Examining Courses Offered At Prager University—Lesson 1: “What Unites Americans?”
Disclaimer: The article which you are about to read is the first of what you will hopefully enjoy enough to warrant an ongoing series. In an attempt to be thorough, each video and/or course I research will be readily available to all (the free stuff). I would love to sign up for their complete online courses, so if you would like to see me go in-depth to one of their official courses, then please "buy a coffee" (or any other donation), I will use those funds to “advance my education” through the “prestigious” University that is Prager—please head over here.
Written By: Anton Sawyer
Debunking Courses Offered At Prager University—Lesson 1: “What Unites Americans?”
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for this article, and all articles, can be found at our site's bibliography linked here.
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For every article I write, I make a detailed attempt in all of my research from, beginning to end. Fact-checking, and then double-checking that information before I present it. If I reference a specific governmental report, I make sure to include the link to the entire report itself so all needed contexts can be found. The same applies to laws and legislation. If I reference a specific law and its impact somewhere, then I’ll include the entire legislation so all needed contexts can be found. Yet, from reading many of the comments left on different social media platforms, I clearly do not know what I am talking about … at all. Often, it’s mentioned that with only my high school diploma, I don’t have enough of a post-schooling education to be taken seriously. This is where we are at today and is the motivating factor for me to start taking courses at Prager University.
If you are unfamiliar with this school of higher education, allow me a quick overview. Founded in 2009 by Dennis Prager and Allan Estrin, PragerU is a non-profit media company that creates videos/courses on economic, sociological, and American conservative talking points. Though it is not an academic institution specifically, that doesn’t really matter much in this case. As we have seen in America over the last decade, feelings for at least half the nation have become just as essential to scientific understanding as irrefutable data and numbers. Plus, if you listen to the likes of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or any other conservative news pundit, PragerU is given the same reverence as a real academic institution would be and is also treated as a legitimate post-school equivalent.
Considering this, while combining the fact that often these negative comments about my level of education come from those as self-professed conservatives, I felt that PragerU would kill two birds with one stone.
I am going to put the information from the PragerU course in bold while my responses will all be in italics.
I’ve tried to break up each section of the video as concisely as possible to allow for easily understood responses; I don’t want to pile too much too soon on anyone. If you want to watch this video and follow along, the link for this course (along with all fact-checked statistics) is available in the bibliography.
These educators should know more than I do given the advanced education they’ve received. This means they should know just as much as I do, and much more.
Let’s get the show on the road and start with a “beginner” course video called “What Unites Americans?”
Immediately we are greeted by the warm smile and friendly tone of former Mississippi Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. He greets us and begins the lesson by shining a light on answering the questions of what exactly unites us as American citizens? Simple, its “Values and History.” In his example of shared history, Jindal speaks of how when his parents immigrated to America, they completely adopted the American culture as their own. He then segues into Dennis Prager and the thought of having a historical father. In fact, Prager has two historical fathers. The Bible's Abraham and George Washington. The thought is "Once you're an American, you're always an American." Jindal continues by making the point "the new citizens from Armenia, Cambodia, Bolivia, and Nigeria is considered every bit as American as a great-great-granddaughter of a Civil War veteran."
The first point that is trying to be made in the video is assimilation. Jindal’s family came to America and shed most of their former cultural identity to assimilate more effectively. Some immigrants choose to do this while others do not. In psychological terms, it's allowing for a very hardliner’s mental perspective from the GOP. It's subtle, but it's setting the groundwork for the importance of assimilating instead of upholding the individual. Of course, this concept of ALWAYS being a true American has a caveat; you can only be a true American so long as you are not a liberal. When GOP leadership catches wind of a liberal calling them on this statement, oftentimes they will come out and say that this is a lie and a liberal talking point to sow division amongst the parties—all while forgetting that evidence to the contrary is everywhere.
My favorite example comes from former Republican Representative from North Carolina Robin Hayes when he had to concede that he did tell a North Carolina crowd that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God," even though he initially denied making such a statement.
Another subtle pickup from this first part of the video is in the phrase “the new citizens.” This phrase indicates that these immigrants have gone through the citizenship process and are legally American. While this line of thinking extolls the need for proper citizenship steps, it paints a picture that those who forego the laborious pathway to citizenship are not American. It's another subtle, but effective, tool in setting up a clear line for what constitutes someone being American.
