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I’ve been listening to Ben Shapiro intensely for over two years. I’ve been a regular listener, but not because I respect his points of view on any subject, and especially not because I love the tone of his voice, but because I’ve been preparing for the future. A few years ago, I decided to change the way I communicate with people of a different ideological persuasion. The Brexit debate had taught me something intriguing about how two opposing forces actually discuss their opinions. Most sticking points in any argument over such a divisive issue were usually because of the language used. People would often become offended enough to halt the discussion and declare someone an obvious racist, or a wet liberal. This would then lead to an exchange of personal insults, and/or virtue signaling, followed by the end of discussing any real issue. I thought that was not how adults were meant to act, but to be honest it seems as though the majority of people are only capable of a discussion with people who wholeheartedly agree with all of their opinions. Houses all over the world are filled with people of similar views agreeing with each other, and cursing their joint ideological enemies. How are we meant to get anywhere if we are incapable of having a simple discussion about policies with the people we oppose? So I decided to learn how to listen to the enemy.
Looking for an enemy
I quickly realised that I needed somebody controversial and outspoken, who would normally send me into a red haze. Finding someone who makes me that angry is actually quite difficult. I have a pretty good ability to sit, and listen to stuff that many may find indigestible. My first stop was Sam Harris. I had listened to some of Sam Harris’ more anti-Islamic rhetoric before, and become enraged; I was intoxicated by virtuous thoughts you could say. I saw much of Harris’s opinions on Islam as purposely divisive, and unnecessary at a time when the War on Terror had already fueled so much Islamophobia. The problem I encountered was that I found Sam Harris to be a pleasant fellow. Harris has an extensive back catalogue of Podcasts, and books, and is much less divisive than I had first thought. His ability to discuss subjects calmly, even against the more reactionary debaters, was completely inspiring. A lot of Harris's teachings are about mindfulness, meditation, and peaceful coexistence.
I wouldn’t have to travel far to start on my next attempt on my journey towards Shapiro. The forming of the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ meant that some of the people who were supposedly controversial were helping create a forum for their free speech debate. Jordan B. Peterson soon came into my radar as an outspoken, trans-hating, Christian moralist who was creating waves. But when I got to know Dr Peterson’s views, I was amazed by how misrepresented he was by the mainstream media. Peterson argued against compelled speech. He did not want to be forced by law to use invented gender pronouns. Peterson made it clear that this was not to do with transphobia, but rather he was making a very important point about how free speech works. I wasn’t very good at opposing Dr. Peterson, and instead I spent six months reading his books, and watching every lecture he had ever uploaded to the internet.
But by then I had found Ben Shapiro. He was exactly what I was looking for. Somebody who I could barely stand listening to, even before I got to his abhorrent views. I had already been exposed to Ben Shapiro via the Intellectual Dark Web. At first I couldn't manage to get through five minutes of his whiny tone, and completely over-inflated ego, but that’s what I wanted to learn to change about myself. I soon realised that something wasn't quite right with how he posed his arguments. Shapiro shot to fame by being one of the most influential pro-life, gun rights, Israel supporting, anti-trans activists who would appear on mainstream programming in the US. His humiliation of Piers Morgan on live TV made him a sudden sensation to the conservative faithful. Soon, after spending some time getting to know Ben Shapiro’s work, I started to hear his name over and over. Many people on the right would call him a “genius,” and a “hero.”
Everyday I listened to Ben Shapiro's whiny voice complain about left wing politics. He’s very skilled at finding angles for arguments that other people couldn’t, or wouldn’t use. He was obviously doing something very different from many of the other conservative commentators. So, what are the tactics that Ben Shapiro deploys to win in a debate?
He frames his opponent and their argument.
As a substitute for having valid points, or a position with substance, Shapiro will start on the offensive. Because many of Shapiro’s arguments breakdown quickly under any kind of scrutiny, he will use every dirty trick in the book to make the debate about his opponents views. If his opponent is prepared for personal attacks then this is more difficult, which is why Shapiro chooses his battles carefully. To overcome any factual retort from his enemy, Shapiro will label the person–he is supposed to be honestly debating–as something he already has the verbal ammunition to argue against. Shapiro is very open about the way he defeats opponents, and he has even given lectures on framing people who he considers as on the left of him, politically speaking. This is a method used to superficially defeat an opponent, rather than tackling the topics head-on. This technique has won him thousands of arguments as people tend to prepare to debate the issues, rather than prepare to defend attacks on their own ethical or moral values.
