tv Open Phones With Dennis Prager CSPAN May 28, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
the namesake of the john birch society. that is just a few of the authors coming up this holiday we can. for complete schedule go to booktv.org. booktv on c-span2, 72 hours of nonfiction books and authors this memorial day weekend. .. >> host: joining us onset is radio talkshow host and author of seven books dennis prager. his most recent book is called "the 10 commandments: still the best moral code". dennis prager, what is on your mind? >> guest: very good opening question and i will answer you completely honestly, what is on my mind? it is not totally germane but quite germane to the 10 , the gr and i do believe that a big part of the reason is the radical
secularization of our society. >> host: where did that come from? how did it come about? >> guest: it came about, its origins really emanate from europe. after world war i, and even somewhat before but especially after world war i, europe decided that everything it believed in was nonsense because of the massacres of world war i. the atrocious loss of life for no apparently good reason. that's a very important point. everybody understands world war ii was morally necessary. not be everybody believed world war i was, and they certainly didn't believe it afterwards despite the versailles treaty and blaming germany and so on. nevertheless, there was a feeling -- everything we believed in led us awry, so we will drop religion, and we will drop national identity, we will just become secular citizens of the world. america took its ph.d.s from european universities starting
in the late 19th century before world war i, but nevertheless continuing. and i think that's where it developed where, if you're intelligent, you could go back to darwin, go back to marx. but the operative element was if you're bright, you're not religious. at a university in the western world, not just the united states, if you believe that god created heaven and earth, that god is the source of thou shalt not murder, not just reason, you are considered a dummy. and that, that foolishness -- and that truly is foolish, because the deepest people i have ever met have overwhelmingly had a god-centered understanding of the world. that is now taken as a given, that if you believe something like that, you are intellectually suspect. so that's what's happened. >> host: when you hear somebody
say i'm spiritual but not religious -- [laughter] >> guest: how do you know to as: me such good questions? i have done hours of radio just on that subject. it is, with all respect to t people who say it, it is meaningless. it means i contemplate my navel in a sophisticated manner. that is the code word. it doesn't mean anything, i'm spiritual but not religious. what does it mean? if you have no religion, what do you have? spirituality? whatwhat does spirituality mean? that you believe that flowers are beautiful? that you believe animals are loving? what does it mean? it doesn't mean anything. i know to the individual making it, it means something.oe but without religion -- without a code, religion gives you a code, religion gives you a set of belief. i don't care if you reject them, but at least you have to grapple with them. remember israel, which is the
founding group of the old testament, means "struggle with god." and i take that seriously as a believer. i do struggle with god. when i see all the suffering in this world, the unjust suffering, when just thinking for a moment -- forgetting the obvious of your neighbor had pancreatic cancer at 32, but a whole country called north korea which is a human concentration camp, the way people live there and the hundred million of world war ii? i mean, you know, these things bother me. so i understand struggling withe god as a believer. but i want the atheists to understand you have to struggle with god too. it's not enough. i was invited, to the great credit, the american atheists, the biggest atheist group in the u.s. as far as i know, they invited me to their annual convention, which was to their credit. and -- to debate their head on god's existence.
at one point i looked at the audience who were completely, by the way, decent to me and -- i can't complain at all. they were just fine. but i said to them at one moment, would you raise your hand if you have ever seen a child born or listened to a bach par tee that -- partita or seen a van gogh painting or seen a sunset and said, you know, it's hard to believe that just happened on its own. maybe there is a god. not one hand went up. and then i looked at then and i said, you know, if i were to ask any religious audience have you ever seen a deformed baby anden doubted god, raise your hand, everyone would have raised their hand.te we believers struggle more than you atheists do. and you think you're the questioning ones. we're the questioning ones.
>> host: where did this book, "the ten commandments," come from. >> guest: it is exactly what the subtitle says. it is still the best moral code. this changed human history. and in the briefest book i ever wrote following the longest book i ever wrote -- which i had the honor of being on your show then -- this is a transcription of the 11 lectures, the ten commandments plus one introductory lecture which is on prageruniversity.com. we got about 11, 12 million views on that, and it continues to be widely viewed all over the world. and i have taught this my whole life from the hebrew. and this is the distillation of every idea i've had in teaching this for 40 years. so this is a, it's a very important book to me because it's very simple. if everybody lived by the ten
commandments, you would not need one army, you would not need one missile, you would not need any policemen, you would not have to put locks on your doors. n this is all humans need. it's amazing. >> host: dennis prager -- and we're going to put the phone numbers up, because this is your chance to talk with radio talk show host and author dennis prager. 202 is the area cold, 748-8200 in the east and central time zones, 748-8201 for those of you in the mountain and out here in the pacific time zones. we're here at the los angeles times' festival of books on the campus of the university of southern california. our guest is dennis prager. first of all, where did prager university get its start, and are you, are you a jewish scholar? >> guest: well, it's a little pompous for me to say i'm a scholar, but i did teach jewish history and religion at brooklyn college at the beginning of my career. i have written two books on
judaism be about 200 articles. i got an award from the american jewish press association for my columns on jewish matters. i know the torah, the first five books of the bible, in the hebrew better than i know it in english, and i've taught it much of my life.h so i don't -- i certainly use the work of scholars to explain to people of every background. that's what i -- this is very important. i believe that the whole book, those five books, the whole hebrew bible, is for everyone in the world. it's the greatest book ever written.ks and, certainly, the ten commandments, it's for humanity. of course it was given to thety. jews as it were, but it's for humanity. if everybody lived by it, as i said, that's all you would need. the rest is commentary. this is it. anyway, prager university we started because we're very worried about what is happening at the universities where there's more indoctrination than there is education.
