Written By: Reverend Anton Sawyer
Though I’m an ordained minister, even I know that the concepts of “good” and “evil” are highly subjective at best. It’s important to keep the thoroughly personalized nature of these concepts in mind when reading my responses to all of the examples PragerU provides in this article.
Though I will try to bring attention to the lack of nuance when it comes to any subject in this piece (something that PragerU has come to be known for), a lot of the responses will be predicated on your personal interpretations of the above-mentioned moral concepts.
However, it’s when Prager begins to ignore the basis of their argument—examining the differences between the extreme far-left and far-right ideals—that the problems begin. Ever so easily they intertwine the ideals that are the basis of both the RNC and DNC platforms with those of the extremist nature of the far end of their respective political spectrum; all with a straight face and very serious tone.
Picking and choosing have never been more exciting.
So, hold on to your knickers as I present to you my assessment of the PragerU video.
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.
If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!
To keep things clear, all the statements made in the video will be in bold. While all my responses will be in italics.
Today’s video is presented by Will Witt for Prager University.
“Who’s More Radical: The Left Or The Right”
There are crazy positions on the far left and crazy positions on the far right. On the left, there are people who believe a man can get pregnant; that the world is going to end in a decade if we don’t cap carbon emissions; that the real purpose of the American Revolution was to preserve slavery.
So far, he isn’t wrong. There are definitely those who reside on the far left of the political spectrum who have completely enforced the idea that gender is a construct. He isn’t wrong about the idea that the world will end if we don’t cap carbon emissions; though my numbers show that won’t happen until the mid-2050s. And he is correct about those who see the American Revolution in the way he describes it. However, depending on your concept of good and evil, there are at least two ideals found in this section as being justifiably good.
On the right, there are people who deny the Holocaust happened; who believe that whites are inherently superior to other races; that no one should pay taxes. But there’s an important difference between these two extremes: the crazies on the right have no voice—they are shunned. They live mostly on the far fringes of the internet. The crazies on the left have a loud voice—they are celebrated. They live in the halls of Congress, in state legislatures, and in governors’ mansions. In light of this distinction, it might be interesting to ask ourselves this question: Which group, the left or the right, is more radical?
This is shading at its grossest. Well, that mixed with outright lies. First off, Prager decided to pick some of the tamest examples of those who are on the fringes of their party. Yes, while those are all deplorable ways to view the world, Witt completely ignored the Qanon section of the conservative faction. These are the ones whose conspiracies run the gamut from believing that a Satanic cabal of Democrats and societal elites work to control the world through sexually abusing and sacrificing children, to the lie of there being election fraud in 2020—and I say lie due to there being over 60 lawsuits lost on the matter. This leads to the video’s assertion that the right-wing crazies have no voice. In 2022 alone there were 36 Qanon supporters running for Congress. Some of them are GOP darlings that capture the news headlines like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado. These are congressional members with influence over the lives of everyone … yes, they have a pretty big voice.
Though I have to admit Witt isn’t wrong when it comes to those elected Democrat officials who have openly embraced battling climate change and fighting for transgender rights during their tenures. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Talib of Michigan come to mind.
We can arrive at a commonsense answer by posting this thought experiment: what would America look like if the left got everything it wanted and what would America look like if the right got everything it wanted?
Let’s start with the left.
Taxes would go up on individuals and corporations to pay for more social programs—everything from universal childcare to free college tuition. Many of the left would call for income taxes as high as 70% Private health insurance would be abolished; the government would provide all health care services. Everyone in the medical field—doctors, nurses, and administrators—would be government employees. Americans would pay for this government health care through much higher taxes. Illegal immigration would be decriminalized. It would still be illegal to enter the country without proper documentation, but no one who made it to the US would be prosecuted for doing so. Illegal immigrants would also receive free health care, free education, and free housing. The Green New Deal would be adopted. Hundreds of billions of dollars and subsidies for wind and solar power would be adopted to the federal budget. Drilling for fossil fuels, the current source of 80% of our energy, would be sharply curtailed or eliminated altogether. So would nuclear power. As a result, consumers’ electric bills would be much higher. Reparations would be paid for the past injustice of slavery. How it would be paid, and exactly to whom, is not clear. Legally acquiring a gun would become much more difficult. College debt would be canceled. Those who had already paid for college would get nothing. Transgender women—biological men who identify as women—would be allowed to compete against women in sports. America’s military budget would be slashed by 25 to 50%. Speech codes would be enforced throughout American life. And that’s just a partial list.
He just named off 80% of the core tenets of the Democratic platform and labeled them as extreme while sprinkling in some of the more controversial and politically divisive items that are sure to garner a reaction for good measure—though in those core tenets he isn’t incorrect. In fact, one of the things Biden did early on in his presidency (and he did admit to this) was to pay out reparations as a part of his stimulus bill. Reparations that allotted $5 billion to farmers of colors. So again, Witt’s assertions aren’t completely inaccurate.
