« Fireside Chat with Dennis Prager

Fireside Chat Ep. 124 – Are People Basically Good?

2020-03-09 | 🔗
They may be the two most important questions one can ask: Are people basically good? And how do you make good people? In other words, is the ultimate goal of parenting to raise children to be good rather than merely to feel good? Don't miss the special video question with Candace Owens!
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hi, everybody, I'm Dennis Prager. This is odd. Oh, you know Otto by now. Maybe you don't know me, I'm I'm his sidekick. By the way, you're not allowed, according to some of the animal rights folks, Shouldn't say his owner yeah, I'm his human companion. Did you know that that you're not supposed to say owner yeah, but I'm ok, I own ATO, and he Ok with the two we had, we had a man to dog talk and he this fine. Let me give a little rub because, His head is on this side, this time, which is nice. I love this guy, our right good to be with you So, for those of you knew this, my fireside chats from my home I'd Dennis Prager. As I told you this the chance for you to know, better than when I stand for, and my way to get your feedback. As I take your questions, I also get a lot of email from
who am, I know that people watch all over the world. We ve gotten questions from fifty two countries, and obviously there viewers and many more? So that means a lot to me and it it does this. For me, verify something I believe my whole life. An idea has to be good for everyone to be a good idea. So you can have a moral thought. Oh it's only relevant to society x or people exe Human condition is the human condition. Cultures are relative, that's fine! I have no issue with that. This country. this music. This country loves this food. This country loves this Way of addressing this country it has a siesta or or as time in the middle of the day in each later at night. None of that matters to me, but when it comes to the ultimate question, of life and good and evil, and right and wrong. It's gotta be universe. Ok,.
so I want to return in my opening comments today before I take your questions on return to work. I have always known was a major dividing line in the way people look at society if I could ask people one question. Before. finding out what they think about ten different issues. I wouldn't even ask them first, Do you believe in God believe it or not as much as I believe that is a very significant issue by The way this is that we should talk about because do you believe in God doesn't mean anything. I want to know what god you believe in it and I'll explain that might do it. It's very important question, but I've. That wouldn't be my. If I could ask one question, I will let you think people are basically good because If you say yes, you will, you will think in
in this direction. If you think no, You will think in this direction. You will have all nothing in common on on almost every base, Political social issue: that's how important that's a single question is in fact you it be wise and wisdom is the root of goodness. You can't be wise if you don't understand how flaw odd human nature? Is I've never by the way the people were. Basically evil of people were basically evil than it would be absurd to appeal to goodness right. I never sent people are based leave a lot once in my life, but people are not basically good. We're worry were a rough mixture. Goodness is like gold, it's there, but you have to mine it. You ve, gotta, dig for it. You ve got to work hard to bring it out by the way for some people.
it's it's hard to bring out than for others. It's true. I acknowledge that there is such a thing as a sociopath people who are apparently incapable of thinking in in anything, but the completely narcissistic terms, but putting those aside for the rest of us, as human nature, and I gotten so much flag on the internet, for this belief, people and by the, That proves to me that I have had gold here I that went when I get a lot of flak on a position that I take, I realize whew. I've hit home because a lot of people. Don't want to believe that why, is it so important? Well it so important, because you can't make a good world a kind world. If you don't understand what you're working with the
but you have to, if you don't understand the the fabric, the material the basic material you're working with how can you make a nice sculpture ye you, you can't make a good, human, if you don't know what human nature is made of. Secondly, The most important question Emmy society can ask the most important is: how do we make good people? That's the most important question, but if you think people are basically good, you won't even asked the question correct. It's it's a silly question: if were basically good, you don't have to make any body good. it's so ironic, the people who believe people were basically good. The people will give me the most flack are almost always on the left effect. They pretty much always on the left,
These are the same people who will say, for example, all eight or racist so wait a minute people are basically good, but all whites are racist. How did that happen?. if people are basically good, why there's. So much of the things that you ate right homophobia trends. Colombia, Islamophobia Lama phobia materialism racism, massage any sexism? All of that, from basically good creatures is that bizarre. It shows you look I I say this because it's true Of liberalism is thought through concern. Racism is thought through, but leftism is chaos, its emotion. You, speak about all these horrible things. That's all, but people were basically good. We did the horrible things come from extraterrestrials. boy, all who brought slavery to worth martians
