Dennis Prager And Hugh on Still The Best Hope
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HH: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a first in my broadcast career. 22 years I’ve been doing radio and television, 22 years and I have never done what I am about to do today, which is share my show for three hours with a radio colleague, and it’s a very special colleague. It’s Dennis Prager, and it’s a very special day. It’s the day I talk to him about his brand new book, an important book, Still The Best Hope. And it’s the day that the president of the United States endorsed same sex marriage. And it’s the day in which Dennis is going to be nice to me throughout and not steal my cigars. So it is a very important day all around. Dennis Prager, three hours together, this is a Pragerthon. I called it on my radio show yesterday.
DP: A Pragerthon. I want you to know, as much as it’s difficult to say, I’m very grateful to you. I am.
HH: I need that cut and put out…
DP: It is a big honor. It is a big honor to be with Hugh. (applause) And I asked the audience to clap whenever I say Hugh.
HH: It’s remarkable.
DP: Hugh is not hearing that.
HH: Let me give the ground rules, especially for our friends listening on 870 The Answer, or KTIE 590 in the Inland Empire. Dennis is speaking at the Nixon Library tonight at 7PM. It is sold out in the live room. There’s some overflow room available in the Nixon theater, where they will be simulcasting it, so you can come at 7:00. But between 3 and 6, Dennis is signing books here between 4 and 6 at the podium. You can buy a book. Your price of admission is you’ve got to buy a book here, and Dennis will sign it for you. But if you really want to just come by and see a little bit of Dennis, you can do it anytime between 3 and 6. Then, we will empty the room, and tonight at 7, Dennis going to give a great, great lecture. Now Dennis, I want to start serious. We’ll have a lot of time to yuck it up. But I want the audience to understand, especially my East Coast audience in drive time, you started telling me about Still The Best Hope. I started planning this two years ago when you said you were pouring yourself into this book, which I think is your first book in ten years?
HH: Twelve years.
DP: Yup, yup.
HH: So we’ve got seven, eight minutes unbroken. Just lay out for my audience why…I know why Still The Best Hope matters so much, but tell them why you poured yourself into this book.
DP: There are three competing values for humanity right now – the American value system, the Islamist and the leftist. Two of them are proselytizing, one is not only not proselytizing, most of its adherents don’t know exactly what they believe in. The left knows what it believes. Those who believe in leftism can articulate what they believe in. Those who are Islamist who believe in a Shariah-based society, and that ultimately, humanity be governed by such a society know exactly what they believe in. And Americans, and I’m talking about Americans who hold what I call the American value system, which I’ll define in a moment, do not. I don’t blame anyone for this. I didn’t, either. I don’t believe…my parents didn’t. My father was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during the War. We forgot what we stand for. We have a vague notion, but we don’t know. If you were to ask a person of conservative values what do you, what does America stand for, I don’t think they’d be able to articulate it. I couldn’t. And then I realized it was articulated for me well over a hundred years ago on every coin and piece of monetary paper we produce in America. What I call the American trinity, God as in God we trust, liberty, and E Pluribus Unum. Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum. And it just blew me away that I realized oh, my God, this has been in front of me since I was a child, and nobody ever pointed it out. No other country has this value system. I will explain it in the course of the show, obviously. You asked why it’s so important to me, and I explain it in the introduction to my book. Since I was a child, I was obsessed with evil. Why do people hurt people? It’s very corny. My obsessions are very corny. I like good people, and I don’t like evil people. And there are evil people, and there are good people. For those who say there are no evil people, I have a very simple rejoinder. If there are no evil people, then there are no good people. The moment you say there are good people, you have to acknowledge there are not good people. You don’t believe everybody is equally good. And so I was preoccupied with it, and I’m preoccupied, or have been since my 20s, with the larger and more important question. How do you fight evil, and how do you make a good society? Well, lo and behold, America had already figured out the answer to these questions. You make a good society with liberty, in God we trust, and E Pluribus Unum. And we have made the best society the world has ever known. I don’t for a moment negate slavery. I don’t negate racism. I don’t negate the treatment of the American Indian. These are terrible marks on our history. But you judge America as compared to other civilizations, not compared to utopia. Maybe we will all be judged poorly a hundred years from now because we ate meat. Who knows? But you judge people vis-à-vis their contemporaries. This is the least racist, least xenophobic, most open, most free, most opportunity giving country in the world. Look at this. We will, with all…it seems undoubted we will have a black and a Mormon running for president, and basically no one cares. Nobody cares. Mormons are a tiny percentage, and blacks are, the descendants, though not in the case of this president, of slaves. And nobody cares. The only people who care are on the left. That’s the irony. They’re all, the New York Times can’t get over Mormonism. I mean, it’s unbelievable how much…National Review doesn’t write about Mormonism. Commentary’s not writing about Mormonism. The Weekly Standard isn’t. You and I aren’t talking about Mormonism. We don’t care. Are you a good man who shares liberty and God we trust and E Pluribus Unum? You’re my man. And if you were a black Mormon and you shared that? You’re still my man. And if you were black, Mormon, gay and have all those values, you’re still my man. And if you were black, Mormon, gay, give me another minority, handicapped, handicapped man, you’d still be my man.
HH: How about if they’re an Indians fan, a Cleveland Indians fan?
Duane: Well, then there’s no hope.
DP: You know, you ask very hard questions. That is not fair.
HH: All right.
DP: That’s just not fair.
HH: You know what, Prager, I’ve got to tell you, Frank Luntz once came to a speech that I was giving, and I heard him talk beforehand. And he said if you’re going to sell a book, the key thing is to say the name of the title of the book seven times in the course of a segment. So Still The Best Hope is the Dennis Prager. So if Dennis wants to sell Still The Best Hope, he has to say Still The Best Hope seven times, in the course of a segment. And if he doesn’t say Still The Best Hope, people won’t remember Still The Best Hope, even if they know they can go to the website and buy Still The Best Hope.
DP: You’re a good man.
HH: So today is a tutorial for Dennis Prager on how to sell his book.
DP: I don’t know how. He’s right. I don’t know how.
HH: Why did it take you twelve years to write Still The Best Hope, two minutes to the break?
DP: All right, fair enough. It was so overwhelming an undertaking that I thought you know what, maybe my next book should be on men and women, because I do an hour a week, and I have for years, and I’ve written and lectured, and I think I’ve helped a lot of marriages, partially because of my own travails in the marital arena. I’ve learned a great deal, and now I am extremely happily married, but it was…
HH: The wonderful Mrs. Prager is here today.
DP: Yes, and she is wonderful, and I thank you for that. And so I have learned a lot, and I have tried to offer insights there. So I thought maybe I’d write on that. Maybe I’ll write another book on happiness. The first one was a bestseller. And then I thought wait a minute, let’s say, though this is a little dark, but let’s say I died. What would I want my last thing to have been? And I thought well, if I don’t make the case, and I think I can make it particularly well, for the best system ever made to make a good world, I will kick myself on the way to the grave. And so I decided there are three books in this book. It is three books. One is on leftism, one is on Islamism, and one is on Americanism. And I believe, and it…I write with no fat. Do you know that I also write with no adjectives? There are almost no adjectives in the book. The reader fills in adjectives. I don’t. Here are the data. Here is why the left believes what it believes. Here is why it is successful. Here is its moral record. Here is the Islamist moral record. Here is the American moral record. Compare them. Compare the systems. And I believe it’s pretty powerful.
HH: It is very powerful, and we’ll explore why in the course of the entire broadcast today.
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HH: That was an opening we took from the Pragertopia in order to welcome my special guest on this special edition of the Hugh Hewitt Show. Dennis Prager, my friend and colleague on the radio waves, often does an hour devoted to happiness, and I am throwing open the Hugh Hewitt Show to him today, because I think his new book, Still The Best Hope, is an absolute must read. And so Dennis is at the Nixon Library tonight at 7PM in a sold out gala. His big book party, his big book coming out in the Southland, and I am here for three hours with him to take your calls and your questions from the audience, and to tell people they really need to get a copy of Still The Best Hope. I have linked it at Hughhewitt.com, it’s available at Amazon.com, it’s in bookstores everywhere. There’s a special autographed edition…and I cannot stress for you how wonderful the book is, and how you need to sort of memorize it. Now Dennis, I have actually seen you make grown men cry, and I’m going to come back to that in a second. But for people who don’t know about the happiness hour, you know, I’ve got some affiliates you don’t have. And you’ve got a lot of affiliates that I don’t have. Would you tell them what you do once a week?
