Category: Dennis Prager

This Pride Stuff Isn’t Healthy

I’ve never understood ethnic, race, gender or sex pride. Even as a kid.
For my bar mitzvah, someone gave me a book titled “Great Jews in Sports” or something like it.

Aside from the usual jokes — it was not a long book; the print and the photos were very large — what I remember best was that I had little interest in the book. I loved sports. And I strongly identified as a Jew — I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home and attended yeshivas until the age of 19. So, my disinterest in the book didn’t emanate from either disinterest in sports or disinterest in Jews. I was keenly interested in both.
But even at the age of 13, the idea of ethnic pride meant little to me.
As far as I could tell, my friends — and, of course, the relative who gave me the book — considered the book quite meaningful. They were proud of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, of the great Cleveland Indians third baseman Al Rosen, of the lightweight boxing champ Benny Leonard, and the other Jews who were featured.
I apparently marched to the beat of a quirky drummer. It turned out, however, that my attitude at 13 wasn’t a quirk. Though I didn’t realize it then, it was actually the dawning of a conviction — that maybe group pride wasn’t a great idea.
The next time that view hit me was when I was in college and the slogan “black is beautiful” was becoming popular. This time I did more than not relate to group pride; I objected to it. How could a race be beautiful? Isn’t the idea of a beautiful race itself racist? When I raised these questions in my college and graduate school years, I was given one of two answers: After being put down for so many years, blacks needed to bolster their self-image. And since blacks — especially black women — had suffered greatly because white beauty was the normative standard of physical beauty, “black is beautiful” was a much-needed corrective.

These were entirely understandable explanations. But I still recoiled. Perhaps being a Jew born only a few years after the Holocaust rendered race-based pride scary.
It turned out my instinct was right: It is scary. “Black is beautiful” soon morphed into “black power,” a phrase that, often accompanied with a raised clenched fist, was meant to be scary. And then, in an echo of Aryan racism, terms like “race traitor” were thrown around to describe any black who wasn’t into “black power” or “black solidarity.”
Soon, feminist women joined the group solidarity bandwagon with “girl power”; “I am woman, hear me roar”; “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”; “Any job a man can do, a woman can do better” and other puerile celebrations of “sisterhood,” a term which applied only to women who shared feminist views. Women who didn’t share those views were not just gender-traitors; they weren’t even women. Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem famously called conservative Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a “female impersonator.”
Group pride is a characteristic of all left-wing thought and activism.
The most recent incarnation of group pride is LGBTQ pride. Every company, every professional sports team, every Democratic politician, even the armed forces and American embassies around the world are expected to celebrate Pride Month, Pride Night and year-round LGBTQ Pride.

This is problematic for at least two reasons.
First, what exactly is one proud of? What accomplishment is involved in being gay, lesbian or bisexual? Even trans is allegedly built into one’s nature. Isn’t the entire premise of the LGBTQ movement that one does not choose one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity? Wasn’t anyone who argued that homosexuality is a choice declared a hater and a science denier? So, then, if no choice is involved, no effort on the part of the individual — let alone no moral accomplishment — what is there to be proud of? Maybe I couldn’t identify with Jewish pride over great Jewish athletes, but at least they all actually accomplished something.
The other problematic element has to do with why the LGBTQ movement does everything possible to bludgeon every institution into celebrating Pride Nights, Days, Weeks and Months. The reason is the totalitarian nature of all left-wing movements. Unlike liberal and conservative movements, every left-wing movement is totalitarian. Therefore, it is not enough for people to tolerate or even show respect to LGBTQ individuals. We must all celebrate lesbianism, male homosexuality, the transgendered and queers. No left-wing movement is a movement for tolerance. They are movements that demand celebration.

For the first time in any of our lifetimes, the Left may have met an immovable obstacle. Americans are prepared to tolerate just about everything and everyone. But at least half of us will not celebrate girls who have their breasts removed — or the therapists and physicians who facilitate it. At least half of us will not celebrate men dressed as women, especially those who dance in front of 6-year-olds. And while some medical schools have been cowed into saying “birthing person” rather than “pregnant woman,” at least half of us will hold the cowards who run these medical schools in contempt.
I return to my opening point. I have devoted much of my life to helping my fellow Jews. It started when I was 21 years old, and the Israeli foreign office sent me into the Soviet Union to smuggle in Jewish items and smuggle out names of Jews wanting to leave the Soviet Union. I have brought many disaffected Jews back to Judaism. And I have constantly fought for Israel’s security. I am very happy to be a Jew. But I don’t quite relate to being proud of it — it was not my achievement; it was an accident of birth. That is equally true of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation. You don’t get credit for, shouldn’t be proud of and have no right to demand others celebrate something you had nothing to do with.

Finally, if you’re honest, group pride must be accompanied by group shame. Yes, a disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners were Jews. But a disproportionate number of Western spies for Stalin were also Jews. If you’re not prepared to be ashamed of your group, don’t take pride in it. That rule applies to blacks, gays, women, Christians and every other group in the world.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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This Pride Stuff Isn’t Healthy

I’ve never understood ethnic, race, gender or sex pride. Even as a kid.
For my bar mitzvah, someone gave me a book titled “Great Jews in Sports” or something like it.

Aside from the usual jokes — it was not a long book; the print and the photos were very large — what I remember best was that I had little interest in the book. I loved sports. And I strongly identified as a Jew — I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home and attended yeshivas until the age of 19. So, my disinterest in the book didn’t emanate from either disinterest in sports or disinterest in Jews. I was keenly interested in both.
But even at the age of 13, the idea of ethnic pride meant little to me.
As far as I could tell, my friends — and, of course, the relative who gave me the book — considered the book quite meaningful. They were proud of Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, of the great Cleveland Indians third baseman Al Rosen, of the lightweight boxing champ Benny Leonard, and the other Jews who were featured.
I apparently marched to the beat of a quirky drummer. It turned out, however, that my attitude at 13 wasn’t a quirk. Though I didn’t realize it then, it was actually the dawning of a conviction — that maybe group pride wasn’t a great idea.
The next time that view hit me was when I was in college and the slogan “black is beautiful” was becoming popular. This time I did more than not relate to group pride; I objected to it. How could a race be beautiful? Isn’t the idea of a beautiful race itself racist? When I raised these questions in my college and graduate school years, I was given one of two answers: After being put down for so many years, blacks needed to bolster their self-image. And since blacks — especially black women — had suffered greatly because white beauty was the normative standard of physical beauty, “black is beautiful” was a much-needed corrective.