poor child sacrificed to work. Actually, if not every society, we know an ancient the ancient world practice child sack human sacrifice, not just child. on another, mass levels basically people sacrifice human beings, basically good people in slave. Other human beings, torture, human beings. I mean. Mass murder, my god, it's driving me crazy. The people be so now you because people don't want to confront painful realities, though the irony is, it's not painful. I have known p we not basically good since I was a child because I was raised in a religious, jewish, oh and I went to a Shiva religious, Jew or school half the day in Hebrew. religious studies. After Dame English secular studies and I d
This, though I was eighteen, I'm very well grounded. As many of you know, I'm running a Bible commentary, the rational Bible. I've done too of the five volumes thus far and. got a great grounding just as christian kids do. Kristen kids go to christian school, though people not basically good. Its second were people who tend to believe people are basically good, secular people, don't believe in God. So if you don't believe in God, you better believe in humans, or you really have nothing to believe him. It's a pretty of bleak world there's! No, God and people are basically good. That's bleak, but I'll tell you why it's actually not at all a bleak idea to believe the truth that people are not basically good
then, among other things- and this has been true- my whole life every time I meet a truly good person, I'm delighted, because I don't expect to it's actually a pleasant surprise. Instead of people who believe that people are basic good vacant disappointed overtime, so, instead of being disappointed all the time, I pleasantly surprised all the time, while another wonderful person. I never shocked. If I meet a person who was, there was in good its net, were shocking they're all over the place, so This is the most important question in raising your children. It's the most important question. How do I make my kid good. Every time you say you could say thank you, you're, making your kid good. By the way. As I have always said, the kids are basically good.
What are you? Why don't you tell them one say thank you and the rest of their life. They go around. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Why do you have to tell you? Could ten thousand times literally ten thousand times say? Thank you say please say thank you. What do you say? hello you just gotta candy. What do you say to an Tiffany? Thank you when Tiffany, that's what you do, it's what you teach your kids, how to be good, not how to feel good how to be good. as the most important question society can ask, that's why this is the most single most important question. If you want to make a good society, what do you start out with? What is the human material Ok, let's go do your questions.
here we go right. First is a video question each week innovation, I might add, was at your innovation Megan. Why are you felt little self conscious? Taking all the credit I asked Megan if Was her idea? She said? Yes, then she thought not an all run regos. Well, here we go first question: Hi Dennis my name is Canada's Owens. My age is none of your business. And I live pretty much everywhere, but mostly on a plane. My question, for you is this: you Hundred my wedding, but you forgot to leave siege advice. What would be your advice. newlyweds, especially in such a crazy culture,.
well, I am totally touch the canvas. Owens has called him with a question. I really am she's she's magnificent. She is a Jim and I am delighted. And you could the watch her eye Prager you? She has her own wonderful, Le Podcast each week and she's she's a gift, Well, first of all, I didn't leave sage advice. You wedding cause. Nobody asked me for sage advice at your wedding. I dont like walk around. Would you, like some sage advice, Many of you may not know this, but any where you live in the world. You can hear my radio show on the internet or go to Prager Tokyo, dot com and you can subscribe and you get it without commercials anytime, you want. I do. Three hours a lot and wednesdays. I do a male female hour. I've been doing this for about fifteen years, maybe twenty and I ve talked to men and women alike. Written about this
but this will sound almost trivial, but the first thing that comes to my mind is be easy going. You don't want your spouse to walk on eggshells if you're, if you're easily offended what happens, is your partner then stops being real now, obviously, if you're offensive you're an offensive partner than your partner will get offended, but I think it's a great goal.
To be easy going to it, this is true in all of life, not just in marriage, but it certainly true marriage. I'll give you an example. I was talking to my younger son with a long conversation today and. Yes, we saw how you do when dad and to really terrific is somehow mentioned about the remodeling of the house, how's it going and it's it's taking a long time. I said so. It is an annoying you when I said you know, I gotta tell you it doesnt annoy me, because so what I did, I did it
is my whole family healthy of a are you all doing well, do we have a good relationship? I mean that's, that's that's what matters you don't want to do. You know to the most powerful. Words that you could ask it ever saying your life, whether in marriage or not. So what you have to? U have to always look at the big picture, because if you, if you focus on the minutiae, you'll, always get upset because there is theirs, there's no doubt on any given day. There's something through upset you. So this aim to be easy in her life, easy in his life.