However, as I said in the opening paragraph, the more controversial topics are based on how someone perceives good and evil stirred in with some old-fashioned shading to make for a good attempt at lying. For a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the thought of having equal representation in all sports is nothing short of a dream come true. And my favorite part birthed from shading is when they talk about illegal immigrants getting all those freebies when coming to America. Prager forgets that since the Dems are in complete control, all those things are already going to be free—no matter your skin color.
And though there is far too much to parse when it comes to the rest of this litany by throwing out all the statistics, most of the rationale the liberals have behind wanting to see an America that looks the way described in this video is based on the numbers and the realities that reform is desperately needed.
The best example comes from cutting the military budget. A 2020 report from Scientific America put the facts out pretty succinctly. They noted that if the Pentagon were a private corporation, gross mismanagement would have forced it into bankruptcy years ago. Dysfunctional internal controls, aided and abetted by years of lax congressional and administration oversight, have enabled it to waste tens of billions of dollars annually, and the last 20 years are littered with a parade of overpriced, botched, and bungled projects. In just the first decade of this century, the Pentagon was forced to cancel a dozen ill-conceived, ineffective weapons programs that cost taxpayers $46 billion—this is just one example of many. So yeah, maybe there is some cutting/re-organizing that needs done in the military sector. The other set of numbers I’m going to throw out pertains to Witt’s comment about some wanting a 70% tax on the top earners in America; it will come after the next section. Spoiler alert: the rate should be 90%.
Now let’s ask what would happen if the right got what it wanted.
Income taxes would be cut. Capital gains taxes would be cut. Corporate taxes would be cut. And those cuts would be made permanent. All regulations that make doing business unnecessarily difficult and don’t protect public health would be repealed. The issue of abortion would be sent back to the states for each state to decide its own abortion rules itself. Many more charter schools would be opened, and it would become easier to fire bad teachers. In order to vote, citizens would need to present a valid ID. The border with Mexico would be secured. The only way to enter the United States would be through designated border crossings. In order to qualify for welfare assistance, you would have to prove you could not work. The health care system would be open to free market reforms. For example, insurance could sell policies across state lines. Students in elementary schools would recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day.
(editors note: the overturning of Roe V Wade had not occurred at the time of this video's publication)
Again, Prager decided to completely forego any of the examples of the real crazies of the Republican party. Those who believe that overrunning the nation’s capital with force because in their minds their viewpoint is right aren’t mentioned at all. Again, given that we have multiple elected officials who are beholden to these Qanon delusions (all while having the ability to pass laws), it seems Prager has decided just to run down the party’s line.
But that’s not bad enough.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that taxes on top earners should be 90%? That comes from a 100-year lie that has been perpetrated by the conservatives of America. EVERY TIME we’ve cut taxes on top earners and de-regulated businesses, we’ve been met with economic catastrophe. In 1921 President Coolidge did those exact things and by 1929 we had the greatest stock market crash of all time, which led to the Great Depression. In 1981 Reagan did the same thing and in 1987 we got “Black Monday,” the greatest stock market crash right behind the one in 1929, and a crash that sent us into a recession. In 2001 George W. Bush cut taxes on top earners and de-regulated banks/businesses and we got the 2008 stock market crash which set off the Great Recession. The thing that dug us out of the Depression was President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Some of the key components included adding in business regulations, raising taxes on top earners to 90%, and having a minimum wage that kept up with inflation. Per the Department of Labor, during America’s “golden age” for the middle class (1945-1967), the minimum wage was raised seven times for a 300% increase. Even in modern times, we’re nowhere near where we need to be. From 1999-2021 it has been raised three times for a 24% increase with top earners in 2022 at a 37% tax rate. This Republican model would only make it worse.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
So what can we conclude from our experiment? It’s not hard to figure out. If the right got everything it wanted, the government would get much smaller. The citizen would have more freedom. If the left got everything it wanted, the government would get much bigger. The citizen would have less freedom. You’re not radical if you want America to be what it’s always been: committed to individual liberty. You’re only radical if you want to fundamentally transform America into something it’s never been. Which country do you want to live in? I’m Will Witt for Prager University.
This entire PragerU video does nothing but rely on the viewer already having a stringently pre-determined set of ideologies. That they are the kind of person who enjoys listening to these videos because of the acoustics found in their echo chambers. And most importantly, the prescribed ideas of good and evil have been baked into the pie. If you are someone who doesn’t share these morals, then their assertions are nothing more than a paper tiger. Not only did PragerU completely veer off-course when it came to their topic of examining the real crazies of each party, but even when Witt was spewing the Republican party line, his examples are incredibly easy to decimate with fact-checking.
You know this is the 17th lesson I’ve debunked by PragerU and to be honest, I expected more.
If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!