DP: Every Friday, the second hour, is…I devote, no matter what happens, including the Friday after 9/11, I devoted that hour to the subject of happiness, because I have come to understand, and this is not what most people think, that happiness is a virtue, a moral virtue, not merely, or even primarily, a psychological feeling. A person who acts happy, when I meet a person who has a positive disposition, I think well of them. It’s not a matter of even envy them. I just think well of them. Everybody has a painful life, everyone. Some more than others, but everyone has a painful life. So the trick in life is not to avoid pain. The trick in life is to still attempt to lead a happy life. And even if you don’t feel happy all the time, and nobody in the world does, you still owe it to people to act it. Secondly, I realized years ago that the happy, as I always say, the happy make the world better, and the unhappy make it worse. If you think about the people who have done the most evil in history, they have not been among the more jovial of our species. The people who joined the Nazi party in Germany were not the happiest Germans. The people who joined the Communist party in any country were not the happiest members of that country. The people who would go to a lynch mob in the South were not the happiest folks in the community. Happy people…and you know it. Everybody knows it, because when they are happy, they want others to be happy. They don’t want others lynched. They want others happy. So it’s a very big deal, happiness, and I am very, very proud to have done this now for about 13 years.
HH: It’s a great hour, but it is also so distinct from Still The Best Hope, which is not a happy book. It is a serious book. And so I wanted to set up the contrast between what you are known for. The men and women hour, the happiness hour, these are the things which you are best known for. But at this time and this place, you decided to write Still The Best Hope.
DP: Right, but even the Happiness Book is a serious book. You see…and that’s why, by the way…
HH: Happiness is a serious subject.
DP: Well, that’s the point.
DP: Happiness Is A Serious Problem is the title of the book, because I don’t want people to think that happiness is a light issue. It’s a very serious issue. That’s the thing. Serious and happy go together. They’re not separate.
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HH: I’ve got to tell you, Dennis, repetition matters in a teaching function, and that you have repeated many times the American trinity. The other thing you repeat, it’s in the book, and I actually think I saw you deliver this the first time. At the Baltimore retreat of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Dennis gave this big speech. I had to follow him. I’ve now learned go before Dennis, don’t follow Dennis. And so he gave this big speech, standing ovation, he had turned around like Beethoven, couldn’t see that they were standing, I had to poke him and say turn around and look at the audience. And what brought them to their feet was the saying the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen, which is in this book. I’ve got it marked somewhere, and I’ll go find it. It’s on Page 321. And I think those two things are probably the Prager bumper stickers.
DP: I wish I had brought, actually, I did isolate my favorite lines of the book, and they’re on a sticky notes Windows program, but it’s on my home computer. I would love to, I should carry them around, this reminds me, because there are a lot of good, pithy lines. I believe that great ideas can be conveyed in a sentence. I do. Love your neighbor as yourself is in a sentence.
HH: I said that.
DP: Yes, you did, first.
HH: I think I got that first, yeah.
DP: I have argued that the most important verse in the Bible is Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth, because if God is not the creator, then everything else is pointless.
HH: On that note…
DP: Don’t even bother reading the rest.
HH: As a seasoned radio professional, you know that the music means we’re going to break.
DP: I well, well know.
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HH: Dennis, I’d like to know, well first, I’m going to ask a couple of questions from the audience. Why didn’t you stick to your under 200 page rule? This book is too fat for my treadmill bookrack. That’s from Diamond Bar Dennis.
DP: Diamond Bar Dennis?
HH: No, Pam. Where are you, Pam? There you are. It’s Pam’s question.
DP: Well, Pam, the truth is, it took me this long to write because it is this long. And I do like the 200 page rule. I lived by it more or less in my previous four books. But there was nothing I could do. This is three books. In fact, I even thought of making it three books. One on leftism, one on Islamism, and one on Americanism. However, why would I do that? I mean, it doesn’t make sense. What was one do, then? Buy one volume? So it’s three books in one, and each part is self-contained. So you can…there’s no solution to the problem of the treadmill. I agree with that. It may well be too fat for your treadmill. My hope is that the subject is even more important than the convenience of a treadmill holder, and I mean it sincerely. If we don’t do this, if we don’t reacquaint ourselves with American values, we will lose to leftism.
HH: You know, I want to tell people, I’ve got the reader’s copy, so I didn’t actually see who had blurbed it. This is very important in the world of authors. It is blurbed by Bill Bennett, our colleague, Paul Johnson, probably the greatest living popular historian, David Mamet, who is easily America’s greatest playwright who is living, and then this guy named David Dreier, whom neither of us, no one’s ever heard of except for Dennis and I. Actually, he’s been a regular guest on the program forever. It’s really quite a gorgeous book, and I wanted to compliment. Did you, did Sue have something to do with the design? I can’t imagine you coming up with the design for this.
DP: It will bother you to know that I did come up with the design for it insofar as the coin is involved. Then we helped, then Sue and I, and Allen as well, my producer, did speak to them about the colors. I give great thanks to Harper Collins in this regard. They were open to every suggestion. We bounced back and forth a number of covers, and it is beautiful. I agree with you. And I give them great credit.
HH: And it’s good paper. I loved the paper.
DP: Well now, let me tell you, I actually had in my contract that the author will have a say in the paper. They told me what paper they would use. I rejected it. And they said what would you like? I looked through all of my Harper Collins books that I owned, I picked one with very fine paper, and they said okay, and it cost them, them, $.40 cents more for a book, which is a lot for a publisher.
HH: Yeah, paper matters a lot.
DP: Paper does matter.
HH: Now Dennis Prager, before the break, I’m going to ask you a quick question. You only have 30 seconds to answer this. People today said that the president…that Shepherd Smith on Fox said the president, when he announced support for same sex marriage, is on the right side of history. How can the president be on the right side of history by supporting same sex marriage when he’s giving up Afghanistan to the Taliban?
DP: Well, he’s on the right side of history, they would say, vis-à-vis the United States of America and its definition of marriage. I guess he wouldn’t, Shepherd Smith wouldn’t apply it to Afghanistan. Anyway, I don’t buy this notion that it’s inevitable. People who say it are pushing it. And so who wants to be on the “wrong side of history?” All I know is I was told that a whole host of things was…Lenin said, and I’m not comparing these people to Lenin, but Lenin said that capitalism is in the trash heap of history.
HH: A great reminder.
DP: The Soviet Union is.
HH: …with Dennis Prager. His book, Still The Best Hope, linked at Hughhewitt.com.
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HH: Sally in Centennial, Colorado, hi, Sally, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show with Dennis Prager.
Sally: Hi, Hugh and Dennis, what a great day to have both of you on the radio at the same time. That’s so exciting.
DP: It is exciting.
Sally: You’re the two best talk show hosts in the country.
HH: Thank you.
Sally: Okay, I have a question for both of you, because I’ve been wanting to call either one of your at one time or another. Why does everyone refer to religious extremists of the Islam faith as being conservative extremists rather than, you know, they’re the ones that are hijacking Islam and trying to change the Islam faith? Why don’t we refer to them as liberal extremists, because they don’t follow traditional Islam?
HH: Dennis Prager, there’s quite a lot on Islam in Still The Best Hope, so take it away.
DP: Well, the question is really, the answer is to really be found in the leftism section, not the Islamism section.
DP: Yes, because she’s asking why are they referred to as conservative, and the answer is that the media, and I give example after example, and I’m told never to say this. My publisher warned me and others, don’t say that there are 400 footnotes. But I’m saying it, because I want…and they’re all at the end, so you don’t have to worry about it. They’re not at the bottom of the page. But the reason I mention that is I backed everything up as often as possible, in fact, always. And I show how the media have agendas. I mean, the way thing are…the word conservative is a negative word. So it is applied to whoever the left media don’t like. That’s it. Where is conservative ever used as a good term? Where is liberal ever used as a bad term? I mean, the examples are, for example, we speak of religious extremism, correct? Did you ever in your life read, ever, the term secular extremism? It’s a brand new term to everybody, yet there’s no such thing. You mean…isn’t that bizarre? You can be a religious extremist, but you can’t be a secular extremist. Does anybody ever note, for example, that Nazism and communism, the greatest mass murdering institutions, machines of murder in history, were both secular? Never noted. Never. Secular is good, religious isn’t.
HH: Dennis, in your book, Page 171, I made a note of this, you’ve got the toll of communism. The numbers are generally considered conservative. Soviet Union – 20 million, China – 65 million, Vietnam 1 million, North Korea – 2 million, Cambodia – 2 million, Eastern Europe – 1 million, Latin America, a mere 150,000, Africa – 1.7 million, Afghanistan – 1.5 million. The total that communism killed? 100 million. Now I knew this. Why is it here? This is almost quaint. No one ever talks about this anymore.
DP: Well, oh, I wanted that page…
HH: Oh, 171, okay.