These were entirely understandable explanations. But I still recoiled. Perhaps being a Jew born only a few years after the Holocaust rendered race-based pride scary.
It turned out my instinct was right: It is scary. “Black is beautiful” soon morphed into “black power,” a phrase that, often accompanied with a raised clenched fist, was meant to be scary. And then, in an echo of Aryan racism, terms like “race traitor” were thrown around to describe any black who wasn’t into “black power” or “black solidarity.”
Soon, feminist women joined the group solidarity bandwagon with “girl power”; “I am woman, hear me roar”; “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”; “Any job a man can do, a woman can do better” and other puerile celebrations of “sisterhood,” a term which applied only to women who shared feminist views. Women who didn’t share those views were not just gender-traitors; they weren’t even women. Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem famously called conservative Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a “female impersonator.”
Group pride is a characteristic of all left-wing thought and activism.
The most recent incarnation of group pride is LGBTQ pride. Every company, every professional sports team, every Democratic politician, even the armed forces and American embassies around the world are expected to celebrate Pride Month, Pride Night and year-round LGBTQ Pride.

This is problematic for at least two reasons.
First, what exactly is one proud of? What accomplishment is involved in being gay, lesbian or bisexual? Even trans is allegedly built into one’s nature. Isn’t the entire premise of the LGBTQ movement that one does not choose one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity? Wasn’t anyone who argued that homosexuality is a choice declared a hater and a science denier? So, then, if no choice is involved, no effort on the part of the individual — let alone no moral accomplishment — what is there to be proud of? Maybe I couldn’t identify with Jewish pride over great Jewish athletes, but at least they all actually accomplished something.
The other problematic element has to do with why the LGBTQ movement does everything possible to bludgeon every institution into celebrating Pride Nights, Days, Weeks and Months. The reason is the totalitarian nature of all left-wing movements. Unlike liberal and conservative movements, every left-wing movement is totalitarian. Therefore, it is not enough for people to tolerate or even show respect to LGBTQ individuals. We must all celebrate lesbianism, male homosexuality, the transgendered and queers. No left-wing movement is a movement for tolerance. They are movements that demand celebration.

For the first time in any of our lifetimes, the Left may have met an immovable obstacle. Americans are prepared to tolerate just about everything and everyone. But at least half of us will not celebrate girls who have their breasts removed — or the therapists and physicians who facilitate it. At least half of us will not celebrate men dressed as women, especially those who dance in front of 6-year-olds. And while some medical schools have been cowed into saying “birthing person” rather than “pregnant woman,” at least half of us will hold the cowards who run these medical schools in contempt.
I return to my opening point. I have devoted much of my life to helping my fellow Jews. It started when I was 21 years old, and the Israeli foreign office sent me into the Soviet Union to smuggle in Jewish items and smuggle out names of Jews wanting to leave the Soviet Union. I have brought many disaffected Jews back to Judaism. And I have constantly fought for Israel’s security. I am very happy to be a Jew. But I don’t quite relate to being proud of it — it was not my achievement; it was an accident of birth. That is equally true of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation. You don’t get credit for, shouldn’t be proud of and have no right to demand others celebrate something you had nothing to do with.

Finally, if you’re honest, group pride must be accompanied by group shame. Yes, a disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners were Jews. But a disproportionate number of Western spies for Stalin were also Jews. If you’re not prepared to be ashamed of your group, don’t take pride in it. That rule applies to blacks, gays, women, Christians and every other group in the world.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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A Biblical Law That Would Change American Life

One of the most remarkable laws in the Bible is in the Book of Deuteronomy: “Do not hate an Egyptian.” It is remarkable because it was given to the generation of Israelites that had just been liberated from slavery in Egypt.

Imagine.
A people who had been enslaved for hundreds of years, and for a period of time had their newborn sons drowned, was instructed — by Moses in the name of God, no less — not to hate the people who had just enslaved them.
This is one of many examples why America’s Founders regarded the Bible as the most important book ever written. According to one historian who studied the issue, the book the Founders quoted most often — more often than any Enlightenment book, more often than any Greek or Roman work — was Deuteronomy, the biblical book in which the law prohibiting hatred of Egyptians appears.
It is difficult to think of a law more relevant to today’s America.
Imagine if the country — especially, though not only, black Americans — adopted this law and substituted “white” for “Egyptian.” Imagine the effect on America if every church, every school, every editorial page and every Democrat repeatedly told Americans, “Do not hate whites.”
Almost overnight, the gratuitous hatreds wrecking our country would begin to disappear.
Hatred of whites is the most prevalent — certainly, the most acceptable — hatred in America today. At almost every college, students are taught, often from their first day, that all whites are racist, that a black person cannot be racist, that America is systemically racist, that every black person is a victim, and that America was founded by whites to be a racist nation. Almost without exception mainstream newspapers and websites regularly publish “news” items and opinion pieces (the two are often indistinguishable) that echo the anti-white hate of the universities. The same for Hollywood and for major corporations such as Nike, and for philanthropies such as the Ford Foundation that have collectively pledged at least $100 million to Black Lives Matter, a white-hating organization.

The most prominent purveyor of this hatred is the president of the United States, who speaks about the alleged scourge of white supremacy in virtually every speech he gives pertaining to race.
To confirm how much lie-based hatred is directed at whites, ask any liberal or leftist in your life how many unarmed blacks are killed by police in an average year. You are likely to be told 1,000 or more, and at the least, many hundreds. The actual number is about 20 — and “unarmed” doesn’t mean they weren’t threatening and dangerous.
You might want to ask leftist friends and relatives another question: If America is systemically racist against blacks, if every white American is a racist, why have more than 4 million blacks immigrated to America from Africa and the Caribbean? Are they dumb? Is there any other example of a vast number of people immigrating to a country that hates them? Did any Jews immigrate to Germany after the Nazis came to power in 1933?
That all — or even most, or even a large number of — whites hate blacks is a lie. It is one of the greatest national lies in history — perhaps second only to the infamous Blood Libel spread among European Christians that Jews slaughtered Christian children to use their blood in baking the Passover matzoh.

