A peek into the PragerU Summit! Dennis and special guest Michael Leven talk capitalism, PragerU, and running a business in this week's very special edition of the Fireside Chat.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hi everybody Dennis Prager here this is a fireside chats that is very different from my normal fireside chats. This is not my home not a real fire, and I have an audience, not the usual three people, but about a hundred and I think I am so this is really a typical as those of you who regularly watch, and so I want to explain to you what's happening. Why you're seeing this? Why you are seeing this because it will I've. Never.
All about eighty that I've done. I've actually never talked about Prager. You too, you I've talked about life, so this gives me a wonderful opportunity. This is a Prager. You pray University weekend that we are having called Prager you summit, and we ve had some a terrific speakers who spoke on their own or on occasion I I would interview them. It's really
just just truly magnificent. It's it's a high for all of us and we ve had about how many people in total came hundred three hundred. So three hundred supporters from all over a north America have come here. Obviously, without these people there there's no fireside chats is no Prager. You I mean this is where obviously grateful to them in their obviously grateful to us or the they wouldn't support us. So this gives me a chance to just briefly tell you what this whole enterprise Prager. You is about a lot of you watch our stuff, our videos and, of course, the fireside chat and
I'd like to tell you a little bit about the philosophy of why this thing exists. I have way before there was a Prager you I've had and still have. My national radio show. People have always asked me and I've been doing this for thirty five years. People have always ask me who listens, and there are always asking that in by way of really asking are you talking, and they even say this? Well, aren't you preaching to the choir? In other words, aren't you talking to people who agree with you as if that is just not as important as talking to people don't agree with you a completely understandable reaction, but I've always always answered the question. Aren't you preaching to the choir
answering as follows: that's ok because the choir forgot the melody, even every single person I spoke to agreed with me, it's not the case, but even if it were, it would be worth it. So let me explain why I say that the choir forgot, the melody I'll, give it to you in three different examples and you'll get my point. Americans have forgotten how to explain America. Christians have forgotten how to explain Chris
The entity and Jews have forgotten how to explain Judaism as a result, fewer Americans than ever believe in America, fewer kids of christian families believe in Christianity and fewer kids and jewish families. Believe in Judaism, that's the net result of not being able to sing the melody. That's what has happened by the Weight I've? U r across the world. I will just say that this is equally true for western civilization. Generally, the West forgot what the West stands for if you do not explain ever the generation to the next generation. What it is we have to perpetuate well by Golly. You won't perpetuated, that's exactly what has happened. In a nutshell, let me give you the american example for a moment: the World WAR Two generation is called in America
if you outside, of the? U S will not know this, but almost every american knows. This is Ray common to refer to the world war. Two american generation as the greatest generation. I've never accepted that because the World WAR one generation was great, the civil war generation was great. The founders we're right, so I dont believe that, but they were a great generation, but they did something they made one huge mistake: they didn't teach their kids. What America stood for So they produced in my generation of the post World war, two generation called baby boomers. They produced the oh narcissistic Lee caring for America generation in the history of America. There is no parallel. For a generation as alienated from the country as my duration, they in turn have raised another generation and they
or even more alienated, so that today the ocean of call on coal. Nationalism of seller, raving, your nation is now concern. The same thing is white supremacy, which is a total evil. So Not only do they not celebrate America, they condemned the celebre, of America as a form of almost need. Nazi fascism, white supremacy, that's how bad it is my parents generation, though not my parents, but my parents generation add the following attitude, and I remember as a kid saying this is a big mistake. I remember it because I started lecturing at twenty one years of age oddly enough, and it is odd, I remember saying you know what you talking to my parents generation. You decide to give my generation