DP: No, no, no. Well, first of all, those figures are all conservative, and they’re not mine. They’re taken from a book published by Harvard University Press, okay? So I want people to know that. But secondly, the next page I have why doesn’t communism have as bad a name as Nazism? I know this sounds arrogant, but I think the book it worth it for that chapter, because it shows how people think. And why doesn’t it? Why do we use the term Nazi, and correctly, as equivalent to pure evil, but never the term communist? Never. There are Mao restaurants all over the world. There were not Hitler restaurants, right? No Himmler or Eichmann restaurants. There are Che Guevara T-shirts. No Himmler T-shirts. Why is that? Now I’m not going to give it away. I give a number of reasons here. But it shows what happens when the left dominates thinking. How is it that in Canada, 55% of Canadians, of Canadian youth, voted the United States the most dangerous country in the world? How could that be? They all visit the country. It’s not like we’re foreign. If they vote that way in Croatia, that’s sad, but all right, they don’t know us. It shows you the power of the left wing press. Whenever Muslims in Africa or Asia kill Christians, do you know how it’s described? Inter-religious conflict. It is never Muslims killed Christians. It is always inter-religious conflict. And I give example after example. That is the way in which the media report life. Now there is an alternative in America. That’s why…one of the reason there is a robust conservatism in the United States, because of us in talk radio, some of Fox News, not all, a good chunk of it, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, magazines. You don’t have this in Europe. I had a listener from Norway, it was one of my favorite calls, two weeks ago, a listener in Norway, because our shows are on the internet, and he called from Norway. And he said look, I just want you to know, and it hurts me to say, but it’s appropriate to say, you and Hugh Hewitt have changed my life. And I kept saying what? Me and who? And I couldn’t believe the guy said it, but I have to report what was true.
HH: Let me ask you another question…
DP: No, no, let me just say.
HH: You take too long with your answers.
DP: I know. I do. I do. I agree. I agree with you. I do take too long.
HH: Yes, he does.
DP: But I’m holding his shoulder to calm him down.
HH: All right, you have a minute. You have a minute.
DP: And I just, I said to the guy, you know what? If there were talk radio in Norway, you’d have a different country. Is that right? He said yes.
HH: Is the most dangerous evil triangle now Egypt, Turkey and Iran? Jules in Corona asks from our audience at the Nixon Library, 45 seconds.
DP: Is that the most evil triangle? No. Well, it depends. The president, President Bush’s triangle was North Korea, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now Iraq is no longer in that triangle. It depends if that triangle has to be geographically proximate or not. If it does, it is a frightening triangle indeed, that is correct. That’s why the Islamism chapter is so important. People don’t know, for example, that jihad is actually held up by the greatest Muslim writer in the history of Islam. Ibn Khaldun is held up as the greatest single virtue of Islam. Only we want to kill in the name of God. Christians and Jews don’t. We are better.
HH: You’d know that if you have Still The Best Hope, Dennis Prager’s brand new book.
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HH: People lie. Where’s Peccadillo? Where are you, Peccadillo, who says they’re blogging, and there aren’t any young people here? Come on, own up to it. They’re not really here. Would the young people over here stand up, please? The Twitter person says I’m the youngest person at the Dennis book signing by 25 years. No, they’re not. That’s why you can’t believe…that’s a leftist, Dennis. Do you find that leftists are dishonest in their…I mean, I just don’t mind people arguing or debating. I don’t like dishonest things like that.
DP: My belief is this. There are people who tell the truth on the left and right, there are people who lie on the left and right. However, honesty is not a left wing value, because it is trumped by a desire to create a fair, just, socially just, egalitarian society. There are values that trump truth. Truth is a conservative value. I had a man on my show today who simply said you’re wrong, Dennis, that’s your opinion, that you think that textbooks just try to tell the truth. The purpose of a textbook is to be inclusive, to have blacks and gays and Jews and women and Latinos. And I said the purpose of a textbook is to tell the truth. It is the perfect example wherefore the left, the truth is not a primary value.
HH: Next question from the audience, from Joann in Whittier, are you going to do Ask A Jew, Part II? I’m all for it.
DP: I would go to Part VI.
HH: Dennis and I do a thing together. I think that one of us, I’m not going to say who, is the best platform speaker in America, and the other one is the runner up. I genuinely believe this. I’ve seen Dennis make grown men cry. And I’m made them reduce themselves to tears, which are very different things. But I will tell you right now that together, the only person that’s ever made us better together is Sarah Palin in that memorable, go to YouTube. I have a picture of it at Hughhewitt.com, when Dennis trumped the vice presidential nominee. That was really embarrassing when you trumped her.
DP: I don’t know if I trumped her.
HH: You trumped her.
HH: You got the YouTube, like, 5 million hits, right?
DP: Three million.
HH: Oh, who’s counting? So everyone, if you want to go during the break, Dennis is going to start signing books after he files his article.
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HH: Dennis, I’m putting you on the 30 second rule. I’ve got all these questions, and I’m going to make you answer them in 30 seconds. This is why some people say I’m Shoemaker and this is Secretariat, because I just drive him like the thoroughbred that he is. Can you speak, this is actually, you get a minute and a half for this, all right? This one, you get a minute and a half, Dennis Prager. Can you speak to President Obama’s agreeing to signing of the gay marriage proposal today as a direct, underscored, attempt to again destroy, underscored, American values – Lee, 80 years old, Korean War Air Force veteran from La Habra. Dennis Prager?
DP: It is, can you guys hear me? I don’t hear me.
HH: We’re good.
DP: Okay. Very difficult to argue, I think, honestly, that redefining marriage in the most radical way in human history, far more radical than polygamy. Polygamy is just a number. But male-female is the essence of what marriage is. It is not anti-gay. It is not bigoted to say that marriage should remain the union of a man and a woman as its definition. To argue that that, to redefine it is an American value is to argue that there are no fixed American values, which is what the left argues. After all, Ruth Bader Ginsberg did say to a Cairo television station that there are a number of constitutions better than the American. All of this stuff is outdated to folks on the left for whom change is a religion. And in the book, I have a whole part on change, why change is so revered on the left. This is an example of, it’s the most radical change of my lifetime. Nothing compares to the redefinition of marriage.
HH: I think you’re right, and I don’t know where it’s going to end. No one has any idea. By the way, if you want to defend marriage, over at Hughhewitt.com at the Act Right button, way at the bottom is Minnesota For Marriage, where the next battleground will be over traditional marriage. Send them a contribution if you’re upset by this presidential statement today. It puts himself squarely on the side of same sex marriage, and I think that 30 out of 31 states, or 31 out of 32 states have said no, we are not anti-gay, we want to retain marriage as one man and one woman. Dennis Prager, what impact on our elections asks Terry Kirchner from Long Beach. Do you see from the events in Europe and the French election and the abandonment of austerity in Greece, Spain, Ireland, etc?
DP: There is no impact, because again, and that’s why I emphasized the importance of my book if I may. Leftism is a religion, but it’s a religion, all religions have leaps of faith. But this, when we have a leap of faith in Christianity or Judaism, it’s a theological leap of faith. It does not transcend facts. Left wing beliefs transcend facts. We can keep expanding government, keep printing money, and it will work. This is what a Nobel laureate in economics who writes for the New York Times writes almost every piece. Inflation won’t matter, printing money is good, debt is not a problem, and he is thrilled, thrilled in his last piece, with the results in France. The entitlement state is a failure. It’s a moral failure, because it hurts the character of people to get something for nothing. It’s bad. It makes them worse. Do you know what they riot over in France? They don’t riot over death of kids in Afghanistan. They don’t riot over totalitarianism. They riot over increasing the age of retirement by a year. This is what disturbs people in the entitlement state. It’s not the French mentality. It makes, entitlement state makes Americans worse people. It doesn’t, it’s not the French are bad. It’s what I always say to Latinos who think, who don’t realize they want, the left in America wants to recreate the conditions that made these people leave Mexico to begin with. My one sentence statement to Mexican-Americans, to all Latinos who vote Democrat is, why would you vote for the party that wishes to recreate the conditions that made you leave your homeland to begin with?
HH: I point out that in Still The Best Hope, Dennis Prager’s new book, that he quotes Paul Krugman twice. That’s the aforementioned Nobel laureate New York Times columnist. You quote a lot of lefties in Still The Best Hope, Dennis. I want to emphasize to people it is so heavily footnoted. No one’s going to be able to argue with the accuracy of any of the statements you make here, but I’m still going to argue with the length of your responses. Warren in Phoenix, you’re on with Dennis Prager, Warren, on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
Warren: Dennis, you keep making the point that the Nazis were a secular regime, and I’m just wondering if you knew what it said on every Wehrmacht soldier’s belt buckle in World War II.
DP: Yeah, in many of their cases, it said God is with us.
Warren: So why would a secular regime put such a thing on their belt, require their soldiers to wear such a statement on their belt buckle?
DP: Well, I don’t know how many soldiers were required. However, Nazism, no one could honestly argue that Nazism was God-based. They would, Hitler, nobody, the regime wasn’t. The individual soldier may have believed in God. It’s not the God I believed in, but they may well have. But Nazism was not rooted in or based on God.
HH: I mean, that’s not disputable.
DP: It just, it isn’t disputable.
