Don’t Give Ben Shapiro Credit for Admitting Defeat

Ben ShapiroBen Shapiro went on the BBC show Politics Live to talk about his new book The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great where he complains that as a society we must be tolerant of each other.[1]

The host of the show, conservative journalist Andrew Neil, asked him to explain how Shapiro’s own career wasn’t contrary to this idea. Instead of answering, Shapiro complained about how unfair the whole thing was.

Shapiro ended the interview shortly after proclaiming (I’m not making this up), “I’m popular and no one has ever heard of you.”

Ben Shapiro Tweets

After the interview, Shapiro tweeted out something that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention:

In this tweet, he is apologizing because he called a conservative a leftist. Everything else was fine. And implicit in this is that somehow his childish behavior would have been okay if Neil had been a leftist? I don’t get it.

But later, he twitter out a face-saving statement:

This is the tweet that far too many liberals are misinterpreting as saying something good about Shapiro. For example, on The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur said, “That’s a good tweet to end it there. There’s a little self-abasement.”

Thankfully, Dan Evans was there to shoot this down. He noted that this was just a standard Shapiro tactic. But the fact is that Uygur’s reaction is what most liberals will have. And that’s why Shapiro uses it. It makes Shapiro look reasonable.

Tweet Doesn’t Mean What It Appears To

Note a couple of things. First, it took Ben Shapiro a full day to come up with that tweet. It came 22 hours after the first “sorry, not sorry” tweet that showed him to be as angry as he was on Politics Live.

More important: what other move did Shapiro have? The video was out. Even assuming that the interview was done by someone like Mehdi Hasan who he would just dismiss, Shapiro still looked like a spoiled child who had never been questioned before. In situations like this, you admit defeat and pretend to be the Big Man. Shapiro is not brilliant and is nothing like what the media portray, but he is relatively smart. He understands how you deal with situations like this.

And look at the tweet itself. There is nothing about acting childishly. His error was just that he didn’t prepare properly!

How would that have changed anything? It might have made him react even worse given that he would have thought he was going into a friendly interview. The only thing that would have changed is that he wouldn’t have made the wildly embarrassing mistake of calling Andrew Neil a leftist.

And that means that Ben Shapiro’s second tweet is really just a more artful version of the first. “I was wrong about Andrew Neil being a leftist but he was still really mean to me!”

Conservative Privilege and Ignorance

This sounds a lot like Megham McCain. For all the complaining about liberal snowflakes, when it comes to celebrities, I see almost exclusively conservatives. They do nothing but whine when the aren’t provided safe-spaces where they are never challenged about their vulgar beliefs.

What’s most amazing about the whole thing is that Ben Shapiro didn’t realize that the media in other countries is different than it is here in the US. Andrew Neil wasn’t asking gotcha questions; he was asking questions. Shapiro had every opportunity to answer them and even contest their assumptions. But instead, he complained about the questions and tried to dismiss them as nothing but a leftist hit job.

The question this raises is how someone like Ben Shapiro could get so much media attention in the US without constantly running into this kind of questioning. He’s supposedly the facts guy. Yet the US media treat him with kid gloves.

But I know the answer to this. Bernie Sanders gets hard questions all the time. Anyone pushing leftist policies does. But American media has been so cowed from five decades of conservative accusations of “liberal bias,” that it just lets all but the most extreme conservative nonsense go back without comment. (And this has led to what is acceptable just getting more and more radical.)

Ben Shapiro Must Be Stopped

People like Ben Shapiro need to be shut down. Their celebrity is heightened be claiming that they are somehow reasonable. Ben Shaprio acts like a petulant child on television and the takeaway is “at least he’s self-aware”? No! He’s a conservative grifter, making money by harming our society and the most vulnerable among us. He is toxic. I don’t care that he’s nice to his dog; we shouldn’t be talking about what is good about Ben Shapiro because none of that has anything to do with his work.

He’s an evil man and he must be stopped. His admitting defeat is part of his work. It is nothing to be even grudgingly positive about.

[1] To be fair, Shapiro isn’t saying that we should all get along. His argument is finely tuned to complain about liberals and to let off conservatives. It’s fine to call liberals fools but wrong to call conservatives racists because of course they never are.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Give Ben Shapiro Credit for Admitting Defeat

  1. I have no knowledge of this man’s work, and no real motivation to acquire any.

    Nor was I familiar with Ms. McCain until she reacted to a perfectly reasonable set of questions from Seth Myers by going into full “bold persecuted conservative” mode. Which “Guardian” columnist Arwa Mahdawi called “toxic femininity.” It’s possibly apt; again, I know nothing of McCain’s act.

    I do know that anybody who makes statements they hope will resonate with a large reactionary audience, then claims they’re willing to be “unpopular” is self-deluded at best, and a full-bore lying asshole at worst.

    Other varieties of “if it makes me unpopular” include “even though it’s not PC to say it” or “I just say what I think.” How convenient that these courageous expressions of an individual’s intellectual liberty just happen to fit nicely with long-established ideological cliches.

