Some­times The Good Guys Win Big

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Den­nis Prager

Iam writ­ing this col­umn to in­form read­ers of some good news. The sus­tained ef­forts of in­di­vid­u­als, or­ga­ni­za­tions and the me­dia who op­pose ev­ery­thing peo­ple like me stand for — Amer­ica as an ex­cep­tional na­tion among the na­tions of the world; the unique con­tri­bu­tion of the Judeo-Chris­tian value sys­tem in shap­ing Amer­ica and the best of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion; sus­tain­ing West­ern civ­i­liza­tion as a moral im­per­a­tive; pre­serv­ing the Amer­i­can Trin­ity of lib­erty, In God We Trust and e pluribus unum — to shut down my con­duct­ing ap­pear­ance with the Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony Or­ches­tra at the Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall have failed.

As of this writ­ing, be­sides two rows, the 2,265-seat hall is sold out.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a col­umn ti­tled “Can A Conser- va­tive Con­duct An Or­ches­tra?” In it, I de­scribed the ef­forts of some mem­bers of the or­ches­tra and some of Santa Mon­ica’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, in­clud­ing an ex-mayor, to per­suade or­ches­tra mem­bers to refuse to play and per­suade peo­ple to refuse to at­tend the con­cert.

UCLA pro­fes­sors Michael Chwe and An­drew Apter, both vi­o­lin­ists with the sym­phony, wrote in an open let­ter: “Den­nis Prager is a right-wing ra­dio host who pro­motes hor­ri­bly big­oted po­si­tions. ... Please urge your friends to not at­tend this con­cert, which helps nor­mal­ize big­otry in our com­mu­nity.”

Apter told Cam­pus Re­form, “In the Santa Mon­ica Sym­phony, to sub­ject our­selves to the com­mand of his ba­ton is an im­plicit, if not ex­plicit, en­dorse­ment of his big­oted ideas was quoted in The Santa Mon- ica Daily Press, “We ob­ject to Prager’s par­tic­i­pa­tion be­cause he widely broad­casts big­oted views.” The New York Times and NPR pub­lished de­ri­sive ar­ti­cles about me, and Los An­ge­les Times pub­lished two such pieces.

Yet, de­spite all that, the in­tol­er­ant ones lost — and lost big.

First, Dis­ney Hall is nearly sold out. And with ev­ery seat cost­ing be­tween $40 and $100, will be raised for the or­ches­tra.

Sec­ond, only about seven of the or­ches­tra’s 70 play­ers refuse to play. More­over, many other mu­si­cians asked to join the or­ches­tra that night, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Los An­ge­les Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra.

Third, the or­ches­tra’s widely ad­mired and loved con­duc­tor, Guido Lamell, and the or­ches The board, lo­cated in one of the most lib­eral-left cities in Amer­ica, unan­i­mously stood be­hind me af­ter the let­ters and ar­ti­cles at­tack­ing me came out. This was par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant, since they had only nar­rowly voted to in­vite me — 5 to 3 — put the in­ter­ests of the or­ches­tra, mu­sic and tol­er­ance ahead of their po­lit­i­cal and so­cial views. In­deed, few ex­pected it.

So, how was in­tol­er­ance de­feated? I think there were a num­ber of fac­tors.

First, to be hon­est, they I have sadly noted all of my life, guys. I fought back on my ra­dio show and in my syn­di­cated col­umn. I have never said a po­lit­i­cal word in con­junc­tion with any con­duct­ing ap­pear­ance I have ever made, but once the - sponded.

Vir­tu­ally the en­tire con­ser­va­tive world united be­hind me. My col­umn was reprinted on or linked to al­most ev­ery ma­jor con­ser­va­tive web­site. There’s an im­por­tant les­son here: When united, con­ser­va­tives have real clout.

Third, be­cause uni­ver­si­ties and oth­ers on the left reg­u­larly shut down non-left speech, the left has lost a lot of moral cred­i­bil­ity. There­fore, a left-wing at­tempt, led by two UCLA pro­fes­sors, to shut down a con­cert con­ducted by a con­ser­va­tive was just too much for many lib­er­als as well as con­ser­va­tives, and even for some on the left. The left lost face in this mat­ter, and it was there­fore im­por­tant to show that I re­ally am the bigot those op­pos­ing my con­duct­ing said I am.

And fourth, when peo­ple learned what was hap­pen­ing, they filled the hall. The left is al­ways shocked to learn that at least half of Amer­ica doesn’t agree with it. These peo­ple live in an in­tel­lec­tual bubble — they talk with, so­cial­ize with, dine with, marry, lis­ten to and read only those who think as they do. In other words, while we con­ser­va­tives know them well, they don’t know us at all. Why bother know­ing us? We are, af­ter all, noth­ing more than de­plorable, hate­ful big­ots.

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