and it saddens me, because i love the mind, i love books. you're my favorite show, i just want you to know. my wife is here, we've told you this before, so i'm going to say it. you didn't ask me too, i'm not sure you even believe me. it's the only tv i watch, is booktv. i'm crazy about booktv. my wife introduced me to it, so you owe her a debt of gratitude here, and this is years ago. it's phenomenal. i love books. in high school i started reading and collecting books. i have about 7,000 books. i am crazy about books. i love the life of the mind. but the university is shattering it. because it's not the life of the mind, it is now the life of dogma, of ideology. so we have gotten some of the greatest thinkers on earth to give five minute courses on the most important subjects in the world from economics to sociology to history.
and we had last year 70 million views. i mean, that's -- it's an unbelievable number. in the english-speaking world, there is very little that has more views in terms of video content.th so the ten commandments is one of them. that alone had about 12 million views. and this is the product, this book. but prager university, we hope -- we got a letter from -- i'll just tell you one more thing about it. we got a letter from a graduate, said i just graduated stanford a couple of years ago. i want you to know i've learned more from prager university than i did at stanford university. we got this from bill bennett's son. he allowed me to quote him. he went to princeton. he said, i learned more at prager university than i did at princeton. that's our intent. because you'll get manager you don't get at -- manager you don't get at universities, wisdom. >> we're in the middle of a presidential campaign.
how do the ten commandments fit into a presidential campaign? >> guest: well, it depends on how you believe the united states was structured.in i believe -- and this, of course, i went over with you with my last book, till -- still the best hope about america. i believe there is an american trinity just as there is a christian trinity. and american trinity is found -- i didn't make it up. it's found on every coin. e pluribus unum, in god we trust, liberty. america stands on those three. if you remove one of them, the other two cannot stand. liberty is dependent upon the other two, the other two are dependent upon liberty. god is essential, and every founder, every founder said that. without god, this country will not endure. they all said it. this notion that they were all deists, i hate to say this word, it's like a dirty word to me because i so rarely use it, but it's a lie.
they weren't deists. deist means someone who believes god created the world and then became disinterested in it. benjamin franklin, who wasme not -- admittedly, who was not an orthodox christian. he did not believe in the christian trinity. okay. but he did believe in the god of the bible. and he believed in a judging god. b that's what the secular world hates. i am convinced at its core people don't want to be judged, and the hebrew bible and the ten commandments introduced the idea that you and i and everybody here and everyone alive is going to be judged on their moral behavior. that's big. and people don't like that. that's why the word "judgmental" is a dirty word. >> host: dennis prager, if people want to hear your radioio show -- >> guest: i'm on all over the country. not every single city, but the vast majority of medium and big
cities. and you can hear it on the internet effortlessly x there's an app you can hear me on. i get calls from brazil. i get calls from -- i think ier got a call from uzbekistan once. it is amazing what is possible now.a so it's broadcast on the internet. just look up on google the dennis prager show. >> host: and you're syndicated by salem. >> guest: that's right. salem radio, yep. >> host: what's been the main topic you've talked about for the last two, three weeks? >> guest: well, it's inevitable that there's a lot about, obviously, what is happening with regard to especially the republican side. and remember, my show -- well, not remember. i'll just say my show, everybody's show is unique because everybody is unique. but mine is a drop more unique than others because i don't only talk about politics. i broadcast 15 hours a week, three hours a day. noon to three eastern time, nine to twelve western time.
