you’re really out of it. They are changing minds.’ And we want to change minds. That is important, otherwise we lose.’

PG – You did a poll and I think it was 59% of people who had watched a PragerU video changed their mind on an issue, is that correct?

DP – I don’t remember the specific, but yes there was that poll done. There were a few things asked: ‘Did it affect the way you voted?’ So I don’t want to misquote the number, but it was substantial.

PG – And of course sixty percent of your viewers are below 35.

DP – And that’s not our statistic, that’s from Facebook and YouTube.

PG – Extraordinary.

JB – So you bought up just before that people have said you can’t get these important issues across in five minutes, whereas I think the predominating view of online videos is the shorter the better, as if you were supposed to get it down to two or three minutes.

DP – I think five is critical. There is no law in physics that says this, but I think under five, it’s possible. But we have found that five is seven-hundred and fifty words. Seven-hundred and fifty words is the length of a serious column. I don’t think any columnist would argue that they can’t influence a reader in their column. Why the hell are they writing columns then? Obviously they think that. People think you can change minds in a tweet. I don’t buy that. I tweet to offer evidence of a certain point, but I like to develop an idea.

PG – Well, we have about five minutes left, so maybe we could use that time to talk about Western Civilisation. What does the phrase ‘Western Civilisation’ mean to you and why is it so important?

DP – This is so painful a topic. What civilisation abolished slavery? Let’s begin with that. Slavery was universal. Universal. By the way, human sacrifice was universal. The Hebrew Bible abolished human sacrifice. It was the first religious or cultural text to abolish it completely. It did not happen elsewhere.

Then slavery. Everyone had slavery. So the question is not ‘why did America or Britain have slavery?,’ the question is ‘who abolished it?’ It’s like the question about poverty. Poverty was ubiquitous, it was universal. So the only question is not ‘why did America or Australia or anybody else have poverty?,’ the question is ‘why is there affluence?’ You have to explain affluence, not poverty. You have to explain the abolition of slavery, not slavery.

Western Civilisation alone abolished slavery on any large level. Western Civilisation alone gave women human rights. You can go down the list. It gave democracy. So I want to protect this. Human life is infinitely precious in Western Civilisation. Of course Western Civilisation had anti-Western things – Communism and Nazism hated Western Civilisation. That Westerners went along with it is a disgrace on their name, there’s no question about that. But they’re not Western civilizational ideas, they are anti-West.

The President of the United States was in Warsaw last year, he gave a speech and he said we have to protect Western Civilisation, and the New York Times and all of the American media and I’m sure Australian and I’m sure British and I’m sure German and French media, all said, this was really a ‘dog whistle.’ A hidden sign for white supremacy. So now the left equates Western Civilisation with white, which is exactly what the white supremacists say. That’s the irony! The left and the white supremacists are in agreement on almost all: The white supremacists want separate dorms for blacks, the white supremacists equate the West with white. I’m just curious, were the Nazis not white? How do you equate ‘white’ and ‘West’? The Nazis were white, the Communists were white.’

So we are safe-guarding not just Western Civilisation but its basis which is Judeo-Christian. Here, by the way, I do unfortunately differ from a lot of other fellow conservatives. They think that religion is as unnecessary to liberty and morality as the left does. So I’m fighting that battle as well, and I give a number of courses on God and morality at Prager University, and my book is just about to come out – the first volume of my commentary on the first five books of the Bible, called The Rational Bible, where I want to change secular conservatives’ ideas about the irrelevance of the Bible.

JB – Absolutely. Dennis, thank you so much for your time, that was such a great chat.

DP – It’s an honour to be with you.

JB – So once again thank you to United Israel Appeal for granting us the time for the interview, and thank you so much.

DP – My pleasure.

PG – Thank you very much.


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