If Shapiro is allowed to frame a person like this, then, as far as his viewers are concerned, he is the winner. However, this is a faux victory. He hasn’t defeated the argument, but instead he has defeated the person arguing against him. And like any good street magician would, Ben Shapiro uses two tricks together to distract you. He’ll combine two fallacies to make his methods less distinguishable. He’ll combine the strawman fallacy to weaken his opponents argument, and then he uses the ad hominem fallacy to finish off his foe with personal attacks. In combining two of the most popularly utilised fallacies, and talking at high speed, his methods are successful in helping Shapiro win the vast majority of his debates. Shapiro’s interview with BBC’s Andrew Neil was an example of when this approach fails the cocky conservative. Shapiro, who must have skipped learning anything about Andrew Neil, accused the right leaning ex-Murdoch pressman of being a leftist. It was one of the rare times that Shapiro would have to end the interview early, as it was becoming an embarrassment for both Shapiro, and his Daily Wire podcast. This happened because Andrew Neil has been conducting biting interviews since before Ben Shapiro appeared from his mother's belly. Shapiro uses techniques as a substitute for knowledge, and this can be easily neutralised by a high calibre professional journalist, or even Andrew Neil.
He uses his religion to claim moral superiority.
Ben Shapiro’s loyal army of followers will find it almost impossible to use his arguments themselves, unless they are Jewish. Shapiro’s pro-life views, and his traditional values have been moulded by his strict adherence to Judaism. He has no qualms about using his religion to claim moral superiority over his opponents.
He is an unflinching supporter of Netanyahu’s brutal, and inhumane tactics in the war against the Palestinian people. Ben Shapiro will support even the most vile of the Israeli government's actions. For many people supporting Israel’s savage policies, its blockade, its targeting of civilian locations, and their theft of Palestinian land is unacceptable. However, Ben Shapiro is one of the most vocal, and ferocious supporters of the Israeli regime and its obvious war crimes.
Shapiro also uses his conservative upbringing to encourage a more traditional way of living. So, homosexuality and trans issues are often keenly discussed negatively by the seemingly homophobic Shapiro. These are topical issues that have been heavily debated for decades, but to Ben Shapiro, the breakdown of what he describes as ‘Judeo-Christian’ society is the root cause of almost every modern issue.
This leaves Ben Shapiro extremely exposed to arguments from atheists who do not find any modern relevance in religious doctrine. When discussing abortion he will often argue that life begins at conception, stating that his views are backed up by science, but Shapiro rarely produces firm scientific evidence for his claims. If his lack of evidence is questioned, then he will resort to insults, and speaking over his opponent.
He targets young people.
There are many videos online showing apparent Ben Shapiro victories against what are referred to as ‘Social Justice Warriors.’ This started when many campuses refused to give a platform to speakers like Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Jordan Peterson, and other controversial conservatives. This SJW movement played directly into the hands of Ben Shapiro. His appearance at the Berkeley Campus resulted in rioting, and a bill of around $600,000,00 for security costs.
Ben Shapiro enjoys his visits to campuses around the US. They supply him with free publicity, and help him to enjoy his No. 1 pastime of bullying young people. His ability to frame someone’s argument is not so useful when he opposes a lifelong journalist like Andrew Neil, but it is a fantastic tool for destroying students. University is the place where people learn how to debate, and argue using facts, which is why Ben Shapiro loves an audience of the almost educated. His debating techniques are brutal when used against someone who is yet to learn how to professionally discuss issues publicly. He is always on the prowl for a group of confident young people to smash in a debate.
Whataboutism is most of his game.
When Ben Shapiro discussed the accusations of 'whataboutism,' which have been leveled at him, and his ilk, he did it with a worried look on his face. This is the technique Ben Shapiro uses on most occasions, when responding to any political topic that he has no real answers for. Instead of offering alternative solutions to complex political issues, Ben Shapiro says, "But, what about Obama, and/or the Democrats!?"
Shapiro will use 'whataboutism' to deflect almost every question that he cannot answer. He will often try to disguise this technique as it's his main port of call in any storm. Calling out hypocrisy is important, but should never be used to replace the truth. Once you realise that most of his arguments are based around another fallacy then you can see very quickly that Emperor Ben Shapiro is completely stark naked.
Why care about Ben Shapiro?
Prepare yourselves. Ben Shapiro will one day run for the Presidency of the United States of America. His more traditional values will mobilise the religious vote behind him, and in that election year, whenever it may be, Ben Shapiro is likely to win. Once upon a time, people would have a hard time believing that someone as divisive as Ben Shapiro could ever be PUSA, but we're now living in a post-Trump world, and so only the most naive would presently believe that Shapiro could never be president.
President Shapiro's policies, and views would be a step backward for civilised society. You will not be able to fight him unless you can see what he's doing, and who he really is.
I've now stopped listening to the Ben Shapiro Daily Wire podcast. This hasn't only been better for my eardrums, but also I don't walk down the street swearing as much as I would with Shapiro's deception, and lies ringing in my ears. But I do believe that you must hear out your ideological enemies, you must learn to counter their attacks, and learn how to fight back effectively. De-platforming people who you disagree with will lead to a dystopian society. Instead, listen to them, and learn their techniques. Use your ability to speak truth to defeat your enemy.
PS, One last thing. Immediately go to ITunes and rate Ben Shapiro’s podcast as low as possible. He’ll hate that.