This lie that whites bear animus toward blacks is destroying the American nation.
And it is doing irreparable harm to the many black Americans who believe it. Take young blacks, for example. Imagine the harm done to the many black children who are constantly told that the country they live in hates them, that all whites are racist, and that they are all victims of white racism. What kind of an individual do those messages produce? A happy person? A grateful person? Neither, obviously. That messaging produces an angry, unhappy and ungrateful person — the perfect recipe for a miserable life and, in some cases, a person who will act out on their misery and anger.
The biblical admonition to the Israelites not to hate the Egyptian was meant to benefit them — the former slaves — far more than it was meant to benefit the Egyptians.
The most obvious antidote to this white hatred is truth. One truth is that few whites are racist (other than progressives, the people who believe in all-black dorms, all-black graduation exercises, lowering standards for blacks, that being colorblind is racist, and other racist ideas). Another truth is that America — at least until this eruption of white hatred — has been the most successful multiracial experiment in history.

But there is another possible antidote: applying the biblical admonition to the Israelites not to hate the Egyptians to Americans, especially black Americans, not to hate whites. If every church — including, of course, black churches — preached, “Do not the hate the whites,” then at least those who claim to take the Bible seriously would feel religiously obligated not to hate white people.
That could change everything — almost overnight.

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Thoughts on the Death of My Dog

Last week, Otto, my beloved English bulldog, died. He died as he lived — peacefully. His presence in our home for 12 years was an unmitigated joy. He also, amazingly, became the best-known dog in America through sheer happenstance; he was on camera during almost all of my nearly 300 weekly Fireside Chats for PragerU and became the hero of a series of PragerU books for children. Moreover, as I have often noted, none of this fame went to his head.
The sadness I feel at Otto’s death and the outpouring of condolence messages to my wife and me have caused me to reflect on two long-held concerns about pets.
Concern No. 1: I have long feared that many people are replacing love of humans with love of animals. When I first started public speaking in my 20s, I would ask high school students, “If your dog and a stranger were both drowning, which one would you try to save first?”
From the first time I asked this question to the present day, in nearly every instance, one-third of the students voted to save the stranger, one-third voted for their dog, and one-third declined to vote. In other words, for more than 40 years, two-thirds of high school students have not voted to save a human being they didn’t know before their dog.
The primary reason they have always given is that they love their dog, not the stranger. I realized two things as a result of this answer. One was that we are living in what I long ago labelled The Age of Feelings. Feelings have replaced values as the guide to people’s behavior. The other realization was that, as a result of society increasingly abandoning Judeo-Christian — i.e., Bible-based — values, the premise that humans are special because only they are created “in the image of God” has diminished. Secular society has no basis on which to declare humans inherently more valuable than animals, especially an animal one loves.
In addition, I have been troubled by the many people who announce that they do not want children — and then refer to their dogs or cats as their “children.”
Concern No. 2: While it is well known that people who are cruel to animals are very likely to be cruel to human beings, the converse is not true: Kindness to animals does not necessarily lead to kindness to humans. The Nazis provided a horrible confirmation. No Western nation was as preoccupied with animal rights as was Nazi Germany. In fact, the Nazi regime banned medical experimentation on animals. Yet it performed hideous experiments — without anesthesia — on human beings.
And you don’t need the Nazi regime for proof. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is so preoccupied with animal rights that it opposes killing a pig even if its heart valve could save a human being. And it compares the barbecuing of chickens with the Nazis’ cremating of Jews.
I believe these concerns are still valid.
But so long as people do not deny the innately greater worth of the human being and do not equate animals with humans, I have come to regard the love of pets as something beautiful. Given the extraordinary bond between people and dogs (and often cats, but I will focus on dogs), I now entertain the belief that God created dogs for people.
My wife and I love our children with the love that all normal parents have — and nothing is like a parent’s love of a child. Even as we search for another English bulldog to help fill the vacuum left by Otto’s passing, we are well aware that no one searches for another child if one’s child dies. As much as we love our dogs — a love that is genuine and deep — we know we can get another dog, but we can never get another human being after the loss of a child or any other human being.
A dog provides genuine companionship. For that reason, every widow or widower who can take care of a dog — in fact, any person who lives alone — should consider adopting a dog. The many studies showing that people who have a dog live longer are undoubtedly correct.
My wife and I are not alone. We have each other — as well as children, grandchildren and precious friends. But only those who own a dog know how much a dog (or, ideally, two dogs, since every dog should have a companion for when no human is present) adds to a home. They are life-enhancers. And when they leave, some life gets sucked out of any home, even those filled with people.
The Hebrew word for “dog” is “kelev.” As Hebrew has no vowels, the word is actually spelled “klv.” Those three letters can also be seen as a contraction of “kol lev,” understood to mean “wholehearted.” It may be coincidental. But I no longer think so.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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Slavery, the Left, and Truth

