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Dennis Prager
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Why I Am Not a Liberal

Comment

The following is a list of beliefs that I hold. Nearly every one of them was a liberal position until the late 1960s. Not one of them is now.

Such a list is vitally important in order to clarify exactly what positions divide left from right, blue from red, liberal from conservative.

I believe in American exceptionalism, meaning that (a) America has done more than any international organization or institution, and more than any other country, to improve this world; and (b) that American values (specifically, the unique American blending of Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian values) form the finest value system any society has ever devised and lived by.

I believe that the bigger government gets and the more powerful the state becomes, the greater the threat to individual liberty and the greater the likelihood that evil will ensue. In the 20th century, the powerful state, not religion, was the greatest purveyor of evil in the world.

I believe that the levels of taxation advocated by liberals render those taxes a veiled form of theft. "Give me more than half of your honestly earned money or you will be arrested" is legalized thievery.

I believe that government funding of those who can help themselves (e.g., the able-bodied who collect welfare) or who can be helped by non-governmental institutions (such as private charities, family, and friends) hurts them and hurts society.

I believe that the United States of America, from its inception, has been based on the Judeo-Christian value system, not secular Enlightenment values alone, and therefore the secularization of American society will lead to the collapse of America as a great country.

I believe that some murderers should be put death; that allowing all murderers to live does not elevate the value of human life, but mocks it, and that keeping all murderers alive trivializes the evil of murder.

I believe that the American military has done more to preserve and foster goodness and liberty on Earth than all the artists and professors in America put together.

I believe that lowering standards to admit minorities mocks the real achievements of members of those minorities.

I believe that when schools give teenagers condoms, it is understood by most teenagers as tacit approval of their engaging in sexual intercourse.

I believe that the assertions that manmade carbon emissions will lead to a global warming that will in turn bring on worldwide disaster are a function of hysteria, just as was the widespread liberal belief that heterosexual AIDS will ravage America.

I believe that marriage must remain what has been in every recorded civilization — between the two sexes.

I believe that, whatever the reasons for entering Iraq, the American-led removal of Saddam Hussein from power will decrease the sum total of cruelty on Earth.

I believe that the trial lawyers associations and teachers unions, the greatest donors to the Democratic Party, have done great harm to American life — far more than, let us say, oil companies and pharmaceutical companies, the targets of liberal opprobrium.

I believe that nuclear power, clean coal, and drilling in a tiny and remote frozen part of Alaska and offshore — along with exploration of other energy alternatives such as wind and solar power — are immediately necessary.

I believe that school vouchers are more effective than increased spending on public schools in enabling many poorer Americans to give their children better educations.

I believe that while there are racists in America, America is no longer a racist society, and that blaming disproportionate rates of black violence and out-of-wedlock births on white racism is a lie and the greatest single impediment to African-American progress.

I believe that America, which accepts and assimilates foreigners better than any other country in the world, is the least racist, least xenophobic country in the world.

I believe the leftist takeover of the liberal arts departments in nearly every American university has been an intellectual and moral calamity.

I believe that a good man and a good marriage are more important to most women's happiness and personal fulfillment than a good career.

I believe that males and females are inherently different.

For example, girls naturally prefer dolls and tea sets to trucks and toy guns — if you give a girl trucks, she is likely to give them names and take care of them, and if you give a boy trucks, he is likely to crash them into one another.

I believe that when it comes to combating the greatest evils on Earth, such as the genocide in Rwanda, the United Nations has either been useless or an obstacle.

I believe that, generally speaking, Western Europe provides social and moral models to be avoided, not emulated.

I believe that America's children were positively affected by hearing a non-denominational prayer each morning in school, and adversely affected by the removal of all prayer from school.

I believe that liberal educators' removal of school uniforms and/or dress codes has had a terrible impact on students and their education.

I believe that bilingual education does not work, that for the sake of immigrant children and for the sake of the larger society, immersion in the language of the country, meaning English in America, is mandatory.

I believe that English should be declared the national language, and that ballots should not be printed in any language other than English. If one cannot understand English, one is probably not sufficiently knowledgeable to vote intelligently in an English-speaking country.