in your words, everything you didn't have which generally meant everything material that you didn't have and peace. So you want the to undo the depression and world war. Two Police instead of war economic prospects. Instead of a depression and guess what you did give us everything you didn't have the problem. Is you didn't give us what you did have, and I remember saying this in my twenties, then they didn't give us a love of the country and an understanding of liberty, and all the other values. That's what happened so my generation had, except for the Vietnam WAR, which is a serious exception. I acknowledge but my generation had peace and my journey
duration had unbelievable material prosperity, but they didn't get any of the values that underlay what America should stand for and does stand for. That's what happened! That is the genesis of the problem. So what does that have to do with Prager you or for that matter, I hear the Prager you, my radio work, which continues, I might add, and that is I knew I had to explain to Americans what it is. America stands for two people in the west. What the west stands for to choose what Judaism stands for I'm a Jew? I know what Judaism stands for most Jews do not, and even though I am not christian, I been explaining to Christians how important Christianity is it's a very odd life. I have and includes the following statistic. I have probably brought more non Jews
to Christianity that perhaps Emmy living pastor. I wouldn't say such a thing if we would be left that, if, if it didn't have truth, but it aims it's true and by the way very proud of it and I'm thrilled about it, because, Christianity dies. That's that that's the norm. Religion of America, and if Christianity dies at America, America will die meat. That is that that is just it's a given look at Europe exactly what's happening Europe, so that's what Prager you is doing its explaining what should have been explained to the extent that right now, and this is gonna leader led me into my distinguished guest. It is amazing to me that capitalism has to be defended the thing that brought more p
out of poverty than anything in history? In fact, though, that's not even correct the only thing that brought billions of people out of poverty in the history of mankind is capitalism. If you love people, you should love Only if you love theory more than people will you prefer socialism to capitalism, which is exactly what the left does? It loves theories that Why academics around the left there in love with theories they make it giving writing theoretical articles. Four abstract journals, but in real life it's nonsense. It doesnt work and the only thing that is good is what works in real life, capitalism, which is the same as a
three societies, economy, a free economy in a free society. That's what works! So let me introduce my guest, which again so rare thing on a fireside chats, but it was. It was really a perfect introduction that work that well, because if we or make the case. Apparently everyone is that half of millennials who believe that we we we should have socialism or that they they believe capitalism is bad. We have members of Congress who talk against against capitalism. It's why, while they benefit from the most robust economy and in the history the world the american economy, MIKE Levin or Michael Levin, is a member Prager You Advisory Board,
he's the sea. I want chairman of the Board of the Georgia aquarium. It's one. The most amazing query aims in the world by the way, maybe I'll ask him some things about fish. He doesn't know this, but I'll throw in a few about. Do you know the jellyfish and what what's his favorite jellyfish? I may ask him that, by the way for the record, I hate the jellyfish. If they all die it would be a boon to the world prior to its current position. Mr Levin serve this president and chief operating officer of the LAS Vegas Sands Corporation, one of the biggest hotel corporations in LAS Vegas Present chief executive officer of the? U s and try systems incorporated and president and cheap operating officer of holiday. In worldwide she's, one of them.
Successful business man in America. Would you welcome MIKE Levin, the other man? So what's your favorite jellyfish filter guys fast that guy is fast you're right they only last year by the way. What jellyfish? Here? What you mean? I'm right, I'm right that I want to, I didn't say what they really: they live a year when you it's a year to long, that's my view. By the way. I feel this is hilarious. The lamp poor bike, the less they expect. That is questions on fish, but you know I'm a character, but you somewhat character. So we we mesh well, so let me ask you: did you have jellyfish at the aquarium? We have jellyfish,
an aquarium! We get some from the Pacific Northwest and we also make our own. Actually, we have a natural, create our own jellyfish homage on wishing they drop dead and he makes them maiden Heaven right here. This is actually. What do you mean you make them seriously? We have we produce heroin, jellyfish and in and they reproduce that's correct. We don't watch it they would be it would be on the restriction list on you was clearly even an average Ali fish reproduction videos of the thought, don't even send me, then Why? But you are so successful. Why did you decide to make an aquarium? Well, I I was ahead of the market's foundation. Bernie Marcus's foundation in Atlanta and built an aquarium which I objected to, because it was crossing three hundred million dollars at the time but he wanted to give a gift to the city of Atlanta.