and an hour of those, of that 15 a week is on male/female relations. and i believe it's the most honest talk about men and women in the media today. an hour is on happiness. i wrote a book on happiness, and i believe that happiness is a moral obligation, not merely an emotional state. we'll talk about that at greater depth one day, because that's -- when people understand that, it is life-changing. so one is on male/female, and one called the ultimate issues hour where i just talk about the great issues of life. are people basically good, for example. and so at least three of my hours are not on politics. but, obviously, given especially the donald trump phenomenon there's been a lot of talk about that.tr >> host: you wrote on town hall, i believe it was, that you could support donald trump if he were the nominee. >> guest: yeah, well, right. but that was a preface to a big attack on him. >> host: right.:
>> guest: i think he's awful, but i would vote for him if he were the nominee because i believe that, unfortunately -- and i never judge intentions, but i believe that what the left has done to the country in undoing e pluribus unum, in god we trust and liberty has to be stopped.d. and, therefore, i'm doing everything i can to have anyone else be nominated.i but if he is nominated, i have, i feel i have no choice but to vote for him. >> host: who's your favorite? >> guest: well, i said at the very beginning and i still stand by this that i thought that marco rubio would have been the most effective of the republican candidates. i'm sorry to see what happened. at the same time, if ted cruz could be appointed because i know that he has obstacles to winning, i think he can win, incidentally. in fact, i'm more of belief of
that as time goes on. but ted cruz, i have a lot of admiration for him. he means what he says. he'll be portrayed as a right-wing kook whereas, you know, bernie sanders is not a left-wing kook? for a man to believe in socialism when the only thing that has ever lifted humanity out of poverty has been capitalism? and that's not considered kooky? there's nothing ted cruz says that comes close to the kookiness of bernie sanders. i mean, it's just, it's lunacy.e the only thing that has ever lifted humans from poverty has been capitalism. and the man is for socialism. it's, as orwell said, it is so stupid, only an intellectual could believe it. >> host: you and bernie sanders,
both jewish, both new yorkers. >> guest: yeah. that's about it. i would say even on the both jewish, we don't -- he is jewish ethnicically, i'm jewish religiously. and being jewish doesn't mean anything to him, and i don't hold that against him. you're not obligated, in my opinion, to affirm what you were born into. not at all. it's america. it's a free country. but i do affirm judaism very deeply whereas for him it's a non-issue. and that's fine. that doesn't, that doesn'tit affect me one way or the other. i would say that his views disturb me tremendously but not the fact that he is what a famous left-wing jewish historian called, he's a northern-jewish jew x. that's not an insult. there is a book called the non-jewish jew, and he's describing himself.. it's not an insult, but that's what hes. so we don't have much in common.
>> host: are you a conservative, and if so, are you a, are you a purist when it comes to being a conservative? >> guest: well, i'm never a purist because i always believe that something is better than nothing. i am not a purist at all, but i am a conservative. ironically, the deepest of deepest truths is that i am the same liberal i was when i grew up in brooklyn as a jew and went to columbia which is almost definitionally liberal. i can't think of almost anything i differed with john f. kennedy on. in fact, i have a test. see, liberalism has been taken over by conservatives. the name has been taken over by the left. the content has been taken over by the right. every liberal i know is a conservative. leftists are not liberals. liberals were daniel patrick moynihan, the senator from new york state, senator henry jackson, scoop jackson, of
washington state, john f. kennedy. here is a test. all your listeners, all your viewers should take john f. kennedy's inaugural address and hand it to a college student that they know. not with the title of the president. say this was an inaugural address given by an american president. was it a republican or a democrat. and i am willing to bet that 90% would say, oh, this is a republican. because every theme in it, much of the themes -- he believed deeply in lowering taxes to stimulate the economy. he believed america had a moral obligation to fight anywhere at any cost for liberty on earth. those aren't ideas that are held by the left. those are ideas that were held by liberals. >> host: dennis prager is our guest. nationally-syndicated talk show host. author of about seven books, co-founder of prager university.
gay in upland, california, you are the first call for mr. prager. >> caller: hi, thank you very much. wow, where to begin, mr. prager. i am mostly troubled by his infantile and simplistic viewpoint that if all humans would merely live by the ten commandments, we would be hunky dory, and that is just -- [laughter] the childlike view you get from the religious and the conservatives these days, because it's intellectually dishonest. humans are much more complicated. no, we don't like to be judged. of course not, who does? you don't, i'm quite sure. >> guest: i do, actually. i pray that god judges me. because then god will judge hitler -- >> host: okay. >> guest: so i want god to judge you and me. so don't speak for me. >> caller: well, that's what i believe, and that increasing belief is becoming more prevalent in this country, fortunately.
