Dennis Prager: ‘Could It Happen Here? It Is Happening Here.’

On March 30, 2023, former president Donald J. Trump was indicted by a Manhattan Grand Jury. Dennis was outraged.

In his April 4, 2023 column, Dennis wrote:

Communism — or if you will, left-wing fascism and totalitarianism — is coming to America and Canada, and (a bit more gradually) to Australia and New Zealand.

Our universities have become moral and intellectual wastelands — almost as ideologically pure as Moscow State University was in the Soviet era. As of December 2022, there were seven times more administrators (15,750) at Stanford University than faculty (2,288).

Our medical schools are embracing Soviet-like science. In more and more of them, incoming doctors are instructed not to use the terms “male” and “female.” Harvard Medical School officials use the terms “pregnant and birthing people” rather than “pregnant women.” And children’s hospitals are using hormone blockers (which, among other dangers, can impair future reproductive functioning) and mutilating perfectly healthy teenagers.

Students at elite law schools such as Stanford and Yale behave as if they were members of Komsomol, the Soviet Communist Youth League. On the rare occasions that conservative speakers come to their campuses to give a lecture, students heckle, shout and curse at them, disrupting their ability to speak in ways reminiscent of the Hitler Youth in 1930s Germany.

The greatest of all freedoms, that of speech, is disappearing.

In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, the provincial agency in charge of education has announced that the notion that there is only one correct answer in mathematics is an expression of white supremacy. The Oregon Education Department has announced the same thing. The American Medical Association has declared that no American birth certificates should list the sex/gender of a child — the child will decide that later.

Teachers across the country are robbing children as young as 5 of their innocence. They are routinely taken to drag queen shows where men in women’s clothing dance for them (sometimes lewdly). Why? Because it is the aim of most American schools from first grade to postgraduate to have all American young people believe that sex/gender is “nonbinary” — that alone in the animal kingdom, human beings are not sexually divided into male and female.

In the COVID-19 era, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and virtually every other national medical and health agency largely abandoned science and even elementary decency (recall all the Americans who were forcibly deprived of any visitors and left to die alone in hospitals) and became tools of the Left. They and America’s Sovietized teachers’ unions ruined millions of American children by closing schools for nearly two years. In addition to the doomsday hysteria over climate change, the imposed gender confusion and the absence of religion, this has led to the highest rates of adolescent depression and suicide ever recorded in America.

Our justice department, about half of our judges and our security agencies are well on their way to becoming what the Soviet ministry of justice, Soviet security agencies and Soviet judges were: tools of the ruling party.

Our mainstream media, with few exceptions, are as uncommitted to truth as were the organs of the Soviet Communist Party, Pravda and Izvestia. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR and PBS play the same role for the Left and therefore the Democratic Party.

It was only a matter of time until the Left would arrest a former president of the opposition party.

I suspect that people who suffered under Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union would not find much of a parallel with the situation in the United States today.

After Trump was indicted, I listened to Dennis Prager’s radio show for the first time in years. His rhetoric about how life in America increasingly approximated life under Hitler and Stalin struck me as hyperbolic. On the same day as Trump’s indictment, I watched a video called “35 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Tools | Trauma Informed Counseling Skills” by Dr. Dawn Elise-Snipes, who has a PhD in Mental Health Counsel. Early in her video, she said: “The first and most basic tool is a behavioral one and that is to create safety.” A nationally syndicated radio host such as Prager telling his listeners they lived in a country increasingly akin to Nazi Germany did not strike me as a good way of creating an appropriate level of safety in people who took him seriously. I remembered my insight from more than 25 years ago that listening to Prager consistently filled me with rage even though I largely agreed with him and even though he was ostensibly all about happiness. The man pours poison into the American soul. Enraging people is a great way of getting listeners but it makes people less happy and less effective in life. Outside of a few murder zones, life in the United States for Prager listeners is overwhelmingly safe and free (compared to other countries on this earth). Inculcating gratitude might be a wiser path for a man intent on doing good rather than inculcating rage. There are situations in life where rage is more adaptive than gratitude, such as when you are fighting for your life in a dark alley, but they are few and far between.

April 3, 2023, Dennis said: “The USA Today is a rag sheet on the level of Pravda. ‘Trump using anti-semitic rhetoric to raise money after indictment.’ Let me say as a Jew who has done more to fight anti-semitism more than almost any living Jew… Who is on the Holocaust Memorial Board. Who has brought more good will to Jews than the entire Anti-Defamation League… This is a damn liar, Erin Mansfield, this piece of crap who writes this goddamn lie… [Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg] is a George Soros funded DA. That is enough to condemn him because George Soros is as close to diabolic as it gets on this planet. He doesn’t even identify as a Jew… Soros has as much to do with Judaism, Jews and Israel as a rural Mongolian. And a lot of USA Today readers will believe this lie.”

