Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I was once an avid fan of Dennis Prager’s “Prager University.” This youtube channel — as much a university as “Trump University” — is the brainchild of Right-Wing radio host Dennis Prager, who apparently seeks to brainwash young high school to college aged Americans into pre-Trumpian conservatism with sleek, colorful cartoons narrated by prominent conservative academics. Of course, a great deal of these videos are informative and actually make sound arguments that answer ubiquitous Democrat talking points young people are bombarded with in schools and on television.
Despite a good deal of useful content, the overall tone and subject matter of the channel basically confirms my enduring view of conservatism as an ideological ghetto which shackles its adherents to anachronistic values and ideas whose time has long passed. If this were the “university’s” only sin, it could be forgiven, as being on the losing side of history is an intrinsic characteristic of conservatism. Several of the channel’s videos however, highlight a trend I’ve often noticed in countercultural movements, and should be avoided at all costs.
I’m referring to two videos in particular which were published last year — “Did Bush Lie About Iraq?” and “Why the U.S. Invaded Iraq.” There’s no real reason for them to exist. If you’re a Right-winger still defending George W. Bush and his disastrous neoconservative foreign policy in The Current Year, please stop. Aside from (probably) making terrible arguments, probably the only reason anyone would continue to defend an indefensible position is because it “fits your narrative.”
This is Prager’s mentality — “Republicans are good, and Bush was a Republican, therefore Bush is good, and we must defend him.” This is false — the Bush Doctrine was objectively bad for the United States and every other country involved, and it has objectively made the world a worse, more dangerous place. For this and many other reasons, zealous belief in the Iraq War is likely repulsive to anyone who isn’t already a Bush Republican. Indeed, the only takeaway I get from those two videos is that conservatives like Dennis Prager are too caught up in their own ideology to see the folly of its practical consequences.
Of course, mainstream conservatives like Prager aren’t the only victims of this phenomenon. Trumpists, for example, often take it upon themselves to defend every gaffe or blunder made by their “God-Emperor” — like defending “grab her by the pussy” as a legitimate, okay thing to say; or fawning over his many weak policy planks and decisions, even though there is substantial room for legitimate criticism; or deriding all of his critics (both on the Left and the Right) as triggered snowflake cucks, unworthy of debate or discussion. Trump supporters still can and should criticize their President, it’s not their duty to defend the stupid or indefensible things he’s said in the past.
This is a problem across the entire spectrum of the Right — Israel sycophants needlessly defend IDF war crimes and unlimited settlement growth, many in the Alt Right actually believe idiotic conspiracy theories like Pizzagate or deny the Holocaust, many Libertarians still feel they have to explain why we shouldn’t have roads, and so on. All of these arguments or ideas serve no purpose other than to repel outsiders from joining these movements.
If you’re on the Right, before making an argument or coming to a conclusion, ask yourself: “Would I still believe all this if I didn’t hold all of my other views?” If your answer is not an emphatic yes, then realize that you’re not objectively analyzing facts, you’re lazily substituting ideology for reason. You’re no different from the people who defend George W. Bush in 2017.