HH: It’s not open to argument.
Warren: Oh, well, Hitler was a Catholic. I mean…
HH: No, he wasn’t.
Warren: Yes, Hitler was a Catholic.
HH: Warren, you’re just such a moron for saying that.
Warren: Oh, okay, well so are you, you know? I mean, you hear a valid argument, and you pooh-pooh it and then you just…
HH: Well, that’s okay, but I can go to…no, because it’s not true. It’s simply not true.
HH: That’s the difference between your calling me a moron and my calling you a moron.
Warren: …a Catholic Church, so I guess that makes you not a Catholic, so you are a moron yourself.
HH: Himmler is not a Catholic.
Warren: Hitler, not Himmler. Hitler. Adolf Hitler. Hitler.
HH: Hitler was not a Catholic.
Warren: He was baptized in the Catholic Church.
HH: Fine, you idiot.
DP: So what? Wait, wait.
HH: I can’t stand it. You’re much better with them than I am. I cannot stand idiots, Hitler was a Catholic.
DP: Look, I just want to say…
HH: It’s one of those serial atheist who always, you’re much better with them. I have lost patience with idiots. I give up on them. They’re going to vote for Obama anyway.
DP: I don’t. yes, I don’t, because I want, I have this little naïve hope in me that if I just have a dialogue with them, they will recognize that what they said was to score a point and not to tell the truth. I don’t want to score points. I want to know what’s true. If Hitler was a Catholic, then it’s a meaningless term. To be baptized as a child, or as an infant, if you will, or even just as a child, and then to be said that’s the conviction you hold the rest of your life? You mean once baptized, therefore, no matter…what if you repudiate everything, and he did, repudiated everything that he believed in terms of Christianity generally, Catholicism specifically? It was a twisted cross, not the cross of Christianity that animated him. There was a terrible failure of moral nerve among European Christians. This is a tragedy, and by the way, I think it’s part of the reason for the radical secularism of Europe.
HH: All right, to James in Denver. James, you’re on with Dennis Prager talking about his brand new book, Still The Best Hope. Go ahead, James.
James: Excellent. This must be the proverbial fell swoop of which I always hear, to talk to both of you at the same time. I respect your minds.
HH: This is Fell and I am Swoop. Go ahead.
James: I’ve heard both of you give exhaustive interviews to Jonah Goldberg on his new book, and I just wonder if they might make companion pieces to each other, Dennis. I look forward to reading both yours and Jonah’s, and how you would tie them together.
HH: Having read them both, let me answer this. Jonah’s is an argument with specific clichés which define the left. Dennis is a comprehensive worldview that at the same time deals with the worldviews of Islam and the left that Jonah, more or less, darts in and out of, and argues with, and rhetorically has some fun with. I think you have a comprehensive approach that Jonah does not.
DP: Yeah, which is….
HH: Which is fine. They’re different books.
DP: Exactly, that’s right. I always say there are tree people and forest people. And I’m a forest person. I don’t deal with the trees. I deal with the forest. Most people deal with trees. It’s not a negation. If your doctor does not deal with the minutiae of your body, you will die. But I am not a doctor. I am here for the large picture. The large picture is that America has a unique value system. Americans don’t know it anymore. It needs to be defined and contrasted with Islamism and leftism.
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HH: Let’s go back to the phones and talk with David in Glendale. Hey, David, you’re on with Dennis Prager.
David: Yes, it’s a big honor to talk to both of you. Just to drive a stake through the heart of a canard, God with us was put on the German army belt in 1890.
HH: Thank you, David. I love that, Dennis, a fact trumping a canard. Let’s then try in Seattle, oh, it’s my friend, Yoni, Yoni the Blogger, veteran of the Israeli Defense Services. Hey, Yoni, you’re on with Dennis and Hugh.
Yoni: Dennis and Hugh, I had to call, because that guy about the comment about Hitler being baptized as a Catholic upset me so much, because I had a dear friend in Israel that as an infant was baptized a Catholic. Why? So that his parents could save him from the Holocaust. He emigrated to Israel, fought in ’48, fought in ’67, fought in ’73 and from the time he set foot in Israel to the day he died, he lived as an orthodox Jew. What, I have to worry about him being a Catholic now just because he was baptized as a baby? It makes no sense.
HH: Only for morons from Texas, Yoni. Don’t…that’s all that really matters, too, and I’m glad you illustrated that. But while I’ve got you both, let me ask you both. Do you expect a war? Netanyahu told Iran today stop enriching uranium. And it was a direct message. Do you expect a war within 90 days, Yoni, then Dennis?
Yoni: Within 90 days? 60/40.
HH: Dennis Prager?
DP: Within 90 days? 50/50.
HH: Wow. Thank you, Yoni. You know, do you think, Dennis, that you’re a very, very smart guy, but you’re also a learned scholar in the Talmud. How long have you been teaching Talmud?
DP: Well, I’ve been teaching Judaism and specifically the Torah from the Hebrew really all my life, so about 35 years.
HH: All right, do you think that that is what give you clarity on the left-right divide? I know it would give you clarity on the Islamist decision to attack Israel in…
DP: I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you one very big specific, or two specifics. I can’t do it in 30 seconds, though.
HH: No, you have all of four minutes here. I’ll give you a little extra space here.
DP: Oh, I won’t need the four minutes. But I’ll tell you what it did give me. Number one, I came to realize at a very young age that if there is no God who says thou shall not murder, murder is not wrong. I have debated this my whole life. At Oxford, I debated this. I have debated this on the radio and elsewhere, but there is no debate. If there is no God, murder is not wrong. It doesn’t mean you can’t feel it’s wrong, and I pray people do think it’s wrong. It’s a good thing if people think it’s wrong, but it isn’t wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion. I like murder, you don’t like murder. That’s all. It’s like I like BMW, you like Lexus, I like yellow, you like green. That’s what it is. And that’s what it is, by the way, for about half of America’s youth. Morality is all taste. It’s all personal, subjective opinion. I would save my dog before a stranger, because I love my dog and I don’t love the stranger. That is about what half of America’s people, population under 40, would say, many over 40, because love, heart, has supplanted Biblical, God-based ethics. That’s number one, that all of my learning in Biblical sources and Judaism has taught me. The other one, which is very specific and huge, the left wants to destroy what God created on the second day. And everybody doesn’t know, or almost no one, even people who know Bible don’t know what God created on the second day. God created separation. There is a war on the left against distinctions. The male-female distinction is being warred against. That’s why same sex marriage is so radical. It says it’s irrelevant if you marry a man or marry a woman. All that matters is love. But to the Judeo-Christian value system, sex, gender matters. Male matters. Female matters. Good and evil matter. But again, on the left, it’s all opinion. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. There is a whole list of separations that the left has worked to obliterate, and which is essential to the Judeo-Christian worldview.
HH: Now I’m going to slip into Ask A Jew II here for a moment. Dennis and I go on the road, and we did this thing called Ask A Jew, and I interviewed him about basic concepts in Judaism, and we had a thousand people in Pasadena. And someday, we’ll do Ask A Jew II, pay for view on the Hughniverse, which people can join right now if they want to watch us. But I’ve got a quick question that’s not related to Still The Best Hope. I went to New York on Sunday, got there in the morning, did Hannity at night, came back on Tuesday morning. A Hassidic guy sitting across from me in the United Club, he’s got the big-rimmed hat. What is it with the big-rimmed hat?
DP: The big-rimmed hat is merely a carry-over from Eastern European life. There are parts of Jewish life that are extremely traditional. I am not that traditional. I like American garb and modern Western garb. But so be it. They have chosen to wear the clothing that was worn at the time in Eastern Europe, and to…there’s a certain nostalgia for the shtetl, the insulated Jewish religious village. I don’t have that particular yearning.
HH: All right, back to the questions here. My son is a boy scout, and it is traditional for the president to meet with scouts who achieve all 130 merit badges, but President Obama has refused to do this. What is he thinking asks Pam from Irvine?
DP: Wait, what is he thinking with regard to which?
HH: Not meeting with scouts who get 130 merit badges.
DP: I didn’t know that. That’s why I’m asking you. When did that happen?
HH: Pam in Irvine? Has she left already? When did it happen? Just recently, she was told.
DP: Yeah, I don’t know enough about it to comment, and I have an idiosyncratic belief in commenting only on what I know about.
HH: That is, why are you on the radio? Conservatism is a lonely walk here in California. What pearls of wisdom can you offer us? Is California doomed asks Cathy in Fullerton.
DP: California is doomed if we continue on the road we are. People who innovate, people who wish to earn, people who love liberty, people who actually think that it is not moral to take 10%, perhaps now 12% or 11% of their income to support projects that are just creating an entitlement world are leaving.
HH: Isn’t it amazing that 11% of this, that you spent 12 years doing…
HH: …goes to the state? Every single, I’m pounding Dennis’ book if you’re watching on the Hughniverse, 11% goes to Sacramento, where it will be thrown away.
