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Is Dennis Prager a political ally?

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46 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I don't know what that has to do with religious conservatives.

Yup. I know.

Your words "They take it for granted". True.

What happens when you take things as they are for granted, and possible allies for freedom for granted? You can lose them.   

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whyNOT Many legal born domestic Americans, which are spoiled, entitled, and lazy, are less "American" in the foundational and fundamental ways that matter, than are you.  America is an idea,

He does not believe that we deserve liberty without god. He says that specifically in the video I posted. Once you have god and "god's will" in the thought process ... anything goes. It is fact,

And Eiuol, Since you keep implicitly returning to the theme "this guy's in South Africa, what business does he have meddling in American affairs". Let me be blunt. This post-modernist, Leftist, n

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On 3/8/2021 at 11:27 AM, whYNOT said:

admitting that this philosophy is ineffective in action.

 

A modern physician plunked down in the middle ages might be able to accomplish a little medically, but this would be very limited, because most people would not understand what he or she was saying and would disagree with whatever they did understand, and because there would be no modern tools.

If we're talking about major change in society, the effectiveness of Objectivism will be very limited as long as most people disagree.  On this scale, the effectiveness of Objectivism will increase as more people come to understand and appreciate it.

Objectivism is still effective as a tool for living one's own life.

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2 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

A modern physician plunked down in the middle ages might be able to accomplish a little medically, but this would be very limited, because most people would not understand what he or she was saying and would disagree with whatever they did understand, and because there would be no modern tools.

If we're talking about major change in society, the effectiveness of Objectivism will be very limited as long as most people disagree.  On this scale, the effectiveness of Objectivism will increase as more people come to understand and appreciate it.

Objectivism is still effective as a tool for living one's own life.

Unquestionably, "Objectivism ... for living one's own life" is central. Those many people around one will and do interfere with that purpose, which is why the influence of Objectivism's ideas on them might be less an introduction into O'ism (which will bear fruit, one individual at a time) yet, over all aimed at demonstrating that individual rights would be the unparalleled system for a peaceful coexistence of numbers in societies. That each can freely practice his/her own doctrine and ethics, without hindrance or help. That's the O'ist effectiveness factor I meant - on meta-politics, to coin a phrase. Free enterprise is the natural consequence.

Agreement/disagreement among people would become moot so long as they agreed on that system.

in the mean time it's to any who have a glimmer of what such complete freedom which individual rights could bring, Objectivists should encourage - not turn away. (For one reason given they are supposed "nationalists"). Controversially, some of us consider the religious conservatives, together with all of the classical liberal Right, could be closest now to gladly accepting individual rights. In places especially the USA they are getting a taste of collectivist domination in the shape of socialist democracies and not enjoying it.  

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It is a legitimate distinction and makes sense. Even leftists do. Leftists hate liberals and neoliberals. Neoliberals such as Clinton or Biden. The bigger problem is that he doesn't cite anything. He's not good with nuance.

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I was hoping to avoid "yes" but it may end up being the appropriate answer. The words mean different things to different people, in some cases the opposite of what they mean.

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As if this weren't complicated enough, liberalism has now been saddled once again with a new variation, the meaning of which remains unclear: "neoliberalism." 

What is neoliberalism? Well, it appears that, at least among its critics, "neoliberalism" usually means nothing more than "liberalism." 

https://mises.org/wire/whats-difference-between-liberalism-and-neoliberalism

 

Meanwhile this is one reaction to the interview with Biddle.

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Prager seems to separate liberalism vs. leftism. Is this how people should see it or do see it (on this forum)?

Liberalism is a political orientation, like authoritarianism is a political orientation. Liberals lean toward personal sovereignty and freedom, authoritarians lean toward government controls and obedience. But the meaning and limits of "freedom" versus "control" depend on one's underlying views of reality, man and society. Is it protecting "freedom" to enact laws against racial discrimination in employment and housing? The same laws "control" employers and property owners.

Leftism provides a subjectivist-altruist-socialist viewpoint. So a liberal today might sound psychotic compared to his ancestor liberals, because today's leftists advocate some truly nutty views. Today, a liberal orientation might look like the belief that men should have the freedom to choose to be women, and furthermore that society should recognize these men as women and even accept them in women's sports competitions. It's not hard to find leftist liberals with this position. One is our current president.

Not all liberals, however, are beholden to leftist ideology. Some listen to, or have started listening to, intellectuals on the right. There are rightist liberals who focus on freeing up the economy from state controls, like the better Republicans in Congress. But the right is still debating its semi-objective, semi-egoist, semi-capitalist philosophy. Thus the rightist liberal movement is hampered by the vestiges of religious dogma, duty and devotion. I believe it's here, at this clash between liberal and authoritarian rightism, where we find people like Dennis Prager.

