A protest by musicians in Santa Monica, objecting to being conducted by the right-wing radio host Dennis Prager, appears to be spilling over into a bigger row about free speech.
Prager has his say in his column this week. He writes: ‘This is a new low for the illiberal left: It is not enough to prevent conservatives from speaking; it is now necessary to prevent conservatives from appearing even when not speaking. Conservatives should not even be allowed to make music.’
He goes on to explain that ‘I conduct orchestras because I love making music. But I also do so because I want to help raise funds for local orchestras (I have never been paid to conduct) and I want to expose as many people to classical music as possible.’
Since he does not take a fee, this enables Prager to pose as a benefactor of orchestras.
There is just one point he overlooks.
Prager is not a trained musician, let alone a conductor. He claims to ‘have studied classical music since high school, when I first began playing piano and studying orchestral scores’, but that does not qualify him to stand in front of a group of highly-trained professionals and expect them to do as he directs.
The issue, as we see it, is not his politics but his fitness to practice.
For Prager, it is only about politics: ‘I have devoted this column to this subject to expose the latest attempt of anti-liberal leftists — the real haters — to shut conservatives out of every form of intellectual and artistic endeavor.’