tv 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books CSPAN April 11, 2016 6:11am-7:30am EDT
' sorry for swearing. >> i had to get that out there. >> at this point we could -- yes, let's take questions. >> i think you can come up to -- yes, to the microphone. i assume that's whfor. >> good afternoon. thank you so much. i just have a quick question about the business side of publishing. can you give advice for the writers in terms of either negotiating in advance or the royalties of how that works? >> give up all your secrets, johnny. [laughter] traditionally, the traditional model is a writer hires an agent but then takes care of the business side of things so that is the shortcut easy answer. and if you don't know the agent route can independent companies will do business directly with
authors working with major corporate publishers you are required to have a woodbury agent but for a lot of them you don't need one and there's organizations like the authors guild and a lot of resources online and organizations that will help you out. i don't want to take the time to go to details of contracts but it's an important question because someone needs to advocate on your behalf. you need the knowledge to know what is a fair and what is not a fair contract and there's a lott of unfair contracts out there. at the conscience we have what is a very progressive and very, very fair and friendly profit split model of paying royalties. and i have major beef with the way that a lot of the book contracts are structured so i think people need to educate themselves. there is a lot of information out there and organizations
willing to lend a helping hand in terms of focusing on what it should be and other -- a lot of times the most important aspect won't be the obvious things of the advanced rate. here's one solid piece of advice when you realize you are doing business with someone you find distasteful. that is a very important clause in the contract determination how to get yourself out of that situation. >> one step before to get to the point that you were at the table first you should find an agent and that should help and then you might advocate the next three years. a method that i've seen, i've
been honored to interview someone like people that put word out there that write about and put themselves out there and been through gaining attention for their work or at a place they can sit down with an agent and attract that work so instead of sending cold solicits to agents and never hearing anything back, putting yourself in the putting your work out there, submitting to the journals in hopes of attracting attention as a great way to do that and that is an important thing we are talking about in the diversity. we have a latino male and the rest of the panel is white. you need to make a name for yourself to get the right people around you so that you don't get screwed because there are people that want to take advantage, absolutely.
>> if you are approaching agents do some research. it's the same for those working through coverage of their books. you should know who you're talking t to, what kind of books would be interested in, what do they like and represent if you have a sci-fi novel who specialized in biographies. the new and the now to research the people who you might want to represent you. >> poets and writers is a fantastic resource. it's a fantastic resource for finding people. >> yes. next question. >> there hasn't been much discussion on the traditional new york publishers, the few that are left of course.
should people still aspire to that or should we go directly to you? >> one big advantage of the big four, they merged together a and if one of the goals is to get a big advance, that's one area smaller companies cannot compete is that big companies can pay a hundred thousand dollar advance not that they just are throwing these around about the advances are much bigger. beyond that, i think we could compete on almost every level and if you have a hit going back to the book, "go the f to sleep," with our structure, the authors and illustrators have made hundreds of thousands of dollars more from our deal than they would have from a traditional publishing contract because it is a profit split and
all the money is paid to them and so there are real advantages going with a small company but on the other hand, you might need to buy yourself health insurance. you won't be able to with an advanced from any independent book publishing company. >> yes. next question please. >> i wanted to know if you could quickly tell me what you think is coming. what is new, and it could be intuitive. i'm just curious what's happening and i agree that it's time to be a writer but i was just wondering if you feel going down the track what migh might becoming of interest in the business. >> i feel like you should start
this one. >> a first instinct is a fragment of being one big hit and everybody has a medium brown. there'there is a new website cad story i've have people doing story arc and there is a guy that goes in the forest and yells, steve or something like that. so it's going to be a fragmentation we will see. i'm sure that there will be a whole literary scene that finds a way to use that. there's a couple of new apps. one in new york has a magazine with augmented reality and when you go to new york can shine it at a window and it will be like there's a story near you you can find. >> it could be a person shaking their fist at you like stop looking at my window.
