Dennis Prager, the radio host and columnist, has a new book out called Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. Prager’s work represents a lifetime of love of, and wisdom about, the United States, what it has been, is, and could be. It’s a book about freedom and love, and the choices we’re making right now. Prager talks a bit about it with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: The “best — really the only — answer to making a better world is the American value system . . . if you are disturbed by the amount of unjust suffering most human beings have endured and vast numbers continue to endure, nothing approaches the American value system as humanity’s best hope.” Do we really have the evidence to be so confident — and chauvinistic? Doesn’t history suggest we ought to be a little more humble, a little more Hillary Clinton on a global listening tour?
DENNIS PRAGER: Of course we have the evidence — the United States. No country in history has come close to America in creating a place for people of every background to thrive economically, morally, politically, and in every other way. It is the freest and least racist society ever produced. And it has shed more blood for the liberty of others — the Korean War, for example — than any other nation. A world without America would be a world dominated by cruelty.
Chauvinism? Not at all. There is no celebration of a superior nationality, ethnicity, race, or religion here. It is a celebration of American values — the American Trinity, as I have called it: Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum.
LOPEZ: We have the cure for “moral cancer”? Again, isn’t this a bit presumptuous? We might be accused of being poisoned by this cancer ourselves, on different fronts?
PRAGER: Yes, there is a moral cancer in America, and we may not survive it. That fear prompted the years I devoted to writing Still the Best Hope. That moral cancer is the consequence of the nearly century-long attack by leftism against the American Trinity: Equality over Liberty; a secular, rather than God-based, society; and multiculturalism replacing the national ideal of E Pluribus Unum.
LOPEZ: What does exporting American values mean exactly? President Bush’s much-debated second inaugural? How’s that working for Iraq?
PRAGER: We didn’t export American values to Iraq. We replaced a blood-soaked tyrannical regime with a democracy. I wish we did export the American values system to Iraq. But we can’t export something that we ourselves have forgotten.
My vision of exporting American values — which I lay out in detail in the book — is to do for Americanism what leftists do for leftism and what Muslims do for Islamism. Our competitors are wildly successful at proselytizing. Why aren’t we? Because most Americans don’t know what Americanism is.
I wish America would do what the Mormon Church does — send young people around the world to advocate liberty, ethical monotheism, and nationalism. No nation would have to surrender its religion, its culture, or its national identity in order to embrace Americanism.
LOPEZ: Why the obsession with evil? Could one man’s evil be another’s man’s good? Or at least desire?
PRAGER: I would hope that the answer is self-evident. What human project could possibly be more important than combating evil?
As for the view that one man’s evil is another man’s good — that is exactly the moral relativism the Left in Europe ushered in that is eating at the moral foundations of the West.