A generation of Americans is being raised on half-truths and lies about the history of slavery in America. They are given the impression that America was uniquely bad and that American slavery was uniquely bad. They learn nothing about slavery elsewhere. Among the many lies they are told are that “black slaves built America” and that America is systemically racist.
Since the only mortal enemy of the Left is truth, here are some truths about slavery.
AMERICA’S SLAVERY COMPARED TO SLAVERY ELSEWHERE
If you are interested in morality and committed to truth, you do not ask, “Who had slaves?” You ask, “Who ended slavery?”
Who had slaves?
Every civilization throughout history had slaves: Asian societies, Africans, Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples around the world, and the Muslim/Arab world, which may have had the most slaves of all.
Who ended slavery?
There was only one thing unique about slavery in the West: It raised the issue of the morality of slavery, ferociously debated it and finally abolished it there, before it was abolished in any other civilization. If you care about moral truth rather than, for example, promoting America-hatred, you must recognize — and you must teach — that America was one of the first slave-holding societies to abolish slavery. This even includes Africa. Cornell professor Sandra Greene, a black scholar of African history, notes, “Slavery in the United States ended in 1865, but in West Africa it was not legally ended until 1875, and then it stretched on unofficially until almost World War I.”
The numbers of slaves
According to the authoritative SlaveVoyages.org, the total number of black slaves imported from Africa into America was 305,326. The number of black slaves other countries imported from Africa into the rest of the New World — i.e., into the Caribbean and South America — was 12,521,337. In other words, other countries imported 41 times the number of black slaves into the Western Hemisphere than the United States did (including the years before American independence). Yet, the American Left never mentions this important moral point — because the Left-controlled education system suppresses facts it finds inconvenient, and the Left is not interested in morality or truth, but in vilifying America.
And then there is Arab/Muslim enslavement of blacks. Professor Paul Lovejoy, in his “Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa” (Cambridge University Press, 2012), reveals that from the beginning of Islam in the 7th century through the year 1600, the estimated number of Africans enslaved by Muslims was about 7 million. After 1600, it was about a million per year. Do American students ever learn about the Arab/Muslim slave trade? How many know, for example, that a great percentage of the African male slaves were castrated so that they could not have families?
“BLACK SLAVES BUILT AMERICA.”
This is another lie of the Left.
Those who make this argument point to the lucrative cotton manufacturing and trade in the 19th-century — the industry in which black slaves were primarily used in the American South.
But University of Illinois professor of Economics, Deirdre McCloskey, answered this:
“Growing cotton, unlike sugar or rice, never required slavery. By 1870, freedmen and whites produced as much cotton as the South produced in the slave time of 1860. Cotton was not a slave crop in India or in southwest China, where it was grown in bulk… That slaves produced cotton does not imply that they were essential or causal in the production…
“The United States and the United Kingdom and the rest would have become just as rich without the 250 years of unrequited toil. They have remained rich, observe, even after the peculiar institution was abolished, because their riches did not depend on its sinfulness.”
But one need not know anything about cotton to understand how false “Black slaves built America” is. All you need is common sense.
First, even if slavery accounted for much of the wealth of the South, the Civil War that brought slavery to an end in the United States wiped out nearly all of that wealth and cost the Union billions (in today’s dollars).
Second, if slavery built the American economy, the most robust economy in world history, why didn’t Brazil become an economic superpower? Brazil imported four million black slaves, about 12 times as many as America. Why did the slave-owning American South lag so far behind the North economically? Why did England, which, though it played a major role in the transatlantic slave trade until the beginning of the 19th century, had almost no slaves, become the most advanced economy of the 19th century?
“Black slaves built America” is left-wing propaganda to vilify America and to discredit capitalism.
“America is systemically racist.”
This is the Great Left Lie.
Four million black people have emigrated to the United States since the 1960s — and tens of millions more would if they could. Are they all fools? Why would anyone move to a country that is systemically bigoted against them? Did any Jews emigrate to Germany in the 1930s?
Blacks have emigrated to the United States because they know what Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the black woman who fled her homeland of Somalia and who now writes and lectures in America, knows:
“What the media do not tell you is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you.”
Blacks emigrating to America know what Algerian writer Kamel Daoud, writing in Le Monde and Le Point, knows:
“It is forbidden to say that the West is also the place to which we flee when we want to escape the injustice of our country of origin, dictatorship, war, hunger, or simply boredom. It is fashionable to say that the West is guilty of everything.”
As regards American slavery and everything else, always remember this: Truth is a liberal value, and truth is a conservative value. It is not a left-wing value.

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Could It Happen Here? It Is Happening Here.

My field of study in graduate school was communism. As a fellow at the Russian Institute of Columbia’s School of International Affairs, I was, if I remember correctly, one of seven students in the entire university to major in what was known at the time as “Communist Affairs.”
I cite this in order to make this point: In my wildest dreams, I never imagined what I was studying would ever apply to the United States of America, the freest country in world history.
I assumed that communism was, for various reasons, something that happened elsewhere — most obviously, Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Cambodia and North Korea.
What were those various reasons? One was the absence of freedom in the history of those countries. Another was that all those countries were, with the exception of Cuba, outside of Western civilization.
All these years later, I see that I was wrong. 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.
Incredibly — or maybe not so incredibly — more than two hundred years of unprecedented and unrivaled liberty and commitment to Judeo-Christian values and reason, and all the unparalleled achievements of Western civilization, have come to mean nothing to about half of the American people and to virtually every one of its major institutions.
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. Since Lenin, no left-wing institution or country has ever allowed dissent, and the Left in America — which is elected and defended by liberals — is no exception. Already almost half of all college students say they do not believe in free speech for “hate speech,” which, of course, means they are for suppressing all speech with which the Left differs.
Perhaps even more than in the Soviet Union, lunacy has replaced reason. 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.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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Do Conservatives Oppose Change?