DP: Yeah, or worse. I wish it were thrown away. I would be more at peace if they took my money, my $30,000 dollars that I wrote out to the state of California last year, and burned it. What they do with it is more destructive than throwing it away.
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HH: During the break, I went down to see my friend Sandy in the crowd. And when I came back up, there were two cigars here. And I’m quite certain that those were intended for me, but they got…it’s like putting a cookie next to the cookie monster. I cannot stress to you people enough, you cannot put cigars intended for Hugh anywhere near Dennis, who is otherwise a morally upright, outstanding and reputable individual. But when it comes to this, he is, he believes in adverse possession, as we say in the law.
DP: You see, the only question I have when Hugh makes up this stuff is does anybody believe it? That’s the only….raise your hand if you think these were given to me, and raise your hand, thank you, raise your hand if you think they were given to Hugh. (laughter)
HH: Look, he’s a grafter. He is a grafter. An absolute grafter.
DP: Thank you. All right, so the answer, the answer…okay.
HH: I like to give fun facts to know and tell about Dennis, and I often, I illuminate aspects of his character that not many people know. A lot of people didn’t know Dennis is a skateboarding demon. A lot of people don’t know as well that he has a little tattoo, DP, on his calf where most people put the iron man. And many of the followers who listen to Dennis regularly, and have for how many years have you been on the radio? 30?
HH: They get DP tattooed on their calf. And so…are there any DP calf…three, four. Okay, we’ve got four people with DP on their calf tattooed. That is pretty impressive. I don’t have anyone who tattoos HH on their calf…All right, this morning comes, David and Catherine write from Corona, this morning, we heard a caller insult you, Dennis. My wife and I were shocked at how vile his comment was. You didn’t have time to respond before the male-female hour. Do you care to respond now? I didn’t hear the show this morning. I was getting ready for this.
DP: Well, it is a rare moment, because my producer and I pride ourselves in the generally high level of calls, I mean, very, very high level, including the many people who differ with me. But this man, I mean, I hadn’t remembered it, but now I do since it was raised now, said if I were a Jew in the Holocaust, I would have given Jews over to the Nazis.
HH: He said this to you?
DP: Yes, he said it to me, and the reason is, there is a segment of the left for whom character defamation substitutes for argument. It’s a not insignificant percentage. Think about…
HH: Well, that’s a blood libel.
DP: Well, it is. It was disgusting, and it was one of the rare times in my life I actually called somebody a name, but had earned it. He had earned it. Anybody listening would realize the man didn’t have any arguments for what I was saying. It angers the left a great deal that I don’t use any pejoratives to describe them, and that I always give them the benefit of the doubt with regard to their intentions, as I do in the book, I must say, about a half a dozen times, that there are good people on the left, and good people on the right, and that my argument is with ideas, not with the character of people with whom I differ. But there is a segment of the left for whom, and it’s a very large segment, unfortunately, for whom character defamation is the way in which to win political battles. And I’ll give an example from a long time ago. Barry Goldwater was declared by over 2,000 psychiatrists to be mentally ill. Now every one of those psychiatrists should have been thrown out of the profession.
HH: Yup, lose your license.
DP: They should have lost their license for doing that. They didn’t, but it gives you an idea. Now were all these 2,000 psychiatrists bad psychiatrists or bad people? I doubt it. That’s where I have this other belief. Leftism makes you worse.
HH: You know, Dennis, I say there’s a difference between rotten and wrong. There are a whole bunch of wrong people out there. I may have even been wrong once in a while. But there are rotten people, like this caller to your show, and I add Bill Maher on this, and Michael Moore, some of the most famous leftists out there, they’re rotten. And I believe in salvation and all that good stuff, but I don’t need to go in harm’s way and be with them, or our earlier phone caller, because there is no redeeming them in this world. That’s the work, of the Holy Spirit. That’s something else. That’s not me.
DP: Well, I don’t, my issue when I have these people on is not will I convince them. It is, my attitude, and it has been very effective, is it affords clarity to the listener. So if the listener hears the conservative who is calling the other person no names, and is dealing with the issue while the other person fulminates, we win.
HH: Clarity is on every page of Still The Best Hope, Dennis’ new book.
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HH: And now I want to talk to you about marriage, Dennis. I have been urging people today if they are upset with the president’s declaration of favoring same sex marriage, that the next battleground for marriage is in Minnesota. Yesterday, the people of North Carolina voted overwhelmingly, not against gays, not because they’re homophobic, but because they believe marriage ought to remain between one man and one woman, they voted to amend the constitution in North Carolina. The battle now moves to Minnesota. And Minnesota For Marriage is the leading group in Minnesota, and I have added their organization to my Act Right list at Hughhewitt.com. So if you are upset today with what the president has done, and you want to lend $50, $100, $500 dollars to the defense of marriage in Minnesota, go to Hughhewitt.com and click on the Act Right button, and there at the bottom of the list underneath the Mitt Romney campaign and a dozen Senate races is Minnesota For Marriage. Dennis, do you think that the country is going to be changed in any significant way by the president’s declaration today? Or does he actually lose the esteem of the people who may have believed he was honest in 2008 when he said he did not favor same sex marriage?
DP: Well, he’s been saying all along that he’s evolving, and most of us understood that he would evolve to this point. The only question was when he thought that it was politically expedient to announce that he had fully evolved. I’d like to know the rational bases of his evolution, but I know what he would say. He would say what the vice president say. Two people love each other, who are we to say anything? But of course, every society in the history of the world has said something. We have never said you can’t love a member of the same sex or ten members of the same sex, or ten members of both sexes. The issue is not whom you can love. It is whom can you marry. Marriage is defined by society. It has always been defined by society. And if indeed the criterion is solely whom do you love, then there is absolutely no argument, I mean, literally no argument against siblings marrying one another, and certainly not against polygamy. I don’t understand what the vice president would say to a Muslim who in good faith wanted to marry more than one woman. My religion says it, and I love them, Mr. Vice President, and now Mr. President, why are you standing in the way? And there is, they would have no answer. There is no answer. I asked this of gay spokesmen years ago, and all they would say is it’s apples and oranges, because there’s not an answer whatsoever. If love is the only criterion, then there is no argument against any love becoming marriage – multiple or intrafamily.
HH: Let me ask you about, I’m going back to my Judaism question. When did Old Testament evolution occur where a polygamist marriage was acceptable to when it wasn’t?
DP: It’s an interesting question. It was always acceptable in the Old Testament, and however, and this is very important, there are two ways of learning, or at least two ways of learning values from the Bible. One is through law, especially in the Old Testament, this is the legal document, certainly the first five books. Well, there are three. Another is proclamations by the prophets in the, and love your neighbor as yourself in the Old Testament, and the third is through stories. Every time a polygamist marriage is described in the Old Testament, it described one of the women as loved, and one as hated. In other words, it was the Bible’s way of saying the truth is, it stinks. You can do it, but it’s not a good idea.
HH: All right, now let me go back to Still The Best Hope. There are lots of callers and questions here, but Hugh’s got a few. On Page 25, you refer to the leftist Presbyterian Church USA as a sitting…you know, I’m a Roman Catholic Evangelical Presbyterian, so I’m a little confused. But I am also a sitting elder in the PCUSA. I’m not a leftist.
DP: You are…that’s right, and I make clear that it is the leadership, not the lay members. And I have a picture of you in the footnotes.
HH: Okay. Why liberals so often feel offended…would you, I think this is brilliant. Would you explain to people, because I love it when people say that offends me.
HH: You choose to be offended. Anyone who’s offended out there, you’re making a choice to be offended. Why are they so often offended?
DP: Because leftism is entirely feelings-based and conservatism is not. It’s rational, and it’s intellectual, totally contrary to what you’re told at college. And the proof, this is one of the many proofs. Conservatives…here, I would bet, literally, I would bet my home, and I don’t have the funds for another home, so I would have to live in one of your homes, and I would bet my home on the following experiment. Randomly pick 200 women who are pro-life, and 200 women who are pro-choice. Have all of them hear arguments, live, presented by the other side and see how many women say I’m offended. Will it be the pro-life or the pro-choice people who say I’m offended? And I would bet my house overwhelmingly, it would be the pro-choice women who would say I’m offended. They’re always offended on the left. I had a woman on my show today who wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her piece is in today’s Wall Street Journal. She wrote a piece saying that black studies programs are there overwhelmingly to promote a left wing view of civil rights and of race in America. She was then categorically dismissed. And you know why? Because the readers, what was the word that they used? The readers were not insulted, they were, oh, God, huh? It starts with a D. Distressed, thank you. The editor, the editor apologized for distressing readers. Can you imagine if the Los Angeles Times or New York Times apologized for all the times it distressed conservative readers?
HH: Dennis, you distress me every day. You’ve distressed me with these cigars you poached.