but a small religious minority has continued to force its ideology, to force your religion, your values. that's just deeply, deeply wrong -- >> host: gay, before -- >> caller: i could make a huge list of these things that i see every day -- >> host: gay, before we let you go, before we let you go, here are the ten commandments very quickly, and which of these do you live by? i am the lord, your god, you will have no other gods before me. do not take the lord's name in vain. remember the sabbath. honor thy mother and father. do not murder. no adultery. steal. do not bear false witness and do not covet. >> caller: i'm familiar with them. >> host: i'm sorry, you're not familiar with themsome. >> caller: am familiar with them. i went to sunday school. [laughter]
as a child. >> guest: why it childish and simplistic to think if everybody lived by these, the world would be a good place? >> caller: it's not reasonable to live by these things thatat were written down in the bronze age. people didn't know anything then. we know so much -- >> guest: you didn't answer my question. forgive me, it's irrelevant when it was written. beethoven was written 150 yearsw ago, we still listen. no, it's totally irrelevant -- >> host: all right. gay, i apologize, we're going to let mr. prager answer -- >> guest: i don't understand the objection. either they're valid or they're not valid. the fact that they are old doesn't make them invalid any more than something new makesme something valid. so i still want to know, why is that bad? because it's old? is there a better code to live by? >> host: and let's go to gay's first point which was a religious minority is making her
live under these values. >> guest: nobody -- well, first of all, the secular majority is making her live under do not murder, do not bear false witness, do not steal. those have been accepted. i don't want the government to enforce all of these. i don't want you to be arrested if you commit adultery. but i would like people to live by it. i suspect gay would like people to live by it too. that's why i want to know, what is irrelevant in the group. you name them.na what would she like dropped? what would you like dropped, gay? >> host: gay is gone, and we're going to go on to michael in illinois.. michael, you're on booktv with author dennis prager. >> caller: how you doing, mr. lamb?nn how you doing, mr. prager? i'm a first-time caller, long-time listener. i'd like to just run three things past him, mr. prager, and then i'll take my answer off the phone. when you read something, you're
taking away the world history so, yeah, the bible was written, but there was a lot of religion before that. and what do you think about america having food shows on where they go around eating the biggest hamburger? and the other thing is what dos you -- what's the difference between consumerism and free thought? thank you, bye. >> guest: hmm. did you get that? did you take down those notes? what was the difference between consumerism and --ee >> host: consumerism, and i missed the we could part. we'll let you riff on consumerism in general. but religions before the ten commandments. >> guest: right. religions before the ten commandments, none of them had a universal god. therefore, they were only applicable to the tribe. and no religion, for example, prior to the hebrew bible, had said you should love the foreigner. it is one of the most ubiquitous statements in the first five o books of the bible, love the stranger, because you were
strangers in the land of egypt. the idea that all people are created in god's image, these are brand new ideas.ve of course there was religion prior. there was also -- this is the first book in the history of the world to ban child sacrifice, to ban human sacrifice. people don't understand the spectacular revolutions wrought by this book. they don't, because there's a tremendous ignorance and a willful ignorance. but that's a good example. human sacrifice. it was accepted universally, and along comes this book and said it is an abomination in god's eyes to sacrifice human beings. >> host: he went on to talk about consumerism, he went on to talk about food shows with the biggest hamburger. maybe he's talking about society in general. >> guest: yeah, i don't have a problem with consumerism. the american consumer supports the world's economy. if americans started living only on what they need and not what they would like, then the
unemployed around the world would starve to death. thank god for the american consumer. he makes the world go round. i would add another thing. while, obviously, i am not a big fan of ostentatious consumption, i am not. in fact, i'm against it. never theless, i think people should know because i've studied good and evil my whole life. lenin, who was the father of evil of the 20th century, he is the father. he created the terror state that then later was adopted by hitler and mao and stalin, obviously following hitler. eleven 9/11 wiz an -- lenin was an's settic. he was not a consumerist. he didn't buy much. he denied himself pleasure. i, i'm scared of people generally -- not all.
a catholic priest that takes a vow of poverty, i respect that tremendously. but when people say, you know, oh, i don't want anything, i'm a little worried. i want my children to want to make a home and take care of a family and, yes, and have a picket fence and two dogs. what is mocked by the left, i don't mock. i think it's a beautiful aspiration to want to make a beautiful home for yourself, your spouse and your children. >> host: next call for dennis prager is jim in new preston, connecticut. hi, jim, go ahead. >> caller: hi, how are you? thanks for having me on. i appreciate the opportunity, because this is a topic that fascinates me. after listening more to mr. prager, i have a whole bunch of other questions, but i'm going to stick with the one i originally called about. and that is can you be spiritual but not religious. my question to mr. prager is can you believe in god but not be religious? because, frankly, the gods that
i see in especially the abrahamic religions are cartoons.. they're anthroto morphic. i understand that some wag said at one point an ineffable god is a pointless god. but god is ineffable by definition. he's infinite, he is not mortal, he is, he or she or it is notore limited. but we turn god into this cartoon. and, you know, and we can see how that has really, unfortunately, that's why people who think -- who apparently mr. prager doesn't appreciate,eo liberals -- reject that very cartoonish god, that anthroto morphic god, that god that justifies very un-christian politics of, yes, consume, consume, consume because it's good. so i'm going to stop. j i could go on and on and on, because mr. prager has some interesting ideas, it's just to me for anyone to call themselves