If you Google “what is conservatism?” this is the definition you will receive:
“Commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation.”
This is but one more illustration of the lack of objectivity wherever the Left is in control.
The idea that conservatism means, by definition, “opposition to change or innovation” is nothing more than how liberals and leftists see conservatism. Why? Because the farther left you go, the greater the commitment to change and innovation. “Change” and “Innovation” are left-wing gods. That is why, for example, the mantra of the Barack Obama campaign and presidency was “hope and change.”
Because the Left is so committed to change (for its own sake), people on the Left assume that anyone who opposes leftism opposes all “change and innovation.”
Unfortunately, the Left’s misapprehension of conservatism is almost equaled by conservatives’ inability to define the term. For that reason, just as I recently defined another widely used term — “Judeo-Christian values” — I think it important to do the same for conservatism.
Conservatives conserve.
If you want a good definition of conservatism, don’t Google “conservatism.” Google “conserve.” You will then find this definition: “To protect from loss or harm; preserve.”
The first and most important characteristic of conservatism is that it conserves what is best from the past.
Conservatives have no issue with change or innovation — when warranted or harmless. The American Revolution, which conservatives seek to preserve, ushered in a radically innovative blueprint for liberty and self-government. Our problem is with jettisoning past greatness and replacing it with mediocrity — which is precisely what has been done for at least a century.
What could be more noble, uplifting, beneficial or altruistic than giving every generation the best that humans have ever created? A generation that deprives the next generation of Beethoven, Shakespeare and Da Vinci is committing a combination of child neglect and civilizational suicide.
Why, then, isn’t everyone — at least as regards conserving the best of the past — a conservative?
Here is why:
Since so few people in any generation can equal, let alone excel, the greatest of the past, conserving the past does not allow almost anyone living at the present time to shine.
Therefore, if I can’t compose great tonal music, I won’t even bother trying. I might shine, however, if I write “atonal” music.
If I can’t paint like a great classical artist, I will jettison all rules of art. I’ll throw paint onto a canvas or place a crucifix in a jar of my urine and call such things “art” — and demand that you, too, jettison all standards.
If I can’t hope to match Shakespeare, I will dismiss Shakespeare as just another Dead White Male and replace him with living nonwhite females who possess exponentially less talent.
The same holds true for teachers. Many of them are bored at the thought of teaching Shakespeare every year. So, they, too, opt for “change” and “innovation” over excellence — but thereby deprive their students of the best.
Likewise in the moral sphere. Why would I teach the moral roots of our society — the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Aristotle, the American Constitution, the Founders? That would mean I have nothing particularly important to say regarding morality and society. Again, I won’t shine. So, I will ignore or even reject those moral codes and devise a new moral system.
That’s what Karl Marx did, quite consciously — which is why he hated Christianity and Judaism. Only if he could overthrow Bible- and God-based morality could his new morality be taken seriously. So, he replaced God with man, and he replaced good and evil with rich and poor, oppressor and oppressed. Today we are witnessing another rejection of God- and Bible-based morality, replacing the moral categories of good and evil with racial categories — white and black.
And talk about innovation. What could be more innovative than “men give birth”? While conservatives are boringly conserving the fact that men are men, women are women, and one cannot become the other, the believers in change and innovation insist that sex/gender is completely subjective.
A couple of weeks ago, Time Magazine inadvertently gave the game away.
In the introduction to its hundredth anniversary edition, the CEO and editor of Time described the purpose of the magazine.
You probably think they would write something like, “to report the news as truthfully as possible.” But you would be completely wrong.
Here is what the CEO and editor wrote: “As we begin our second century, that spirit of innovation and disruption inspires us every day.”
“Innovation and disruption.” There you have it.
Reporting news as truthfully as possible is not just boring. It is worse than that. It is conservative.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.

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Memo to Conservatives: You Don’t Have to Agree on Everything — Only on Fighting the Left

Given the damage the Left and the Left’s political party, the Democrats, are doing to America, you would think conservatives would understand that defeating the Left is by far their most important task.
The Left’s damage includes to name but a few examples, doing incalculable damage to America’s children by supporting and advocating mutilating surgeries, prescribing hormone blockers, promoting innocence-robbing “nonbinary” cross-dressing shows and discussions, and having ordered inexcusable school lockdowns; printing trillions of dollars, which in turn has led to devastating inflation, unprecedentedly high national debt, and a weakened dollar; and ruining every institution in the country including, but not limited to, the universities, the military, medicine, the arts, sports, journalism, religion, marriage, and free speech.
Yet, millions of conservatives, including some leading ones, do not understand that defeating the Left is their most important task. For many conservatives, it appears that whether to aid Ukraine or whether to support former President Donald Trump overshadows defeating the Left.
Let’s begin with Ukraine.
One of the most important voices in the conservative movement recently tweeted that every Republican who supports aiding Ukraine is a RINO (Republican In Name Only). That would mean that conservatives such as Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, and I, not to mention more than 40% of all Republicans, are RINOs.
The contempt, interestingly, seems to be primarily in one direction. Conservatives who support aiding Ukraine do not have contempt for conservatives who oppose such aid. But many conservative opponents of aid to Ukraine have expressed contempt for conservatives who support aid to Ukraine. For example, I continue to regard conservatives such as Tucker Carlson, perhaps the leading conservative critic of aid to Ukraine, as an invaluable asset to the conservative cause and its task of fighting the Left. Though we differ in Ukraine, I regard him as my respected ally.

People should adopt two rules with regard to political allies.
One is that you will have no allies if your only allies are individuals with whom you agree on every issue; it should suffice to agree on most issues. The other rule is that if we agree about who our chief enemy is, we can differ on many other issues. With few exceptions, if you understand the existential threat the Left poses to America and Western civilization, you are my ally.
Some conservative opponents of aiding Ukraine do not believe in these two rules. They are prepared to jettison erstwhile allies who support aiding Ukraine, and they do not regard fighting the American Left as important enough to ignore differences over Ukraine.
That is a recipe for a fatal fracture of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. If conservative opponents of aiding Ukraine make an agreement on Ukraine a make-or-break issue of whom to ally with and support politically, that means the end of the anti-Left coalition.
The other divisive issue that poses a fatal threat to conservatism and the Republican Party — and, therefore, to America — is whether to support any Republican other than Trump. I hope I am wrong, but it seems that millions of conservatives will not support any Republican presidential nominee other than Trump.
These people might be called “Only Trumpers.” And because of their numbers, they pose an even greater threat to a Republican victory than did the “Never Trumpers.” Yet, the two groups are quite united — in their conviction that Trump is more important than defeating the Left (and therefore saving America). For the Never Trumpers, defeating Trump was more important than defeating the Left; and for the Only Trumpers, nominating Trump is more important than defeating the Left.
Because of these two cracks in the conservative movement, we may be watching the chances of a conservative/Republican victory in 2024 receding by the day. And if that should happen — i.e., if the Left is allowed to win again — it is difficult to imagine America and its values surviving. All because of Ukraine and/or because of Donald Trump. Are either of these issues worth that price? Is any issue worth that price?