DP: There you go, but you’re not offended.
HH: I’m not offended. I’m distressed.
DP: That’s fine. You’re allowed to be distressed.
HH: Page 99, one of the best lines, “Western universities have become left wing seminaries.”
DP: That’s correct.
HH: I love this. It says a lot in one line.
DP: Yup. Well, that’s what they are. I attended one of the Ivy Leagues as you did. You attended an Ivy League university, and I did as well. And that’s what it was.
HH: Do you think USC is a left wing seminary?
DP: USC is a mixed bag.
HH: They can’t spell seminary.
DP: No, they can. It’s a good university.
HH: Oh, don’t go giving bones to the Trojans. That’s a bad thing.
DP: I don’t give bones to Trojans.
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HH: Let’s go to Pomona, California, and talk to Douglas listening on KRLA 870 The Answer. Hi, Douglas.
Douglas. Hello again. How are you doing, Hugh?
Douglas. And my question, like I said earlier, I’m the son of a NAACP president, the idea of discussing conservative principles is so verboten in my house that I think I would be disowned. How do you even begin to get past the visceral, knee-jerk, anti…because we’ve been so labeled, I’ve become over years more conservative. I’ve become an orthodox Christian. I have something in common with both of you. But the idea of bringing up simple principles of personal responsibility, fighting against the entitlement state, how much it has adversely affected our community, black community.
HH: How do you even bring it up, Dennis?
Douglas? How do you even start to touch the heart issue?
DP: Yeah, okay, well first, I have a general belief that it’s not worth discussing politics with members of your family that you differ with, because I put family unity and love above political divisions.
Douglas: That’s what I’ve had to do.
DP: I know. I know you have, because whereas you’re prepared to differ, they’ll be hurt and angry. And so it’s particularly not worth it, and just, you just stay loving. And if they want to know what you feel, you say very calmly, and you just that’s it. If the next time they attack conservatives, tell them that Barry Goldwater founded the NAACP Arizona chapter.
HH: Oh, very good.
DP: It’s in my book. It’s in my book.
HH: Very good. Now America, I want you to know that if you’re not getting enough of this, you can always join Pragertopia. I want to put an ad in for my audience that other than the Hughniverse, Pragertopia is the world you should belong to, and you can belong to that at Pragertopia.com. You can also go to Prager University. And for my audience who hasn’t heard it before, Dennis, tell them what Prager University is, and how it helps them in concert with Still The Best Hope, a minute to the break.
DP: Precisely because the university has become in most instances a left wing seminary rather than a place to learn truth and history and literature and greatness in the arts, we are trying to undo the intellectual and moral damage in five minute courses. And I believe it is doable. I know it is doable, and millions of people who have come to visit Prageruniversity.com also believe that it is possible. By the way, Hugh, we need to have you do a course.
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HH: I want to get to a very serious question after I ask an annoying question. What is it about the Adam’s – Adam Carolla, Adam Baldwin, Adam Ant, Adam West, they’re all Dennis Prager people. Adam Baldwin is a complete and utter Dennis Prager plant. Adam Carolla is going around and doing gigs with you. What grip do you have on the Adam’s?
DP: Adam in Biblical Hebrew means human being. Apparently, I appeal to the human condition.
HH: I am silenced.
DP: I thought it was a good answer. Why are you silent?
HH: How do I know that that’s true?
DP: Oh, no. No, no, because the name of the first human was Adam. And in Hebrew, Ben Adam, Adam is the Hebrew, Adam in English, the son of man, which has a specific connotation in Christianity, but it means person. In Hebrew, it means person.
HH: Oh, okay.
DP: So Adam is the human being. And you want an even more interesting thing? Adam, Adam, comes from the Hebrew word Adama, which means earth. So it’s because we come from, God made us from the Earth.
HH: Did you know that Hugh, did you know that Hugh in Gaelic means everybody loves my show? Did you know that?
DP: Yes, I did know that.
HH: Okay, just checking. Now I want to go to something very serious.
DP: Which is amazing, because Dennis in Roman times meant everybody loves Hugh’s show.
HH: Okay, time to be serious. Last…I’ve been thinking about this since that caller last hour told me you’re the kind of Jew, that someone insulted you today that would turn Jews over to the Nazis. And I was thinking, this feathers into Still The Best Hope. I saw grown men…now the hardest-bitten, the most cynical, the toughest to reach audience in the world is an audience of radio program directors and general managers. They are absolutely cynical about talk show hosts, because that’s all they ever deal with. And most of them, not Dennis or me, are prima donnas, and they are very difficult to deal with. And so when you get a whole bunch of them, a hundred of them in a room, it’s a tough audience. It may be the toughest audience, because they’ve heard every shtick, they’ve seen us for years, there’s nothing we can do or say to get them to actually listen to us. They’re just ah, it’s Prager, it’s Hewitt, it’s Bennett, it’s Gallagher, it’s Medved. They just turn us…it’s Pastore, whatever. However, the last time we were together at a Salem general managers meeting, reduced to tears by my friend Dennis Prager, because he talked about why he is so much a fan of this radio network and of Christians, because of the nature of who is in there? Do you remember this? You probably don’t even remember this.
DP: Of course I remember it, but I don’t want to say it again, because I get choked up.
HH: You have to say it.
DP: Now, you see, you put me on the spot. Everybody has bated…there’s no breathing in the room as a result of what you just did. Well, I will tell it as calmly as I can. I have been honored to speak at many Christian churches and Christian meetings, and specifically for Christians United For Israel, Pastor John Hagee’s magnificent group. He’s one of the leading Evangelical pastors in America. And I have spoken…so often, it would be a couple of thousand, sometimes more of these Christians. And I would say to them that, I’ve never said this on the radio, so you put me on the spot, because this is a difficult thing to say. But more or less, every Jew thinks at times about a non-Jew in their life, if there were another Holocaust, would this person try to rescue me, hide me, save me? And I tell these audiences that whenever I am with them, I believe that I am with thousands of people who would indeed save me, rescue me, hide me. And it is, the reactions that they give are just overwhelming. They cheer as if their team were in the 7th game of the World Series, and about to win in the bottom of the ninth inning. I mean, I can only approximate it to that, because that’s where you hear the most cheering in American life, generally. And it’s a very moving thing to me, and it’s a very moving thing to them, and I truly believe it. They know I believe it, and I believe that they react accordingly.
HH: You know, it’s the highest compliment, and I thought about that after that event when you said they react that way, it’s the highest moral compliment you can pay to a Christian, because no greater love has the man that he laid down his life for a friend. And it’s also something to which I think most people aspire to in the abstract. It’s very easy to think yourself Bonhoeffer in the abstract. I’m not nearly so confident of me or anybody else. I’d like to think you were right. But I must say that the left is destroying my certainty about whether or not America will stand by Israel. We are at the brink, Dennis. This is remarkable in Still The Best Hope. We are at the brink. The Iranians are Holocaust-minded. People don’t believe that, but they really are. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are Holocaust-minded. They might be happy to see the incoming missiles about to bring back the hidden Imam out of the well if they know they got Israel first. And I’m not sure that this president will do what needs to be done to stop that. Are you?
DP: No, I’m not sure. Well, I am sure he would do it prior to the election, yes. No, I’m not in the least being cute.
HH: I know.
DP: I believe he would do whatever it would take prior to November, and I don’t believe he would after November.
HH: Did the left after World War II, I don’t remember seeing this in Still The Best Hope, maybe I’ve stumped the book, because it’s comprehensive. Did the left after World War II fall silent for a while, confronted with the camps and confronted with the moral depravity?
DP: Did they fall silent with regard to what?
HH: To wanting to change the West from what it was?
DP: Well, this is what…my take is that after World War I, the Europeans lost their belief in themselves. and after Vietnam, Americans lost belief in themselves, or at least the left did. But the left became dominant in Europe. The left did not become dominant, fully dominant, in the United States. There is still a very strong faction of people who are anti-left. So this is the real battleground for humanity. But World War I shattered Christianity in Europe, and it shattered European civilization, it shattered belief in the West, it shattered artistic excellence, it shattered belief in God, it shattered nationalism, and that’s what happened in this country when the left took over the universities and much of the politics of the United States after Vietnam.
HH: Did you send Still The Best Hope to Mitt Romney yet?
DP: I would, but I don’t think it would get to him. But you have an entrée. I am pained by the fact that the candidates don’t know how to make the case for America. I think, I did not support him, but I think Newt Gingrich came closest, frankly. He had so many other flaws that I don’t think he could have won. But he knew, he has put out a book, for example, about how God-centered Washington D.C. is, if you just look around, and that we have forgotten that. Remember, the essence of the American value system that I explain in my book is what I call the American trinity, and liberty, in God we trust, E Pluribus Unum. Even if you’re an atheist, you have to affirm the fact that inalienable rights are, they only exist if they come from God. There’s no such thing as an inalienable right that comes from man. Only if God is the source of rights can they be inalienable.