So I participated in the construction of a because I tell experience and basically we put a big ball remain in the kitchen and all that kind of stuff, and then we build and after we built it, was successful for one year and it started to go downhill. Bernie she wanted to go in and consults. I went and consulted as soon as I got the other sea or left so Bernie you're staying there, so I stay there for a couple of years. I didn't do anything about fish really, I mean the only fish. Every eye was goldfish, they all died, and so so I I bet I went there. I learned a lot and it's the best cocktail job I've ever had, because every time I go to a cocktail party issue in Detroit or criminal, ask me questions how the dolphin live, I say or thirty, thirty five years they don't know the answer. I don't know the answer, sounds great? Show So anyway, then I left philosophy figures for six years are responsible for two and when I
came back. Bernie said to me: look we're having trouble in the aquarium again. Why don't you come back and work aquariums are so well I don't want to get pay, they might be a volunteer chairman and c o, so I went back for you to go on in my fifth year, it's a great place and I keep learning a lot, which I think is very important is that there are people like you who, just I'm not following you up anything that there are people who, whatever they touch it sort of turns into gold. You you, may I mean it's not. This is not in your background than a query, I mean, let's be honest, so what prepared you to build a Multi hundred million dollar aquarium well in right. Now it's up to about six hundred may actually, but what purpose For it, is you really have to understand the business aspects as well as a science aspect when you have to understand the people made its
like a hospital. You have doctors, we have six veterinarians there. We do a lot of science and what kind of stuff You have to understand the marketing aspects. You understand the gate, you understand technology. And I had that another other experiences, so basically you just bring to bear a combined science and business attitude towards the aquarium, and now we have a very positive casual work only the most successful, certainly in the western hemisphere, the most successful aquarium really congratulations, and it is an amazing place. If you haven't been there, a really really is so This is also in addition to having been ceo of Holiday, Inn. How many years we would holiday in five hours, if our views and and and how is the hotel business, which obviously you and pursued again and in Vegas. Do you enjoy, that is, it very tense, depends:
the bosses? Actually, the unhappy- and I was present chief operating- opts for haughty and we're why we had about three thousand so hotels around the world where sixty three countries- had offices all over, and but I work for british company wherefore bash PLC, and I come Boston originally, and I really I know a lot about american history, but I never really knew why we, through the tea in Boston Harbour. For the bridge I found out. And so I threw the tea in impartial harbour again the last five years. I didn't get a job. I was supposed to get when the ceo laugh, because they said I was too old, which is a very interesting story. Was fifty eight at the time, but Ass PLC. Everybody will enjoy the story had to retire. Maintain of sixty size. I said to my ceo, who I was quite friendly with at the time I too, all them in, but you have to retired
yes well, why do you retired sixty that make any sense said well accompanies was of the seventeen fourteen and that was they had a retirement age of sixty so typical british? Pretty country, though I have already said it, nobody lived a mere six billion It's like the social security. The United States is that's what people by that sixty five exact? Ok, so are you shocked that capitalism even meet the fence in America? Yes, yes, I am shocked. I I. I think that that we ve done a really lousy job at letting people understand from high school onward, what the benefits of
Free enterprise system is and what the ism is. The problem I have is that nobody seems to understand who a young in particular what are the benefits of capitalism or the free enterprise of free market system. An interesting story about their. I meant a lot to college kids. Now they currently are people send their kids to me and whatever Somebody sent me a senior Brandeis University in Boston. And he was an economics major. And so I he came in to see me- we had a nice, a very nice young man, and I see you like an honest man. She said yeah, he said I said: what do you learn Joe? I learn. You know this numbers and these things are wherever it as I said well. Well, how do you, like Adam Smith, who should who's. He. Whose he's a senior economic major and no, who Adam Smith, is. So how can you have asked
duration like that in putting out looking or guy looking for a job. It doesn't know anything about that. I think we ve. We fail to if we we ve taken for granted for so long in the country and, as you said when you introduce tonight about what we have to be defensive about now, is that we ve just assume that young people know what's happening and they really don't. And that's that's why Prager Universe you so good! Well, its meaning a need its that's clear! So why don't you in a nutshell? You have a very good way of explaining hello capitalists give people what they want, who shall lists, give people what they want. In other words, they the socialist Swat or to explain that cause. That's that's obviously, of half of America's young people just don't understand that
well it's a simple situation. When I was in college, I was, I was a political sides major. I took a course and dictatorship and totalitarianism. I took a course. It taught me what social listen boys with capitalism was don't teach that anymore and show. Consequently, consequently, the idea, the idea Socialism, where the government owns all a means of production and the idea of capitalism, The visuals own, all women means and production, it's totally different, and I think I think that they forgotten to emphasise that, and you know it is some Dennis. I have a problem with I look at things that have to be changed in order to be successful, I saw I run my businesses, that's how we look at it and- and we Having done that, and you know, I thought a lot of the parents of these kids too. I don't think the parents, really understand, as you said, before the greatest generation, my father was part of the greatest generation he fought and we want to win the battle of budget pouch.
