How Ben Shapiro Tricks People Into Thinking He's An Intellectual (He's Not)

As we all probably know by this point, Ben Shapiro is coming to speak at BU on Wednesday, November 13th, causing outrage and debate all across campus. Is it free speech or hate speech, and what’s the difference? Should he be allowed to speak on campus, and what are the impacts of his words? 

Photo credit: BU Today

Some conservatives have pointed to this situation as an example of how leftists refuse to listen to others with an opposing view, but this is an oversimplification of the argument. Ben Shapiro holds views that are not conducive to the ‘mainstream conservatism’ he insists he represents. He is an incendiary, uses logical fallacies to support his arguments, and despite what he says, he refuses to listen to or think critically about ideas that contradict his own. 

If you are interested in a deeper dive on the topic, I highly recommend watching this YouTube video, which goes into how Shapiro twists facts to fit his narrative and how his words have a dangerous impact. If you don’t have an hour to watch, let me break it down for you. Regardless of whether you agree with Shapiro’s conclusions, the arguments he uses to justify these conclusions are not based on facts or logic, despite representing himself as a facts-based person. 

Shapiro markets himself as an ‘intellectual’, and repeatedly states how “facts don’t care about your feelings”. 

However, when you look into his arguments, they are so clearly based on his own feelings on how he thinks something should be. He then twists and misinterprets facts that seem true on the surface in order to fit his narrative. Shapiro often defends his arguments by giving a hypothetical situation, starting with “let’s say." This gives him the leeway to make up his own scenario in which his argument is correct. That is not based in fact. Shapiro consistently ignores or deliberately misrepresents facts in order to advance his personal agenda. 

Photo credit: The Daily Wire

For example, in order to debunk the idea of white privilege, Shapiro cited a Brookings Institution study, which lists out three rules to follow in order to live a privileged middle-class life: finish high school, don’t have a baby before you’re married, and hold down a job. He states in his video that all you have to do is follow those rules and you’ll be fine regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender.

This is factually incorrect, as countless studies have proven that doing these specific things is harder for people of color due to institutional restraints. What he fails to mention in his video is that the Brookings Institution released a later study (published two years before he made his video) to follow up the first, stating that success following these steps is more likely if you are white. This completely contradicts his argument that white privilege does not exist. This is just one example of how Ben Shapiro ignores facts or completely misinterprets them in order to support what he feels is true. 

Another instance in which he resorts to feelings rather than facts is on the topic of gay marriage. 

Instead of following facts to a conclusion, Ben starts with a conclusion, and then finds the facts to back them up. This is the opposite of how to construct a logical argument. Ben starts from the conclusion that gay marriage and homosexuality is wrong and sinful because his religion tells him so. He then states that due to his belief (a feeling) in his religion, you “have to come up with some sort of justification for the rules being expressed” by the Bible. He starts from this feeling and then misinterprets facts to justify that feeling.

For example, he states that straight couples are better suited to raising children than gay couples, which has been disproven by countless studies. Ben Shapiro is not an intellectual, he just talks fast and misinterprets facts in order to provide the illusion of a logical argument. 

Ben Shapiro’s words are incendiary. They have directly inspired violence and terrorism. He refuses to take any responsibility for the impact of his rhetoric. Ben Shapiro has a large following; therefore, he has a lot of influence. This comes with a certain level of responsibility. In 2016, a man shot up a mosque in Quebec, killing six people. In his trial, it was revealed that he had visited the Twitter accounts of many alt-right and what supremacist figures. Topping off that list was Ben Shapiro.

This should have been a moment of reflection for Ben, to realize how his fear-mongering of immigrants and Muslims were having a profound effect on the people who watch and listen to him. 

However, he brushed this off, minimizing the effect of his words on his large audience. This isn’t just one instance either. A man in Indiana who pled guilty to vandalizing a synagogue stated in his trial that, “conservative media outlets and commentators helped radicalize him, specifically naming conservative commentator Ben Shapiro." Ben refuses to recognize the influence of his words and deflects responsibility for the radicalization he has caused. 

Whether you agree with Ben Shapiro or not, he is not an intellectual debater. He does not follow his own motto of “facts don’t care about your feelings," and his arguments represent the complete opposite of this mantra. His words have an impact. In fact, they have a track record of inciting violence and hate. Moreover, a lot of Ben’s positions are a direct attack on members of the BU community. It is fair that students don’t want their tuition dollars going towards supporting a man who does not support their right to exist in peace.

 

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