No Safe Spaces - Part 1 (Transcript)

Ryan Dobson: This is Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Ryan Dobson. This month marks this ministry's remarkable 10 year anniversary. It's been fun looking back at the past decade with you. Today, we'll hear the two-part interview that my dad conducted with conservative talk show radio host, Dennis Prager, in the summer of 2019. This was a riveting two-part conversation centered on Dennis' documentary film, No Safe Spaces. Their discussion explored the cultural war against free speech in America, which unfortunately began on college campuses. Here is Dr. James Dobson to begin this meaningful interview.

Dr. Dobson: My staff and I are in the conference room here at James Dobson Family Institute and we have just watched a portion of a new documentary video that is titled No Safe Spaces. We're going to be talking about that and other things here with my guest, Dennis Prager. He has insisted that I call him Dennis. I find it difficult to do because I have such respect for this man. I'm delighted to have you here. Would everybody welcome this man?

Dennis Prager: Thank you so much.

Dr. Dobson: Dennis has been here today doing his own program upstairs in our studio. He's heard all across the country on the Salem Radio Network. How many stations are you on, Dennis?

Dennis Prager: Between 200 and 300. I try to always understate. Maybe it's 400. A lot. That's all I know.

Dr. Dobson: And they're big stations and I ...

Dennis Prager: Thank you.

Dr. Dobson: There's one of them here in Colorado Springs.

Dennis Prager: That's right.

Dr. Dobson: And I listen to you ...

Dennis Prager: Yes.

Dr. Dobson: ... Regularly. It's not possible for me to fully express how much I appreciate you and respect you and admire you. You've done wonderful work. You're an Orthodox Jew, I'm a committed Christian, but we have a lot in common. There's a lot that we take on together in the culture war. I consider you to be a fellow warrior in that conflict. We're losing it, aren't we? That's my impression, anyway.

Dennis Prager: First, let me just say that I would amend your conjunction. You said you're a committed Christian and I'm a committed Jew but we have so much in common. I would drop the "but" and do "and, therefore. That's the case." The committed Christian and the committed Jew have far more in common on the great issues of our day, the moral issues, our views are utterly unison. We are worried about America because if America fails, cruelty on earth will increase exponentially. The people who tear down this country don't love human beings because if they did, they would understand that the greatest force for good on earth is the United States.

All people need to do is think what would happen if the American military decided to all go home? They just wanted to go back to friends and family. No more American military. Within six months, how many human beings would be tortured, raped and murdered on this planet if that happened? As I've often said, if they really gave the Nobel Peace Prize honorably and honestly, it would be given to the US military, the greatest force for peace on earth. You know that and I know that. We're fighting for it. Are we losing? We were almost defeated on election day of 2016. And then incredibly, we got a reprieve. That's how I look at it. That's how bad things were that day.

I wrote a book on happiness. I do an hour on happiness every week since 1999. I'm a happy human being but I was despondent about the chances of our country recuperating from the onslaught of the left, and I always distinguish between the left and liberals. In our film, No Safe Spaces, there are so many liberals who agree with us. No leftists agree with us.

Dr. Dobson: Let's talk about that film. We have just seen it and I found it deeply disturbing and moving because it does describe the condition of the university system in this country and so many other things where we're losing ground. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the religious liberties that we have enjoyed is all in jeopardy. And your film describes that graphically. Tell us, or tell the other people who haven't seen it, what you were getting at there.

Dennis Prager: First of all, even if it weren't a terrific film ... And I really do believe it is. Adam Carolla, my so-to-speak co-star ... I can't really think of myself as a star. It's a little odd. But I don't know what other term to use ... He's a co-star but I'm not sure I'm a co-star. But anyway, even if the film weren't terrific, people should see it on the moral grounds that we can't let the Hollywood left dominate the film industry. We need to put out films as well and have people see them and be successful. But it is a terrific film. I have always put terrific ahead of any other consideration in my life. If it isn't wonderful, I don't want to be part of it. This is better than I even expected.

What you said was good. You said it was disturbing and moving. That's exactly right. By the way, you'll also laugh because if Adam Carolla's in it, you have to laugh. I think he's the funniest living human being in the English language. He calls himself an atheist. I'm a believing in God ... Deep believing in God. I have a Bible commentary out. I'm on volume three. You can get it at Costco, it's that popular, I'm proud to say.

Dr. Dobson: You are an authority on the Torah, aren't you?

Dennis Prager: Yeah. Well, that I will acknowledge. I don't know if I'm a star, but I am an authority on the Torah. Yes.

Dr. Dobson: Yes.

Dennis Prager: That is correct. But listen, as I tell Christians all the time, Jesus didn't know the New Testament. Jesus only knew the Old Testament. If you want to know what Jesus knew, then you need to know the Old Testament. A lot of Christians know that, but a lot of Christians don't read the Old Testament, thinking it's just a ...

