Prager: The Unprincipled Exceptionator

I just came across a post from December 2006 concerning Dennis Prager’s abundantly expressed outrage over the fact that America’s first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, had said he would take his oath of office on the Koran. I said, in part:

[Prager] is a cafeteria philosopher, an entrepreneur of revelations. He improvises his own Torah as he goes along. His position in this case, announced from on top of his personal Mount Sinai, is that all office holders in the U.S. regardless of their religious beliefs must take their oath on the Bible, because the Bible is the source of our values and our constitutional principles of liberty. Of course there is no U.S. law requiring this, but such is the Gospel according to St. Dennis, which transcends U.S. law. At the same time, St. Dennis insists on the mass immigration of people whose religion commands them to crush beneath their feet biblical religion and the people who follow it.

… Prager, quite rightly, wants America to be a particularist, “Judeo-Christian” society. Yet his liberal principles of equality and non-discrimination lead inevitably to the destruction of the religious and moral particularity that he prizes. Since his liberal principles won’t help him against—indeed they have made possible—the threat to our culture embodied in Ellison’s declared intention to take his oath of office on the Koran, which has shocked Prager and taken him utterly by surprise, he conjures up and announces from on high his own Commandment, his unprincipled exception to liberalism, which states: “Thou shalt take thy oath of office on the Bible.”

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December 28

Steve R. writes:

At the time that Prager was being bombarded from the left, I took a couple of your writings on the Ellison incident and hand delivered them to him at the end of one of his Torah study sessions. I accompanied it with a very complimentary letter and asked him to please explain his position. I never received any response.

I don’t believe Prager has ever allowed anyone, to the right of him, speak on his radio program (and I have followed him for 35 years). This is particularly annoying because he often proudly touts his program as covering every subject known to mankind.

It seems that he is so immersed in his universalist ideology that he simply cannot distinguish the concept of “the concrete” as being distinct from Nazism.

LA replies:

Thanks for the revealing anecdote and observations.

“I don’t believe Prager has ever allowed anyone, to the right of him, speak on his radio program.”

This is true of all mainstream conservatives, neoconservatives, and, in Prager’s case, conservative-leaning liberals. Such people don’t simply disagree with any reasoned views to the right of their own; they refuse to refuse to reply to them or even to acknowledge their existence. I have given many examples of this over the years from my own correspondence, most recently with regard to Gary Bauer. The only partial exception to this pattern in my experience has been David Horowitz, who was willing to engage in long e-mail exchanges with someone well to the right of himself.

Here are three of my pieces on Prager and the Keith Ellison incident:

Muslim wants to take oath of office on Koran; Prager is shocked

Should oath-taking on the Koran be allowed?

Prager, the conservative liberal, caught in his own coils

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 26, 2008 09:09 AM | Send

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