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Today, a liberal orientation might look like the belief that men should have the freedom to choose to be women, and furthermore that society should recognize these men as women and even accept them in women's sports competitions. It's not hard to find leftist liberals with this position. One is our current president.

So does that mean that Biden is not a Neoliberal?

11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Neoliberals such as Clinton or Biden. 

2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I believe it's here, at this clash between liberal and authoritarian rightism, where we find people like Dennis Prager.

But for someone who believes that "man" is basically bad, doesn't that necessitate a form of authoritarianism to reign him in?

On a fundamental level, doesn't he see the essence of America as being a merging of church and state vs. what it really is at its core: A separation of "a church" and state? In other words, isn't he advocating for a theocracy? Would that be an advocacy for "Freedom/Liberty"?

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Not a surprising viewpoint. It ignores the question of what is man's creator. 

Rand described the philosophical wilderness as all but abandoned in her opening essay of "For The New Intellectual". 

Is the notion behind the fifth column still being taught in history today?

Today's destroyers, be they postmodernist, religious zealots, marxist, etc., have to present a position. What is it that Ragnar said regarding brute force pitted against force backed by the intellect? 

Imagine a fifth column backed by reason rather than an unobtainable (except for short durations) power-lust? 

Yes, Prager is attempting to rewrite history by underpinning a rendition with a narrative calculated to sway any discontented ballast. 

Is Prager providing Biddle free advertisement, or is Biddle providing Prager his endorsement via appearance? Or are events like these merely red herrings to distract from the real task by using the sledgehammers to break the big rocks into little rocks?

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10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

So a liberal today might sound psychotic compared to his ancestor liberals, because today's leftists advocate some truly nutty views. Today, a liberal orientation might look like the belief that men should have the freedom to choose to be women, and furthermore that society should recognize these men as women and even accept them in women's sports competitions. It's not hard to find leftist liberals with this position. One is our current president.

The first part, the belief that men should have the freedom to choose to be women does follow from liberalism in the context you speak of. That is, if it is possible to transition to another gender with major physiological change, one should have the freedom to choose that (I still don't call them men because I would rather just label them as transwomen to capture that there really is something different about their identity on a fundamental level). The second part, that society should recognize that transwomen are the same as women, is a particular kind of moral view that isn't based on a political ideology. I don't think they should either - but people have the freedom to make their own sports competitions as they wish. 

My thoughts on sex and sexuality aren't very different than many people who even self identify as truly Leftists, but I really am hell-bent against anything socialistic or authoritarian. But my point is that such views are not a consequence of political ideology. The left liberals you think of still support a capitalistic mixed economy still oriented towards markets and different degrees of regulation and the way they all use the media machine, just as right-leaning liberals. All of these people are neoliberals.

10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Thus the rightist liberal movement is hampered by the vestiges of religious dogma, duty and devotion. I believe it's here, at this clash between liberal and authoritarian rightism, where we find people like Dennis Prager.

But should we really call Prager a right liberal? I feel unsure. Anyway, it is critical that the vestiges of religious dogma be thrown away if we want to move towards the sort of society we would like ideally. It's a complete dead-end that doesn't move anywhere. 

==

That PragerU video is terrible with terrible reasoning. 3:40 has no supporting argument. 

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

So does that mean that Biden is not a Neoliberal?

I think he's abandoning neoliberalism. He's basically a leftist stooge now.

8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But for someone who believes that "man" is basically bad, doesn't that necessitate a form of authoritarianism to reign him in?

Can you give a time code where Prager says that? In this interview he says that man is neither "basically good" nor "basically rotten."

But let's suppose a religious type who thinks that man is basically bad. This person could still recognize the distinction between acts that only harm oneself and acts that harm others. He then only needs to reign in those who harm others here on earth. God will deal with nonviolent sinners in the afterlife. So he doesn't need to be an authoritarian, unless wanting a criminal justice system for violent offenders is authoritarian.

8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

On a fundamental level, doesn't he see the essence of America as being a merging of church and state vs. what it really is at its core: A separation of "a church" and state? In other words, isn't he advocating for a theocracy?

I don't see evidence of this. Besides, America at its core is not the separation of church and state. If that were the case, the idea would be found in the Declaration of Independence. Instead we read about men being created equal and being endowed by God with rights. Clearly we must accept that the Founders relied on religious belief to support their political ideas.

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33 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Can you give a time code where Prager says that? In this interview he says that man is neither "basically good" nor "basically rotten."

Humans are basically bad is one of his repeated themes (although in that particular video he may not have said it), I am surprised that you haven't seen it.

Prager does a lot of poetic double speak that I don't hear with Ben Shapiro. My radar goes off but yours doesn't for some reason.

