From the October 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Conservative columnist Dennis Prager offers up a truly nonsensical definition of freedom:
Through the use of public opprobrium, laws and lawsuits, Americans today are less free than at any time since the abolition of slavery (with the obvious exception of blacks under Jim Crow).
Public opprobrium is known as political correctness, and it has suppressed saying anything -- no matter how true and no matter how innocent -- that offends left-wing sensibilities.
"Merry Christmas" offends leftist views on multiculturalism. So, it's largely gone.
Note how, to Dennis Prager, Jim Crow is just a footnote in a discussion of the relative freedom enjoyed by Americans today and a hundred years ago. Sadly, that parenthetical was Prager's only concession to reality, as he quickly moved on to complaining that some people say "happy holidays." Why, that's a greater infringement on freedom than the lack of women's suffrage was!
Prager has more examples, though they don't get much better:
High school and college teams with American Indian names must drop those names because by definition, according to the left, they offend American Indians.
Outrageous! But … maybe not quite as outrageous as denying Native American citizens the right to vote.
What Prager describes as an infringement on freedom is actually just the existence of criticism and disagreement. He says sports teams "must drop" their "American Indian names" -- but he doesn't really mean "must." The Florida State University sports teams are still known as the "Seminoles," and the high school I attended still calls its teams the "Chiefs," to pick just two examples. Some people criticize Washington's NFL team for going by the name "Redskins" -- but nobody has prohibited them from doing so. Likewise, nobody is stopping Dennis Prager from saying "Merry Christmas." They're just choosing to say "happy holidays."
When Dennis Prager says Americans today lack freedom, what he means is that they lack freedom from disagreement and criticism. That's absurd.* Worse: Prager actually says such disagreement is a greater infringement on freedom than has occurred since the end of slavery -- greater than the denial of voting rights to women and Native Americans, or the internment of Japanese Americans.
If there is a dumber definition of "freedom," I hope never to encounter it.
Oh. Wait. Prager isn't done yet:
A woman may reveal as much of her body as she wishes. But if a man is perceived by a woman as looking too long at what she reveals, or if he comments on what she reveals, he may be fired from his job and/or sued for "sexual harassment." A woman may wear a miniskirt and crop-top, but a man may not have a calendar of women wearing miniskirts and crop-tops on his desk at work. That constitutes sexual harassment and a "hostile work environment."
That's the kind of "freedom" Dennis Prager misses.
* Not included in Prager's rant about the lack of freedom in America today: Bans on gay marriage. Probably because those are actual infringements on freedom, which Prager doesn't seem to care about.
Is there a more self-important columnist than right-wing radio host Dennis Prager? (OK, I'll give you George Will.) Reading a typical Prager column, two things are immediately clear: He's very impressed with what he thinks are his deep ruminations on serious topics, and his thinking has all the depth and clarity of a mud puddle.
A quick glance at recent Prager headlines ("What Do Women Want?," "Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals," "For The Left, Opponents Cannot Have Decent Motives: The Ground Zero Example," "The Left Hates Conservatives" … and so on) establishes his fondness for sweeping generalities about huge groups of people, and his latest is no exception: "For the Left, There Are No Sacred Texts."
[F]or leftism -- though not necessarily for every individual who considers himself a leftist -- there are no sacred texts. The two major examples are the Constitution and the Bible.
One cannot understand the left without understanding this. The demotion of the sacred in general and of sacred texts specifically is at the center of leftist thinking.
Prager doesn't bother to address the fact that the vast majority of liberals are people of faith (only four percent of Americans identify as either atheist or agnostic.) Instead, he just breezes past that inconvenient truth:
The reason is that elevating any standard, any religion, any text to the level of the sacred means that that it is above any individual. Therefore, what any one individual or even society believes is of secondary importance to that which is deemed sacred. If, to cite the most obvious example, the Bible is sacred, then I have to revere it more than I revere my own feelings in assessing what is right and wrong.
But for the left, what is right and wrong is determined by every individual's feelings, not by anything above the individual.
I'm sure this seemed smart to Prager as he was writing it, but it's extraordinarily dumb. Look: If "the left" really thought that it is up to each individual to choose according to his "own feelings" what is right and wrong, and that no text can outweigh those feelings, "the left" wouldn't support laws against murder. But "the left" does. So Prager's just spewing nonsense.
He goes on to spend a few paragraphs purporting to explain why the left is "so opposed to Judeo-Christian religion," ignoring as he does so all those liberal Jews and Christians who falsify his thesis by their very existence. But the emptiness of Prager's argument really becomes apparent when he gets around to comparing liberals and conservatives:
This explains the belief that is universally held on the left that the Constitution is an "evolving text," meaning that it says what anyone (on the left) wants it to say.
Conservatives, on the other hand, do not share this view. They do not believe the Constitution has something to say about everything they believe in. While the left sees the right to abortion in the Constitution (because the left believes in the right to abortion), those who oppose abortion do not believe that the Constitution prohibits abortion. They believe that the Constitution is silent on the issue. Precisely because the right does believe the Constitution is to be treated as sacred, it does not claim that whatever it supports is in the Constitution or that whatever it opposes is unconstitutional.
At this point, I can only assume that Prager has simply constructed his own versions of both "the left" and "conservatives" -- versions that exist only in his head, and that bear no resemblance to real-world liberals and conservatives. How else to explain his bizarre belief that "those who oppose abortion do not believe that the Constitution prohibits abortion"? Anyone in Prager's position has surely encountered many abortion opponents who believe precisely that.
And even if he has somehow never encountered such an argument, a simple Google search for the phrases "pro-life" and "constitution" would have quickly yielded examples. The very first hit, for example, is a column on Alan Keyes' Renew America web site titled "The Constitution is a pro-life document" that argues that "unborn children" are protected under the fourteenth amendment and, thus, "Not only is abortion constitutionally illegal it is a great sin in God's sight."
That is not an uncommon argument among Prager's fellow conservatives. The fact that he is unaware of even his own side's arguments does even more to demonstrate his political illiteracy than all his inane rambling about "the left."
National Review columnist Dennis Prager pens "A Letter from a Republican to Hispanics":
How many people can this country allow to come in?
The moment you answer that question is the moment you realize that Americans' worries about illegal immigration have nothing to do with "racism" or any negative feeling toward Hispanics.
Those who tell you it is racism or xenophobia are lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons.
Democrats will act as your defenders, telling you that opposition to your presence here is race-based. There is no truth to that.
Nothing to do with racism? No truth to that? Really? That doesn't seem right to me:
Now, given Dennis Prager's comments about Keith Ellison and the Quran, it's possible Prager just doesn't recognize bigotry when he sees it, and sincerely believes there is absolutely no "negative feeling toward Hispanics"in America. But it seems more likely that Prager knows he's badly exaggerating his case. How could he not? And what is his case? That Democrats lie about opposition to immigration in order to score political points.
In short: Dennis Prager is spreading falsehoods about opposition to immigration in order to score political points against Democrats by accusing them of lying about opposition to immigration in order to score political points. He's doing exactly what he purports to denounce Democrats for doing: "lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons."
Conservative media figures have jumped to the defense of Mel Gibson after he made a series of anti-Semitic remarks when he was arrested for driving under the influence.
While defending actor Mel Gibson from criticism Gibson has received for making anti-Semitic remarks during a July 28 drunken-driving arrest, right-wing columnist and radio host Dennis Prager revived the discredited allegation that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made "private remarks that were anti-Semitic" more than three decades ago.