Is just a beautiful thing in a marriage, the another one is whenever an issue arises. I'll take a trivial one like let's say you want to both go out to a restaurant for dinner. So let's say he wants sushi and she wants a vegetarian meal making up something or sheep even easier, because then you say well, if she's vegetarian. You know she can't go what you gotta have a socially restaurant, so at she wants stake, ok, we want sushi, she wants stake. Okay, so here the way I would resolve it, who That's what they want, really more
the way I have tried to to live in my marriage. I might prefer sushi, but if she's aching for stake, what do I care. So fine or vice versa. She'll say you know, I don't really care that much. I prefer stake, but ok suit, she's, fine obviously there there may be arenas of life where you're, both so deeply and impassioned that it that there is a real difference and I get it But in general just be easy: that's the that's! My first reaction canvas to Europe to your question. Ok, Let's see here
Ronnie or Rony fifty eight San, Fernando Valley, California, high Dennis Ivan observation rather than a question. Okay, observe I was recently watching month, pathos life of Brian, Monty Python, movies or magnificent magnificent. a particular line jumped out of me. It seems quite relevant trump and the law. Ignoring all of his cut accomplishments all right. This was the line from Movie, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine public order, irrigation roads for water system in public health. The Romans ever done for us that is very funny line. I remember it well and or an all the good. It is an amazing thing that This man is so hated, it is. It is, in my view,
morally emotional, I he has a gruff personality. I fully acknowledge it. There were things he says I wish he didn't say a, but I judge leaders by what they do not buy their personalities and the just just one simple thing, since I believe it is infinitely more dignified to work than to get government help. This record number of Americans who are employed is a moral good. Why would I trivialize such an achievement? And- and there are so many others as well- but I'm just
that woman, one example this this actually is a sort of golden age, an american life and yet its depicted as if, as one writer regaining frank, rich riding in New York magazine, wrote that Donald Trump as an existential threat to America, one of the things about the left, no wonder there not happy there. There are so many existential threats to them. Climate changes an existential threat to earth one existential beans. It means the existence of the existence of America's threatened by Donald Trump. The existence of a biological life is threatened by climate change. That's hysteria, That's emotion, that's not true! Among thirty three Missis Shaw Agua on by though you know how many years now I have been, I have been hearing that the climate changes an existential threat to the world
in nineteen eighty nine they issued a report at the UN. We have twelve years and then it's over twelve years after one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine, nothing had happened that it made it over twelve years after two thousand and one the same thing. It's still not it's not even close to being over more people on living more healthfully than ever before in the history of the world, then they point all the fires. What well do you know? Nineteen thousand one hundred and ninety seven far more land in Australia burn them in the recent fires in Australia in Germany, were started by arsonists, whether intentional or unintentional,. Mom thirty, three Missis Shaw, Gwan, Terrio, Canada, hello, Dennis what is your opinion of dumb religions. I e Hinduism seek ISM Jainism Buddhism. Thank you. I studied comparative religion, nice in England in my third year in college, and I want you
no. But I have written this and I wrote this in my book. Unhappiness happiness is a serious problem. I had a professor Trevor link was his name. You wrote a terrific book on. Legend out was an Englishman who had become a Buddhist which was good I want. I would love to study under somebody from an eastern religion, and he
He changed my life one day and I mean it. You changed my life that doesn't happen a lot. He said. According to Buddhism, all pain in life comes from two things: desires and expectations that are not fulfilled, and that was just eye opening cloud parting. I I saw bright truth he's right. The Buddhists are right. So what I resolved to do was accept half of that Buddhist teaching. I decided that my third year at university, I decided I was going to not have any expectations in life.
That day, I made that decision. I have not stopped it since I have no expectations. I am stunned every day that I am alive that I'm healthy, that my love ones are healthy. That were not at war. You you, you name it. I that's one of the reasons that I am such a happy human being, because I can't believe how nothing I expected. Any I expected nothing and I may get all these wonderful surprises, health and love and friendship, and
And success in and an EU maim it. I truly expect nothing. I adopted that Buddhist principle, but I did not adopt number one. I do have desires and I think it is important to have desires. I desire to carve a cure for cancer right. I don't expect it, but I desired. I desire many things at is our things for me, a design things for the world. Desires, are wonderful that you could have unhealthy desires by the way you could have unhealthy desires and not act on them. Ask men. Men have a lot of unhealthy desires and unhappily most don't act on them. women have unhealthy desires to, but there was a different arena, but in any event, this is and sometimes the same arena. Ok for the wreck,
I normally get already below women do want sex as much has been. Do ok, fine women, the one varieties. Much has meant that. Ok, that's just the fact but I know you know a woman who does I'm sure I know that they exist. We could talk about that. Another time too. the nonsense that men and women are basically the same ice. I was told that in color that's how I knew that I was being taught a lot of nonsense at college. That was the give away that men and women are basically the same that teaching by the way has made so many unhappy women that that alone is a reason for a vast number of unhappy women in our society.