Dr. Dobson: He quotes the Old Testament a lot.

Dennis Prager: Of course. Constantly. That's his frame of reference.

Dr. Dobson: Yeah.

Dennis Prager: That's exactly right. "Love your neighbor as yourself." "Love God." That comes from the Torah. God creating the human being in God's image. That comes from the Torah. It's all for the Torah. Everything. That is my vehicle to faith in God. And I call it the rational bible because I only use reason. Only reason. An atheist could read my rational bible and come away wiser. That's my intent. And hopefully, even take the idea of God more seriously.

Anyway, Adam Carolla calls himself an atheist and here I am, a religious guy. We also have all these values in common. Values is where it's at and America was founded with this amazing notion: God wants us to be free. What country in history had that idea? We are losing it. Prager University, which had a billion views last year .... It's another of my projects. Prager University puts out a video every single week. We have about 350 videos out. Five minute videos. And they come out each week and there's a conservative take on politics, on economics, on philosophy, on a whole host of issues by very, very .... Four Pulitzer Prize winners, three former prime ministers. We have very serious people giving these courses. They're all knocked by people on the left, but nothing is as knocked as a defensive God or religion.

Do you know that Google put the 10 Commandments on the restricted list? That means kids can't see it in homes that block pornography. My video on the 10 Commandments ... And I was just ... I just testified in Congress on this. In the Senate. Senator Ted Cruz asked the guy from Google, "I don't understand. Why would you put Dennis Prager's video on the 10 Commandments on the restricted list?"

Dr. Dobson: Let me stop you.

Dennis Prager: Yeah.

Dr. Dobson: I have a recording of your statement to the US Senate just recently and I would like our listeners to hear what you're talking about.

Dennis Prager: Good. Thank you.

Dr. Dobson: Okay. Let's do that right now.

Dennis Prager: Good.

Senator Cruz: Mr. Prager, we'll start with you.

Dennis Prager: I will take just a moment because my opening comment is under five minutes just to respond on the issue of the 10 Commandments video that was placed on the restricted list by Google. The representative from Google mentioned that a reason that it would be on the restricted list was that it contains mentions of murder. I was thinking, I have a solution that will, I think, appeal to Google. I will re-release it as the Nine Commandments. That should solve the problem of including murder in my discussion of the 10 Commandments. And as regards to Swastika, yes there is a Swastika. It is, again, in the commandment of do not murder wherein I show that there are people who believe murder is all right, even today. And I use the Swastika and the hammer and sickle as two examples. I would think we would want young people to associate the Swastika with evil. That was why I had a Swastika.

It is an honor to be invited to speak in the United States Senate but I wish I were not so honored because the subject of this hearing, Google and YouTube's and, for that matter, Twitter and Facebook's suppression of internet content on ideological grounds threatens the future of America more than any external enemy. In fact, never in American history has there been as strong a threat to freedom of speech as there is today.

Before addressing this, however, I think it important that you know a bit about me and the organization I co-founded, Prager University; PragerU, as it is often referred to. I was born in Brooklyn, New York. My late father, Max Prager, was a CPA and an Orthodox Jew who volunteered to serve in the US Navy at the start of World War II. My father's senior class thesis at The City College of New York was on anti-Semitism in America, yet despite his keen awareness of the subject, he believed that Jews living in America were the luckiest Jews to have ever lived. He was right. Having taught Jewish History at Brooklyn College, written a book on anti-Semitism and fought Jew hatred my whole life, I thank God for living in America.

It breaks my heart that a vast number of young Americans have not only not been taught how lucky they are to be Americans, but have been taught either how unlucky they are, or how ashamed they should be. It breaks my heart for them because contempt for one's country leaves a terrible hole in one's soul, and because ungrateful people always become unhappy and angry people. And it breaks my heart for America because no good country can survive when its people have contempt for it.

I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host. The last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life. One reason I started PragerU was to communicate America's moral purpose and moral achievements, both to young Americans and to young people around the world. With a billion views a year and with more than half of the viewers under age 35, PragerU has achieved some success. My philosophy of life is easily summarized: God wants us to be good. Period. God without goodness is fanaticism and goodness without God will not long endure. Everything I and PragerU do emanates from belief in the importance of being a good person. That some label us extreme or "haters" only reflects on the character and the broken moral compass of those making such accusations. They are the haters and extremists.

