Anyone who believes that traditional values are worth spreading should be donating to the extraordinary organization called Prager University. Founded in 2011 by radio talk show host Dennis Prager and his executive producer Allen Estrin, Prager U focuses primarily on creating approximately five minute long videos explaining Conservative philosophy with superb clarity. In five short years, the non-profit company quickly amassed over 200 million views in 2016 and is estimated to garner over 500 million views in 2017. Wow! Prager U videos are freely available through its social media presence, smartphone app and website. In addition to succinctly explaining conservatism to a mass audience, the series of educational videos utilizes a visually compelling style of animated presentation. This approach ensures that the videos created would appeal to the broadest age range possible. In fact, the company states that no less than 63% of its YouTube viewers are 35 years old or younger. This is of course fantastic news as persuading a politically engaged younger demographic is key to the advancement of a Conservative agenda in the long term.
Prager U expertly bridges multiple weak points in the Right’s effort to strengthen its ideological presence. Firstly, the videos themselves are designed and marketed professionally across the various digital platforms. This polished finish is reflected in the combined production costs of $50,000 per video. Secondly, many conservative ideas require an investment of time and patience to fully explain to the layman. Sophisticated topics ranging from tax policy to the history of the American involvement in Vietnam and analyzing the Iranian nuclear deal are all substantively addressed in a relatively short period of time. This combination of clarity and brevity is the intellectual legacy of the organization’s main founder – Dennis Prager – who has had a long and respected career as a public intellectual. Thirdly, Prager U uses speakers who themselves have eminent backgrounds including prominent journalists, respected authors and accomplished professors and businesspeople. This means that despite not being an accredited university itself, the company nevertheless promotes its ideas via presenters possessing well-established and widely accepted credentials. This system results in a mutually beneficial relationship – Prager U gains gravitas but also various experts are brought together and raise their own academic profile by being part of an all-star team. In terms of common sense insight on human nature and psychology, Prager U has distinguished itself as one of the most important ‘universities’ in the world.
The combination of the above factors has exponentially increased Prager U’s ‘virality’ potential across social media websites. Conservative opinions considered controversial or out of the mainstream are explained in an engaging yet level-headed, fact-based manner. This is no small accomplishment. In order to break through the tacit political discrimination widely practiced by the mainstream media, some on the right become provocateurs to attract attention to themselves and their ideas. Glenn Beck, Milo Yiannopoulos and occasionally Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have embodied this artistry. This is however a double-edged sword as it makes easy fodder for other purveyors of news to make claims of brutishness, meanness, or insensitivity to a host of supposed victim groups. Those on the right politically may use these videos as part of their repertoire and can be confident that they will not be stuck defending a misspoken word or inaccurate data. Independents and liberals will undoubtedly find some of the non-partisan videos quite informative.
Understanding the underlying philosophy informing a political position acts as a mental barrier against the constant flow of news coverage from diverse sources. Having perspective on why the Middle East is in such turmoil allows impressionable minds to filter out the relentless anti-Israel media coverage. Accurately describing the 2003 American war in Iraq exposes the “Bush lied people died” mantra as disingenuous. The conceptual and permanent nature of the videos also allows educators to use them in more formal settings. A growing number of teachers and professors use the material in their classes. The Student Ambassador program encourages ambitious youngsters to advocate traditional values on their campuses. It should be self-evident that harnessing the power of technology for both offensive and defensive action regarding one’s principles needs to become an enshrined practice. Something analogous to this foundation should have been initiated at least twenty years ago or as soon as the internet had demonstrated its usefulness. Nevertheless, as the saying goes “better late than never” for Prager U. It is one of the best places to make a donation among the many competing alternatives.
*Please Note: This blog has no affiliation with Prager U or any of its related organizations.*