a christian and not see that love is at the core of christianity and not see that jesus christ himself rejected the capitalism and the type of consumption that mr. prager seems to elevate above all other good is, to me, kind of blind. so i'll stop. >> host: that's jim in new preston -- >> guest: okay. well, just for the record, i'm a jew, not a christian.t: nevertheless, i thought it migh, be relevant. nevertheless, i don't believe that george washington, john adams, james madison and almost every great thinker in history believed in a cartoon. that dismissal is very common today.to people have a dismissive attitude toward those of us who actually believe in the god of the bible, and you're certainly free to have that belief. but it is not cartoonish, it is indispensable that there is a god who demands that we be good people and to whom we will have
to answer is the best idea ever developed for the creation of decent people. i would like everyone walking along here to feel that their behavior toward other human beings is judged by god.ei i don't know why that is objectionable. i really don't. i can't think of a better idea. to think that i walk through life having to be a good person and that god expects me to be good, why does that make people like the last caller angry? so much so that he calls what we believe in a cartoon? it's a puzzle to me, frankly. i deal with it on my radio show, i deal with it in e-mail. and i can only say that this is what college has succeeded in doing. it has, it has presented a cartoonish caricature of what we believe in and then say we believe in the cartoon that they
have caricatured. >> host: next call is jacob in fayetteville, georgia. jacob, you're on booktv. hello. >> caller: hi. thank you so very much. i have one quick concern and question. in the five books that we talked about, there is so much murder and slaughter of the folks who are not jewish. i can't understand why is there, i mean, there's more killing in those five books than any other books that are written about -- [inaudible] would you please, you know, just share why that is? i mean, entire villages -- i >> host: jacob, are you referring to the five books of the torah we talked about earlier? >> caller: right. the five books of torah. >> guest: right. >> host: all right. thank you, sir. >> guest: it's a fair question,
and i don't want to interrupt the caller. >> host: no, he's done. >> guest: okay. so if there were a law in those five books that said jews, you must kill those who don't believe like you, i would ceasee to be a believer. if there were just one such verse in the entire hebrew bible, i would cease to be a believer, i would not have written this book, i would opt out of my religion. there isn't a hint of the notion that a jew should kill a non-jew.n that jews conquering canaan conquered it in a war-like manner, yes, that is how every place on earth was ever conquered. that is what happened. but there is no suggestion that you kill people who don't believe as you do. there is no such suggestion. in fact, the bible goes out of
its way to say you cannot go into canaan until they have become so evil that they deserve to be taken over. when the amount of can -- and the paradigm -- >> host: what's to the the secret to becoming a successful radio talk show host? is it a wide variety of interests? >> guest: ivan given that a lot of -- i've given that a lot of thought. i've been on 33 years, so i've earned the right to answer your question. it does not necessarily reflect on me, but it reflects on all of my colleagues and even people i don't agree with. the first thing, interestinglyon enough, the first thing is you must constantly be interesting. to be totally honest in giving you an answer. you can be brilliant, you can be anything wonderful, but if you're not interesting, people will tune you out.tune you they have thousands of other
options in different radioe stations and listening to books, listening to music, talking to a friend on the phone. it's endless. so the first rule when young people a say to me, you know, i'd like to be a talk show host, how would i know if i can do it? i say, very easy. go into a room, sit alone for three hours and be interesting. if you can do that talking to the walls for three hour, you've got a chance. >> host: sarah from olympia, washington, please go ahead with your question or comment for dennis prager. >> caller: hello, dennis. you and i are -- we have to be twins. i spend every weekend on booktv. i'm a book-a-holic. >> guest: that's right. we have good company with each other, yep. [laughter] >> caller: and i agree, i am astonished.
i'm not able to reach you on the radio here, although i listen to rush on occasion. i've heard you in the past. i've been, oh, golly, i've been in this state since i was 3 years old, okay? [laughter] >> guest: you've been in what since 3? >> host: in washington state. >> caller: i have been the same> person since i was 3 years old and growing at it.d and >> guest: right. >> caller: it was the nature of our family. i grew up learning -- i got a good education. my education, though, was in high school. i went to college, and i was pretty disappointed. and it was a pretty fair college. but they were just beginning to turn at that point. my religious history, myistory philosophical/political history goes way back. i've been, i'm till nominally a -- still nominally a republican, but i'm looking
around. i'm also looking at the libertarians -- >> guest: well, let me react, if i may -- >> caller: but as far as -- yes. >> guest: yeah. let me react, if i may, to the point you made about college. >> host: go ahead. >> guest: because this was ayo very, an important part of my own realizations here, religious and otherwise. when i was at graduate school at columbia, i realized i had so many bright professors, but i was taught -- and i hate to say this -- a lot of nonsense. for example, i was at the school of international affairs at thei russian institute, so i was, i studied communist affairs, the cold war. and i was taught that the united states was a as possible for the cold war asallen and khrushchev and brezhnev. and i thought, you've got to be kidding?ch how could you teach something, a totalitarian empire is as responsible as a democratic society?
for the cold war? and then i was taught that men and women are basically the same, that boys are just as happy to play with dolls and girls are just as happy to play with trucks if you'd only give them those specific items to play with. and i realized, this is ridiculous. i'm being taught nonsense. and it's gotten worse since i was there. n it's gotten worse.r and then one day i was walking around my campus at columbia, and i was puzzled. why am i learning so much nonsense by so many intelligent people? and then a verse that i'd learned in jewish school as a child came to my, came -- just came out of nowhere into me, and that is "wisdom begins with fear of god." and i realized, oh, my god, there's no wisdom at columbia because there's no god at columbia. and i have -- there's brightness. there's intelligence.