“Alvin Bragg is as bad a human being to occupy that office as has existed. The man is 100% responsible for some of the murders and rapes in New York City because of his completely lenient view of violent crime.”

“How do you become a bad human being? …You accept money from bad human beings. You think of yourself as a victim. There is nothing more guaranteed to produce a bad human being than the victim mentality. I got hurt, I can lash out. I am freed from normal moral demands because I am a victim.”

“The indictment of an ex-president for no valid reason except that they are filled with hate, they are Third World thugs. You cannot overstate the significance of the evil that has taken place. It is immoral to tune out.”

“Rampant evil is what the Left has engaged in… Twenty years ago at least, I said there was a civil war in this country. If this is not obvious to you, then bad news is not something you want to handle psychologically. The Left and the Right have nothing in common. Like Florida and California at this time have nothing in common. They might as well be different countries on the opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. Whenever I went from California to Florida, I felt like I did when I went from Western Europe to Eastern Europe under communism.”

“If you support the indictment, you are not on the side of truth or of concern for America.”

April 4, 2023, Dennis said: “We are becoming like the Soviet Union. This is not in any way an exaggeration. I took a vow never to exaggerate because you lose your credibility. I try always to understate and to calm people’s fears, but we are sliding into a Soviet system. The parallels are frightening. We have political prisoners [referring to January 6 protesters]. Joe Biden would be completely comfortable in a Soviet Union setting. So would Kamala Harris. So would most of the members of the Democratic party in Congress and in gubernatorial positions. The press functions the way the Soviet press functioned — as a mouthpiece of the ruling party… When you want to jail your opponents, you can find anything. It is difficult to overstate what the Left is doing to the United States in converting it into a Soviet-type country. Putin speaks of misinformation just the way the Democratic Party and the New York Times speak of misinformation — whatever we don’t want you to know.”

“Sorry to be this dark about the situation now. You have to two choices in life – to fight or to check out. Ideally, you get your kids out of the schools that are poisoning their minds, their souls, their hearts, their consciences, their ability to think. We sold our soul in the early 20th Century when we said the government should educate our children.”

“People want to believe that we have more in common with our fellow American on the other side than what divides us. What do I have in common with the Left? I can think of one. A Leftist believes in taking care of his family and so do I… In the realm of ideology and ideas, what do we have in common? Nothing.”

“I know from years of experience with home-schooled kids that overwhelmingly they turn out happier, finer, kinder and more intelligent…”

“Alvin Bragg [Manhattan DA] is a punk.”

“What groups of Americans have been added to the list of Trump supporters? If there aren’t any, then it is difficult [to see Trump winning the presidency in 2024]. Do you believe Trump has added any group? [Democrats may believe] that [indicting Trump] may make him so popular [among Republicans that he wins the nomination but loses the general election].”

Caller Victor in Chicago: “With the media being so far to one side, how can our constitutional republic survive?”

Dennis: “That’s a very fair question. You’re listening to one of those chances — talk radio. Talk radio reaches more people than Fox News, for example. PragerU has over a billion views a year, 65% are under 35. The Daily Wire has an enormous reach. TPUSA has an enormous reach on college campuses. However, it is true that when the mainstream media are all in one direction, and with corporations giving hundreds of millions of dollars to left-wing groups and almost nothing to conservative groups, the odds are against us. The worst is Big Tech suppressing us. The suppression of dissent is the road to the Sovietization of this country.”

April 5, 2023, Dennis said: “The great lack in young Americans’ lives is religion. It is the direct cause, not only cause, of all the depression, lost sense of identity…”

“Do you think the American government under the Democrats is less corrupt than the Ukrainian government? I don’t. Thirty four counts [in the Trump indictment] with no crime.”

Decoding the Gurus

In September of 2020, two academics (Matthew Browne and Christopher Kavanaugh) started a podcast called “Decoding the Gurus.” Some of their analysis applies to Dennis Prager:

* The most concise definition of a guru is “someone who spouts pseudo-profound bullshit”, with bullshit being speech that is persuasive without any regard for the truth. Thus, all these properties relate to people who produce ersatz wisdom: a corrupt epistemics that creates the appearance of useful knowledge, but has none of the substance.

* Galaxy-brainness is an ironic descriptor of someone who presents ideas that appear to be too profound for an average mind to comprehend, but are in truth reasonably trivial if not nonsensical. Gurus often present themselves as founts of wisdom, and it is an all-encompassing kind of knowledge that tends to span multiple disciplines and topics.

