Everything You Need to Know About Ben Shapiro, in One Tweet

Everything You Need to Know About Ben Shapiro, in One Tweet May 12, 2019


Ben Shapiro, as you will have heard, was “destroyed” in an interview with BBC journalist Andrew Neil. Even Mr. Shapiro admits to his destruction, upon which he cried: “I’m popular and no one’s ever heard of you!” and ran away. (Embrace the argumentum ad populum.) If you’ve not heard about this, the gist of it is that Shapiro was first triggered by Neil’s description of the Georgia abortion law as “barbaric” and a “return to the Dark Ages”; and then, he grew increasingly petulant as Neil confronted him with his own tweets. In one such tweet, Shapiro claimed that Arabs “like to live in open sewage.” In another, Shapiro described Jewish Obama voters as “Jews in name only,” or “JINOs.” How does this constitute civil discourse? Neil asked. Shapiro’s only response was to accuse the conservative Neil of being a “leftist” and asking “gotcha questions”; he never offered any coherent answer, despite his oft-stated claim that he welcomes debates.

After the destruction, Shapiro tweeted the following apology, of sorts:

So we learn several things here.

First, we learn that Ben Shapiro does not prepare for interviews. He does not bother to make himself familiar with the person doing the interview. Perhaps he’s used to being given softball questions from the like-minded, rather than actually being challenged. You can judge that. Mr. Neil, whom Shapiro falsely described as a leftist, read Shapiro’s book, read what he has said, and asked him about his specific words. This, Shapiro characterizes as the gotcha behavior of the left.

Second, we learn that Ben Shapiro, despite all his rhetoric about welcoming a good debate, does not really like to be challenged. Because no sooner is he challenged by an actual journalist than he complains about “antagonism.” This is the behavior of the petulant, not the intellectual.

Third, we learn that Ben Shapiro lies. Mr. Neil did not describe the “pro-life position” as “barbaric.” He said that a law could potentially jail women for having miscarriages was barbaric. And as Neil himself later clarified, the intent of the question was, in so many words, to find out how Shapiro would respond to someone who described Georgia’s law as “barbaric” and a “return to the Dark Ages.” The point was not that this was Neil’s own description of the law.

If you think the characterization “barbaric” is inaccurate, say why. If you think the claim that the Georgia law would jail women for having miscarriages, say why. Or if you think abortion itself is more accurately described as “barbaric” than a law restricting it, point that out.

But Mr. Shapiro said none of these things. He had no response at all, other than to accuse Neil of being a leftist and don outrage that he would describe the “pro-life position” in such a way. But Neil was not talking about “the pro life position” (as though there is such a thing as a single “pro life position”). And Shapiro did not once give an answer to the question; he merely whin that the question could be asked in the first place.

And fourth, we learn that Ben Shapiro is not really intellectually capable of the kind of debate he claims to want. His repeated desire for a “debate” is a ruse. Claiming to want a debate is not having a debate. No sooner is Shapiro actually challenged, than all he can do is complain of antagonism, characterize the questions as leftist, and run away. He does not conceive the possibility that there can be disagreement among pro-lifers about abortion laws.

We learn that Ben Shapiro is not intellectually impressive. And we learn much about the kind of “thinker” the American right holds up as seminal. “I’m popular!” Shapiro cried, as though popularity is a bulwark against intelligence.


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