I can explain that another time and is probably worth doing, be that as it may, that Buddhist teaching was was life changing in my life, I dont have expectations I'll, give you a very funny story, and I never told Us- I don't even know if I told us on the radio show you'll you'll get a kick out of this. So my book unhappiness made the bed tell her list the LOS Angeles Times best seller list, as it happens, and every Sunday the list would come out in the newspaper. So I would get the newspaper and I would look in the book section. Where was my book, so they list ten books on the best seller must or the that time ten books and one week was nine one week with seven when weaker, with six
and I was very obviously very happy beyond the basilisk. Another week goes by weeks later and I look at the list, and finally, I realize oh well- I'm no longer on the Basle Snow Book last forever on the best settlements, but gotta call butter and there were later from a friend Congratulations, I'm thinking for what and she said I said to her for what she has really mean for what didn't you
either the LOS Angeles love best seller list. I said yeah sure your number one and I realized I never looked above five. I never expected to be higher than five. I only look between five and ten. That's how deeply scarred still be not having expectations its that's real! That's the best things April. I could give. Okay, I remember I went to a Jain Temple in the in India and I love I love studying these things and seeing how people grapple. What is it? What is religion is grappling with the gray questions of life and realising that the material world is not all there is that's what religion grapples with.
So anyway, I don't know enough about seek, as am I can only say. I have really like the seeks that I have met which, by the way is enough for me cause. I do judge religions by their all right! So let's see Richard in Malaysia. That's a long questions all think at another time. journal in Bratislava wants to know how the american election system work to so many of you do not live in Amerika, so I'll would that it's a good, that's a good one. By the way I asked someone from the Czech Republic. Are you happy that check O Slovakia broke up into check and Slovakia ended and ass? She was it. He I think, said. No, it's an interesting question. I like to know how many chow And how many slovaks would like to reunite? I have no idea, I just an interesting question to me: greetings Dennis. Thank you for the opportunity to reproach you directly. Thank you to part question a can
introduce the USA election system to US foreigners president, elections electoral college MID terms. When do you like people to which Chamber of Commerce Congress etc. Good for a five minute video. You know you have listen if you was from all over the globe. I do know so we would all benefit from this. U S election introduced. B, you mentioned you plan to speak in Budapest. Is there a plan for broadest lava, Slovakia, the Czech Republic? No, but I would love to so. I will be actually in Budapest twice as it happens this coming year and you can find the information. It then is Prager dot come where's Dennis wherever speaking anywhere in America or the war.
So the answer to your first question: in a nutshell, the United States of America was founded to be United States of America, not just America. This was found a tough laboratories, cold states, each working through its system to see which one word it's a brilliant idea, but you, you were united in order to make the United States of America. The states are very important to the founders. This country was not found it to be. A democracy was found to be a republic there, not identical. Therefore we don't have direct election of the president because they, the founders, did not believe people were basically good and they wanted to have a check
Then on the majority's believe it or not that and they were they were brilliant. They were giants the founders of America, so it states that elect the president not the individuals of the country, so that, if, if you when every state has a certain number of electoral votes, depending on its population, so obvious, California has the most electoral votes could set as the most people and why arming right a whatever will have the least so you have to have you have to win the electoral vote, not the popular vote to become president of the United States. I think it's brilliant
very important. Otherwise, presidential candidates would never bother going to wire me, or I too hope or South Carolina, even to get votes. They just go to New York City in Philadelphia in Chicago and LOS Angeles in Dallas and use them and go home. That's not healthy. We want the votes of of the of the states to be important to that's. Why we don't have the wrecked president? Election mid terms are the President elected for four years, every two years, members of the House of Rep. The sedative our elected every six years, members of the? U S, Senate, are elected and that's really what you need to know. senator six years houses two years by the way the Senate is another example of none democracy. California with thirty Something million people has two senators.
and why homing, with fewer than one billion people also has to senators this send it is a way like the electoral colleges of giving states great power, not just individuals, so very important concept. The Senate represent states. The house of Representative represents individuals and that's that's the way it works. So keep the questions coming. I hope you enjoy today. I know it's important to me. Apparently it's important to many of you and I am very grateful for that. I'm Dennis Prager, and thanks for being with Thank you for watching, if you'd like to keep these fireside chats free. Please do by donating to Prager. You.
Transcript generated on 2020-10-21.