He says things like: Jews don't know anything about Judaism.
or I'm a Jew but Jesus's cross is mine too.
And the one with Biddle:  You are a good person  .... but Atheists have a bad record.
Here are two videos where he does say we're basically bad, watch two minutes, I start where he says it

This one takes 3 minutes

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4951368/user-clip-man-basically-evil

 

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43 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

But let's suppose a religious type who thinks that man is basically bad. This person could still recognize the distinction between acts that only harm oneself and acts that harm others. He then only needs to reign in those who harm others here on earth. God will deal with nonviolent sinners in the afterlife. So he doesn't need to be an authoritarian, unless wanting a criminal justice system for violent offenders is authoritarian.

Sure, that could be one interpretation. Keep in mind religion is about interpretation, as in poetic interpretation, or interpretation of dreams.

The bottom line is if "anyone" convinces you that you are rotten to the core, it is their path to power, to controlling you. That was my first lesson from Ayn Rand.

If you agree, then you will agree to the shackles they put you in. After all, you are evil. And you will agree that they are doing what is best. You might even love them for it.

Some people will build the shackles and give it to them ... as a thank you gift.

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13 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Here are two videos where he does say we're basically bad...

I watched both. He doesn't say we're basically bad. He says we're "not basically good." Now, you accuse him of doublespeak, but I gave a link where he explained that he's not saying men are "basically rotten." He seems to be saying that people aren't programmed to be essentially good, and that's why they need to fear god or the state in order to push them into goodness and away from badness. His argument is lame, but I don't see him saying that man is basically bad. Just that without some fear of punishment man will be wild and act like a savage. He sees religion as a sort of civilizing mechanism.

And, ET, I note that you titled your user-created C-SPAN clip "Man is basically evil" when nowhere in that clip does Prager say that. If this really is a mantra of his, shouldn't you be able to find him saying it at least once or twice?

The idea that man is born in sin and needs to be purified through baptism is a Christian notion. Prager is a Jew. I don't think he holds such an idea.

14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

He says things like: Jews don't know anything about Judaism.

I've heard him harshly criticize Jews in general ways. So that's believable. But then I've heard Yaron Brook say bad things about Americans in a general way. I give them a pass on such rhetoric. It's the typical sort of hyperbole you hear from people speaking loosely and imprecisely to emphasize a point. I'm guilty of it myself, though I try to speak more precisely when aiming for a serious dialogue.

14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The bottom line is if "anyone" convinces you that you are rotten to the core, it is their path to power, to controlling you.

It's a concern, which is why I'm pressing for the evidence against Prager. I'm of the opinion that Prager-types believe man needs religion to become something moral, unlike amoral savages. But that doesn't mean they are for theocracy, because they respect the rights of nonbelievers. They've dropped the practice of forced conversions as an example of their own barbarism.

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

I'm of the opinion that Prager-types believe man needs religion to become something moral, unlike amoral savages.

One could grant you the idea that religion is an attempt at being moral.
The problem is you have religion you can be pro capitalism or anti capitalism like the Pope vs. Prager.
Religion is not the arbiter of objective morality.

If you said could I ally myself on a particular issue I could agree.

For instance does Prager have a good argument against Elizabeth Warren when she says you used our roads to get rich. I would say yes, he is a good ally in that discussion.

You and I can identify what Liberty is and we judge it via objective means. But once God is involved in our reasoning process, when we are in prison it can be the will of God that we are there and that is the Liberty God wants for me or us or them.

That is the problem with any mystical system.

It was the problem with Communism. There is no direct quote that we could become an authoritarian system, manipulating the population. There is no direct quote for Lenin et al. that we will become impoverished.

So the question is what is Prager about ultimately?
If the left adopts an anti abortion position will he flip and have videos that contradict what he currently says.
If the left adopts a Godly path will he support them? He is not pro capitalism or humans as an end in themselves.

He is for some sort of Capitalism that is not laissez fair.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

And, ET, I note that you titled your user-created C-SPAN clip "Man is basically evil" when nowhere in that clip does Prager say that. If this really is a mantra of his, shouldn't you be able to find him saying it at least once or twice?

You are correct, there is no direct quote. He just says things like we are auschwitz creators or when he say's the Judeo christian tradition knows what we are like, that means things like original sin. That is the double speak that is concerning. If we believe that we are not evil and we want to flourish, are we leftists?

The proper way is to go case by case and agree or disagree. To call him an ally of Objectivism is not appropriate.

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20 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Does all of this prove God Created Man? Keep in mind, this is called a University. Would you call it a University?

Frankly I heard crazier BS from my writing professors at a state university. I suppose Prager University is as much a university as Ayn Rand University. They're unaccredited institutions for higher learning. Stephen Meyer got his doctorate from Cambridge. He's clearly very smart. I don't agree with intelligent design, but that particular video was more about skeptical objections to Darwin.