I had my relatives and where war to agenda and if I do You take that in college. I would not understand it. He didn't teach me what capital is was he was a traveling salesman. We didn't have any money at all an end, but when I got to college I learned the difference between capitalism, socialism, communism. Other reason that you can possibly imagine they taught me that they don't teach you in anymore or if they teach at they don't teach the right one. So I think now it becomes a burden for the parents and the grandparents of these young people as well. Take their time and tell him I talk to my grandkids. I talk to my children. I have three sons: I am proud to say there all conservative all concerned and I never really emphasised it. Never will
emphasise it, but they are all very proud: the free enterprise system. So when one the left describes the rich capitalist, you would qualify. Why don't you and we didn't by the way, for the record, we did not rehearse one word of this sizzle, many more than the jellyfish question. So let lady, why dont you? Why don't you tell people how much you and Bernie, Marcus and others rich capitalists do charitably dont be modest? I want people to understand that if it were not for rich capitalists, how many hospitals,
not exist. How many aquariums would not exist? How many or autism centres would not exist? Well, I I know for I'm, trusting the markets foundation. Bernie Marcus obviously made aware, has a significant amount of wealth and he is already in his lifetime. Given away two billion dollars. And we're gonna, give some examples of where I went well. He bill, the aquarium that was three hundred men in a just: a data, Piedmont, hospital and land of seventy five million dollars for a hot centre. He built a greater hospital and land or even hold stroke centre? That was fifty million dollars? I could go on and give you ten tonnes kind of starfleet stuff in Israel. He does stuff for free enterprise supporter universities, supporter of the foundation, the defence of democracy- hundreds of millions of dollars and and
myself, I'm not in that particular category. But I was very fortunate, my my term in LAS Vegas Sands, to make a significant amount of money. I give at least given away at least fifteen percent of my met worth today already, and I continue to give approximately three million dollars a year away so, and I give it I'm an eye like entrepreneurial philanthropy, which is why I got involved in Prego University early because it was starting. I do a lot of start. Ups, and because it sort of, I can't give hundred million dollar gifts. So I give you a hundred thousand dollar gift things like that for for people who are starting things that I really believe in and- and I think, if you look at the
added states of America is absolutely the most charitable nation. That's ever existed on the face of the earth and the capitalist system and the free price system, regardless of what you religion is regardless of what your values are, the money keeps flowing and it's not just because its tax deductible, it's because people actually care to help people, and if you take that away like somebody to take a look at how many charitable dollars the USSR Russia gives away A year and like them to look at Venezuela and see what the charity Doyle, that trust is zero. If you go to France, what let's take the best examples: France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, HOLLAND, Americans in the exact same socio economic level, income etc
far more charity than Europeans knows no question an absolutely no question: we they, if it's not even measurable them, the amount that comes from philanthropy today look very friendly. With a Catholic in New York, who is the largest donor, the catholic charities in the United States can link on was very responsible for the rebuilding of Saint Patrick Cathedral and also does medical and New Union where you hospital. I think that the people in this room, of course many of them, are donate. It's you and many them donate many other places as well. I think I think that's what makes really that you talk. What America's different- and why were they
this country in the world, because we also the greatest charitable country in the world. You take that away with a different political system. Lot of people are gonna, hurt a lot of them. So, of course they constantly say all well, we don't you know what is word fair? Yes, you're, not the the rich, don't pay there air share, that's the line. Yes, you have any comments on that. Well, I mean we could comment on that for a long time. I think I think, I know one thing: I pay my fisher I just got my tax bill actually last week and it was a little surprised a little higher than I thought, but at the other day I didn't care because pay. My fear share attaches I'm happy to pay my taxes, because it's a privilege for me to be part of the United States of America and there's nothing. Nothing. I can say that we have Problems like, but I've tried