HH: Would you be upset if Governor Romney in his acceptance speech in Tampa cited the American trinity, because I think it’s powerful rhetoric. I’ve seen it delivered a couple of times when you’ve delivered it. Doesn’t quote you, doesn’t cite you, just uses it. Would it upset you?
DP: I’d rather be cited, but it would only not upset me, it would make my day. I would take my wife to her favorite vegetarian restaurant.
HH: Oh, don’t tell me that.
DP: Yes, I would, I would.
HH: So are you a vegetarian?
DP: She’s been since, what, 14?
HH: Oh, my goodness. And I was just about to bring up the secondhand smoke chapter after the break. So I want to know if there’s, have you relented on the secondhand smoke jihad that you lead?
DP: No, not in the least.
HH: Okay, because you’re married to a vegetarian. They kind of go together.
DP: No, but she’s a rational vegetarian.
HH: All right, I don’t know about that. I believe in Gullivers’ meat. You know that. I believe in going to Gullivers and going to get the meat.
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HH: Now I am shamelessly selling Dennis’ book because he may be the worst self-promoter I know when it comes to books.
DP: No, I am the worst self-promoter you know when it comes to anything.
HH: That’s why I’m going to do part II. Part II is platform speaking. Number one, the two best platform speakers in America are sitting up here right now. I’m not going to tell you who’s number one and who’s number two. I’ll let you be the judge. But I will say that we are both available, and through our website, you can find us. Now if you have a big budget, bring us both to your event, because we have so much fun together, your audience will have fun. But if you listen to me clearly, if you are a Christian church, all right? If you’re an Evangelical church especially, and you’ve never known who to ask to come and talk to your congregation about Israel, about Judaism, my two buddies, Prager and Medved, are the best speakers. If you’re a Christian college, how many pastors do you need? Obviously, inspiration every day, but why don’t you bring one of these men, and Dennis right now with this book could profoundly impact your students. He didn’t know I was going to do this. Is he blushing, yet? Is he blushing, yet? He gave me a cigar, so I’m really animated I’m trying to get three more out of him. And so if you…put them on the other side. If you’re not watching on the Hughniverse, you can’t see that. Now back to the phones. Who’s been most patient? Brian, San Diego, you’re on with Hugh Hewitt And Dennis Prager.
Brian: Hi, guys. You know, I just wanted to ask Dennis, there’s, I don’t know if you cover this in your book, but it seems to me lately, and it’s something I’ve been concerned about, there’s this elevation of safety and health.
HH: Secondhand smoke.
Brian: And the thing is when I was a boy, I was taught that my eternal soul, that my integrity, that my sense of manhood, these were the most important things, the things that I should value the most. You know, when we went for a bike ride, we’d wear helmets, and you got thirsty, you drank out of a garden hose. It seems to me now this elevation of safety now…
HH: How old are you, Brian?
Brian: I’m 45.
HH: You’re going to die soon. You drank out of the garden hose. Dennis, what do you think?
DP: There is actually, there is, Brian, is it Brian, correct?
DP: Brian, it’s a very big issue. It’s one I talk about on my show, and I do have it in the book. First of all, there are two ways I have it in the book. One is, well, really one. It’s under the heading of hysterias. It’s one of the characteristic aspects of the left – hysteria. There was hysteria over heterosexual AIDS in America, there was hysteria over silicone breast implants. I have a list of 11 or 12 hysterias that characterized the left. And under it is of course anything to do with safety. Monkey bars have been banned, see-saws have been banned, dodge ball has been banned, losing by a big score in baseball or soccer has been banned lest the kids’ feelings be hurt. Everything that emanates distinctively from the left, 99%, I would say, has been destructive. And this is, the self-esteem movement I have a whole chapter on.
HH: Two things that should be banned – driving when Dennis when he’s trying to read a GPS, and flying with Dennis in a small plane. I will explain tomorrow.
DP: No, the second shouldn’t be banned. I calm people during turbulent flights.
HH: Oh, my gosh. Worst flight of my life with Dennis Prager coming from a Santorum event to a Joe Lieberman-McCain event, well, I’ll go into that later. Dennis, doing show prep today, which I didn’t really need to do, and thank you, Brian, there’s a New York Times story. Psychiatry manual drafters back down on diagnoses. In a rare step, doctors on a panel revising psychiatry’s influential diagnostic manual have backed away from two controversial proposals that would have expanded the number of people identified as having psychotic or depressive disorders. Now your buddy, Dr. Steve Marmer, who’s in your acknowledgements, he’s a great man, he’s a great guest, he’s a good friend, and he can’t play Hearts fair, because he beat me like a bongo drum.
DP: He beat you? Not I?
HH: At your house. Well, I think you were my partner. Are we psychoanalyzing this country to the left?
DP: Well, yes. Look, why did I mention the psychiatrists who called Barry Goldwater mentally ill? Leftism poisons what it touches. It has poisoned psychiatry. There are certainly terrific psychiatrists. I wouldn’t have one on my show regularly if I didn’t believe that. But it’s poisoned academia, it’s poisoned the arts, it’s poisoned the notion of good and evil, it has poisoned foreign policy, it has poisoned psychiatry. And the self-esteem movement has poisoned the society generally. What children need is self-control, not self-esteem. Self-esteem is actually bad for children. I know that this is, it’s almost like saying that God is dead in the middle of a Mass, but it is. It is a secular god. It is a left-wing secular god – self-esteem.
HH: You know, I just finished rereading James Clavell’s King Rat. Ever read that?
DP: No, I read the other one about in Japan.
HH: Taipan or Shogun?
DP: Shogun, yeah.
HH: Well, King Rat is very interesting, and it’s about being in a prison camp. And one of the people gets gangrene. And it describes how gangrene moves through the body, progressively destroying everything that it comes in touch with. You just described it from the left.
DP: Well, that’s right. It is, it’s destroying Europe. It is so destructive that people in Europe don’t even reproduce. European countries are disappearing. And it doesn’t give you what to live for. It gives you what to hate – the right wing, religion, conservatism, standards of excellence. But it doesn’t give you anything to live for. How could it in any event? What is there to live for? More entitlements? We will have more people taking money for doing nothing and corrupt their soul? It’s ultimately, you know what it produces, the left? Ennui. Boredom.
HH: Let me go, speaking of boredom and ennui to USC, Steven in L.A. How are you, Steven?
Steve: I’m great. Yeah, so I’m a USC student. In high school, I got a 4.6 GPA. I’ve won a scholarship from the LAPD. It’s private, you know, essay contests and stuff, so there’s some pretty good people at USC.
HH: Of course there are.
DP: I’m the one who said it’s a mixed bag. My colleague was the one who said I was throwing bones.
HH: I just think that a band should have trumpets. I think it’s a tragedy that the marching band at USC does not have trumpets. And so Steven, if you will do something about, they gave them up in World War II, they went to the all French horn band, it’s a very sand thing that they did that. It was a drive for the brass in the trumpets, and they got attached to it. When they put trumpets back into the USC marching band, I’ll begin to talk…did you know that story?
DP: The book is called Still The Best Hope.
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HH: The casual cruelty, though, of the average Dennis Prager listeners is something that’s sometimes astonishing. Those of you who are watching on the Hughniverse know that repeatedly, people have come up, Dennis fans and friends, and they give him a cigar. And they don’t even bother to say sorry, they only have one. They don’t even look at me. They just give him the cigar.
DP: Someone gave me two, and I gave you one.
HH: You did. It’s like I’m the gleaning person. That’s a Scriptural deal. I’m the gleaning of you. I’m gleaning Dennis’ cigars.
DP: When it is your event on my show, they will bring you cigars, all right? There you go.
HH: All right, I’m deeply moved. Here’s a question from the internets. I won’t limit God, but does Dennis think we can have another great awakening? By the way, King Rat was awesome. This from Carl the Lesser.
DP: I think we can have another great awakening. I would like the awakening, though, to be very large in the sense that while this is a Jew who wants Christians and Christianity to prosper in America, I mean, I have been among the leaders in the campaign to restore Christmas as opposed to Happy Holidays. By the way, you know my method of doing that, one of my methods? If you’re wished happy holidays, just respond which one did you have in mind? Isn’t that effective?
HH: It is effective. It could be New Year’s Eve.
DP: No, no, so let them say that. Let them say that.
HH: Okay, a question from the audience.
DP: But wait, wait, let me just say, I want the great awakening to include God, and to also, in other words, the great awakening must reaffirm America’s values. That includes God-based values.
HH: My friend, Tim, Tim Shaw from Brea, what happens to America when over 50% of the country deliberately chooses liberalism and a dependency culture over traditional American values?