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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When Banks — And Other Institutions — Try to Change the World

The primary concern of the people who ran the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) — the bank that just went bust — was not banking. Nor was it making money for the bank’s shareholders or safeguarding the funds of its depositors.
Their primary concern was social activism — LGBTQIA+, DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and climate change.
In fact, for nine months — from April 2022 until only eight weeks ago — SVB in America didn’t even have a chief risk officer (CRO). It did have a CRO for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, but the woman entrusted with that role, Jay Ersapah, was apparently considerably more interested in left-wing activism than in risk assessment.
The Daily Mail reported that Ersapah — who identifies herself as a “queer person of color” — “organized a host of LGBTQ initiatives including a month-long Pride campaign and implemented ‘safe space’ catch-ups for staff. In a corporate video published just nine months ago, she said she ‘could not be prouder’ to work for SVB serving ‘underrepresented minorities.’”
“Professional network Outstanding listed Ersapah as a top 100 LGTBQ Future Leader.
“Jay is a leading figure for the bank’s awareness activities, including being a panelist at the SVB’s Global Pride townhall to share her experiences as a lesbian of color, moderating SVB’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Pride townhall and was instrumental in … supporting employees in sharing their experiences of coming out,” her bio on the Outstanding website states.
“It adds that she … had authored numerous articles to promote LGBTQ awareness. These included ‘Lesbian Visibility Day’ and ‘Trans Awareness Week.’”
How is one to explain SVB’s — and for that matter, virtually every major bank’s — woke activism?
There are a number of possible reasons, but here is one that explains the left-wing activism of almost every profession.
Beginning in the second half of the 20th century, people in nearly every white-collar profession ceased finding their work inherently meaningful. So, they sought to use their profession to change the world.
Take journalism. For most of American history, reporters understood that their primary job was to report news. And for the most part, reporters believed that was important work. In the second half of the 20th century, more and more of them found reporting the news unexciting and meaningless. So, they sought to use journalism to change the world.
Sports writers are one such example. There is no group more woke, or more sheeplike in its behavior than sports writers. They decided that merely writing about sports was not particularly significant work. So, they decided to use their profession to change the world. It was sports writers who led the idiotic campaign to drop the name “Redskins” from the Washington NFL team — even though the name was adopted as an honorific (no one names their team for an insult) and even though the vast majority of Native Americans, according to the Washington Post itself, could not care less about the issue.
But the hysteria they whipped up over the name “Redskins” gave the lives of these sports writers much more meaning than merely reporting on football games. They were now making the world a better place.
The same holds true for actors. Until about the mid-20th century, few actors spoke out on political issues, let alone devoted their off-screen lives to social activism. Most actors actually found meaning in their profession — as indeed they should. Bringing plays and films to life, making people laugh and cry, distracting people from their troubles for a couple of hours — these things render acting a very meaningful profession. But, again, beginning in the second half of the 20th century, Hollywood stars thought they had to “make a difference” by changing the world. One obvious result has been the decimation of the Academy Awards, which have morphed into joyless celebrations not of acting, but of left-wing anger.
The same holds true for academia. If you’re an English professor, why merely teach English literature when you can change the world? Doesn’t that make you feel much more important? And, if that’s true for a college professor, how much more so is it true for an elementary school teacher? What makes you feel more important — teaching third graders how to read and write or fighting racism?
There are two related reasons for these developments.
One is the ascent of leftism, an ideology that regards literally every aspect of life as political. For the left, there are no non-political spheres. Whether you are a kindergarten teacher, a sports writer or an oboist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, you are to bring political activism into your work.
The other reason is the loss of meaning in our secular society. Whereas in the past people derived meaning in life from their religion — their religious community, their house of worship, from Bible study — religious sources of meaning have begun to disappear from our secular society. And secularism is rapidly leading to the collapse of the other great source of meaning in people’s lives: marriage and family, as we witness the lowest number of marriages and children in American history.
Therefore, one has had to look elsewhere for meaning.
And where do people look? To career and political activism — and ideally, the merger of the two. Whereas in the past, one’s work was primarily regarded as a means to an end — namely, a way to provide for one’s family — today, work is an end in itself.
That’s why the people running the Silicon Valley Bank were more interested in LGBTQ activism than in making money for its investors and protecting the money of its depositors. The former is way more meaningful.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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Why the Left Is Pro-Mask

The world’s most trusted evaluator of medical studies, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, has just released as close to a conclusive report on the effectiveness of masks against respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 as we are likely to have for the foreseeable future. The report assessed data from 78 different studies, including 11 new randomized controlled trials involving 610,872 participants.
In the words of one of the authors, Dr. Tom Jefferson of Oxford University, Cochrane concluded, “There is just no evidence that they (masks) make any difference. Full stop.”
Among the reasons for that assessment was Cochrane’s conclusion that states and countries with mask mandates fared no better than states and countries without.
Moreover, Dr. Jefferson’s conclusions were not limited to cloth and surgical masks. Regarding N95 masks, Jefferson said, “Makes no difference — none of it.”
As for the early COVID-19 studies that policymakers cited to justify mandates for mask-wearing, Jefferson said: “They were convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies.”
For example, PolitiFact, one of the so-called “fact-checkers” whose primary function is to declare whatever differs from the Left as “false,” declared in 2021 that studies “have consistently found that mask mandates cause sharp declines in coronavirus case rates.”
Bret Stephens, one of the two or three non-Left columnists at the New York Times, wrote about the Cochrane study: “Mask mandates were a bust. Those skeptics who were furiously mocked as cranks and occasionally censored as ‘misinformers’ for opposing mandates were right. The mainstream experts and pundits who supported mandates were wrong. In a better world, it would behoove the latter group to acknowledge their error, along with its considerable physical, psychological, pedagogical and political costs.”
Stephens’ description of those who differed with the Left and the “experts” on universal mask-wearing as having been “furiously mocked as cranks and occasionally censored as ‘misinformers’” is, of course, entirely accurate.
We were right, but the Left controlled all the tech giants — and except for Twitter, they still do. They, not we, were the ones who spread misinformation about masks — and about lockdowns, the origins of COVID-19, the claim that there was no early treatment for COVID-19 (just wait for the vaccines and hope you don’t die in the meantime), Trump campaign collusion with Russia, the Hunter Biden laptop and every other issue that divides Left from Right.
Even now, after the Cochrane report, the Left continues to push for mask-wearing.
There were more than 3,000 comments on Bret Stephens’ column in the New York Times. Every single one of the most popular comments said the Cochrane report was flawed. I did not read all 3,000-plus comments, but I could not find one that agreed with Stephens or Cochrane. Note that in order to comment on a New York Times article, one must be a New York Times subscriber. These people are as representative of the American Left as any group could be.
And the Washington Post Editorial Board just published a lead editorial, “In a crowded place, a face mask or respirator keeps the virus away,” taking issue with the Cochrane review.
The people who boast that they — unlike the Right — only “follow the science” are lying to themselves, to us, or to both. Leftists have no interest in “the science” when it conflicts with any position they hold. Science said schools should be kept open, that closing them would do great damage to many young people. Yet, with a few exceptions such as Sweden, the Left clamored for, and where in power, closed schools. Science tells us that COVID-19 vaccines are not helpful — and even potentially injurious — to young people (Denmark strongly discourages any healthy person under 50 from getting a COVID-19 vaccine). Yet until this year, nearly every American university forced students to get vaccinated, and many still do.