there's facts at columbia. there's knowledge, but there was no wisdom. and there is no wisdom, by and large. i mean, there were exceptions. obviously, some wise professors. but as universities have left their original god basis, which is what all of them had, they have become less and less wise and more and more, as red stephens wrote about our a universities, imbecilic or idiotic, i don't remember the word. and that's the truth, and i say it with sadness. but i did realize that it's very hard. if you believe everything is relative, there is no ultimate truth, there is no ultimate beauty, there is no ultimate morality, everything is theis individual, then look at the arts. look at what happened to the arts when god died. we went from michelangelo and we went from mozart, and now look at what they have here in southern california. there is a gigantic sculpture in
the front of the museum of art in orange county, and the sculpture is of a dog lifting his leg and peeing. this -- it is symbolic in the extreme of what has happened to the arts. the ugly, the scat logical -- that means related to excretory functions. one of the biggest awards in germany for sculpture, for art was given to an artist who sculpted a policewoman crouchinn and urinating, even the puddle is sculpted. this is what happened when god dies. so does humanity. >> host: we are at the l.a. times book festival talking with author and radio talk show host dennis prager. there are drums going off, there are dogs barking, there are
people shouting, there are people walking by. i hope you hear a little bit off that, but hopefully, you're hearing our conversation, more importantly. paul is in spokane, washington. go ahead, paul. >> caller: hi, dennis. i appreciate you coming on. it's a pleasure to talk with you. i was just -- i'd heard about you through several other sources. i identify as a, kind of a ben shapiro conservative. [laughter] you might say. but i am an evangelical reformed christian, westminster confession. i believe that the ten commandments apply, though in a different way.y. i wasn't aware you were jewish though until just now. so my original question was do you, do you sympathize or do you tend to lean towards or side with evangelical dominionists? i don't agree with dominionism,t
but i just wanted your take on it. >> host: well, paul, before we hear from mr. prager, what is a ben shapiro conservative? [laughter] >> caller: i listen to a lot of ben shapiro, and i agree quite a bit with his statements. i like that new, young conservative movement. it's a real shot in the arm, and a lot of what he says makes sense. he's just very logical, very brave and very forthright about -- >> host: thank you, sir, very much. and, of course, ben shapiro was on this program last year from l.a. go ahead, mr. prager. >> guest: and he does a lot of good work. the dominionists, as far as i -- and i work for evangelicals, and i am very familiar with evangelicals and venn jack theology. the dominionists, as i understand it, is that the group that would like to see america become theocratic, or is that just a charge that anti-evangelicals make?
i'm not familiar withge dominionism as such. >> host: he is gone. that caller is gone. >> guest: okay. too bad. in general, i would say that i have a tremendous amount of sympathy for evangelical christians. obviously, we don't see theologically completely eye to eye. obviously. but i use the term "judeo-christian" values, not judeo-christian theology. judaism has a theology, but there are i judeo-christian values. the christians who founded america were deeply judeo-based. margaret that much everybody was deeply stuff -- margaret thatcher was deeply such. >> host: dennis prager, a couple of state laws have gone into effect or not gone into effect in north carolina, mississippi, georgia vetoed it. it's about bathrooms, it's about gender equality, it's about --
what's it about, in your view? >> guest: well, it's first and foremost about religious liberty. so, for example, if i am a photographer and you are going to have a same-sex wedding or a gay wedding as it is often called and you want me to be the photographer and take part in the wedding and i say, look, i would happily have you sit down and take your photo for your wedding. i would happily take your photot for anything you wanted. but to participate in an event that violates some of my core values -- one of which is that marriage has been set definitionally by god to mean the union of one man and one woman -- i ask you to understand i can't participate in that event. there's been a lot of, i think, unfair reporting. the people that i have followed, the cases i have followed -- i think louisiana and washington and oregon and elsewhere -- it
was always opposition to an event, not a person.opposi the baker in one case always baked cake, cakes for her gay customers. that was never an issue. and by the way, i would be opposed. was you can't not bake a cake because you don't like someone's sexual orientation.u that, to me, is a given. but asking me to bake a cake for an event, i don't think -- forget religion. i think we should have the liberty to say, look, i will bake a cake for you, but i'mul morally, i am morally opposed to your event. i could see a pro-choice baker saying i can't bake an event -- i can't bake a cake or i can't be involved in your pro-life rally. please don't ask me to do that. and i would say, you know what? you should have the liberty to say i can't be forced by the state to participate.