* We’ve noticed that gurus tend to act in a manipulative fashion with their followers and potential allies. This often takes the form of excessive flattery, such as intimations that their followers are more perceptive, more morally worthy, and more interested in the pursuit of truth than outsiders. A guru will often put some effort into signalling a close and personal relationship with their followers — essentially encouraging the development of parasocial ideation. Praise and regard for the guru is usually reciprocated, whilst disagreement or criticism is usually dismissed as coming from an unworthy person who does not truly understand the significance of the guru’s ideas.
A guru may often wish to avoid the appearance of being a controlling leader. It is, after all, inconsistent with the flattery of their followers and the oft-spoken idea of cultivating a community of like-minded and clear-sighted individuals. However, they also do not want their privileged position challenged. Thus, they may often wistfully talk of a desire to engage with ‘good faith’ critics who truly understand their ideas, and lament that they have been unable to receive the robust criticism they desire. Of course, this is a sham, as anything other than fawning praise, or at best the most superficial or minor disagreement, will typically be designated as being low-quality or badly-motivated.

* It is necessary that the orthodoxy, the establishment, the mainstream media, and the expert-consensus are always wrong, or at least blinkered and limited, and are generally incapable of grappling with the real issues. In the rare occasions when they are right, they are described by the gurus as being right for reasons other than they think. Kavanagh has coined the term ‘science-hipsterism’ which captures this tendency quite nicely. A guru can seldom agree with the establishment, because it is crucial to their appeal that they are offering unique insight – a fresh hot take that is not available elsewhere, and may be repressed or taboo. The guru’s popularity will obviously benefit, if this iconoclastic view happens to coincide with their prejudices or intuitions of their lay-followers. Thus, gurus are naturally drawn to topics where there is a split between the expert consensus and public opinion (e.g. climate change, GMOs, vaccinations, lockdowns). After all, if a guru is merely agreeing with an expert consensus on a topic such as COVID, then there is less reason to listen to the guru rather than the relevant experts. Thus, the guru is highly motivated to undertake epistemic sabotage; to disparage authoritative and institutional sources of knowledge. There is a tradeoff where the more the guru’s followers distrust standard sources of knowledge, such as that emanating from universities, the greater the perceived value that the guru provides.

* Feelings of frustration and oppression, being excluded and disregarded, and deprived of one’s manifest rights and recognitions, represent a potent set of negative emotions. Gurus too, will sometimes rely on narratives of grievance pertaining to themselves and their potential followers in order to drive engagement. After all, a worldview in which all is essentially fair and just is not one that will encourage people to search for alternative ways in which to view the world.

* People without at least some degree of over-confidence and attention-seeking will find the role of guru very uncomfortable and eschew it, even if it is thrust upon them. People who are not narcissistic, but with genuine expertise and insight in a given domain, may find the spotlight an unwelcome distraction. People ‘on the spectrum’ of narcissism, however, will find any attention and regard highly satisfying, and this is the motivating factor for engaging in going beyond whatever talents they may have, to engage in the pseudo-profound bullshitting techniques described here. The lack of self-awareness common among narcissists also seems to explain why gurus seem to ‘believe their own bullshit’. Just as a narcissist loves themselves, they are in love with their own ideas, and may be incapable of seeing the degree to which they are bullshit.

* A heightened sense of how the world is not right, and ought to be fixed, and that they are the persons to do it, is a common feature. Unfortunately, the broader public fails to recognise their genius and heed their advice, and thus the world lurches from calamity to calamity. Combining these features, we will often see that a guru positions themselves as something of a Cassandra – seeing the future and warning of possible calamities, that could be avoided if only they were heeded. The followers also gain a positive role for themselves, in supporting, defending, and promoting the guru, they can help make the world a better place.

* …they are greatly attracted to claiming that they have developed game-changing and paradigm-shifting intellectual products.

* They are most comfortable in the role of armchair opinionator, the wise man (or woman, but usually man) graciously offering their advice to eager seekers of wisdom.

* To gain real insights, real special knowledge that nobody else can see – that’s hard work. For normal people, even a lifetime of study and research only provides scant few original intellectual contributions. That is not nearly enough for a guru, who needs a steady supply of fresh, original content to supply to their followers and justify their status. To be a guru, they must set themselves up, not only as uniquely insightful, but above and apart from orthodoxies, including established political or ideological groups. Thus, they are encouraged to go beyond standard heterodoxy, contrarianism and scepticism, into the realm of conspiratorial ideation. This is because the expert consensus – though naturally not infallible – but definition, tends to supply the most reasonable and evidence-based view, based on current information. The guru is in the position of needing to provide a strongly contrasting perspective, and then to supply the argumentation that backs up their bold claims in a compelling way. This leads them inexorably down the path of bespoke conspiracy mongering, with an alternative view of events that authoritative sources either can’t or won’t tell you about. Conspiracy theories require a ‘suppressive network’ to explain away the lack of evidential support, and why almost nobody else is willing or able to accept their theories.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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