So why, even despite the science, does the Left insist on wearing — and forcing others to wear — masks?
I will offer four reasons.
One reason is that the further Left one goes, the more fear governs an individual’s life.
This is true because the more one is governed by fear, the more one is likely to take left-wing positions. And it is true because left-wing positions inculcate fear. In other words, the frightened gravitate to the Left, and the Left makes people frightened.
The second reason the Left still insists on mask wearing is that leftists don’t ask the question, “At what price?” In fact, the moment one asks that question, one becomes a conservative.
The price paid for mask wearing is huge. Not seeing people’s faces has a negative impact on human relations. People whose face cannot be seen are less human — isn’t that why people who oppose the Muslim veil oppose it? Doesn’t the veil dehumanize the woman whose face disappears behind it? What is the effective difference between the veil and the mask? There is none. And what about children who don’t see faces outside of their house? What about patients who don’t see the faces of nurses and doctors? The nursing home residents who can’t see the smiles and hear the unmuffled speech of their caregivers? The harm done is huge.
A third reason for left-wing support for masks is that leftists read, listen to, and watch left-wing media only. Thus, they were completely ignorant of all that we who opposed masks knew thanks to the fact that we also consume non-Left media.
A fourth reason the Left insists on forcing others to wear masks is that controlling others’ lives is in the Left’s raison d’etre. Controlling others is what leftism is all about. That is why the Left seeks ever-expanding government. There is no such thing as increasing the size of government but not increasing the amount of government control over people’s lives. By definition, more government means more control over people’s lives. There is no example of the Left gaining power anywhere in the world and at any time since the Left took over Russia in 1917 and not restricting the freedom of its citizens.
Understand the Left’s support for mask-wearing and you will understand the Left.
This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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Twelve Hundred Synagogues Desecrated Judaism This Past Shabbat

This past Shabbat (Sabbath) was a dark day in American Jewish history. Once again — this time within Judaism — the rule that the Left destroys everything it touches was exemplified.
Twelve hundred American synagogues participated in “Repro-Shabbat.” “Repro” is short for “reproductive rights.” The idea, which originated with a left-wing organization called the National Conference of Jewish Women (NCJW), was to have as many synagogues as possible promote the idea that Judaism supports a woman’s right to abort the child she is carrying at any time in her pregnancy and for any reason, that the human fetus is never a human being — even five minutes before it is born — and that it has no innate right to live.
That this is the position of the American Left is a given. That it is counter to science and to common decency is also a given — as is most of what the Left stands for: “Men give birth”; sexual identity is “nonbinary”; young children should attend drag queen events; a person’s sex or “gender” is not a biological fact, but a subjective feeling; men who say they are women must be allowed to compete against women in sports and be placed with women in women’s prisons; young girls who say they are boys and want their breasts surgically removed should have their breasts removed; boys and girls as young as elementary-school age who say they are not a boy or a girl must have this belief “affirmed” by schools, psychotherapists, physicians and society; and schools are duty bound not to inform these children’s parents if their child identifies as the opposite sex at school and is treated as such there. These are among the many examples of left-wing nihilism.
And these are the positions of the NCJW. What is more disturbing, however, is that the NCJW and 1,200 synagogues regard the left-wing view of abortion — that it is never immoral — as the position of Judaism.
Unlike Christianity and Islam, which are religions only, Judaism is both a religion and a nation (or “people”). Therefore, to be considered a Christian one must affirm core Christian beliefs; and to be considered a Muslim one must affirm core Muslim beliefs. But Jewish beliefs do not determine who is a Jew. A person who is born to a Jewish mother (or in Reform Judaism, a Jewish father or mother) is a Jew no matter what he or she believes. One who is born a Jew can be an atheist or even a fascist or communist or work for Israel’s destruction — and remain as much a Jew as the chief rabbi of Israel.
That explains Jewish groups like the NCJW. The only thing Jewish about the National Conference of Jewish Women is that it is composed of Jews. Sadly, this is increasingly the case with regard to most rabbis and synagogues within Reform and Conservative Judaism, the two major non-Orthodox Jewish denominations. They are Jews who hold left-wing values. Left-wing values — unlike liberal and conservative values — are antithetical to normative Jewish values (just as they are to normative Christian and normative Western values). The founders of Reform and Conservative Judaism would turn in their graves if they were to see what has happened to the movements they founded.
The NCJW is so far left that its website promoting “Repro-Shabbat” urges people “to use gender-neutral language (such as) ‘people,’ ‘pregnant individuals,’ or ‘patients’ rather than ‘women,’” and “to say ‘women and all people who can get pregnant.’”
And how’s this for representing Judaism? The NCJW prepared a “Repro-Shabbat Playlist” on Spotify featuring such Jewish and holy songs as:
“Bitch” (Meredith Brooks).
“I Spent My Last $10 (On Birth Control & Beer)” (Two Nice Girls).
“Bodies” (Sex Pistols), whose lyrics deemed appropriate for Repro-Shabbat include “Ah! F— this and f— that. F— it all, and f**k the f**king brat.”
“I Luv Abortion” (Xiu Xiu): “When I look at my thighs, I see death / It is great, I love abortion!”
Wash It All Off (Foetus): “You’ve got Foetus on your breath / You’ve got Foetus on your breath / You’ve got Foetus on your breath / You’ve got Foetus on your breath.”
And the NCJW advises the song, “F— Men” (Ms. White) — perhaps to be sung while the Torah is being taken from the ark. Its refrain goes like this: “F— men / You don’t need those tears in your eyes / F— men. You can tell him that it’s too hard / And just leave him with a broken heart / And baby f— men, f— men, f— men.”
Non-Jews get a thoroughly perverted picture of Judaism as a result of the NCJW, the 1,200 synagogues and all the rabbis who went along with “Repro-Shabbat.” Of course, Judaism, like every legal system, allows abortion to save the life of the mother, and various religious authorities have allowed it in cases of rape or incest. But Judaism has never held that all abortions at any stage of pregnancy are morally acceptable. In fact, Maimonides, the great philosopher and codifier of Jewish law, a man almost universally regarded as the greatest Jewish thinker since Moses, declared abortion “akin to murder.”
Even an article on abortion in the largest left-wing Jewish periodical, The Forward (Aug. 1, 2018), acknowledged: “There are (no) halakhists (Jewish legal authorities) who permit abortion in all cases, i.e., that halakhah (Jewish law) is ‘pro-choice’; a cursory look at any of the sources cited would show clearly that such a position is unsustainable.”
If you ask any religious Jew, “What is the greatest Jewish sin?” he or she would almost definitely respond, “chillul HaShem” — the public desecration of God’s name.
That is what the 1,200 synagogues who celebrated “Repro-Shabbat” engaged in. Non-Orthodox Judaism, like mainstream Protestantism and much of contemporary Catholicism, is dying. Killed by the destroyer of all good things: the Left.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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What Are Judeo-Christian Values?

