The Ben Shapiro Phenomena
In 2013, Ben Shapiro made his mark. An editor of Breitbart News
, he had been engaged to appear on the talk show, Piers Morgan Tonight
, to discuss gun control and his novel, Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America
. When Morgan criticised gun owners in light of the Sandy Hook shootings, Shapiro proceeded to lecture him about the Second Amendment, while also telling him he was a bully for demonising people with a different political stance to him. A million views later, and Shapiro had become a viral sensation. Today, he’s one of the most popular talking heads for the right-wing movement. Extremely quick-witted, smart, and entertainingly obnoxious, his fearless takedowns of liberals and his ability to get under their skin have become legendary if you agree with him, irritating if you do not. So is the world a better place with him, or would it be preferable if he just stayed quiet? Hmmm, let’s take a closer look.
How Did We Get Ben Shapiro?
A Harvard law graduate, Ben Shapiro was interested in politics from a very early age. By the age of 17 he had become the youngest ever nationally syndicated columnist, and by the age of 21 he had already written two books – in the first, Brainwashed: How American Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth
, he argued that university students are not exposed to enough variety of viewpoints, and that many are overwhelmed by lectures dominated by liberal-leaning instructors.
To date he has written seven books
, the titles of which are a pretty good indicator of where Shapiro stands politically. Some of the titles include: Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting Our Future
, Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House
, Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV
, and The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration
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Before going on to become editor at conservative news website, Breitbart News
, in 2012, Shapiro also worked in radio production where he was influenced by conservative radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage. Importantly he was a contributor to Truth Revolt
, a now obsolete website that attacked the mainstream media, as well as their secret funders. While it didn’t create much waves, it was here that he met Jeremy Boreing, a Hollywood producer whose advice and assistance played a significant role in Shapiro’s swift and vertiginous rise to the top. After the Piers Morgan interview, Boreing recognised Shapiros’ appeal and began the process of giving him a much louder voice and an even bigger platform to work with.
Shapiro and Boreing went on to establish The Daily Wire,
in 2015, where he was editor-in-chief, plus The Ben Shapiro Show
, a political podcast that by 2017 had been downloaded 10 million times. In 2016, Shapiro resigned from Breitbart News
in protest over its lack of support for reporter, Michelle Fields, in light of her alleged assault by Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Landowski. Breitbart News
would go on to trash Shapiro for leaving, and then retract, while at the same time they were aligning themselves with the alt-right movement under the management of former executive chairman, Steve Bannon: a controversial figure who promoted Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as several extremely far-right ideas. By breaking away, Shapiro removed himself from an increasingly extremist environment and established his own brand, but not without creating controversy of his own.
Ben the Brand: Controversy in the Making
From calling Barack Obama a philosophical fascist, to being attacked on air by a transgender rights activist when he repeatedly referred to her by male pronouns, Shapiro is most definitely not politically correct. He’s anti-abortion, despises victimhood, backs privatising of social security and has called for the lowering of taxes on the wealthy – none of these are considered particularly progressive in liberal terms. But while it might sound like Shapiro is a far-right’s wet dream, it’s worth noting that he has also spoken out against the alt-right movement and has been accused numerous times of not being supportive enough of Donald Trump. Shapiro, who prefers to describe his views as libertarian, clearly loves to debate and is not averse to changing his mind if presented with a cogent defence. Oftentimes though, it is Shapiro who comes out the winner – confident in his beliefs and possessed of one of the sharpest minds and tongues in the business, you’ll need to be pretty confident in your own right to take him on.
Take Him or Leave Him?
So is the world a better place with our without Ben Shapiro? Well, I don’t know if it’s better, but it’s certainly not worse. Shapiro has the kind of views that you’ll either love or hate. Or, if you’re like me, you might just love-hate him. There is a certain pleasure in watching him take down smug, politically correct libs, even if you agree with most of what they’re saying. In short, he’s a thorn in the side of political correctness and liberal ideology, a smart guy whose opinions you might not necessarily get, but who always knows how to deliver them in the most concise and entertaining way. That said, only time will tell if his appeal will last beyond the Donald Trump presidency
– it is, after all, in this highly fractured period in America’s history that his star arose. Until then though, I’m certainly not averse to checking in on what he’s thinking or saying – and who he’s upsetting.