Video: Dennis Prager on the meaning of “change”

posted at 10:55 am on October 31, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, I posted a lengthy speech from Dennis Prager at the Talk the Vote rally. The best part of his speech came near the end of the 23 minutes, and I suspect many people may have missed it due to time constraints. Prager discusses the difference between “change”, as in “Hope and Change”, and improvement:

The feminine laughter you hear after Prager’s remarks about listening to one’s spouse comes from the First Mate.  Otherwise, Prager was spot-on …

If you believe that America’s primary mission in the world is to be loved, then that leads to the following foreign-policy choices:

  • Redistribute American wealth to other countries on a massive scale without preconditions
  • Withdraw our military presence from the world, including our defense of global trading routes
  • End support for Israel

The mission to spread freedom and liberty, which has been our primary focus for at least the last sixty years, does not bring immediate popularity.  It challenges the entrenched interests of oppressive ruling classes, and it irritates those who would rather turn a blind eye to tyranny in order to make a short-term profit from it.  The reward for freeing millions and defeating tyrants is not in the immediate gratification of self-indulgent “love”, but in the security of reducing oppression and allowing people to rule themselves and make their own decisions — which has inevitably led to safer, less hostile nations.

Focusing on the need for “love” is a significant change, and definitely not an improvement.  America has, with all its flaws, served as a gadfly to tyrants and a beacon of hope to the oppressed.  Without a doubt, we can improve.  I hope we never change.


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If Jefferson was alive today would he be a Radio Talk show host?

chb03c on October 31, 2008 at 10:58 AM

As I’ve said for decades, I wish Dems would stop trying to make us like France & just move to France.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Dennis is parsing words. Improvement is change.
We can make better arguments than that.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Can we at least have the Swedish ladies?

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

America: Love her, or GTFO!!!

Keep your damn “change”. I’ll keep my home, my liberty, my freedom, our country.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 31, 2008 at 11:04 AM

I like the change vs. improvement…Pragar always takes his thoughts one step further then most.

right2bright on October 31, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Can we at least have the Swedish ladies?

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Dude, not all of them are blonde with big gazungas. Trust me. Socialism doesn’t do a body good.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Wasn’t this country founded to get away from europe and its lunacy?

Tommy_G on October 31, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Dude, not all of them are blonde with big gazungas. Trust me. Socialism doesn’t do a body good.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

I’m not listening to you. Your words are poison.

All Swedish ladies are blond, big guzungas, shorty shorts, cute furry boots, and skip through the mountains yodeling sonnets of healthy outdoors lust.

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Agreed.

By the way, Greg Gutfeld had a surprisingly decent commentary on Obama’s infomercial –

http://www.dailygut.com/?i=4004

Good stuff….

Outlander on October 31, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Who wants to be Sweden?

Obviously, the pessimism and depression characteristic of nordic countries appeals to some here.

Blake on October 31, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Dennis is parsing words. Improvement is change.
We can make better arguments than that.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

While improvement is change, not all change is improvement.

That is the argument he is making.

MarkTheGreat on October 31, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Obama DOES think that America is flawed. He thinks the constitution is deeply flawed.

Well put Dennis. The fools who vote for BHO will get their change alright.

Mojave Mark on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Carter replaces Ford: Change
Reagan replaces Carter: Improvement

Obama replaces Bush: Chump Change

fogw on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Dude, not all of them are blonde with big gazungas.
Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 31, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Some are brunette.

Anyway, you are a boobist.

Bishop on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Dennis is parsing words. Improvement is change.
We can make better arguments than that.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Not parsing, in context they are different.
If you tune up a car, that is improving performance…if you paint the car red, put in an engine that doesn’t run, and make it a convertible who’s top leaks, that is change but not an improvement.
If you want to make the statement that everything is always changing from moment to moment, then you won’t ever be able to understand what he and others state.
There is a difference between improving your job conditions, and changing your job…but then that may be too much for some to grasp.
I will make it more simple, I have a feeling I must…
If you mow your overgrown lawn, that is improvement, if you re-landscape that is change.

right2bright on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Dennis is parsing words? Dennis does not parse words. Improvement may indeed be change but change does not necessarily mean improvement. I would venture to say that change in fact rarely means improvement. Look at all the change affected by the government. The bailout! The change in education in the last 50 years. How have those worked out?

chicken thief on October 31, 2008 at 11:14 AM

While improvement is change, not all change is improvement.

The larger point is that while hoping for improvement is change, not changing the larger hope will bring changed improvements of hope. And change.

Bishop on October 31, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Anyway, you are a boobist.

Bishop on October 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Damn straight.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on October 31, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Dennis Prager is a first rate intellect. He’s a truly thoughtful man who articulates Judeo-Christian ideas while rarely mentioning Judaism or Christianity by name.

If you’re willing to forego El Rushbo once in a while, find The Dennis Prager Show during the same time slot.

jeff_from_mpls on October 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Dennis would have run for office if it hadn’t been for Campaign Finance Reform. Too bad. We deserve men like him in leadership. If he had been elected, he would have been a credible pick for VP.