[laughter] i think to me i hope that is the future. future. a lot of new technologies and ways of storytelling. what's really inspired by press has been somebody can submit one piece and we turn it into an animation performance in all sorts of things and i love the idea that in the future technology will enable us to exploit our stories into several mediums. >> i feel that it's all about discovery and all these new apps and ways are all about discovery that what isn't going to change is the work. there will be new ways of writing in things like josh said i can't predict the future and all these things i can't even fathom because of that original painting i talked about. but i think storytelling when it comes down to is it's going to be about the quality of the work and then there will be all these different ways in which you can explore and discover it and one of the companies i want to point
out when you can geo-tag stories, there is a great book called the silence. come on, help me out. the silent history. thank you. so look up the silent history. it's amazing. you can buy it as a book that you can also buy it as an app and it was a wonderful interactive thing you got a new story every week and went out to the world and you could find these stories involve this different stuff and it was fun so that's something that interests you if you are interested in seeing how people are experimenting with things you should check it out at the end of the day the reason it works is because it was well written. >> next question. >> i feel like this has probably been touched on a bit, but as an
author that is finally ready with that first piece, what would your advice be on the first few steps to getting out there? and this perso person probably t so sure did have super prone to social media. >> do you have a piece that is completed? >> close. >> i would just recommend to find pieces that are like the one you've written and find some publications that put them out and approach them and explain why your story, your piece fits in with what they do and how it's different from what they've done before. >> there's also a submit application it's a mishmash.com and they pop up and you can find places to submit to.
>> if you find an editor you are excited to work with you can find them and you can get it across their desk. it's easier now than it used to be which is a wonderful thing. that said, we have a lot of people grabbing at us for our attention so if you do submit something and you feel like that's where you want to be, i would write a very short introduction. be there and be gone. three lines. if i open an e-mail and it has like seven paragraphs about why i should read this attachment i'm just like that so much time. but if it's just a little thing with somebody you found it you like their work and think it fits with them, find their e-mail, said that it's just a really short introduction.
>> so, i have a question. i would like to create a cartoon strip, and the cartoon strip i would like to use rock 'n roll murex. i'm wondering, the question is how do i go about investigating the copyright law so i don't violate copyright law and if possible use rock 'n roll fury is to write columns with. >> that's a tough question because you're saying you want to do something with someone else's work. one thing is that fair use copyright law is totally vague and you're not goinand/or not gy hard answers. that's the difficult thing about this question. but generally, you can use a couple of lines from a poem or song. i think that it's two or three lines and you can be -- you can
use it pretty safely. if you want to use more than that, if you are taking a risk that thbut the difficulty is nor how much research you do, you will never find x. y. and z. but you can't do a dnc. it's all this sort of interpretation. she said i thought he would never say hello. if i were to use that we are at -- lyric as example -. if you have a passion.
if the people that do the tangled up in blue state decided to come and sue you it's like for what? don't get me wrong. then it becomes a massive success you can cross that bridge when you come to it but i don't think you should put up roadblocks with your own art. as the creator of a very silly blog i have used screenshots from tv shows illegally or whatever that means for seven years and then when i went to get my book deal i paid for the rights to use the images in my book. >> do it until someone is like i want to help you publish it and then they will take care of it. >> thank you for not dropping the f. bomb. >> i got close.
>> can i share one more quick thing? because it comes to what johnny was saying that reminded me of this, too. san francisco has changed. they are having a tough time where are all of the readings and i walked by one new bookstore. i didn't on parachute pants. they would be like what are you doing. it wasn't like i need to be a part of this it was just
everything's fine and it's about making your own space and doing your own story. >> that's fine. parachute pants. >> thank you for a very interesting discussion and your optimism about people's writin writings. when that happens, how do you handle that and what advice do you have for the authors that are still struggling and get those letters. >> that is a hard dynamic getting rejected its really ha hard. i aspire every day of my life to have thick skin and that's the advice to just develop thick skin. one thing that is harsh for writers i've seen some beautiful
rejection letters and i had my ear when people send a really thoughtful and constructive rejection letters. .. >> i try to make them nice, but there's a fair amount of copying and pasting, you know, that goes on in there. and so i think it's, you know, and i've had authors and heard authors getting upset about
poorly-written rejection letters, and that's where the thick skin comes in. you know, just move on, because you can't get mad at publishers or agents for writing poor rejection letters. that's not what they do. not anywhere near the top of their priority list in terms of bringing great literature out into the world. the respondent is to the author -- the responsibility is to the authors that you have agreements with. and i don't mean to sound callous, i'm just trying to be, you know, give a heads up about the process. but for writers there's so much that's hard about being a writer, and you've just got to keep trying, and you've got to, you know, i go back to the rock and roll thing. is that, is that, you know, in the rock and roll business, i mean, a lot of bands i think, maybe it helps because in a rock and roll band there's a group of you so you not all alone. but you've i -- got to keep powering forward. as long as you're showing your
work around, you have to be getting positive feedback. if you have no one giving you positive feedback about your work, maybe it's time to pick up, start writing a new story. because, you know, when you say if you've had ten renexts, one answer -- rejections, one answer is, well, just keep going. the jamaican writer who just won the booker prize was rejected 75 times before he had his first book published. but, you know, marlon is a really great writer. but, you know, if you've been rejected 70 times, there's a pattern emerging there. so maybe it's time to try a new project. and either one of those routes is valid, but there is, there's important decisions to be made when facing rejections. but the thicker skin will help you, regardless of what your decision is, thicker skin is going to help you in the process. >> and i believe our hour -- we have, well, one more question. >> yes. really quickly.