Jindal then delves into the teachings of abolitionist preacher Theodore Parker and "The American Idea." Parker’s teachings held the value that there is "one set of American values, supported by all Americans, and is open to all Americans." These statements get interpreted as meaning the value of all men being created equal due to Parker’s affiliation with abolitionism. Jindal then begins using examples from modern times to show how the concept of all men being created equal is one and the same as the values which have been already mentioned. These ideologies also happen to fall in line with republican values. One of the statements Jindal uses to fortify this notion of how the republican party is the party of equality came with, "No country has welcomed more people with different races, backgrounds, and ethnicities."
This is a half-truth at best.
Given the fact that technology has thrust us into a world economy, it was only a matter of time before every advanced nation would see a large influx of immigrants dotting the landscape. This has nothing to do with the republican party, but rather with the advancements of time and technology. At this point in the video I was waiting for the other shoe to drop … drop it did.
Jindal then explains that in modern times, the American "tapestry is now being ripped apart at the seams. America's founding ideals, once a source of shared pride, are increasingly depicted as a source of shared shame. These [American] ideals, it turns out, were just a cover for systemic racism and exploitation. That is the new narrative from the progressive left." He then begins to give examples of how the youth are being indoctrinated into thinking America is a ruthless leader that is deserving of contempt. Shortly after, Jindal then shifted topics to economic values with a semi-segue somehow marrying unaffiliated concepts. "[Imagine] our new immigrant being taught in an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion seminar that his fellow white employees secretly despise him, even though they seem to treat him well.
By switching topics so quickly and having the only tie between them being some idea of what liberalism is potentially capable of is perfection (in psychologically manipulative terms). By keeping the audience on their back-foot, it prevents the ability for any rational thoughts to leak in and obfuscate the message. His ability to conflate historical events with that of anti-Americanism is effective to some, but in reality, it’s as vaporous as a ghost fart. The PragerU lesson is presented in such a way as to create this weird narrative that teaching historically accurate lessons is leading to the annihilation of our values. That by somehow reviewing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in a history class is indoctrinating our children into thinking we stole California, Arizona, and Texas from Mexico.
The course is concluded by spending the last two minutes becoming a stump speech for any conservative-minded political leader. If you are a liberal, then you see the world as pre-defined based on your color and economic beginnings. That to the liberal, the capitalist system punishes those who are disadvantaged, whereas the conservative knows the truth. That the American Dream is attainable if you are willing to work hard, save your money, and with a little luck, you can see the MIRACLE of the American Dream.
I’m just going to put the statistical realities here as a response to the ending of this educational seminar. As of 2020, America is ranked 27th in the world for upward mobility (the literal American Dream).
To give you an idea of how bad our level of opportunity is in America during the 21st century, the country of Malta ranks higher than the US in this mobility. This means there is more opportunity for you to have future success if you cash out, move to Malta, and then start a life there.
Also, a 2020 report from the Government Accountability Office found that 70% of adult workers participating in Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income Americans, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, are working full time. This little nugget of information kind of destroys the whole notion of saving up for your future, doesn’t it?
The last-minute of the video is a rapid-fire barrage against gender identity, environmentalism, and voter ID laws. It's an emotional cacophony to work up their viewers in the last minute to such an emotional place that they HAVE to watch another video.
Coincidentally, this was also the technique used when I was an RNC fundraiser for Reince Preibus during the 2010s in trying to fleece as much money out of our donor pool that we could. Glad to see things haven’t changed.
Well, that’s it. I’ve completed my first course at Prager University, and I have to say, I’m kind of disappointed. There were only a couple of things that I “learned”:
American values are entirely inflexible and can only flourish when we completely surrender to the concepts of Constitutional interpretation by a 19th-century pastor.
The teaching of history that has not been written by the victors is antithetical to the American way of life.
We must stop teaching children basic facts like the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, because this translates as "California, Texas, and Arizona were stolen from Mexico."
Maybe it’s the course; it’s too advanced for someone new like me?
Maybe I haven’t learned how to see the real facts yet?
I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s something much deeper being taught at PragerU, and it’s going to be my mission to become a well-educated member of the political world. Thankfully I will be taking more courses in the future, and perhaps, just PERHAPS, I can fully form my brain into something resembling that of being educated. Or at least “educated enough” to where I can hang with the intellectual elite of PragerU.
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