[Rushtalk] Ben Shapiro At His Best
blueoval57 at verizon.net
Sun Feb 4 09:38:39 MST 2018
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*What right not to be offended?*
*by Ben Shapiro January 24, 2018 National Review***
A Canadian professor questions a key tenet of current Leftist thinking.
Earlier this week, Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of
Toronto burst into the international headlines again, this time thanks
to a shockingly polite interview with British interviewer Cathy Newman.
The entire interview was an insipid exercise in Newman attempting to
cram her own words into Peterson’s mouth; as Conor Friedersdorf of The
Atlantic points out, Newman’s technique was to “restate what [Peterson]
said so as to make it seem as if [his] view is offensive, hostile, or
absurd.” Peterson, with the patience and mildness of a saint, doggedly
refused to be boxed in that way.
But the segment of the interview that grabbed the public’s imagination
wasn’t Peterson’s discussion of the wage gap or the biology of
hierarchical relationships. It was a very simple exchange over the value
of truth. Newman questioned Peterson on why he refused to go along with
the trendy leftist cause du jour: using pronouns chosen by individuals
rather than pronouns that describe their biology. “Why should your
freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?”
Newman asked. Peterson, ever the gentleman, answered the question
without guffawing: “Because in order to be able to think, you have to
risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having
right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit
of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather
uncomfortable.” Newman misdirected: “Well, I’m very glad I’ve put you on
the spot.” But Peterson pursued: “Well, you get my point. You’re doing
what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going
on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom
of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to
you, as far as I’m concerned.” Newman had no answer.
Point to Peterson. But despite Peterson’s obvious logic, the Left
refuses to concede this particular point. Any statement — any statement
— must be gauged not only on the basis of its truth-value, according to
the Left, but on the basis of whether such truth is likely to offend —
or, at least, whether such truth is likely to offend groups the Left
perceives as victimized. According to the Left, any and all truth must
take a back seat to “your truth,” so long as you claim minority status
in any way.
There’s heavy irony to the fact that Victorian prudishness of manners
suddenly abounds on the same Left that champions wearing pussyhats and
shouting its abortions. But it’s that Victorian prudishness that tends
to win the day — or at least has, for the past several decades. Perhaps
that’s because many on the right tend to value manners; good religious
men and women studiously avoid causing offense if they have the capacity
to do so. It’s worked, too. The Left has wielded the Right’s preference
for manners as a club against the Right, claiming offense in order to
cow them into silence. The Left has wielded the Right’s preference for
manners as a club against the Right, claiming offense in order to cow
them into silence.
Of late, however, the Left has simply gone too far. No longer do they
ask whether objectively offensive statements ought to be made; they now
take each statement and ask whether it is subjectively offensive to
anyone. First person to claim offense wins. Which is precisely why
Peterson’s logic trips up Newman: He plays her own card against her. By
demonstrating that anyone can be offended by anything, he returns the
conversation from the vague recesses of subjective reaction to the hard
and fast ground of objective truth.
This is the ground on which conservatives should fight, of course:
acknowledgement that while manners matter, truth matters more.
Unfortunately, too many conservatives have responded to leftist
censorship not with truth-above-manners politeness, but with theatrical
displays of unconcern with manners themselves. Rudeness is now seen as a
substitute for facts. If the Left uses manners as a weapon, the logic
goes, let’s just discard manners altogether. But there’s no reason to do
that. We all ought to behave with decency and truth. Those are the twin
pillars of conservatism, after all: virtue and reason. Discarding reason
undermines virtue by replacing virtue with emotion-based reactivity;
discarding virtue undermines the social fabric necessary to undergird
the effectiveness of reason. Yes, let’s behave with manners. But let’s
recognize that only a society that values truth can afford manners.
Ben Shapiro is the editor in chief of the Daily Wire./
Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro: Leftist chaos is forcing people to
Dorothy Cummings McLean LifeSiteNews
LOS ANGELES, February 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews
<https://www.lifesitenews.com/>) – Dr. Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro
agreed with Dave Rubin of the Rubin Report during a live interview
yesterday that left-wing "Social Justice Warriors" were largely
responsible for their surprising rise to fame.