do you think that the larger publishing houses are still putting emphasis on new writers and emerging writers, or do you think that they're more invested in trying to keep their current, you know, writers at the top and keeping their audiences alive? >> everybody's trying to find great new writers. >> yeah. >> everybody. it's the most, it's one of the most exciting things. wherever you are on the editorial spectrum, reading something, some incredible voice for the first time is the happiest moment of an editor's life. [laughter] >> amen. >> awesome. thank you, guys. [applause] >> and on that note, i believe our time is up. let's, we'll end the conversation. i think, isaac, maris, josh, johnny, thank you very much. thank you to all of you for coming out to see us. and, again, there will be books to be signed right after this. thank you. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> host: and you're watching booktv on c-span2. this is live coverage of the 21st annual los angeles times festival of books. it's held on the campus of the university of southern california. for the last four or five years. prior to that it was held at ucla. we've got one more hour of life coverage before we wrap up this year's festival. and joining us here on our set is radio talk show host and author of seven books, dennis prager.
his most recent book is called "the ten commandments: still the best moral code." dennis prager, what's on your mind? >> guest: oh, that's a very good opening question. and i'll answer you completely honestly. what's on my mind -- and it's not totally germane, but quite germane to the ten commandments, is what i believe is the undoing of the american revolution. and the decline of my beloved country, the greatest experiment in liberty and decency in human history. 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 everybody believes 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 lead 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 can go back to darwin, you can go back to marx. but the operative element was if you're bright, you're not religious. it's -- 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 foolishness -- and that truly is foolish, because the deepest people i have ever met have overwhelmingly had a god-centered understanding of the world. but 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 me such good questions? i have done hours of radio just on that subject. it is with all respect to people who say it, it is meaningless. it means i contemplate my navel
in a sophisticated manner. 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? what does spirituality mean? that you believe that flowers are beautiful? that you believe that animals are loving? what does it mean? it doesn't mean anything. i know to the individual making it it means something, but without religion -- without a code, religion gives you a code. religion gives you a set of beliefs. 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 with god as a believer. but i want the atheist to understand you have to struggle with god too. it's not enough. i was invited, to the great credit, the american atheists, biggest 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 be you have ever seen -- if you have ever seen a child born or listened to a bach partita or
a mozart symphony 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's a god. not one hand went up. and then i looked at them and i said, you know, if i were to ask any religious audience have you ever seen a deformed baby and doubted godded, raise your hand -- god, raise your hand, everyone would have raised their hand. 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. 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 early, you would not need one missile, you would not need any policemen, you would not have to put locks on your doors. 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 zone. 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 in the beginning of my career. i have written two books on judaism and 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. 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, is for everyone in the world. it's the greatest book ever written. and certainly the ten commandments, it's for humanity. of course, it was given to the 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 it 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 told you this before, so i'm going to say it -- you didn't ask me to. i'm not even sure you believe me. it's the only show i really watch, booktv. i'm crazy about booktv. and my wife introduced me to it, so you owe her a debt of gratitude to her.
and this is years ago. it's phenomenal. i love books. in high school i started reading and collecting bookings. 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 with, there is very little that has more views in terms of video content. 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 wanted you to know, i've learned more at prager university than i did at stanford university. we got in from bill bennett's son. he allowed me to quote9 him. he went to princeton. he said i learned more at prager university than at princeton. that's our intent. you will get, because you'll get something you don't get at universities; wisdom. >> host: 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. i believe, and this, of course, i went over with you with my last book, still the best hope about america. and i believe there is an american trinity just as there is a christian trinity. and the 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. the 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 was 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.
