„If you don’t succeed, the West is dead”
Interview with Dennis Prager, world-famous conservative influencer
„If you don’t succeed, the West is dead”

Photo: Gyula Kulifai

By now, the name of Dennis Prager is intertwined with the media representing conservative ideology. As the totalitarian idea of censorship and the left slowly displaces everything that contradicts it, Prager proclaims Judeo-Christian values as one of the last ideological bastions of the American Right. We asked the mogul about Hungary, faith, nation, and ideological war, at the first MCC Youth Festival.

This is your fifth time here, what is your most recent impression of our country?

- I have never seen Hungarians as calm as today. Of course, I don't know that I'm right.

Calm? In what way, in a matter of lifestyle?

- No, in the interactions that I have with them and watch them interact with one another. I've been to so many countries for so many years, a hundred thirty countries, or so, so I picked up a happiness radar.

Most of the time, not all the time, I can sense if people are happier, more depressed, or angrier.

Given my perspective on Hungary over the course of 50 years - because I was here, when I was twenty under Kádár - the least happy time was when I was here in the '90s after Communism fell. That visit really made an impression on me.

Hungarians seemed less happy then than under Kádár, which is terrible because we all hate Communism.

Although, to be honest, that was goulash Communism. And at that time, in the 70s, Czechoslovakia, as it was then called, was the most depressed. Eastern European countries took turns in being depressed.

But why after the fall of the regime? 

- I don't know.

Could disillusionment be the cause?

- You’re entirely right. I didn't understand then, and I don't understand now. You see, in a sense, if I have to give an explanation, it was sort of a post-traumatic stress disorder. The regime fell, and the rug was pulled out from under Hungarians' feet. They had sort of acclimated to a way of life, and the way of life was dead. What do they do now? That's what I felt. Everything that I said, may be wrong, but you asked me my impression.

My impression is a happier Hungary today than I ever saw.

It's good to hear that. Maybe another reason was that they realized that freedom in itself does not make you happy.

- That is right, that is obviously true, yes, we know that from the Bible. When the Jews got out of Egypt for example, they were not happy, but they complained all the time.

They wanted to cucumbers of Egypt…

- That is exactly right. I often explain to people. That what does the name of the Biblical book, Numbers, mean? Numbers of what? I always say: a number of complaints.

Dennis Prager,   Photo By Gyula Kulifai

So true! In your presentation or lecture, you mentioned that we live in the post-Christian era. Do you think that authors like, Spangler who wrote about the decline of the West had something right? Can you talk about the stages of how Europe, where Paul, the Apostle spread the gospel lost this spiritual power? What were the steps? When did it start?

- I think it started in the late 19th century in Germany, where socialist ideals like „man can fix himself” originated. It is not meant to be disrespectful. There are many wonderful German people but I have a theory, and it's a simple one:

Germany is always wrong.

We agree, enthusiastically.

- You do?

Oh, I do. I think the worst thing that happened was the German Unity that happened to this continent. 

- Well, you couldn't stop it, it was unstoppable. What could you do? Keep it divided when there's no Soviet Union? But I understand what you're saying. There was an old joke: the French like Germany so much, they want to have two of them. So, the socialist idea arose in Germany, under Bismarck. That's where leftism and progressivism started in America. Many went to Germany for their doctorates, because American universities generally did not award doctorates. So they got them in Germany from socialists.

There is an interesting theory, as to why they developed socialism: to keep Germans from moving to America. The German government promised people many benefits. „Stay here, we'll take care of you”. Isn’t that interesting? I never would have come up with that on my own. I read it and it made sense to me. Hitler was so angry at all the Germans who moved to America. For the real beginning though, you could go back to Darwin and Marx and Freud. They are the big three that had an impact to secularize the West.

Darwin said: „we’re just animals”, Marx: „we’re just economic beings”, homus economicus. And Freud, also a secular atheist, said: „we're basically driven by drive, the sexual in particular.”

But I think the coup de grace was World War I. People who believed in God and country saw, that in the name of God and country millions and millions of young men were slaughtered for no good reason. Most people believed. And that is trauma.

So World War I, I think set Europe on the road to the end of „God and religion”.

The others helped, but this was really the key one.

In America that did not happen. America was a very religious country, but the progressives were gaining more and more strength in the universities. And then we had our World War I with Vietnam. Vietnam punctured „God and country” for many young Americans. I don't think rightly so. I think the war in Vietnam was as moral as the war in Korea, which was completely moral.

To save people from Communism is a moral task.

But that's what happened in America in the '60s as well. Every traditional belief was overturned. „My parents don't know anything better than I do”, „Don't trust anyone over 30” were very common phrases. Feminism said the old order of the family was anti-woman. The „women do not need men” message continues to reverberate to this day. Vast numbers of young women think they do not need a man, and gradually vast numbers of young men are concluding the same about women.