Finally, I believe that there are millions of Americans who share most of these beliefs who still call themselves "liberal" or "progressive" and who therefore vote Democrat. They do so because they still identify liberalism with pre-1970 liberalism or because they are emotionally attached to the word "liberal."

I share that emotion. But one should vote based on values, not emotions.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is www.pragerradio.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

3 Comments | Post Comment
Dear Dennis,
I have been a rather loyal follower of yours through the years. I have enjoyed attending several of your classes at the Hebrew University. I've enthusiastically used your video, "For Goodness Sake" in my high school classroom regarding ethical relationships. You may possibly recall my approaching you at the close of one of your lectures on Leviticus. I suggested to you that the difficulty for Jews in accepting the concept of the "incarnation of Christ" related to your addressed issue of combining the "sacred with the secular". I tied this in with your explanations regarding sex during menstruation, or combining "milk with meat"
The following is my 19 year old son's (Benjamin) response to your essay, "Why I Am Not a Liberal". Benjamin currently attends UC Santa Cruz (very liberal, I know) with aspirations of becoming an attorney. Though raised a Christian, Benjamin prefers to catagorize himself as a "secular humanist"....a catagory that is "near and dear" to your heart. ;-)
I've let Benjamin know I was going to forward his rather unflattering response to you. I also told him that I was fairly confident that you would provide a response. I very much hope to hear back from you, and will forward your response to Benjamin.
Thank you for the work you do, Dennis.
Sincerely, Kenneth Rogers
P.S. Happy belated birthday, by the way (mine is August 19th)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benjamin's "rebuttal":
Wow, I'm a little overwhelmed so I'll go chronologically:
First paragraph: Ethnocentric, nationalistic, and very ignorant. America is often idealized in this way and for no apparent reason. We donate a pathetically low amount of money to foreign aid compared with most industrialized countries. We force-feed commercialization and religion. We ignore human rights and the environment. We are isolationist. We ignored the concentration camps. There are countless reasons. It makes no sense to think so highly of this country. In fact, doing so causes much harm because it hides the facts and covers them with false glorification. And how supremely arrogant so say such a thing about Judeo-Christian thought. I'd like to go further into that, but it's very complex and would take a while.
Second Paragraph: Okay, that's not how it works in America. Government agencies are REQUIRED to keep corporations from doing unimaginable evil. And they have. And killing in the name of "God" is very evil. The government protects from countless injustices, including the obvious disregard of the constitution exemplified by the religious right.
Third paragraph: High taxes are not theft. It's called redistribution of wealth and it ensures that the wealth is shared fairly. This is infinitely more important than taking what's yours because you "earned it". American's like to think that there individualistic, but they would be nowhere on their own. Low taxes are about greed and a desire for such a system is often based in racism or some kind of self-congratulatory xenophobia (especially of the lower classes). Being a republican (economically) is about greed. Thinking that taking what's theirs is fair because "they earned it independently" is more important than helping people who are in need is very selfish. Also, there are people in need. Anyone who thinks that the system is fair is deluding themselves with wishful thinking. I'd like to give a dozen examples here but I don't have that much time. I leave out many examples in the following paragraphs.
Third paragraph: I agree that people who don't need welfare shouldn't get it. The only imminent collapse of American society that I can see occuring in the future is because of people like Dennis Prager. Secularization keeps society rooted in reality. It prevents the ignorant from trying to act like darwinian evolution and creationism are on equal footing. The former is based upon mountains of research, is widely supported by the leading scholars in the world, and has stood up to countless tests. The latter is based upon millennia old anecdotes and allegories and perpetuated by the proselytizing zeal of the religious right, which is made up of people who WANT to believe it. Citing that it's still a theory does nothing for the creationist's case except make him/her appear ignorant. And Thomas Jefferson was an atheist, so were many of the founding fathers although saying so to the public would have been political suicide.
Fourth paragraph: No government has the right to take life or to judge anyone to that extent.