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 hen commandments -- 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 radio 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, and there's an app you can hear me on. i get calls from brazil, i get calls from -- i think i got a call from uzbekistan once. it is amazing what's possible now. just look up on google, the dennis prager show. >> host: and you're syndicated by salem. >> guest: that's right, yep.
>> host: what's been the main topic that you've talked about for the last two, three weeks? >> guest: well, it's inevitable that there is a hot about, obviously -- 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, 3 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 is 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. >> 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 e pluribus e pluribusd we trust and liberty has to be stopped. and, therefore, i'm doing
anything i can to have anyone else be nominated. but if he is nominated, i feel i have no choice but to vote for him. >> host: who is, 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 has a lot of, 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, 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? this is nothing ted cruz says that comes close to the kookiness of bernie sanders. i mean, it's just, it's lunacy. the only thing that has ever lifted humans from poverty has been capitalism x. 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 even -- 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 jude dayism --
judaism very deeply whereas for him it's a non-issue. and that's fine. that doesn't 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 non-jewish jew. and that's not an insult. there is a book called the non-jewish jew by this man, and he's describing himself. it's not an insult, but that's what he is. i'm a jewish jew, he's a non-jewish jew with. 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, you know, 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. gaye in upland, california, you are the first call for mr. prager. go ahead, gaye. >> 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. that's just the child-like view that 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, 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, and then god -- >> 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 its us to live by your religion, your values. that's just deeply, deeply wrong -- >> host: gaye -- >> caller: and i could make a huge list.
>> host: gaye, before we let you go, before we let you go, here are the ten commandments very quickly, and which of these do you think 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, conot 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 them? >> caller: i am familiar with them. i went to sunday school. [laughter] as a child. >> guest: why is 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 that 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 --
>> caller: it is not. it is not irrelevant. >> guest: no, it's totally irrelevant -- >> host: gaye, 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 any more something new makes something invalid. what is problematic about do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, do not lie? why is that bad, because it's old? is there a better code to live by? >> host: let's go to gaye'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, 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 gaye would like people to live by it too. what is irrelevant in the group? you name them. what would she like dropped? what would you like dropped, gaye? >> host: gaye is gone, and we're going to go to michael in galesburg, illinois. you're on booktv with author dennis prager. >> caller: how you doing, mr. lamb? mr. prager? first-time caller, long-time listener. i'd like to run three things by mr. prager, and then i'll take my answer off the phone. when you read something, you're taking away the oral history. there was a lot of religion before the bible was written. what do you think about america having food shows where they go around eating the biggest hamburger? and the other thing is 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 last one, what's the difference between consumerism and -- >> host: consumerism, and i missed her second part. >> guest: okay, so we missed that one. 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 that you should love the foreigner. it is one of the most ubiquitous statements in the first five books of the bible, love the stranger, because you were strangers in the land of egypt. the idea that you love the foreigner, the idea that all people are created in god's image, these are brand new ideas. of course there was religion prior. there was also child -- 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 in 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. i mean, 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. see, 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.
nevertheless, 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. lenin was an ascetic. lenin was the last -- he was not, 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. .. frankly the gods that i see especially the abraham religions are cartoons. i understand an affable can't disappoint the sky. by definition. use infinite. he is not mortal.