It's really the first time in history that men and women don't think they need one another. And that is a calamity in the extreme. Also, you have a demasculinization of men and the defeminization of women.

All of what I described is the opposite of the Biblical worldview.

But now, even Conservatives seem to be detached from it. Do you think a secular Conservatism can prevail?

- No. I reckon about that. Secular conservatives are my allies, I admire them, they are wonderful thinkers, but they truly don't understand the Biblical roots of the West. They just don't understand that. They don't believe it.

They think you could remove the roots and keep the trees, and you cannot.

The trees will last for a little while, and you can fool yourself into thinking: oh look, we don't need the roots, we don't need the soil. The West is nurtured in Biblical soil, and without it, we get the university which is arguably the most foolish place in the West.

But here we have a debacle here in Europe, which is whenever we talk about Christian Conservatism, the majority of people immediately think of Catholic feudalism. How can we assure people that Christian Conservativism does not mean to bring back feudalism, slavery, inquisition? 

- Well, I have never been asked this and it is an extremely important question. Maybe you shouldn’t call it Christian Conservatism. Maybe you should call it Biblical Conservativism or God-based Conservativism.

See the moment a person who is not a Christian, hears the word, Christian, all they hear is: „believe In Christ, and you'll be saved”. They don't hear any relevance to life. They hear relevance to the afterlife, but not to this life. Nobody will tell you this, because the people who are not Christian don't care. I'm not Christian, but I do care.

If you don't succeed, the West is dead, okay?

I'm saying this is a Jew. So I am rooting for you. But, please know, the moment people, who are not Christian, hear Christian, they think you're out there to save their soul, not to save their society.

„Okay. Now, I believe In Christ, my soul is saved, what do I do tomorrow about the lousy schools? What do I do tomorrow about the breakdown of male and female?” They don't hear a word of that in Christian Conservatism. They hear Christian. And I say this as a supporter of yours.

I never say either Christian Conservatism or Jewish Conservatism I say God-centered, I say Ethical Monotheism. I preach Ethical Monotheism.

There was a God who gave the Ten Commandments. If you don't believe that, society is dead.

That's my message to the whole world, it works.

But that leads us to a very literal and positively meaning fundamental Christianity because I believe what the prophet said and I believe what Jesus said that if you break one commandment or one law, you break all 613 of them. 

- All right. Well, okay, so you got me on a sensitive point. I believe Paul was wrong. I proved it in one of my books. I know Hebrew like English. The Bible never says, if you violate one, you violated all 613, it is a complete misunderstanding of what Moses said in Deuteronomy. It had to do with the 11 commandments that he had just said. „You're cursed, if you violate any one of these, not of the 613, but of the previous 11 that I just spoke about.”

But what about only the moral ones? Of course, we cannot observe, the Jewish festivities and because there's a lack of Temple. But what about the moral ones? Like there is no sex beyond marriage and stuff like that.

- There's no law of the Torah against sex outside of marriage.

Well, they should immediately get married. If you do anything, and you get caught…

- That is a separate issue. That is true. There is a law against sex with a married woman: do not commit adultery. There was no law, but I am not defending premarital sex. The Torah is not a fan of it, but there was no specific law. This shocks Christians. I know Christians as well as I know Jews, and I love them and they love me. It is a real „love affair”, Christians, and I have with each other. But look, obviously, if they would believe the same exact thing they would be the same religion. So there will be some belief differences, and I don't care.

By the way, I am totally prepared to say Christianity is right. I often prefer Christian prayer services to Jewish prayer services. Tell Jews this, I have no problem saying that. I would rather go to church, than to a synagogue, if I want to be moved religiously. I don't have any problem saying that. Jews and Christians have a lot to learn from each other. That is a given in my life.

But the issues that you just raised, just need to be clear. So if you violate a law in the Torah, if it is between man and God - all Jewish laws are between man and God and man and man - if you violate a man-God law, for example, desecrate the Sabbath, you bring a sacrifice, and God forgives you. However, if you steal from your neighbor, you don’t bring the sacrifice. There were no sacrifices for ethical laws. None, zero, all sacrifices are for ritual law.

But there was retribution. 

- That is correct. There is retribution, you can bring sacrifices, but first, you have to return the stolen goods and more. And you have to get forgiveness from the person you hurt. That is correct. But there was no notion in the Torah that if you violate one law, it is over. It cannot be. God would look like an idiot. I am sorry. I hate when God is portrayed as a fool. If he made us imperfect, and we act all imperfectly, and we go to hell: it would make God look bad.