PragerU releases a five minute video every week. Our presenters include three former prime ministers, four Pulitzer Prize winners, liberals, conservatives, gays, blacks, Latinos, atheists, believers, Jews, Christians, Muslims. And professors and scientists from MIT, Harvard, Stanford and a dozen other universities. Do you think the secretary general of NATO, or the former prime ministers of Norway, Canada or Spain or the late Charles Krauthammer or Philip Hamburger, distinguished professor of law at Columbia Law School, would make a video for an extreme or hate-filled site? The idea is not only preposterous. It is a smear.

Yet Google, which owns YouTube, has restricted access to 56 of our 320 five minute videos and to other videos we produce. Restricted means families that have a filter to avoid pornography and violence cannot see that video. It also means that no school or library can show that video. Google has even restricted access to a video on the 10 Commandments as we have seen. Yes, the 10 Commandments. We have repeatedly asked Google why our videos are restricted. No explanation is ever given.

But, of course, we know why. Because they come from a conservative perspective. Liberals and conservatives differ on many issues, but they have always agreed that free speech must be preserved. While the left has never supported free speech, liberals always have. I therefore appeal to liberals to join us in fighting on behalf of American's crowning glory: free speech. Otherwise, I promise you one day you will say, "First they came after conservatives and I said nothing. And then they came after me and there was no one left to speak up for me." Thank you.

Senator Cruz: Thank you Mr. Prager.

Dr. Dobson: My goodness, that is powerful.

Dennis Prager: Thank you.

Dr. Dobson: What has been the reaction to that short statement?

Dennis Prager: First, liberals often wrote on their comments ... Because I read comments on YouTube. I'm very curious what people say who hate me or love me or neither. There were quite a few said, "I don't agree with Dennis Prager on almost anything but he's right on this." That's fine with me. That's fine. To disagree with me on everything except freedom, you're my ally. And the conservatives, it's very interesting. Obviously, mostly supportive, but there were a couple of pieces in conservative journals saying that this is not right. And I was thinking: if a conservative does not acknowledge that a place like Prager University has been suppressed because of ideology, then I don't know what makes them conservative. There are 320 videos. Only 15 are about Israel. Half of them are on the restricted list. Is that not ideological?

Allen Durshowitz, liberal, Hillary Clinton-supporting professor of law at Harvard puts out a video on the legality of Israel's founding. It almost sounds like it'll but you to sleep. The legality of Israel ... It's on the restricted list. Children, libraries can't see it. That's not ideological?

Dr. Dobson: Is that symptomatic of what's happening in the universities?

Dennis Prager: Yes. Totally. Listen, the university, it's elite. And if the elites have contempt for freedom, these are trickle down ideas. They go down from the elite to the average person. There are kids who will now think if you're white you have white privilege. They don't even know what that means. What does it mean, white privilege? Why do white men commit suicide at a greater rate than any group in the country if they have white privilege? I guess they didn't get the message. They probably didn't go to college. The whole thing is so perverse that Ben Shapiro needed $600,000 in security to speak at Berkeley? That's vile. The guy's an Orthodox Jew saying how much he loves America. He's not even the biggest Trump fan. That's the irony of ironies. I mean, he supports the president but he's very critical and in the beginning he was quite opposed.

When I went to Berkeley, as you can see in the film, I said, "Hey, listen. I have an idea. Since I believe in clarity over agreement, that's the motto of my radio show, I'll just have a dialogue debate with their best leftist students." So that way there were no riots, there was no screaming, they heard everything. And let me tell you how it ended. It's very interesting. I asked them if they think people are basically good, which is the dividing line between wisdom and idiocy because you're an idiot of you think people are basically good. I'm sorry. I know it's insulting. It's meant to be an insult. You are a fool. No one over five should believe human nature is good.

Dr. Dobson: If they're basically good, show me a society where that's played itself out.

Dennis Prager: No. There is no system of wisdom that has ever argued that. It is a brand new idea in human history and it has led to unbelievably terrible results. Anyway, so I asked them, "Do you think people are basically good?" And of course, I knew what they'd say. "Yes, we do." Because if you're on the left, your naïve as a definition of your condition. They said yes and then they continued. I said, "I want to tell you why you think people are basically good. Because you live in America where there are so many good people."

Dr. Dobson: David said, "In sin did my mother conceive me." It was not that I bumped into a wicked environment and learned to do wrong. We're born with it. It's genetic to us, and it goes back clear to the garden, from our perspectives.

Dennis Prager: That's why I asked the Berkeley students, are we basically good? That's right.

Dr. Dobson: And they said yes.

Dennis Prager: That's right.

Dr. Dobson: I feel sorry for them.

Dennis Prager: I feel sorry for us because we will bear the brunt of their foolishness.

Dr. Dobson: What is happening on the university campus today? Describe it in greater detail.