he or she or it is not limited, but we have turn to god into this cartoon. we can see how that has really unfortunately that's why people who think, liberals, reject that very cartoonish god, that god that justifies very unchristian politics of yes consume, consume, consume. i could go on and on but i'm going to stop because he has some interesting ideas. it's just that to me for anyone to call themselves a christian cannot see that love is at the core of christianity and not see that jesus christ himself rejected the capitalism a type of consumption that mr. prager seems to elevate above all other good news to me kind of blind. i will stop. >> host: june in --
>> guest: just for the record i'm a jew, not a christian. nevertheless, i don't believe that george washington, john adams, james madison and almost every great figure in history believe in a cartoon. that dismissal is very common today. people have a dismissive attitude towards those of us who believe in the god of the bible, and you are 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 who we will have to enter, as the best idea ever developed for the creation of decent people. i would like everyone walking along here to field that their behavior -- to feel -- toward other human beings is just like god. i don't know why that is objectionable. i really don't. i can't think of a better idea.
to think that i want 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 them on the radio show, i deal with it in e-mail. i can only say that this is what -- 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: thank you so very much. i have one quick concern or question. in the books we talked about, there is so much murder of the
folks who are not jewish. i can't understand why is there, i mean, there is more killing in those books than any of the books that are written about a god tight. would you please, you know, just sure why that is? entire villages -- >> host: are you referring to the five books of the torah we spoke of earlier? >> caller: right. >> host: thank you, sir. tragically very fair question and i don't want to interrupt the caller. >> guest: if there were a law in those five books that said jews, you must kill those who don't believe like you, i would cease to be a believer. it there were just one such verse in the entire hebrew bible
i would cease to be a believer for i would not have written in this book. i would opt out of my religion. there isn't a hint of the notion that a should kill a non-jew. that jews conquering canaan, conquered it in a warlike manner, yes, that is a every place on earth was ever conquered. that is what happened but there was no suggestion that you kill people who don't believe as you do. there is no such a suggestion to contact 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 and the evil was child sacrifice. that's how bad they were. >> host: what's the secret to being a successful radio talk show host? isn't a wide variety of
interest? >> guest: i've given up a lot of thought. i've been on for three for your site just, i earned the right to answer your question. this is not necessarily reflect on me but it reflects on really all of my colleagues coming to the people i don't agree with. the first thing, interestingly 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 your not interesting, people will tune you out. they have thousands of other options in different radio stations, and listen to books, listening to music, talking to a friend on the phone. it's endless. so the first rule when young people say to me i'd like to be a talk show host, how would i know i can do it? i say very easy. go into a room, sit alone for
three hours and the interesting. if you can do that, talking to the wall for three hours, you have a chance. >> host: center is calling in from olympia, washington. please go ahead with your question or comment for dennis rader. >> caller: you and i, we have to be twins. i spend every weekend on booktv. i'm a book called. >> guest: that's right. we have good company with each other. >> caller: i agree. i'm astonished. i am. i'm not able to reach you on the radio here, although i listen to rush on occasion but i urge in the past. i've been, oh, golly, i've been interested since i was three years old, okay? growing -- >> guest: you have been what? >> caller: i have been missing
person since i was three years old and growing at it. it was the nature of her family. i grew up learning. i got a good education. my education was in high school. i went to college and i was pretty disappointed and it was a pretty fair college, but they're just beginning to turn at that point. my religious history, my philosophical, political history goes way back. i am still nominally a republican, but i'm looking around. am also looking at the libertarians. i think they're coming along. but as far as -- yes. >> guest: let me write it for me to the point, let me react to the point you made about college. because this was a very important part of my own realizations here, religious and otherwise.