i keep emphasizing in an event that i fundamentally oppose. america is based on a tension, it is a tension between liberty and religious liberty and certain acts of decency and equality. that is a tension. but to dismiss everybody as a hater who thinks that i need to preserve my right to live by my religious scruples, that's a very dangerous movement in american life. >> host: next call for dennis prager comes from whit in fountain hills, arizona. hi, whit, go ahead. >> caller: dennis prager, i am the biggest talk radio head across all the am dial, and you're simply the best. but may i borrow a phrase and endeavor to make you think a second time, and even better to make you laugh? being my favorite jewish contemporary thinker, that is. because my faith is roman catholicism, and my philosophy is libertarianism, for i believe
in free will and free markets, faith and reason are two sides of the same coin. in god i trust.of so may i quickly say i don't worship man's law, but god's law. so speaking of god's commandments and keeping them faithfully, a quick two-part question. how is labeling the stranger, a foreigner not born amongst us an illegal for my grating to -- migrating to our free country without anybody's permission, how is not vile for my fellow republicans to pick and choose who should stay and who should go in our beloved united states based on the materialist world view judging a migrant's worthwhile being in the united states by their skills they might possess in the here and now?w?
>> guest: so what is the>> alternative then for any number whether it's 20 or 30 million who come in illegally, we shoulu allow all of them to remain? i just want to understand your position. there is no border then that should be sacrosanct for any country? >> host: i'm afraid whit is gone. sorry. >> guest: let me just say on this, and i think it is important. i have said for years and written, someone can certainly search it on the internet. i have emphasized over and over that if i were a latin americane especially central america, and i could not get into the united states legally, i would go into the united states illegally. i i, dennis prager, if i were mexican and i knew i am in one
of the most corrupt societies on earth and one of -- and the greatest society on earth is 100 miles north of me, i'm going to bring my children to where there is hope, the united states of america, and take them out of the hopeless corruption that pervades mexico.o. so i would do that. i don't have one moral issue with the people who come in illegally. at the same time, i don't understand why people on the other side don't understand that america has a moral obligation to protect its borders. we can't allow all the humans in the world who live in corrupt places to come here. that would be the end of the united states as we know it. we have to have controlled immigration. otherwise this country doesn't -- we have rather unique values.on. so so we have to be careful about taking in unlimiteddedth numbers of people who often
represent different values. for example, if you come from latin america -- and i adore latin america.nt some of my best friends are from latin america stuff.atin i put my rhetoric where my values are. i make the point to all those who knock the latin american immigrants here. we here in southern california have an enormous number of latin americans. they will -- often men will gather at corners, be picked up to take as day laborers at home. how come we have never heard of one woman raped by any of these men that she takes to her house? not only that, white women will more readily pick up stranger hatten american young -- latin american young men, put them in her suv and take them to her house than white men. that is how much we trust latinos. so i just want to make all of
that clear.an having said that, latin americans come to america with a latin american view of the state. it should be as big a as possible. that's not the american view. that's the view of the left, but it's not been the view that america was founded on which is limited government. >> host: next call for mr. prager is terry in connecticut. terry, go ahead. we're listening. >> caller: good afternoon, people. mr. prager, i get you in connecticut, but i am -- if i did get you, i'd be listening, because i agree with everythingi you have said. everything.ecause rush limbaugh i listen to because i get him, and mark levin. i love him. he is a constitutional genius. i love ted cruz for the same reasons. and i wanted to say as far as god goes, okay? man is an arrogant creature, okay? he cannot accept the idea of a transcendental, omnipotent god. i believe it comes from his arrogance, because in the bible
it says the fool has said there is no god. my ways are not your ways. and as far as capitalism goes, if you've ever read ayn rand, okay, who is a proponent, a big proponent of capitalism, she said if there were no rich or prosperous, the poor would never be able to benefit, okay? and jesus said i have come to give you life abundantly. and that doesn't mean just spiritually. he wants everybody to prosper. with goods, okay? so all your points, i say good, good for you, mr. prager. and i could get you, i'd listen to you. thank you so much for taking my call.. >> guest: thank you. well, i generally p respond to those who differ more at greater length than those who agree. [laughter] so thank you very much. you can get me, you can podcastn me, you can listen to me on the internet, you can watch prageruniversity.com. but in any event, thank you. >> host: if terry were to find you on the internet, where should she go? how should she do that?