Fifth Paragraph: Anti-intellectual and, again, ignorant. I can't believe anyone could say that. The American military has done great evil in the past and present and could never come close to accomplishing the good that artists and professor's have. His religion no doubt influences this belief and his disdain for secular education. The American military is a tool, nothing more. Without the guidance of sociology, psychology, engineering, human rights activists, and artists, the military would be both despicable and pathetic. I honestly don't know what to say. Is this a joke? How can someone who thinks that way have any weight in the collective consciousness of the public?
Sixth: We talked about this so I'll skip it.
Seventh Paragraph: Global warming isn't a theory, it's a fact. It's been proven. PROVEN. The only question is: how long until we face the consequences? And this is even known to a degree. This is once again blatant ignorance and a lot of judgement. Dennis Prager is far from a scientist and obviously has no idea what he's talking about. That people like him have a following is scary. It's laughable that someone can still get away with saying that. There was never any disagreement among scientists about it. The only scientists who said otherwise were paid by the oil industries to support their own false conclusions. Other rumors were started by the right wing media. Global warming isn't a controversy anymore except among those who don't know anything about it and assume that it's not real. It's real, it's happening, and the right wing needs to accept that this isn't politics, it's science. They also need to accept that their god didn't make the Earth
strong enough to withstand their stupidity.
I'm not going to bother analyzing the rest this. I'll just name aspects of it. Rampant sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, large amounts of racism, and more ignorance than I have ever read in a single article before. This letter sounds angry because it should anger anyone who reads it. These aren't words to consider, they're words to forget. You say he's known for his understanding of such matters, but all I can see is ignorance. He obviously knows very little about psychology and sociology and even less about the how unfair, racist, and sexist America is. Out of the industrialized nations America is among the most intolerant. It ranked twelfth out of twelve other industrialized nations for female employment (this is not the fault of women). It is very racist as well and I don't think that he's ignorant enough to not know that, I think it's just a lie.
I'm going to be very honest with you. I cannot comprehend how you can have any respect for this man or admire him at all. It's not just ignorance, there's evil here. I know I sound harsh but I can only make excuses for people to a certain point. After that point someone needs to say "enough is enough" and put a stop to this kind of trash. Remember, I'm not angry with you, only with this awful person who wrote what you sent me. He probably thinks he'll go to heaven too! I'm not a Christian, but I know that Jesus the man would not call Denis Prager "a man after my own heart".
Wow, what a mouthful! I suggest steering clear of this person.
Love, Ben
Comment: #1
Posted by: Kenneth Rogers
Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:49 AM
I consider myself a libertarian, or a libertarian/Objectivist, and I agree with your entire piece with the exception of four statements -- those regarding condoms and teenage sex, the definition of marriage, the importance to women of love and marriage vs. a career, and the effect of school prayer on children. It seems that libertarians and conservatives have a lot more in common than either group may want to admit.
And I do hope you take the time to write a personal response to the rambling left-wing rant by that young fellow Benjamin and to straighten him out on a few issues.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Scot Penslar
Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:11 PM
I don't know what the point of labeling Benjamin's response a rant is when the original article is essentially the same thing. Or maybe manifesto fits the name bill better. Either way, I'm not sure I disagree with the problem of welfare enabling people, I've never thought the system benefited taxpayers or those who abuse it.
Many other things with the article do confuse me though. For example, Dennis' statement that women are better off with a "good man" and a good marriage than with a good career. I suppose Dennis would just call a woman's desire to be and do something more with her life a "hysteric." That's still in practice, right?
Also, saying that people who can't read English are less apt to know the issues in-depth makes sense, and then I thought, wait, it seems to me that many people who vote don't bother to analyze the issues at all anymore, but simply vote based on whether they are "red" or "blue," to hell with discourse and honest analysis about what's best!
Comparing the military to artists is much like the old apples and oranges cliché. It's best to acknowledge the pros and cons of both, not try to stretch and compare one to the other.
Regardless of my own views, which in most cases are much different from Dennis', he sounds as though he is simply a mouthpiece for tired party lines and very stuck in his ways, making him a man more dangerous than any military or teacher/artist.
Comment: #3
Posted by: David Smith
Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:41 AM
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