RushBaby on October 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Checking my passport and calling Travelocity…..

Limerick on October 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

While improvement is change, not all change is improvement.

That is the argument he is making.

MarkTheGreat on October 31, 2008 at 11:12 AM

There you go. That was no parsing just a simple point. Now “jgapinoy” was that so hard to get?

titus_pullo on October 31, 2008 at 11:17 AM

So gazungas are actually…
Uh oh.

whitetop on October 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Prager is one of the wisest voices in the conservative movement, hands down. It’s an hour long, but watch as he dismantles a liberal, it’s pricesless…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UBSTdSyQS4

hippie_chucker on October 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Bishop – I’m not exactly sure what you meant, but all that hope and change talk has convinced me to vote Obama! ;)

JadeNYU on October 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM

JadeNYU on October 31, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Why yes, I too fell under Obarky’s feel-goodedness message of change and hopeful audacity. Welcome.

Then again, I also found a giant pod next to my bed this morning, and it had an “Obama ’08″ sticker on it.

I’m scared to go to sleep now.

Bishop on October 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

If you’re willing to forego El Rushbo once in a while, find The Dennis Prager Show during the same time slot.

jeff_from_mpls on October 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

I usually listen to Rush at 12-3 then, depending on my evening schedule, I listen to a Prager podcast because all his shows are archived and available for free at Townhall.com. Plus, Pragers archive goes back years. So you really don’t have to forego either.

titus_pullo on October 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Prager’s podcasts are daily must-listens for me. The man is a boon to conservatism on a scale comparable to Limbaugh. The primary difference is that Prager is not prone to bombast, and he doesn’t make fun of the Left the way Limbaugh does.

That’s not intended as a putdown of Limbaugh, by the way. I love Limbaugh.

Kensington on October 31, 2008 at 11:32 AM

While improvement is change, not all change is improvement.

That is the argument he is making.

True, but he’s saying that he doesn’t want change, he wants improvement, which is illogical.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM

True, but he’s saying that he doesn’t want change, he wants improvement, which is illogical.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:37 AM

He’s saying he doesn’t want change for changes sake, he wants the change to be an improvement. That’s logical.

fogw on October 31, 2008 at 11:41 AM

jeff_from_mpls on October 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

After listening to both, I gave up the bombast, absolutism and self-aggrandizement of Limbaugh for the reason, clarity and humanity of Prager.

MrScribbler on October 31, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Dennis likes to collect high quality pens.

Say no more.

Grow Fins on October 31, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Can we at least have the Swedish ladies?

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

They have web sites for that! Cheaper in the long run. :)

patrick neid on October 31, 2008 at 12:54 PM

They have web sites for that! Cheaper in the long run. :)

patrick neid on October 31, 2008 at 12:54 PM

But way more fun in an expensive quick sprint ;)

LimeyGeek on October 31, 2008 at 1:07 PM

We ABSOLUTELY need Dennis Prager on the ED MORRISSEY SHOW.

Maybe a quick 15 minute segment that can be simulcast on Dennis’s show?

Mostly, Dennis is spot on.

originalpechanga on October 31, 2008 at 1:11 PM

I AM SPARTACUS

AND

I DON’T WANT TO BE SWEDEN EITHER!

originalpechanga on October 31, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Mostly, Dennis is spot on.

originalpechanga on October 31

I haven’t had the pleasure to listen to Mr. Prager yet but I will now.
BTW, does your name, originalpechanga, imply that there could be a fauxpechanga? Will I be embarrased to learn what a pechanga is?

SKYFOX on October 31, 2008 at 1:29 PM

His ego is too big and he hawks every gizmo under the sun.

RobCon on October 31, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Dennis is parsing words. Improvement is change.
We can make better arguments than that.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Not if we make words mean whatever suits us at the moment. Words have a precise meaning, and their use in conveying an idea can make the difference between espousing a truth, and leading the masses in deception (or did you need a specific example?).

Beneath much of the clamor over a need for “change,” is a challenge to the very notion of what it means to be America. This is not so much about one party being better than another, as it is about the very idea of deconstructivism, as a means of reforming an orderly society. We do not rest easy in our beds at night when there is rioting in the streets. The only people who benefit from such anarchy, are the anarchists themselves.

Something to think about before we get what we ask for.

manwithblackhat on October 31, 2008 at 2:53 PM

manwithblackhat on October 31, 2008 at 2:53 PM

Again, Dennis is saying that he doesn’t want change, he wants improvement, which is illogical. And Dennis is normally the epitome of logic.

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 3:04 PM

jgapinoy on October 31, 2008 at 3:04 PM

He is careful to draw a distinction between the two words. What is it about that distinction that you find illogical?

manwithblackhat on October 31, 2008 at 3:38 PM

He is careful to draw a distinction between the two words. What is it about that distinction that you find illogical?

Improvement requires change. It’s a rhetoric trick, but it’s a clever one and makes for an interesting speech. But what he has done is give value to a word that had none. He makes change a negative word – it is not – to juxtapose it with improvement. Cute, but sleight of hand.

Spirit of 1776 on November 1, 2008 at 9:42 AM