when i was in graduate school at columbia, i realized i had so many bright professors, but -- i hate to say this, i was taught a lot of johnson. for example, i was at the school of international the shares at the russian institute. i studied the cold war, and i was taught that the clinic was as responsible for the cold war as stalin and khrushchev and brezhnev. and i thought, you've got to be kidding. 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 to the boys are just as happy to play with dolls and religious is happy to play with trucks if you would 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. it's gotten worse. and then one day i was walking around my campus in columbia and i was puzzled, why am i learning so much nonsense by so many intelligent people? and then a verse that i learned in jewish school as a child came, just came out of nowhere into me, and that is wisdom begins with fear of god. and i realize all, my god, there's a wisdom in columbia because there's no god in columbia. and there's brightness. there's intelligence. there's a facts at columbia. there's knowledge but there was no wisdom. and there is no wisdom i enlarge. there were exceptions, some wise professors but as the universities have left their original god bases, which is what all of them had, they have become less and less wise, and more and more, imbecilic or
idiotic. that's the truth. i say with the sadness. i did realize that it's very hard come if you believe everything is relative, there is ultimate truth, no ultimate utica it is the ultimate mobile become everything you see individual, the look of the arts. look at what happened to the arts when god died. we went from michelangelo and we went from mozart, and a look at what they have come 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 he. it is symbolic in the extreme of what has happened to the arts. ththe ugly, eschatological the ugly, the scatological, deborah
means related to excretory functions, to one of the biggest awards jiminy for sculpture for art was given to an artist who sculpted a policewoman crouching and urinating, even the puddle is a sculpted. and backup one of the biggest awards in germany. this is what happens when god dies. so does humanity. >> host: we are at the "l.a. times" book festival on the campus of the university of southern california talking with author and radio talk show host dennis prager. they are our drums going off. there are dogs barking. there are people shouting, people walking by. i hope you here a little bit of that, but hopefully you were hearing our conversation more importantly. paul in spokane, washington, go ahead. >> caller: hi, dennis. i appreciate you coming on. it's a pleasure to talk with you.
i was, i heard about you through several other sources. i identify as kind of a vincent pirro conservative you might say, i am an evangelical -- ben shapiro. westminster confession to i believe that the 10 commandments apply though image of the way. i wasn't aware you were jewish though until just now. so by a regional question was -- so my original question was do you tend to lean towards or side with evangelical dominion us? i don't agree but i just wanted your take on it. >> hosting 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 this statement. i like that new young conservative movement, it's a real shot in your.
and a lot of what he says makes sense. teaches very logical, very brave and very forthright. postbank thank you very much thank you very much. of course, ben shapiro was on this program last year. but go ahead, mr. prager. >> guest: and he does a lot of good work. the dominionism, and i worked for evangelicals and i personally with evangelicals and evangelical theology. the dominionists as i understand them is that the group would like to see america become a theocratic, or is not just a charge that anti-evangelicals make a? i'm not familiar. >> host: he is gone. .com is kind of. >> guest: to bed. in general, i would say he, i have a tremendous amount of sympathy for evangelical christians. we don't see theologically completely eye to eye, obviously. but i use of the term judeo-christian values, not
judeo christian theology. there is no judeo-christian -- there are judeo-christian values. this country was founded on them. the christians who founded america were deeply judeo-based. margaret thatcher was deeply such. she said western culture is judeo-christian. >> host: a couple of state laws have gone into effect, or not come 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 him in your view? >> guest: it is first and foremost about religious liberty. so, for example, if i am a photographer and you're 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 photo 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 said definitionally by god to mean the union of one man and one woman to ask you to understand, i can participate in that event. there's been a lot of i think underreporting. the people that i followed, the cases i have followed, i think louisiana and i washington and oregon and elsewhere, it was always opposition to anything, not a person. the baker in one case always baked cakes for gay customers. that was never an issue. and by the way, i would be opposed. you cannot bake a cake because you don't like someone's sexual orientation. that to me is a given.
