Why I Didn’t Protest Ben Shapiro Even Though I Can’t Stand Him

I do not like Ben Shapiro. I do not like him in a box, I do not like him wearing socks. I do not like him here or there and certainly not anywhere near my school. Aside from his political views, most of which I disagree with vehemently, his rhetoric and the way he treats people absolutely repulses me.  It makes me sad and angry that Boston University is giving this man a platform to speak, and even angrier that they are paying for it.

 

And yet, I didn’t protest it. For a while, I did entertain the idea. I support students’ rights to protest him coming and think it is an apt expression of the First Amendment. I don’t think barring Shapiro from speaking at BU violates the First Amendment because it only takes away his ability to speak at a specific platform, not his right to speak anywhere ever. In the end, I decided not to protest because I know that’s exactly what Shapiro wants. It’s what YAF wants. And it’s what the alt-right wants.

For Shapiro, the more people protest him, the more publicity he gets, which can only help him. Furthermore, he tells his fans that it’s an example of the left displaying discrimination or denying reason, and there are people who love him and cling to his every word, so they believe him. This means more people buy his books, watch his interviews, and share his articles, which adds up to… you guessed it: more money and fame for him. Also, I get the distinct feeling that Shapiro gets great satisfaction from people protesting him. Although I don’t know him, I know someone who thrives off of negative attention when I see one. Personally, I refuse to give that to him.

As for YAF, I’m sure they’re thrilled their event is getting advertised without any effort on their part. In fact, I’m sure they’re laughing at protesters for giving them the free publicity they want. And like Shapiro, many of them thrive on negative attention. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you a story. Last semester, YAF invited Matt Walsh, who works alongside Shapiro at The Daily Wire, and who I would say is an even worse person. Here is a sample of some of the things he’s said:

-The idea that depression comes from chemical imbalances in the brain is a myth perpetuated by psychiatrists, who are actually just drug dealers. (here)

-Wives need to show their husbands respect even if they don’t deserve it.(here)

-If a woman doesn’t make her husband feel like a man, she can’t be surprised if she doesn’t make him feel like a man. Also, she’s supposed to do the cooking and the cleaning. (here)

-LGBTQ rights don’t exist. Asking Christians to bake a cake for a gay wedding is comparable to asking a black person to bake a cake for a KKK meeting. (here)

-People shouldn’t go to college because he flunked out of high school and often received zeroes on tests. (here) 

 

Yeah. Gross. Since he’s not too famous, no one at BU really heard or cared that he was coming, hence no protest. YAF members put up flyers advertising and asked to know if anyone vandalized them. The flyers were left predominantly untouched, and I think they were kind of bummed. Also, here is what Walsh tweeted about speaking at Baylor University right before he came to BU:

 

 

Photo Credit: Twitter

Besides the blatant heresy of expressing disappointment in Christians protesting him (the only person the Bible teaches shouldn’t be questioned is, in fact, God Himself), it seems suspiciously like he’s crestfallen BU didn’t protest him. Why did he tweet about it otherwise? He could have just said he was upset that Baylor protested him without bringing up BU. Right now, I would bet serious money that he is seething with jealousy that Shapiro is getting so much more attention than he did.

Lastly, I feel like I need to bring up the alt-right. This is how they recruit. They take protests like these and tell young conservatives, “See, they hate us.  They hate us just for what we believe. They hate us for being white, straight, and men. We are victims. We are discriminated against.”  Bullshit or not, it’s obviously effective because people are joining the alt-right in droves. I can’t claim to know the solution to the growing alt-right, but I can’t see how this could be it.

Sometimes I still wonder if I did the right thing by sitting out the protest and if going would have been a better way to stand up for what I believe. While I respect the protesters, I personally don’t feel that Shapiro deserves my time. He works to provoke people into anger so that he can mock their emotions, and I won’t give him the satisfaction of doing that to me.

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