Prager University produces short videos arguing for conservative political positions.
Before I begin this article, let me quickly say that Prager University has put out some very good videos in the past, particularly regarding basic economics. That being said, on many occasions I’ve been downright disgusted with material that the platform has put out. Besides endorsing opportunist frauds like Candace Owens, Prager University routinely endorses using government force to achieve ends it sees as in the common interest of Americans (i.e. collectivism). However, like most statists, they never really explain why the government is justified in using force to achieve their desired ends but not the ends of their leftist opponents.
Earlier today, Prager University released a video that was hosted by General Chuck Wald. The video sought to explain why America spends so many tax dollars on the state of Israel and why it ought to spend more. The video is below for those interested, but to sum it up, Wald argues that America ought to provide funding to Israel because it is a peaceful, democratic ally in the Middle East. Funding Israel serves both Israeli and American national security interests.
I will not be arguing whether or not General Wald’s assertions in this video are true or false. Wald could very well be correct in his assertion that money given to Israel will help achieve ends that are beneficial to both Israel and the United States. However, even if his assertions are true, the pertinent question is, should Americans be required to give their hard-earned money to the government of Israel whether they like it or not?
If we were having a discussion about abortion, I have no doubt that Dennis Prager and his team would speak out aggressively against it. In fact, you don’t have to imagine. Lila Rose of Live Action has previously done a video for Prager University about Planned Parenthood, and in the course of her video, she emphasized the injustice of the fact that Americans are forced to fund Planned Parenthood whether they want to or not.
However, comparing Rose’s video to Wald’s puts Prager University in an interesting position. On one hand, they argue that American citizens should not be forced to give money to an organization like Planned Parenthood against their will. However, they turn around and argue that Americans should be forced to fund the military activities of Israel whether they want to or not.
Tell me Prager University. Why is the government justified in using force to make American citizens fund the state of Israel, but not the activities of Planned Parenthood?
My guess is that their answer would be that Planned Parenthood is a deceptive and immoral organization, responsible for the murder of millions of unborn children, while Israel is a free democracy whose furthered existence benefits all Americans. However, if we were having a discussion with a liberal, they would undoubtedly tell you just the opposite. The liberal would say that Israel is an oppressive, apartheid regime that cruelly abuses the Palestinian people, while Planned Parenthood is a just organization that provides healthcare to women and leads to lower crime rates in America.
There is no doubt that there are many people who agree very strongly with Prager University or with the liberal in my example above, but that’s the point. While many people disagree about what the government should do with its power, they all agree that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund things against their will. This is why I have over and over reminded people that the same government that has the power to give you everything you want is a government that has the power to take everything that you have.
I’ll say again that my purpose in writing this article is not to argue against the state of Israel or to argue for Planned Parenthood. I’ve made my stance on abortion very clear in this video series, and I’ve on occasion touched on the Israel/Jewish Question. However, the problem that Prager University does not seem to realize is that when you argue that the government should have the power to force its citizens to fund endeavors they disagree with, what consistent argument are you going to give as to why it is unjustified in pointing a gun at you and forcing you to fund something you disagree with?
As much as I deplore anti-Semitism, I do not think anti-Semites should be forced to give their money to fund the activities of Israel. As much as I deplore many forms of Zionism, I do not think Zionists should be prevented from donating their own money to Jewish causes. Regardless of how strongly you may believe you are right in your assertions, whatever position you take, you must first justify why it is that you and people who agree with you are justified in using force against others, but those who disagree with you are not.
While I share the same values as many of my conservative friends, this is a question I believe all conservatives seriously need to consider. I believe once they do, they will see that Libertarianism is the only position that can be consistently lived out in society. All statists want to use force against others. They just don’t want others to use force against them.
I hope you can see the problem.
And that is my 2 cents. Take it for what it’s worth.
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