“…and America has loved me, too,” says Dennis Prager, smiling beatifically at the camera. America: a sentient, God-like creature that has favored Prager as one of its chosen. Or is it, rather, a metaphor for American public opinion? Prager isn’t loved by most Americans; so it must then mean the “real” public opinion, of real Americans—or, at minimum, of the right-wing donor class.
Who knows what exactly Prager meant by that—the point is that we should picture America and Dennis Prager in a warm embrace. There are obvious rhetorical advantages to being a happy defender. Anything anyone else says can be (and always is) dismissed as pitiable, or as whiny, or even as sinister.
The thrust of this PragerU video fits the moment: Prager shows the current racial justice movement the back of his hand, while he pushes his go-to Cold War rhetoric to the front of the stage. Communism is “the greatest genocidal and totalitarian ideology in history.” (Pay mind to the word “greatest.”) And Americans died in Korea and Vietnam “solely so that their people could be free.”
There’s no denying that this Greatest Generation pablum still riles Americans up. Its repetition is leading us towards a new Cold War with China. Why look at ourselves? Instead, we have a menacing new Soviet Threat. Defense spending levels can be maintained, and godlessness will be kept at bay.
As for those who would criticize America because of its history of slavery, Prager has an answer: “But every society in the world practiced slavery.” Oh. Guess it’s no big deal, then. Jim Crow, redlining, poverty. Whining.
There is a lot to love about America, but nostalgia for the twentieth century isn’t getting us anywhere.