Rubin of the Rubin Report was hosting Peterson of the University of
Toronto and Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the /Daily Wire/. Both are
internationally recognized intellectual mega-stars who champion free
speech, reason, and common sense. Rubin said that all three of them
should be grateful that their opponents had sharpened them
intellectually, given them influence in the public square, and brought
The live show, streamed over YouTube, was upbeat, with Rubin gleefully
predicting a huge audience.
“We are going to crack the internet today,” he said, “because I am
sitting between two people who I think are really at the forefront of
what I think is an ideas revolution on Planet Earth.”
It was an accurate prophecy, for the live feed cut out 6 minutes 40
seconds into the show, and was restored only after a long pause. The
show had over 245,000 views within 20 hours.
Rubin indicated that people are turning to both of his guests for
answers in the intellectual chaos that has ensued “post-Trump.” Rubin
said that Peterson's profile had “exploded” in recent weeks. Shapiro
agreed that Peterson is “the man of the hour.”
The theme of the show was the growing fellowship, or “crew” of
intellectuals coming together in an “ideas revolution” against the
"identity politics" offered by postmodern philosophy. Reason-based
thinkers like Peterson and Shapiro are advocating for "meaning" based on
"purpose" and "personal responsibility" over grievance politics.
“What I‘m hoping is happening,” said Peterson, “is that we’re beginning
to elucidate the fundamental problems of identity politics. Like the
real errors in it... Because I think [postmodernists] are wrong…. That
the path they are choosing is improper.”
He continued, “I think we know enough now to subvert the fundamental
Among these claims is that objective truth does not exist: there are
only “narratives” that advance the power and well-being of one group
After the guests reflected on the “flashpoints” that had made them
famous — Shapiro’s televised “shellacking
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHIQtxLCgrM>” of Piers Morgan,
with Cathy Newman, and Rubin’s discussions with Sam Harris about Islam —
they examined how left-wing media tries, but ultimately fails, to
misrepresent its ideological opponents as villains.
Among other newsmakers the media get wrong is Google ex-staffer James
He was fired from Google in 2017 for circulating an internal memo he
wrote suggesting that there were benign reasons why gender parity does
not exist in technological fields. His employers were horrified by his
assertion that there were biological and psychological differences
between women and men.
Nevertheless, Rubin asked if they all didn’t owe Social Justice Warriors
thanks for forcing their opponents to come out and become part of the
Peterson, a Canadian, is both a professor and a clinical psychologist.
He is the author of the current bestseller /12 Rules for Life: An
Antidote to Chaos/ and an internet sensation. Peterson’s YouTube
channel, “Jordan Peterson Videos,” carries over 300 of his lectures, has
702,000 subscribers, and has had over 30 million views.
A fierce opponent of totalitarianism of any kind, the 55-year-old
professor rose to fame last year after refusing to follow laws enforcing
the use of genderless pronoun preferred by transgender activists. The
psychologist argued that policing language is the first step towards
totalitarianism. Peterson was a leading critic of a Canadian bill (C-16
which added “gender expression” and “gender identity” to Canada’s Human
Rights Code and to the hate crimes section of the Criminal Code.
Shapiro, an American, is a lawyer, conservative journalist and author of
various bestselling books, including /Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of
Fear and Intimidation Silences America/ (2012) and /Brainwashed: How
Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth/ (2004). At age 17, he became
the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the USA. He is also the
host of the top-ranked podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show.” Shapiro is a
noted defender of preborn children. Numerous videos of him out-arguing
abortion activists in front of college audiences have gone viral on
YouTube and Facebook.
Like Peterson, a critic of the far-left stranglehold on the academy,
Shapiro, 34, has worked to loosen its grip through cross-country
speeches and debates. He is a frequent guest on college campuses
throughout the USA. He has been frequently targeted for protests by the
far-left, including violent Antifa activists.
The two men also have Harvard University in common: Shapiro graduated
from Harvard Law School in 2007, whereas Peterson did research and
taught in Harvard’s psychology department as an assistant professor and
then an associate professor from 1993 to 1998.
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