Dennis Prager,     Photo by Gyula Kulifai

Looking at the title of your commentary series: „Rational Bible”, I was wondering, the reason of the mind is usually in contrast with the faith of the heart, do you think it is successful to give the complete message and meaning of the Bible through reason?

- No, but it is for me. I know it is not for everybody. So I fully acknowledge that I am appealing to your mind. However, in the modern age that is the more important appeal. Because

people, reject religion, not with their heart, they reject it with their mind. So then I have to get their mind to give their heart a green light.

So you start with the mind. 

-That is correct. Anyway, I don’t trust the heart, neither does the Bible as you know.

Looking around in several Christian communities, I often see that many people view today's phenomena and ideological climate as signs of an apocalyptic age coming, and they think that it will get only worse and worse. So they think, that there isn't really a point of doing anything, to try to stand against it. What would you say to them? 

- There was no time in history when you could not have said the same thing. It is a coward's way out. That is all it is.

I have no respect for that view. God has no respect for that view. „I put on Earth to do nothing?”

How about that where it says in Proverbs: those of you who love God must hate Evil. But they don't hate evil. They let it go on, because: „oh it's the end of days!”. Oh really. So God gives you a green light to watch evil take place? I have such disrespect for that view that I don't even care if I alienate that person from me. That is it. It ruins people. Religious people give religion a bad name. That is a perfect example.

Why couldn't people say that during the Holocaust? „Oh, look at how bad it is. It's the end of days. Why should I help a Jew? Why should I rescue a Jew?

Why should I rescue a Ukrainian when Stalin is starving them?” It's endless. „Why should I care about Hungarians in Ukraine? Why should I care about anybody?” It's incredible to me.

From time to time the ideology of evil comes up in history, and then now it seems to be in the English-speaking world or the Anglo-Saxon culture. What could be the reason why is it the root of all leftist, and other types of wrong ideas, ideologies are coming from the Anglo-Saxon world?

- I have no idea. It's a terrific puzzle for me. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, and the UK are the sickest countries on Earth today. Canada is almost as unfree as China.

Do you know how many churches have been burned in Canada? Dozens of churches. Nothing happens. People are arrested though if they have a church ceremony because of Covid. Why do people know about Jordan Peterson? Because he said, you cannot tell me by law what pronoun I have to use. That was in Toronto Canada. The most sophisticated city in Canada. It is a stupid city, like New York, another stupid city.

All urban centers are stupid. By the way, the Torah hates urban centers. Every single time the Tower of Babel is mentioned, it says: „and the city attached to it”. The Bible doesn't trust cities for good reason. Stupidity comes out of them.

Name me a good idea that came out of cities. Let's see. Hitler came out of Vienna, Marx came out of London. Everyone came out of a big city.

Another thing that is coming out from from from big cities in the West is an outrage against the Hungarian law that is for the protection of children. It is not only to strengthen the prohibition and criminalization of pedophilia, but it also includes the banning of the popularization of pornography and homosexuality among underaged people. 

- Okay, in my opinion, there should be no sex education in school. It has nothing to do with LGBTQ it has to do with protecting children's innocence and protecting parental authority. I didn't have sex education. I went to school all day. I went from nine to six. I didn't have sex education, one minute in my life. Somehow I didn’t produce babies out of wedlock. How did that happen? Unbelievable, isn't it? „I didn't know that intercourse produces children.” Who doesn't know that?

„Sexual intercourse produces babies.” Really? Oh thank God, I came to school to learn that! My parents never told me that. Would we be living in a make-believe world?

What kid does not know? I don't mean five-year-old. I don’t want a five-year-old to know that sexual intercourse produces children. That is not what a five-year-old should know. But by the time you're 13 or 12 years old… My parents gave me a book when I was eleven called „Being born” and it ended all the issues. I read the book, they didn't have to sit down with me, or anything.

Just one last question. What could be the legitimate basis now that our sovereignty is under fierce attack for the protection of borders, because we see that they want to disrupt them. 

- You are the one Non-Left or Anti-Left regime in the West. If Hungary had 460 people, not 10 million, they would still hate you. You cannot exist. Nothing Non-Left can. Like they hated Sweden for no lockdown. Sweden has fewer people than you do. They hated Sweeden this last year for not doing a lockdown. If you don't follow Brussels, or the UN, or the World Health Organization, you are Evil, and you must be destroyed. The New York Times will work to destroy you, and so will Deutsche Welle, and the BBC, and the CBC and, and half of Hungary, okay? That is the way it works. You cannot dissent from the left. They are totalitarian.

Hungary is the most important country in Europe at this time, because of that. And the day Orban Is not elected, no one will read about you again.

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