    Not everyone who says / types these things is planning to get rich from saying them, but all want the satisfaction of being jerks without anyone responding, “you’re a jerk.” And react poorly whenever anyone does.

    • I think there is a point in most people’s lives when they learn that nothing good follows, “I probably shouldn’t say this…” Unfortunately, a lot of famous people never got to that point. Todd Glass has pointed out, no one ever says, “I hope I’m not being racist, but… I really like flowers.”

      It is particularly annoying that people whose whole act is to provoke reactions whine when they get one. In general, I don’t see this among liberals. It’s a conservative game. Although, in general, liberals who provoke are called comedians. They might talk about politics but they don’t present themselves as serious political thinkers. Ben Shapiro is just a mean young man who never got over being bullied. So he became a bully. Funny that the people who bullied him were probably also conservatives. Tragic that our media take him seriously.

      Of course, Andrew Neil is a piece of work too. I’ve seen him interview Stewart Lee on his non-political show. And Neil found Lee very funny — because he is. And then Neil did this. Oh well. Still miles beyond Ben Shapiro.

  2. Ben Shapiro is a creature of money. The seemingly unlimited pool of money that the right has to sponsor such nobodies. I remember picking up an Ann Coulter book in a bookstore, long enough ago that I was a Republican and I wanted to know what she had to say about whatever the title was. And I quickly put it down, wondering, “Is she being paid by the word? Because there is no other excuse for the way this babbles on without making a case or a point.” I think what makes me hate people like Ben Shapiro and Ann Coulter the most is that they will never know they are charity cases. They will never know how objectively terrible they are at the thing they get paid so much to do. So fucking smug. And they’re rich. And I’m not. And because of those two facts they will never believe I am right and they are wrong.

    • Right! There’s no more certifiable asshole than the person who goes “I’m better and you’re worse because I Have More Money And Fancier Friends, therefore, the great marketplace of Life has determined my superiority.”

      If you push back on this, they will inevitably accuse you of being jealous. What they never, ever get is that, absolutely, you’re jealous. Of the money. That’s it, that’s all. You wouldn’t want their life or their friends, not for all the money in the world, but they can’t grasp this.

      Apparently, this Shapiro asshole’s signature act is touring colleges and mocking earnest young liberals, to the delight of their jerk classmates:

      What a bold truth-teller to the brainwashed campus libs! When I was taking college courses at 40, I scaled down my usual rhetoric when dealing with earnest young conservatives. Surprise surprise, that got a few to actually listen and engage with what I was saying.

      In another Shapiro bit (I guess I’m the only politics reader who’d never heard of him), artist Eli Valley published a wickedly brilliant satiric cartoon about the asshole:

      Naturally, since it was a Jewish liberal criticizing a Jewish conservative, it caused an “antisemitism!” minor kerfluffle.

      This screaming “antisemitism!” at any critic of the Israeli government, or critic of that government’s apologists, is rapidly approaching “boy who cried wolf” territory. There are real antisemitists, and they are very dangerous. And almost all of them hail from the far right.

      • I think it is well past “boy who cried wolf.” There is a real problem with antisemitism in this country. But conservatives are using it in a wholly disingenuous way. And the net result is that real antisemitism gets overlooked in the name of yet another criticism of a Muslim woman discussing anything related to Israel. I also think that the Israeli government has blown it because they picked a side in US politics. There has only been any substantial anti-Israel movement in the Democratic Party since Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that he didn’t support Obama — despite the fact that Obama was critical in the development of Iron Dome. Republicans hate Jews and love Israel. The Republican Party and Israeli government share fascism and so are bound by it.

    • That’s right. But it is no different from all the business people who owe their fortunes to government interference in the market. They are all convinced that they did build that. But how can they do otherwise? They’d have to admit that people getting 50 bucks a week to feed their kids aren’t the real welfare recipients.

      It’s also hard for a conservative “thinker” because their philosophy means that they can’t talk about much other than that the libtards are the real racists.

      • Reasons why James should never be a parent, number 99:

        So my kid brother is 15, 16, or so. I figure he’s old enough to watch “Chinatown.” Grim movie, incest, rape, murder, and directed by a probable child abuser. It’s also a film landmark. And I guessed 15 was old enough to process it.

        My brother was aghast at the ending, as any sane person would be. “The rich guy won!” He was crying.

        I turned to him and said, “if there’s nothing you learn from me in this life, learn this: the rich guy ALWAYS wins. They are fucking jerks and should never be trusted so far as you can throw them.”

        Lesson heard? Be rich! Work for super-jerks, bank mad cash, get every dollar you can grab. Apparently, that was the parental lesson I passed along.

        • I have to think it wasn’t that one experience… I do, however, think that it is important to introduce children to age-inappropriate art. I grew up thinking Vincent Price wanted to kill me in a vat of acid and look how I turned out! Wait, maybe not.

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