The term “Judeo-Christian values” is frequently used.
I am one who uses it.
I do so for the same reason the late great British prime minister Margaret Thatcher did:
“The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition,” she said, “are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe, because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long… There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves.”
Mrs. Thatcher was a believing Christian. I am a believing Jew. While we have some religious beliefs in common, we have different theologies. But we have the same core values. And in societal terms, moral values are far more important than theologies.
That is why traditionally religious Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Jews are aligned on almost every important social issue.
Here are 10 of those values.
No. 1: There is one God. That God is the God introduced to the world by the Hebrew Bible — the source of one universal morality.
No. 2: The Hebrew Bible (the only Bible Jesus knew and which he frequently cited) introduced the most revolutionary moral idea in history: that there are objective moral truths just as there are mathematical and scientific truths. Without God as the source of moral standards, there is no moral truth; there are only moral opinions.
No. 3: Because there are moral truths, good and evil are the same for all people.
No. 4: God — not man, not government, not popular opinion, not a democratic vote — is the source of our rights. All men “are endowed (SET ITAL) by their Creator (END ITAL) with certain unalienable Rights,” declares the American Declaration of Independence.
No. 5: The human being is “created in the image of God.” Therefore, each human life is precious. Therefore, race is of no significance since we are all created in God’s image, and God has no race.
No. 6: The world is based on a divine order, meaning divinely ordained distinctions. Among these divine distinctions are God and man, man and woman, human and animal, good and evil, nature and God, and the holy and the profane.
No. 7: Man is not basically good. Christians speak of “original sin” in referring to man’s sinful nature; Jews cite God Himself in Genesis: “The will of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). They are not identical beliefs, but they are both worlds apart from the naive Enlightenment belief that man is basically good. And they come to the same conclusion: we need God-based rules to keep us from our natural inclination to do evil.
No. 8: Therefore, we must not follow our hearts. Both religious Jews and Christians are keenly aware of how morally dangerous it is to be led by our emotions. Those who reject Judeo-Christian values are far more likely to follow and promote the advice, “Follow your heart.”
No. 9: God gave us the Ten Commandments — the core of Judeo-Christian values. Therefore, to apply but one of the Ten Commandments to our morally confused secular age, you must “Honor your father and mother” even if they voted for someone you loathe — meaning, at the least, remain in contact with them and do not dare deprive them of the right to be in contact with their grandchildren.
No. 10: Human beings have free will. In the secular world, there is no free will because all human behavior is attributed to biology and environment. Only a religious worldview, because it posits the existence of a divine soul — something independent of biology and environment — allows for free will.
There is another important aspect to the term “Judeo-Christian.” The two religions need each other. Without the Old Testament, there is no New Testament. Virtually every Christian moral principle derives from the Hebrew Bible — not only the 10 Judeo-Christian values enumerated here, but such basic moral principles as “Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart …” (Deuteronomy 6:5), and “Love the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
At the same time, Judaism needs Christians. It was Christianity that carried the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible to the world. This was acknowledged by the greatest Jewish thinker after Moses, Maimonides.
Thus, while people speak of “Judeo-Christian” values, people do not speak of “Judeo-Muslim” values. As the noted Jewish scholar David Novak writes, “Maimonides rules that Jews may teach the Torah to Christians but not to Muslims because Christians believe Hebrew Scripture in toto to be the revealed word of God, whereas Muslims believe that primary text to be the Quran; for them, Hebrew Scripture is a flawed revelation. Thus, Jews and Christians share a common revelation in a way that Jews share with no other religious community.”
The ultimate embodiment of Judeo-Christian values has been the United States of America. America’s Founders were Christians (some culturally, some doctrinally) who were rooted in the Hebrew Bible. America was founded not to be a replacement of Israel, but a “Second Israel.” Until recently, it was.

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

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