On October 29th, conservative radio host and commentator Dennis Prager gave a 2-hour speech at Northwestern called “Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.” The Chron sat down for an interview with Mr. Prager afterwards.
(This article was featured in our print issue, which was published on Nov. 10, 2012.)
Why do you believe the world needs “American values” to triumph? Wouldn’t conservatives in other parts of the world say that those values are foreign to their way of life?
No, I don’t think so. I was just with the former Spanish prime minister two weeks ago, Jose Maria Aznar, and he so agrees with me that he did a video for me for Prager University on the internet. These values are completely universal- completely. These values of liberty, in God we trust, and E Pluribus Unum. He needs the E Pluribus Unum because of Basque separatists – Spain can fall apart like the US can.
You’re Jewish and also a staunch conservative. Yet most Jews in the US are quite loyal to the Democratic party. Is that in their interest?
It’s certainly not in their interest. The most pro-Israel leader in the world today is the prime minister of Canada, Harper. And it’s no coincidence that he’s a believing Christian and a conservative. So it’s not in Jews’ interest to be on the Left. The reason they’re on the Left doesn’t have to do with their interests, as much as it does with the fact that most Jews have abandoned Judaism and adopted Leftism as their value system. This is not a criticism, it’s just a fact. And it’s true for a lot of Christians too who have left Christianity and adopted Leftism as essentially their religion.
Northwestern went through several incidents of racial insensitivity last year, which sparked a push for greater diversity at the school, including a diversity requirement in every NU student’s curriculum. Do you think this is a good idea? Would it improve race relations at Northwestern or other American colleges?
Oh God, that’s painful to hear. So that’s now a required course?
It isn’t yet, but they’re planning on it.
I’m curious: do you have to take a Shakespeare course?
Do you have to take a Bible course?
The answer to evil is to teach goodness. If there really are racists, then you teach them that all men are created in God’s image and there’s no room whatsoever to judge any human being due to race – not some commitment to diversity. It has nothing to do with the problem. It’s a non-sequitur.
Do you think American universities teach enough about “core American values” like the ones you advocate?
No, not all. They teach core Leftist values. That’s what they teach. It’s not an indictment- it’s just a fact. Race, gender, class- not Liberty, in God we trust, and E Pluribus Unum. Those are the two trinities that are in conflict.
In your personal experience as a conservative, do you feel like lecturing at universities is worth it? Do you change any minds- or does it entrench ideologies?
It’s absolutely worth it. There’s no doubt in my mind that there are students who came here tonight, some of them heard these ideas for the first time in their lives. I believe I undermined nearly every stereotype of a conservative they knew and caused them to at least think a second time about what they thought wasn’t worth thinking a second time about. On the issues of race, on the issues of God, all the issues that I touched. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it! I’m bored.
photos- Charles Rollet