Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

7/8/13

Dennis Prager Review

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a review of Dennis Prager. I’ve fallen out of the weekly habit because my schedule has been crazy lately and it hasn’t left me much time to listen to each hour thoroughly and give my thoughts. I may continue to miss a week from time to time, but I enjoy writing this post each week. I re-listen to each hour and really take some time to think about the subject. Writing about it allows me to organize my thoughts on it and really let the subject sink in. I’ve found that by writing about the designated hours I’ve been able to get a lot more from them.

The Ultimate Issues hour had a guest author, Robert George, whose new book is titled “Conscious and its Enemies- Confronting the Dogma’s of Liberal Secularism”. The book talks about how liberal secularism in itself is a dogma and doesn’t allow for an open field for other dogmas, such as religion, as it claims to. Basically, it’s one or the other. Prager mentions that he has dubbed this age in which we live 'the age of feelings' and how feelings are truly the enemy of the conscious because it is the heart versus the conscious. Robert George adds that so many people with a liberal word view mistake conscious for feelings or they assume the conscious is a matter of feeling and/or sorting out ones feelings. So one can decide for themselves if they feel badly enough about doing something as to not do it or not. But, traditionally and historically, conscious has had nothing to do with feelings, instead it has been regarded as ones last, best judgment informed by reflective faith and critical reason about what one is obligated to do or refrain from doing. As one historical figure put it, the conscious is a stern monitor not a writer of permission slips. Many times liberal secularism writes a permission slip that permits one to do something traditional morality would have condemned.

I’ve touched on similar issues to this from time to time. I agree 110% that we live in an age of feelings. I also agree that people mistake their conscious for their feelings. We should never be lead by our feelings, because they are self centered and flawed. I can think of examples where feelings- based people have allowed themselves to engage in activities that are morally wrong. They are able to justify these actions based on how they felt, but it is usually to the disregard of others (selfish). Within religion, there is a black and white set of morals. Whether you follow them or not is up to you, but there is no mistaking what is right or wrong. When I first started to listen to this hour I thought it was completely over my head, but as the author and Prager discussed the issue further I became more and more interested. I would like to read this book at some point as I find this a very interesting topic.

The topic of the male/female hour was masculinity. What is it and does it still matter? Prager mentions that John Wayne personified masculinity, but who in today’s cultural would personify it? In the old days every male movie start was masculine, but that isn’t the case today. Prager thinks even the most feminized woman of today are still attracted to masculine men, but we may be living in a post masculine age. Callers said masculine men are men that are protective, take charge, strong, and aggressive. Prager countered that what while on a first date you can tell if someone is masculine, even though you don’t know if they provide, are strong, ect. So how do you know on a first date when you know nothing to little about the person?

I think it has a lot to do with the way that a man carries himself. To me it’s confidence, assertiveness, speaking up for himself or others without hesitation. A masculine man is not afraid to be himself. You can either take it or leave it, but he is who he is and there is some pride in that. I also agree with the callers that he is a protector. I think he is also not afraid to do what is right despite what other people think, say, or do. Prager said he was going to follow-up on another hour with what is feminine. It will be interesting to see what callers say. I think femininity comes from looks where masculinity comes from actions.

Last week’s happiness hour was focused around the topic that the more you are able to say “I was wrong” the happier you will be. It is as simple as that. Prager says if you are wrong and you take responsibility when you are wrong, then you will be happier. Prager goes on to explain that there are a number of reasons why admitting you are wrong will make you happier a person. The first one is that it means you have high self esteem. It means you have such a good vision/assessment of yourself and you can admit fault. Secondly, it means that you believe that you are the master of your life. You control your behavior. It wasn’t done to you, you did it. Thirdly, people will respect you more and ultimately like you more. If you are not able to admit when you are wrong, friends and others will learn over time that they are not really capable of saying the truth to you and, over time, people won’t relate to you on a real level. Instead they will start to have a superficial relationship with you. A woman called in that had been married over 30 years called and said the most important words in a marriage are “You were right”. I would add another reason that admitting you were wrong makes you happier is because you know you are doing the right thing. I’ve found over the last few years that the single best thing I’ve done for myself professionally is to always admit my mistakes. I work with a very difficult customer who is always looking to point out mistakes in my work. When I do make a mistake I acknowledge it, apologize, and let them know how we can move forward and not make it again. The customer responds very well to this approach and respects me when I am honest. On the other hand, this is much harder to do in my personal life. In personal situations, I tend to be a little more stubborn and get defensive when I’ve done something wrong. While this isn’t a big problem in my personal relationships, thinking on the issue does make me see that I handle my customers very differently than I handle my family. I think this stems from wanting to be perceived well in the eyes of people you care about. Truthfully, I don’t care what my customers think of me personally, I just want to do my job as best I can so admitting wrong doing is much easier. I can’t think of an exact situation, but there have been a few times when I have lied to Adam over something small, felt badly, and later admitted to the truth. I agree with Prager that admitting fault in the beginning would have made me happier in the long run. I come from a family of very stubborn people and admitting fault isn’t always the easiest thing, but as it works so well in my professional life, I am going to make an effort to apply it more to my personal relationships as well.

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