Prager walks the walk, then gets cold feet

Dennis Prager starts out his latest column by saying that we’re not in a war with “terror” (okay), but a war with “Islamic fascism” (oy vey). But it gets much better after that. He says Islam has always been an imperialistic religion, conquering other lands and peoples, and that this is based on the Koran. He then does the kind of thing that critics of Islam should do repeatedly. He establishes the actual connection between Islamic sacred writings (the Koran and the Hadith) and actual Muslim practice, by showing how Muhammad’s command of total war on humanity has been quoted and followed by respected Muslim leaders over the centuries:

The Prophet Muhammad in his farewell address: “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.’”

Saladin (great 12th-century founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that included Ayyubid Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and much of present-day Saudi Arabia): “I shall cross this sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.”

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (father of the Islamic revolution in Iran): “We will export our revolution throughout the world … until the calls ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ are echoed all over the world.”

Osama bin Laden in November 2001: “I was ordered to fight the people until they say ‘there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.’”

But then having made this powerful and decisive point about Islam, Prager half-throws it away:

We pray that there arises a strong Muslim group that is guided by the Quranic verse, “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith.”

But until such time, we had better understand that we are not merely fighting a war on terror, but a war against an ideology that wishes us to convert, be subject to Islamic law, or die.

But of course the non-coercion phrase was abrogated by the M-man himself. And Prager’s final line about a war against an “ideology” is a piece of intellectual cowardice. It is discouraging that Prager could not bring himself to say that we are at war with Islam, period. Nevertheless, this column is still better than 99 percent of what is written in the West about Islam.

- end of initial entry -

Gary M. writes:

Prager is sometimes right, but inasmuch as the WOT is intertwined with the immigration issue, I have some very deep misgivings about the man.

Prager interviewed Michelle Malkin a number of years ago on his radio show about her book, Invasion. At one point, Malkin became so distressed by what she was hearing from him, that she stopped and asked “Mr. Prager, do you even believe we should have a southern border?”.

That episode was pre-911, but Prager seldom, if ever, has anything but gushing praise for immigrants of the Mexican variety. He says he favors a border fence, but unless I am very much mistaken, he is one of these people who also supports a huge increase in legal immigration to go along with any reductions a fence might provide in illegal immigration.

I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that people like Prager and those in the Senate who want to up legal immigration to 2,000,000 a year are basically open-borders zealots who largely support the Aztlan/Chamber of Commerce agenda, they’re just sneakier about it. Any thinking person knows our system is unequipped to handle 2,000,000 legal immigrants every year and that the system would be a Petri dish for fraud and corruption, so the effect would be the same as illegal immigration: people would get in that should not.

LA replies:

Malkin’s experience with him does not surprise me. Prager is bright but extremely uneven with lots of unrecontructed liberal ideas, especially on race. For example, he says if white people prefer to marry white people, that makes them racist. He often seemed to be writing his own torah; for example, years ago he was promoting prostitution, with a dogmatic approach to it that was just wacky. That’s why I stopped reading him regularly years ago. I agree with your unstated point that when approvingly quoting Prager, I should add a qualification that this is not someone who can be depended on from a conservative point of view.

Russell W. writes:

Prager is very fond of repeating that he considers himself a “John F. Kennedy liberal.” [LA says: You’re kidding, right?]

He also has a sometimes bizarre anti-biology approach to all ethical matters. For instance, he considers racism as the most grievous human sin throughout history, and so anything at all that even acknowledges race as a reality is offensive. He was (completely rightly, in my opinion) appalled at the “Baby Richard” episode during the 90s, where an adopted child who had lived with his new parents from near-infancy to around age four or five was removed and given back to the formerly absentee biological father. He described the danger in ascribing so much importance to blood (and again, this seems like a perfectly valid point), but he takes this view to the extreme and says blood is completely meaningless. For instance, he has said many times that if the hospital mistakenly gave him another person’s baby and he kept that child for a day, he would not want to bring it back to switch it for his biological child. Of course, for every sane and decent person there’s a threshold of time after which the emotional connection overrides biology, but one day?

LA replies:

I was just talking with a Jewish friend the last couple of days who has the same absolute opposition to the slightest hint that “blood,” i.e., descent, matters in the definition of a people, particularly the Jewish people. He said this rejection of any racial or ethnic component is central to Judaism, since what makes a Jew is the covenant with God. To non-Jews, of course, this staunch Jewish rejection of ethnic tribalism seems risible, as Jews are the oldest and most famous tribal people on earth. Now, to be fair, let’s stipulate that from inside their community and its laws, Jews have the right to define Judaism as they do. But externally, from the point of view of the rest of the world, Jews, whatever the phenotypic variations of actual Jews, are obviously an ethnic group. But Jews absolutely refuse see it that way, or even to acknowledge that such a point of view has any validity. I guess they’re the original Propositional Nation.

A reader caught another foolish thing in Prager’s article:
Prager: “No one should have a problem with Muslims wanting the whole world Muslim. After all, Christians would like the whole world to come to Christ. What should matter to all people is the answer to one question: What are you prepared to do to bring the world to your religion? For virtually every living Christian, the answer is through modeling and verbal persuasion (and Jews never believed the world needs to be Jewish).”

Prager is wrong. The whole world Muslim is different from whole world coming to Christ because Christ allowed separation of church and state. What is implied by the whole world being Muslim is complete subjugation to Muslim religious law in all matters, religious and secular.

LA replies:

Right. Even if Muslims did not gain the whole world by bin Laden-type means (which Prager opposes) but by peaceable means, once they controlled the whole world, the whole world would be under the quasi-totalitarian regime of sharia. That Prager doesn’t see this is appalling. It’s a typical example of how unreconstructed liberal dispositions and ideas co-exist in his head with some very conservative-sounding ideas.

However, I want to retract my implied criticism of Prager for calling himself a JFK-type liberal. If he does that, then that is a welcome piece of honesty. So many conservative-leaning liberals today call themselves conservatives, which is misleading; here’s a liberal who unabashedly calls himself one, even as most people would put Prager in the conservative camp.

RB writes:

Re Prager. I seem to recall how in the mid nineties when (recently retired) talk show host Bob Grant ran afoul of the PC crowd, Prager turned on him. This despite the fact that Grant was very friendly toward him and had him on his program a number of times. Ever since, I’ve always been wary of Prager, even when he appears to be saying the right things.

Re Spencer. Jihad Watch does great work in alerting the public to the menace of Islam. But they are a little fuzzy on immigration and the national question. They appear to be under the impression that somehow we can get immigration reform that will single out only Muslims for exclusion. They are in denial that such an outcome may be impractical politically and that the Muslim influx will only be halted as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

LA replies:

That’s the problem with single-issue publications, like Jihad Watch or American Renaissance. If your sole interest is a subject such as race differences or the badness of Islam, that doesn’t give you a basis for thinking about politics, and thus you are left even without a basis for thinking politically about the single issue you care about.

By the way, speaking of Bob Grant and of AR, one of the things that got Bob Grant in trouble was that he had expressed interest in an upcoming American Renaissance conference and had listed some of the speakers. I discussed this in a letter I wrote in 1996 to John O’Sullivan. The letter is linked in a blog entry in which I defend the late Samuel Francis from a smear.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 09, 2006 02:48 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):