Dennis Prager: Look, we have ... In the film, Bret Weinstein. Bret Weinstein is as liberal as you can get without crossing the line into leftism. He was a professor at Evergreen College. Even within college standards, it's a left wing university. One day they announced all whites should leave the campus. Bret Weinstein's been teaching biology there. The guy's an atheist, evolutionist, liberal/leftist but not fully leftist. He says, "Excuse me. You're not going to have me leave because of my race. I'm staying here." He was then ... You will see the screaming and cursing of this professor by students. Ultimately, he had to be escorted by the police to the university and ultimately, he left because the university announced, "We cannot guarantee your safety." For not leaving the university. And of course, all the other wimps, aka professors, they left. But he didn't.

This is typical of our universities today all over the country. There are a handful of exceptions and Oberlin has just paid millions of dollars because they joined the boycott of a bakery that has been in Oberlin, Ohio for 80 years. They caught a black kid shoplifting and it was on camera. The guy shoplifted. But they were accused of racism for chasing him down. And the students boycotted and Oberlin joined the boycott of the bakery. And now they have to pay millions of dollars. I hope Oberlin goes bankrupt. If Oberlin closes, America will be a better place.

Dennis Prager: That is how bad our universities have become.

Dr. Dobson: It's not just the universities but it starts in kindergarten now.

Dennis Prager: Totally.

Dr. Dobson: Here in Colorado, the schools have virtually been taken over by LGBTQ, and they are teaching nine year olds how to transform or how to change your gender, they call it. Or the lack of gender.

Dennis Prager: Well, they're not even called boys and girls in many schools now. Teachers ...

Dr. Dobson: They don't line up by boys and girls.

Dennis Prager: That's right. Teachers are told, "Don't call your students ... From kindergarten, call them students."

Dr. Dobson: That really makes me angry.

Dennis Prager: It's child abuse.

Dr. Dobson: If students want to go off to a liberal university and get propagandized ...

Dennis Prager: That's correct.

Dr. Dobson: ... That's their business. But when you take ...

Dennis Prager: But when you start at five.

Dr. Dobson: ... A five, six, seven, eight, nine ...

Dennis Prager: That's right.

Dr. Dobson: ... Kid ...

Dennis Prager: You're right.

Dr. Dobson: And you teach them things that are morally wrong and parents don't have ...

Dennis Prager: Scientifically wrong, morally wrong.

Dr. Dobson: ... An opportunity ...

Dennis Prager: Parents? Please. Parents are a nuisance to the left.

Dr. Dobson: They are.

Dennis Prager: In my rational bible series, I came out ... Thus far I've done Genesis and Exodus. And in Exodus I have 20,000 words on the 10 Commandments, and I write tersely, and I have actually come to believe that in many ways, honor your father and mother may be the most important of the 10 Commandments. And I did not think that prior to the writing of the volume, but I realized that every totalitarian regime breaks the authority of parents first. That's what they did in Nazi Germany with Hitler Youth and that's what they did in the Soviet Union with the Komsomol.

The hero of the Soviet Union in the 1930s was a boy named Pavlik Morozov. He snitched on his parents, a Ukrainian child, who were stealing food so the family wouldn't starve to death when Stalin was starving the Ukrainians to death purposely. People could read The Red Famine and read about it. And the parents were killed. The child was declared a national hero. There were postage stamps. "Your allegiance is to Stalin and the party, not to your parents." And if you honor your parents, you'll honor God, you'll honor your teacher, you'll honor the police. The breakdown of authority is what getting rid of parental authority is all about.

Dr. Dobson: Hitler said who cares what the adults think? We already have their kids. That's not a quote but that's very close.

Dennis Prager: No, that's exactly right. As I say, all totalitarian regimes break the authority of parents.

Dr. Dobson: I'm telling you, parents ...

Dennis Prager: And that's what is happening ...

Dr. Dobson: You better object to this because you're ...

Dennis Prager: That's right.

Dr. Dobson: ... Losing your kids.

Dennis Prager: Well, the only way to solve it ... I hate to say this, is for parents to take their kids out of schools. If you have a great school in your neighborhood, obviously send them there. I have no problem.

Dr. Dobson: Would you have said that 10 years ago?

Dennis Prager: No.

Dr. Dobson: How rapidly is this sinking?

Dennis Prager: The decline is like an avalanche. It gathers steam as it goes down the mountain.

Ryan Dobson: You've been listening to Dr. James Dobson's interview with popular radio host and best-selling author, Dennis Prager. I'm Ryan Dobson and I hope you learned a lot from today's broadcast. I was there when they recorded this interview and I was shocked by how our freedoms are slipping away. If you're interested in this subject and other topics affecting the family, you might want to check me out at I have my own ministry now and I produce a podcast there that has many of these same issues covered. But for now, listen tomorrow to the conclusion to this insightful discussion here on the next edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

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