DP: Yes, it’s a very big problem. That’s the battle. That’s why I devoted these 12 years to this book. That’s why you and I broadcast every day. That’s exactly it. This is the great battle, folks. They fought an American Revolution in the 1770s, and we have to refight it now. It has to be refought in every generation. Good values don’t continue by osmosis. They have to be taught, and you shall speak of them when you lie down, when you walk by the way, and when you rise up.
HH: This is important. This one may be the most important question from Allison in Fullerton. My mom heard you lament the liberalism in colleges and universities today. What advice can you give me as I prepare to enter the college arena?
DP: Well, number one, I strongly advise high school graduates to take a year or more off before college. The odds are you’ll live to 100 years anyway. I don’t see the big rush to get into college. The more you know about life, the less susceptible you are to brainwashing, which is what they will attempt to do. And these are not bad people. They believe what they do. They’re sincere. But the purpose of a college education is indeed, it was said by Woodrow Wilson, and it was repeated by, and this is all in my book, repeated by the president of Dartmouth in two of his graduation addresses. He said the purpose is to have you challenge your father’s values. It’s not to teach truth. It’s not to teach beauty. It’s to have you challenge your parents’ values. So they’re fully open about the agenda. They don’t want you to leave believing that murder is wrong because God said so. They want you to leave and think that hey, if I don’t think that my child can make it, I can kill my child for the first 28 days of life. That’s what’s taught at Princeton by one of their leading professor. We call it infanticide. They call it choice.
HH: A minute to the break. Think about this for about five seconds. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever told you about a book that you have written?
DP: Whoa, I don’t know. I think the nicest thing anyone can say is it affected my life.
HH: That’s what I thought you were going to say.
DP: That’s the only reason I write. I mean, I didn’t work twelve years for this so that it wouldn’t affect lives. It’s meant to. I hope it goes viral. It’s not because of the money. He knows me. Believe me, it’s not because of the money.
HH: There’s no money in books.
HH: There’s no money in books.
DP: Yes, exactly. And if I wanted to write a book for money, I would have written one much simpler. I would have written Happiness II, and then Happiness III. And then Sex I, And Sex II.
HH: Stop. Given the crowd that you’ve got, we’ve got Terry Fahy, the GM of AM 870, The Answer.
DP: Terry would read my books on sex.
HH: He wants you to write five books. He wants five audiences like this.
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HH: I’ll read this one. Dennis, as a World War II vet, thank you for your service, sir, I’m concerned about our position of strength to maintain our safety in today’s world. I was happy with Ronald Reagan, who built up our Navy and service in general, but I sense that the current administration is lessening its interest in this important area. If you have a concern in this area, what is it?
DP: Well again, the left is generally open about what it believes, and they don’t believe that we should be the strongest country in the world. It’s not because of any anti-American or unpatriotic feeling. They just believe in parity. A unipolar world, as they call it, where one country dominates is offensive. The United Nations ideally should dominate. The left believes that a world that in which ultimately the United Nations is the most powerful single force is much better than one in which the United States is.
HH: All right, to the phones again. Steve in San Francisco, speaking of leftism, you’re on with Hugh Hewitt and my guest, Dennis Prager, author of Still The Best Hope.
Steve: Hugh and Dennis, this has been a terrific show. Hugh, you should do this more often.
HH: Thank you.
Steve: I wanted to get, I had a question about President Obama’s policy statement announcement today. Actually, sort of two questions. The first is if he’s in favor of redefining marriage to allow same sex marriage, then must he not by definition be in favor of all marriage arrangements, however they’re constructed, whether it’s between a brother and a sister, or a parent and a child?
DP: Yeah, but you see the point is leftism isn’t rational. It is felt. And the feeling here is compassion for gays, which I have just as much as the president has. I have a dear member of my extended family who is a lesbian. I love her, I love her partner, I love their child. I have dear friends, male gay friends, who also have two children. I spent my birthday two years ago with them, because I love them. It is, the left wing mind believes that if you have compassion, you drop standards. The conservative mind should have both. All minds should have both – compassion and standards.
HH: All right, back to the phones, Tom in Houston, because I love my Houston audience, if I can make this work. Go ahead, Tom, you’re on with Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager.
Tom: Well, wonderful. I’m so happy to speak to the both of you from Houston. Did you get that, Hugh?
HH: I did. Houston.
Tom: Yes, sir, 1070 down here.
HH: Good to have a city named after me. Go ahead.
Tom: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. You’re a good man. The question is I am in full support of religion of any stripe or manner. I was raised Catholic myself. I am a wandering Christian at this point. But the question is, the Muslim/Islam/Koran type teachings, which in their teachings, in their doctrine, it tells its followers to conquer, to kill, to deceive about the teachings of their religion. How do you two gentlemen recommend that someone would counter this type of perverted thought process? I won’t even call it a religion. That’s a question.
HH: Dennis, you write extensively about this.
DP: Yeah, there is an extensive thing on it, and my…I made this a point, Hugh, but my problem is with practitioners more than it is with religions. Every one of us has Biblical passages that we have moral issues with. It’s just a fact. The question is what does a Muslim do with his Koran more than what specifically does the Koran state, though the Koran does have problems, from my perspective, as an outsider, obviously. But to me, what is more significant is what has been done in the Islamic world? And the record is a very troubling one. There has never been a tolerance of other religions, including the golden age of Spain, which admittedly, Jews fared better for a few hundred years than they did at the same time in Christian Europe. The truth has to be always the truth, the primary thing that we offer. But to point to something a thousand years ago as having been better to something else a thousand years ago doesn’t give me much optimism vis-à-vis that group today. It is such a bizarre argument. We were tolerant in 1200, therefore, we’re tolerant isn’t an argument. And the intolerance vis-à-vis Jews and Christians was so great that what was the center of Christianity, the Middle East, ceased to be Christian. Christians were forcibly converted and killed very often, even though they were by theoretically allowed to live as Christians. The record is a very troubling one. However, I just want to add this. I do add in the book, I am not fully pessimistic with regard to Islam. And I believe that there will be a reformed Islam, and it will come from Muslims in America who hold American values.
HH: That is written at length about, by the way, in Still The Best Hope. Dennis, from my Twitter feed, #hewitt, Dennis needs to plug Prager University writes @Mrs_ESTMR, a minute to the break. Plug Prager University.
DP: That is our answer to the left wing seminary that the university has become. The date to prove that what your child gets for $40,000 or $30,000 or $20,000 dollars a year, the data are irrefutable. The instructors believe in leftists values, in philosophy, in the department of English and women studies and black studies and sociology and psychology. That’s what they believe in. And they transmit it to your kids. Hopefully, your kid will be drunk for four years during college, and they won’t be affected. But if they’re sober…
HH: Dennis Prager, one more segment when we come back, America.
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HH: Dennis, I’ve got to ask you one quick question, then finish with a serious one. And I want to urge everyone right now, go to amazon.com and order Still The Best Hope by Dennis Prager. There’s a link to the autographed edition at Hughhewitt.com and to the Amazon.com link. But just type in Prager at Amazon, you’ll get to it. First of all, what’s it like to have a producer? I’ve never known that. You’ve got Allen, and I…
HH: Okay, number two, I want to close with this chapter, I just gave Duane a compliment, so I can’t get…epilogue, why conservatives are happier than liberals, I think this is a perfect place to end a conversation that could go on for as long as the book goes on. Why are conservatives happier than liberals?
DP: I give a number of reasons, and again, nobody denies that. Every poll offers that. The liberal response, or the leftist response, is that we are less happy than you are because we are troubled more by inequality among human beings than you are, which by the way, is true. They are troubled more by inequality. I’m trouble by evil. They are troubled by inequality. I agree with that. But they are not more troubled by inequality than I am by evil. I actually do think at night, believe it or not, of the largest concentration camp in the world today, a country called North Korea. So they are not more troubled by evil, they are more troubled by inequality. So putting the troubled part aside, I’ll tell you one reason. The left wing person dreams for utopia. And so long as utopia is not available, they are miserable. We have the opposite view. We wake up every day, we conservatives, and say I can’t believe how lucky I am to live in the United States of America. They wake up and think how can I fundamentally transform this sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted place? Who is a happier person? The one who wakes up every day, thanks God for being in that place? Or the one who thinks that it needs to be fundamentally transformed?
HH: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for coming out today. I want to encourage you to go to PragerUniversity.com, to join Pragertopia.com. There’s an aftershow coming up for those of you who are diligent listeners on the Hughniverse.com. Duane will take on your calls and talk to you about how you produced a show like this, and how rare it is indeed to have this kind of friendship among talk show hosts. But it’s been a great pleasure, Dennis, thanks for doing this. You must be exhausted. Three hour show, three with me, two and a half, three hour lecture coming up, you are really into this book, and thank you for doing that. It’s a work of love, and it’s much appreciated.
DP: You’re a good man, Hugh.
HH: Thanks, everyone, go to Hughhewitt.com.
End of interview.