but all over the world. I've worked all over the world and I could tell you When I talk to people, everybody, wants to live here? In spite of Everything we have everybody wants to live here, that's a very important point. It is amazing, for example, how many Africans want to live in America and indeed how many people at college know this more black Africans came to the United States voluntarily, then came a slaves, and that was true already in the nineteen seven. These it's been true for fifty years more blacks came from Africa voluntarily then came the slaves whose has, of course, though defensive slave,
we were just simple evil, but it's a statement about. They know this is the land of opportunity, and why would they move to another socialist place if the place, because social they could where they are if there is a lot of self with socialism of coercion. Of course, What's so would so absurd when you think about it now how many people have moved to Russia? cant think of how many people move to Cuba. I mean I don't go there right, because I know there's no opportunity for them. That's exactly right! So it's another thing that you know you you're you! Your generation were given a love of America, and that too, is is
is rare is rare today, but I think we made. I think we made some very, very serious errors, and- and one of the areas we made was what we did to Memorial day, making it a three day weekend when I was a kid I used to march to the cemetery. Every memorial there much behind a band and go to the cemetery, put flowers ungracious? Now you go gotta barbecue I mean this is what happens we took here birthday February, twenty second, Avian Lincoln's birthday, There were twelve, I knew what I was taught it and grammar school in whatever and it was a holiday. They put a three day. We cannot call on president stay. Nobody knows what washes birthday was. Nobody knows what is nobody knows what Abraham Lincoln S birthday is. If they don't even know who Abraham Lincoln in Washing birthday, is you got with people go out and take these interviews? Let's get they say: who's the first president, NATO states of services. They say
James poke. They don't know that either so that its problem, how are you able to transfer these values to your children? to them. I talk to them at the recent pass over sailor. We had a long discussion. Might I have seven grandchildren For that a twenty one, seventeen one seven once three, I didn't talk much the seven three year old and what we talked about. The past overseer. We talked about freedom. When we talked about slavery, we talked about the values of the american system. We talk about that and we talk about patriotism I registered for the draft. I unfortunately flunked affair. To go back and eighteen sixty hours of canvas, screwball story, but at that time
I registered every one of my children for the draft everyone when they were born in one and sixty six sixty eight and seventy. Friends my were how ready, when not, would not registering their children for the draft. I was registering my they knew they have their registrations and You make it part of this part of the conversation. That's what my wife and I do so look into it. When they are right over there, where the green light is man give they give your message to hundreds of thousands of young people right now. Well, I think I think my message to anybody whose young would be take advantage of what country has to offer, but make sure that you have to do something to deserve it and that you should about it? You should read about it. You should know, history. The american history and you should know the philosophy of the founding fathers and what this,
some brings to you and your family, because If you travel around of you study abroad, if you go around and see the other things what you'll see is there is no replace Undiscouraged earth was beautiful. Well, as I said to you earlier, I don't have many gifts on the fireside chat, but you are certainly worthy you're, a good man you're a good american, and you are a credit to the great system that we have here of liberty. That has made a person like you from such humble beginnings, building, hospitals and clarions today Dennis I am so grateful, I'm so
grateful to be here so grateful to be in this country for what this country has done for me and my family and to help other people the way I am able to do it today, it's the greatest privilege, anybody can ever have that's what capitalism and freedom can produce. Thank you. Thank you. Mike Levin see an extra thank you for watching. If you'd like to keep these fireside chats free, please do by donating to Prager you.
Transcript generated on 2020-04-26.