In any case, you don't need to convince me that Prager has whacky religious beliefs he got from the Bible or people like Stephen Meyer. I'm not arguing that he might be an ally in metaphysics or biology. I'm questioning whether he's a political ally.

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9 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

In any case, you don't need to convince me that Prager has whacky religious beliefs he got from the Bible or people like Stephen Meyer. I'm not arguing that he might be an ally in metaphysics or biology. I'm questioning whether he's a political ally.

One of the fundamental problems with the argument that people who are into religion are more likely to be moral than people who are not (Biddle seemed to agree), is that the average human is narcissistic and a hedonist. As if we don't have a conscience or most people don't look at the long term consequences of their actions. If that were the case, all the moral advances in the world has been due to religion. And we should see complete chaos throughout the world.

Back to the original question: When is it proper to have a political ally that has some wacky ideas?

Ultimately it means who will vote like I want.

If it is voting against Elizabeth Warren, Prager is my ally.

If it is the school board where they want to teach creationism, he is not my ally.

If the vote was about banning abortions, he is not my ally.

If it was about voting for the cross being at City hall etc., he is not my ally.

If it the vote is about government spending on military, he is not my ally.

If it is a vote on government spending on "entitlements" he is my ally.

If it was a vote on tariffs he is not my ally.

So, can he be an ally ... yes and no.

 

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"To deny that human beings are filled with anti-social passions defies reality and betrays a lack of self-awareness. One has to be taught nonsense for a great many formative years to believe it.

If we weren’t born with anti-social passions — narcissism, envy, lust, meanness, greed, hunger for power, just to name the more obvious — why the need for so many laws, whether religious or secular, that govern behavior?"

"most Americans (again, like all other human beings) do have anti-social passions, but the vast majority of us can do a fine job checking and controlling them without religion as it has been practiced throughout American history. These are views with which virtually every American who attends secular high school or university is explicitly and implicitly indoctrinated. Both are wrong. And not just wrong, but foolish — and lethal to the American experiment."

https://www.nationalreview.com/2014/07/america-wont-be-good-without-god-dennis-prager/

 

Based on that, does he think that Objectivists are not basically evil? If our ideas are lethal to the American experiment, shouldn't some force be used against us? (i.e. authoritarianism)

 

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Finally I was thinking of Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin.

My own radar did not go off around those guys (I didn't know much about Peterson). All videos of Rubin looked like he was a good fit with Objectivism. The only indication with Dave Rubin was his lukewarm embracing of Objectivism. It was a major surprise when Peterson later said that Rand was a mediocre mind.

He says lots of good things about Rand too, so are they good allies for Objectivism?

 

 

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I suppose Prager University is as much a university as Ayn Rand University.

I had not wanted to comment on this one because I was afraid of my own biases, but I did pay for the ARI Campus coursework that's now free. I don't think it was called a university but I would not have minded if it was. A Prager University is like a school of magic compared to ARI Campus. That's why I would not call it a university, not just because it is unaccredited. The ideas being taught at PragerU are not valid knowledge per our standards.

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15 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

 

Back to the original question: When is it proper to have a political ally that has some wacky ideas?

Ultimately it means who will vote like I want.

If it is voting against Elizabeth Warren, Prager is my ally.

If it is the school board where they want to teach creationism, he is not my ally.

If the vote was about banning abortions, he is not my ally.

If it was about voting for the cross being at City hall etc., he is not my ally.

If it the vote is about government spending on military, he is not my ally.

If it is a vote on government spending on "entitlements" he is my ally.

If it was a vote on tariffs he is not my ally.

So, can he be an ally ... yes and no.

 

A useful list. Although I see you haven't meant it to be exhaustive. My approach is not to simply be political allies on agendas and issues, one by one, but on individual rights. On (almost) every point there, I think it can be specified strongly: "if you conservatives truly desire "liberty", each of those disagreements we have are not up for discussion: and however - individual rights cover them all and all your concerns".

Except one, the stumbling block - abortion rights. The rights to one's body. But firstly, in their favor, there seems to me lately to be a de facto acceptance that they cannot any longer prevent abortions by any sort of force. I see of groups promoting right to life, little more than advocating contra abortion, trying to persuade people, which is fine. America's conservatives have to be taking notice that the US and international tide has turned heavily in favor of the right to abortion. Catholic countries have already gone that way (Italy, since 1978). They must be waking up to the trends.

I think leave aside and supersede those specific political issues: shoot for First Prize - now. Get them on board alongside Objectivists for individual rights, the social code that's elegant in its simplicity. You practice whatever faith or philosophy you want without fear of hindrance from others of other beliefs. Which of course means there's no recourse to government intervention. I am certain there will be definitely be some accord at this point, growing further from a groundswell. E.g. "Christian Conservatives for Individual Rights".

 

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