but asking me to bake a cake for an event, i don't, i don't, forget religion giunta we should have the liberty to say, look, i will bake a cake for you but i am morally, i'm morally opposed to your event. i can say pro-choice baker said 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 should have the liberty to say i can't be forced by the state to participate. i keep emphasizing an event that a fundamentally oppose. america is based on the attention. it is a tension between liberty and religious liberty, and certain act of decency and equally. it is a tension. but to dismiss everybody as a hater who thinks that i need to
preserve my right to live by by religious scruples, that's a very dangerous movement in american life. >> host: next call comes from fountain hills arizona. go ahead. >> caller: dennis prager, i'm the biggest talk radio had across all the am dial and you were so be the best. may i borrow a phrase endeavor to make you think a second time, even better to make you laugh. being my favorite contemporary -- because my faith is wrong with 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. so mad quickly say i don't worship man's law, but god's law. so speaking of god's commandments and keeping them safely, a quick a two-part question. how is labeling --
[inaudible] not born amongst us in illegal for migrating to our free country without anybody's permission? and how is it not violating god second greatest commandment, to my fellow republicans to pick and choose who should stay or who should go in our beloved united states, based on aim materialistic worldview judging a migrants worthwhile being in the united states either skills they might present from the here and now? >> guest: so what is the alternative event for any number, whether it's 20 or 30 million who come in illegally, we should all 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 he is gone. sorry. >> guest: let me just say on this and i think it is important, i have said for years and written, summon can certainly search it on the internet, -- someone came -- i have emphasized over and over that if i were a latin american, especially central america, and i could not get into the united states legally, i would go into the united states illegally. i, dennis prager, if i were mexican and i knew i am in one of the most corrupt societies on earth, and the greater 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. so i would do that. i don't have one moral issue
with peopl the people who come n illegally. at the same time, i don't understand i 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 to live in corrupt places to come here. that would be the end of the united states as we know it. we have to have control immigration. otherwise, the country doesn't, we have rather unique values. so we have to be careful about taking in unlimited numbers of people who often represent different values. for example, if you come from latin america, and i adore latin america. some of my best friends are latin america and stuff. i put my rhetoric where my values are. i make the point to all those who knock a latin american immigrants year. we here in southern california
enormous number of latin americans. they will often, they will gather at corners, they picked up to date as a day laborer's at home. how come we've 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 strangers, latin american young man, put them in her suv and take into her house, then white men. that is how much we trust let lt the mystics i just want to make all of that clear. having said that, latin americans come to america with a latin american view of the state. they should be as big as possible. that's not the american view. it's not been the view that america was founded on, which is limited government. >> host: next call for mr. prager is kerry in
connecticut. o. ahead. we are listening. >> caller: good afternoon, people. mr. prager, i get you in connecticut but if i did get you i would be listening because i agree with everything you ever said, everything. rush limbaugh, i listen to because i didn't and marc levin, i love you. 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 intricate creature, okay? he cannot accept the idea of a transcendental god. i put 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. resource capitalism goes, if you've ever read ayn rand, okay, the was a big proponent of capitalism, she said if there were no rich or prosperous, the board would never be able to benefit.
and jesus i've come to give you life abundantly. >> guest: thank you. agenda respond to those who differ more at greater length in those who agree. so thank you very much. you can podcast me, listen to be on the internet. in any event, thank you. >> host: if she were to find on the net, how should she do that? >> guest: there's both android and mac apps. dennis prager show, download the app, listen to the show anytime you want. you can go to praeger tobia.com and then you can get commercial free and 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 the cases i am on your local station but not in every case. so it's extremely simple. purdue university.com is not just myself. for example, just last week we had george will ask the presenter of the five minute videos that we did. it is meant to change minds. we have 70 million views last year. we are making an impact because i'm worried, i am worried, and to leeward about america. it was founded on certain principles which are being denied. liberty and small government and a guy based populist, not a god this government but a guy based populist. that was what the founders wanted. if people feel responsible morally to a god, they will generally act better. do you know that secular professors did a fascinating
study and found where people believe in hell, it was more ethical behavior there were people do not believe in a hell? which makes perfect sense. if you believe you will be caught speeding, you don't speaker 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 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 will be judged. because if i judge that everybody is judge and vendors more meaning to the universe than hitler and his victims don't have the same fate. i want mother teresa to be in heaven. i want adolf hitler to be in hell. 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 reward?
you've got to go to college to think that foolishly. >> host: you listen to rush limbaugh, mark love in? >> guest: i listen to everybody. the only problem with rush, we are on at the same time. it's a little difficult but i'm friendly with him and i and all of these people of course and i do listen, yes. i listen in the same way that i guess i shaft would eat that fills up other chefs. because we know what goes into it. it fascinates me to see how do o these other guys do with the same issues that i do? >> host: nashville, tennessee, 30 seconds. >> caller: yes, mr. prager, thank you very much for being a voice for conservatism and goods and. i appreciate that. i'm curious, i've been intrigued the last two years with the catholic doctrine of natural law
and i'm curious if you what 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, 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. if you follow nature, the only law that major religious is survival of the fittest. and that's what hitler and stalin believed in. >> host: dennis prager has been our guest for the past hour. his most recent book "the ten commandments." thank you as well for your time.