Thursday, May 15, 2014

#1039: Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a fundie rightwing radio host, pseudo-intellectual, and regular contributor to Townhall, where he tries to argue that the United States is a Christian nation and that liberals are bad. As opposed to some radio hosts Prager seems to know something about history and religion, but mixes it readily with bizarre untruths, Jonanism, nonsense, and psychological projection, for instance with regard to his claim that ‘the Left’ allows their ‘feelings’ to get in the way of policy; Prager himself would of course never do that. A fine example of Prager’s general acumen is displayed in this rant, where he argues that The Left is hateful. Why? Because they call right-wingers … hateful, and rightwingers don’t call leftists hateful. That’s the premise, and Prager is evidently unaware of the dialectical position he has put himself in. Hilarity ensues.

Prager’s nebulous enemy
It is sometimes a bit unclear who the Left is (Prager has for instance accused Ron Paul for being a “radical lefty”), but apparently “you cannot understand the left if you do not understand that Leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some left-wing Christians’ and Jews’ claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in Leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian,” but that doesn’t really help. Apparently Barack Obama is America’s first leftist president (possibly except FDR).

At least The Left is a group that is working to turn university students into bisexuals and try to make you mean. Indeed, education is one of Prager’s recurrent targets, officially since “the two greatest evils of the 20th century – fascism and communism – were often headed by well-educated individuals [among whom Prager counts ‘high school students’],” but really because educated people tend to disagree with him. Apparently the liberal intellectuals are “fools”, and part of the problem with them is that they are anti-intellectual. Duh. Liberals are secular – education means brainwashing into atheism – and that, again, means that they are immoral, and that we need to teach religion to children since kids today are so much less moral than before (since if there is no God there can be no morality). The Left is also often anti-Semitic, according to Prager, though when Christopher Hitchens confronted him with that claim during a debate, Prager was almost hilariously unable to back it up.

In short, by the rules of Jonanism, The Left is a generalization of strawman characterizations of mostly everyone who disagrees with Prager, and his criticisms are backed up by some serious spotlighting (though in Prager’s mind it is of course liberals who are overgeneralizing when talking about conservatives). He is of course no stranger to lying: In 2011 he predicted that during Obama’s State of the Union address the Under God motto in Congress would not be shown based on how it hadn’t been seen in recent years due to godless cameramen.

Prager University
As for the education part, Prager has attempted to remedy the lamentable current situation by founding his own “Prager University”. It’s benchmark achievement is apparently convincing Gil Dodgen to become a creationist (though some seem to suspect that Dodgen was really a creationist from the start). The fundamental principle behind the “university” is that “ever since I attended college, I have been convinced that either ‘studies’ confirm what common sense suggests or that they are mistaken,” which is not a particularly fruitful approach to science, and the university engages in some interesting marketing tactics (the name of R.J. Moeller, Dean of Students at the “university” is duly noted): Here is a discussion of one of its “courses”.

Prager on gays, Muslims, Judaism and women
Among Prager’s other main obsessions are, well, here is himself: “America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war – a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization. One enemy is religious extremism. The other is secular extremism. One enemy is led from abroad. The other is directed from home.”

When Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison was elected Prager argued that Ellison should not be allowed to take the oath on the Koran but instead the Bible since allowing Ellison to use the Koran would be more devastating to American values than 9-11 (despite the fact that no member of Congress is officially sworn in with a Bible – only in private ceremonies held after the official ceremony can religious texts be used – but for Prager the Constiutional idea that no religious test should be required to enter office is apparently irrelevant since the Constitution is apparently anti-American). The fact that some Jewish office holders, for instance, have been sworn in on the Tanakh was irrelevant to Prager since any Jews who used the Tanakh were “secularists who didn’t believe what was in it anyway.” Accoring to Prager, he has subsequently been persecuted by the Media through baseless accusations of islamophobia.

With regard to zeh gays (and he really doesn’t understand the notion of sexual orientation) he has tried to argue that the legalization of gay marriage is a greater threat to America than economic depression, partially because legalizing gay marriage will redefine the concept of gender itself (here is Prager on the 2008 California ruling). In his essay “Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism rejected Homosexuality” he put it this way:

Judaism cannot make peace with homosexuality because homosexuality denies many of Judaism's most fundamental principles. It denies life, it denies God's expressed desire that men and women cohabit, and it denies the root structure that Judaism wishes for all mankind, the family […] But the major reason for anyone concerned with women's equality to be concerned with homosexuality is the direct correlation between the prevalence of male homosexuality and the relegation of women to a low social role. The improvement of the condition of women has only occurred in Western civilization, the civilization least tolerant of homosexuality [as proven, one must assume, by the gender equality in anti-gay countries such as Iran and Afghanistan] […] While the typical lesbian has had fewer than ten ‘lovers,’ the typical male homosexual in America has had over 500 [no citation].”

According to Prager and his fans, Prager has, after writing the essay (which is still used by openly homophobic sites such as the Catholic Education Resource Center), been persecuted by gay activists through disagreement and criticism.

Some of that criticism is surely directed at Prager’s conviction that marriage equality will lead to the legalization of polygamy and incest and that tolerance of the LGBT community will lead to “fascism in America,” as well as for his comparison of the 2013 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling on Proposition 8 to the Egyptian military coup of the country’s elected government. According to Prager, civil society will erode if we fail to enforce a strict definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Prager’s views on traditional marriage are themselves worth a comment. Prager has argued that wives “ought to consent to at least some form of sexual relations as much as possible,” regardless of their “mood”. Indeed, among Prager’s celebrated contributions to civilization is his novel view on rape (also here), and his take on the Sandusky affair. He has also claimed that liberal teachers and CBS news are responsible for ‘indoctrinating’ young girls with feminism and hence making them oversensitive to men’s advances which in turn is the reason why higher levels of sexual harassment were being reported by young girls. Women is also one of the greatest threats to science, which is a strange accusation given how little time and sympathy Prager has for science.

Indeed, as a result of feminism, women squander the “decade or more during which [they] have the best chance to attract men” by being “preoccupied with developing a career.” But according to Prager women are “not programmed” to prefer a career over a husband and family, and “most women without a man do worse in life than fish without bicycles.” So there.

As a staunch global warming denialist, Prager has argued that the fact that “leftists” believe in global warming shows how illogical they are.

Diagnosis: Yet another raving denialist moron. Prager does apparently enjoy quite a number of fans who seems to view him as an important intellectual, which, given Prager's actual levels of intellect, is rather telling


  1. The only thing that A Know It All doesn't know is that he doesn't know it all! Or Simply Put---Dennis Prager

  2. No Prager fan here but it should be pointed out that he's not a Christian fundamentalist; he's Jewish.