>> guest: well, there's both android and mac apps. just dennis prager show, you can just download the app, listen to the show anytime you want. you can, if you go to prager pragertopia.com, and then you can get commercial-free -- download any of my shows and then share them with others. you can just listen to me live, dennisprager.com. listen to the show. most of cases i am on your local station, but not, obviously, in every case. so it's extremely simple. e. prageruniversity.com is not just myself. for example, just last week we had george will as the presenter of the five-minute videos that we do. it is meant to change minds, and as i said, we got 70 million views last year. we are, we're making an impact because i'm worried, i amm worried, i'm truly worried about america. it was founded on certain principles which are being
denied. liberty and small government and a god-based populace -- not a god-based government, but a god-based populace, that was what the founders wanted. because if people feel responsible morally to a god, they will generally act better. do you know that secular professors did a fascinating study, and they found that where people believe in a hell, there is more ethical behavior than where people do not believe in a hell. which makes perfect sense. if you believe that you'll be caught speeding, you don't speed. if you don't think you'll ever be punished for speeding, then you will speed. why do we deny basic, simple facts of life? because we want to deny them. as that, one of the earlier callers said, i don't want to be judged. and you don't either, mr. prager. but i do want to be judged. i pray to god that i'll be judged. because if i'm judged, thena everybody's judged. then there is moral meaning to the universe.
then hitler and his victims don't have the same fate. i wont mother at least a to be -- i want mother teresa to be in heaven. i want adolf hitler to be in hell. i want it. i don't -- if you don't want it, there's something wrong with you. you don't want the worst of the worst punished? you don't want the best of the best rewarded? you've got to go to college to think that foolishly. >> host: do you listen to rush limbaugh, mark levin, hugh hewitt? >> guest: i listen to everybody. the only problem with rush, rust and i are on at the same time. so it's a little difficult. but i'm friendly with him, and we -- i know all of these people, of course. and i do listen, yes. it is, it's -- i listen in the same way that i guess a chef would eat the meals of other chefs, because we know what goes into it, so it fascinates me to see how do these other guys deal
with the same issues that i do. >> host: jean, nashville, tennessee. you have 30 seconds. >> caller: yes, mr. prager, thank you very much for being a voice for conservativism and good sense, i appreciate that. i'm a conservative, and i'm curious, i've been intrigued in the last two years with the catholic doctrine of natural law, and i'm curious if you would kind of speak to the jewish approach to natural law. >> guest: it's a tough question because i'm ambivalent on the natural law issue. i don't think that you can get to the extent that it means law coming from nature, from the natural state of the world, i don't think nature provides any moral guidance. i think the, ultimately, it is nature's god as our founders put it. there needs to be a revelation of good and evil that comes from
beyond nature.of if you follow nature, only law that nature really gives is survival of the fittest. and that's what hitler andnd stalin believed in. >> host: radio talk show host dennis prager has been our guest for the past hour. his most recent book, "the ten commandments: still the best moral code." thank you, as always, for your time. >> guest: you're wonderful. it was a joy. ♪ >> when i tune into it on the weekends, usually it's authors sharing their new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on booktv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subjects. >> booktv weekends, they bring you author after author after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love booktv and i'm a c-span fan. >> so i call my, work the social
life of dna after the work of an anthropologist who has published a book now 30-plus years ago called the social life of things. and he suggested to us that it was by following things in motion, right, that we can illuminate their human and social context. so if i wanted to understand following him, why genetic ancestry was significant not only for individual identity and family history, but beyond these things as well, perhaps i could do this by following forms of genetic analysis around. so the social life of dna for me means two things. it means the way in which forms of genetic analysis travel between social sites and domains which i'll say a little bit more about and the multiple uses to which one type of genetic analysis is put -- in this case genetic ancestry testing which i'll also say a little bit about. so we tend to think of forms of genetic testing and analysis in these domains, right? we typically, i think, researchers, regulatory bodies, those of us as individual
consumers often, social scientists distinguish between medical genetics, forensic or criminal justice genetic, ancestry/gene ya logical genetics and genetic analysis that might be used for family verification or paternity. what i found in the course of talking to people about genetic testing more generally and genetic ancestry testing is that the way that individuals understand genetic testing really blurs these boundaries, right? and that genetics have a social life and social power because it has the ability to work sometimes simultaneously in all of these domains at once. so a woman i call sarah said to me we think breast cancer runs in our family. now that i understand my african ancestry test, which is a genetic company that i'll talk about this evening, the difference between the mother sign and the father sign and all that, i have a better sense of what the genetic counselor at my
doctor's office was telling me. martin said to me, you know, i was never really interested in genetic science or the genome or whatever until i heard about these genetic genealogy tests. after i took my test, i started reading genetics articles in the newspaper, science magazines, scientific journals and those sorts of things. so what i want to suggest here just briefly, because i want to tell you more about the sort of social travels of this company that i studied over a decade, is in effect that one category of genetic testing often draws authority from its association with other forms or domains of testing and that individuals' experiences or attitudes about one form of testing inform or legitimate the broader authority of genetics. so for those of us who are interested in health disparities and in medical genetics in particular, i would want to say that for african-americans often and for some communities of color, the genetic ancestry testing becomes a threshold moment; the first moment where people are thinking about
genetics ever. like martin, i've never thought about genetics, and now i'm deeply interested in it. or people like sarah who have an experience that is informed by her interest and experience with genetic ancestry testing. which is to say that we need to understand the full social life, right, of dna and how people think about it in various domains if we want to understand how it's important and how we can use it with efficacy in a medical or a clinical encounter. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. d literature from the national black writers conference and at