“Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings”

Ben Shapiro is a conservative media commentator and the editor-in-chief of an extremely conservative publication, The Daily Wire.  He holds far-right political beliefs that dehumanize marginalized groups with an incredible disregard for empathy. People of this nature are widely known—the Trump era has empowered them. However, Shapiro has the platform and the power to influence people into believing his opinions are fact, targeting students at university campuses. He often speaks in an accelerated pace, with no evidence for his audacious statements. Due to this rapid factually falsified articulation, it’s difficult for people who have credible, source-backed information to debate him.

You can oftentimes hear him saying “facts don’t care about your feelings” which is quite peculiar as his “facts” are largely his opinions. Here are some of his self-stated “facts” invalidated by credible sources (we have provided accessible links throughout—if you want to check the validity of the source, go to mediabiasfactcheck.com).

Trans rights:

Shapiro believes transgender people and their supporters deny what he considers biological reality, writing “You can’t magically change your gender. You can’t magically change your sex. You can’t magically change your age.” He has also described being transgender as a mental disorder.

There is no disputing the fact that gender is a part of our daily lives. Everyone “does” gender—our society, in a way, revolves around it. In this vein, gender is not a choice. It is something that is socially constructed, ascribed to learned behaviors and roles by society, history, institutions, and actions. People who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth do not have a choice. To provide some evidence, intersex people exist. These are people who are born with ambiguous genitalia, hormones, or other biological factors that present difficulties in fitting into the familiar and socially accepted gender categories.

People who are intersex are oftentimes forced into these restrictive gender categories at birth with no appraisal and generally no consent during medical gender reassignment surgeries. These people do not “magically change their sex” it is something that is forced upon them. This fact proves that not only is gender socially constructed, but the concept of sex is as well, with no substantive evidence to support the fact that these people are “mentally ill.” There is little to no reason to continue to comply with these rigid and senseless gender categories, as this is not “biological reality.” It is a socially constructed reality.

People who do not identify as the gender they were assigned with at birth are often dehumanized; however, they have the same goals and ambitions as anyone else does in a capitalistic society. Not only people like Ben Shapiro, but also the majority of the world’s perspective on gender makes people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth extremely vulnerable. Due to our insulation into these restrictive and useless gender categories, those who do not comply are unfamiliar, thus targets of violence. More than half of transgender male teens reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent has attempted suicide at some point in their lives. This is outrageous. Treating people with basic human respect in an effort to save a life should not be debated (which is a great segue into our next topic, and the contradictions that lie in his beliefs)

Abortion:

Shapiro supports a ban on abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. He has referred to women who have abortions as “baby killers.”

A ban on abortion will not stop pregnant people from getting abortions. It does, however, put a ban on safe abortions and engenders major health problems and oftentimes death. Unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide and lead to an additional five million largely preventable disabilities, according to the WHO. His statement regarding “including in cases of rape and incest” is simply abominable. We do not have the ability to put into words how incredibly repulsive this is.

Jutting in with commentary, it baffles us that people like this have such an extreme disregard for people’s autonomy and lives. In our eyes, this belief does not stem from the protection of a potential life (they obviously do not care about lives when it comes to LGBT people, victims of gun violence, and lives in developing countries). It stems from a need to strip women and those who have the ability to conceive children of a basic right to body autonomy.

Xenophobia:

In a 2002 article, Shapiro wrote “I am getting really sick of people who whine about ‘civilian casualties’… when I see in the newspapers that civilians in Afghanistan or the West Bank were killed by American or Israeli troops, I don’t really care.” Shapiro declared that “One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian,” accusing Afghan civilians of being “fundamentalist Muslims” who provide cover for terrorists or give them money.

Shapiro later retracted this statement in saying that the article was, “just a bad piece, plain and simple, and something I wish I’d never written.” His rhetoric here is extremely telling—he does not regret what he said, in fact, he stated he agrees with the main point in his follow-up article. This extreme disregard for human life is quite contradictory to his statements on banning abortion, not to mention xenophobic. Not only is his statement completely inhumane, he uses a homogenization tactic, where he groups all Middle Eastern human beings together under the title of “terrorist.” This is an effective tactic, where cultural homogenization is used to justify and facilitate oppression. Needless to say, all people who live in the Middle East are not terrorists and deserve to live despite their country of origin.

Israeli/Palestinian conflict:

In 2007, Shapiro argued that “the Palestinian-Arab population is rotten to the core” and asserted that because “an entire population [is] corrupted by bloodthirsty anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism,” punishing Palestinian leaders is insufficient: “Collective choices require collective treatment.”

Here is some history on this situation for those who are unaware:

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire following the aftermath of World War I, the Middle East was secretly divided and placed into colonized rule by Britain and France. In response to anti-semitic and nationalist movements in Europe, Britain drafted the Balfour Declaration in 1917. This prompted the immigration of Jews to Palestine in a Zionist movement. Putting this in perspective, this would be like a person walking into your home and claiming it belonged to them now. This is comparable to Europeans invading Indigenous land in 1492 and the Apartheid in South Africa. While this immigration of Jews was largely forced (there was a considerable amount of immigration due to Zionism), their actions towards Palestinians since then is where the problem arises. Israeli people often treat Palestinians inhumanely and are accused by the UN of commiting crimes against humanity. The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such. Palestinians are now victims of oppression by Israelis.

Now, with an understanding of the basic history of this conflict, Palestinian contempt for Jewish people is not held against their religious beliefs. Palestinians and people who support Palestinians are not anti-semitic—they just do not support state sponsored terrorism by a government that is not justly constructed. The recognition of Palestine as “Israel” is false, and shows a blatant disregard for Palestinian lives that are lost in this conflict.

Climate change:

On the topic of climate change, Shapiro stated in a video, “The earth—basically—has not been warming for the past 15 years or so.” He continues to talk about how different figures are nonsense (even though they are reliable) and then says,“Nobody…[can] tell you what we’re supposed to do about climate change.”

This is highly inaccurate. In a Global Climate Report by the NOAA, it is reported that the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970. Combined with this fact, it is interesting to note why Shapiro, a Harvard alum, believes that climate change does not exist. Following the money,The Daily Wire is owned by Forward Publishing LLC, which is owned and managed by the Wilks Brothers who worked in the fossil fuel industry with their company Frac Tech, which is how they made billions.

In response to the second quote, this is completely untrue. Environmentalists, scientists, governments, and activists have come up with solutions that would call for radical change on the way we consume material goods, our relationship with the environment, and the systemic nature of our societies. There is so much that can be done on an individual, local, and global aspect, yet people like Ben Shapiro are hindering productive action.

Gun control:

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, Shapiro argued that “banning all guns would be unwise as well as immoral,” but “we must balance the need and right to firearms with public policy concerns, including the risk that a machine gun will be used in public.” Shapiro suggested that policy makers “should look at ways of enforcing federal laws banning the sale of guns to the mentally ill.”

Gun policy needs to change. However, the suggestion Ben Shapiro prosed allows potential shooters to fall through the cracks. Using the Las Vegas shooter as an example, he had no prior evidence of mental illness. While these acts of terrorism may have ties to mental illness, this often goes unnoticed in the process of purchasing a weapon, even with federal regulation laws. Red flags of mental illness can only be defined retrospectively.

Racism:

Shapiro has argued that African-Americans were historically victims of injustice in the United States but that they are not victims of widespread systemic injustice today.

This is a post-race ideology, based on the premise that racial injustice is a matter of the past and we do not currently live in a racist society today. Post-racial ideology structures institutional racism and stifles racial literacy. It shapes the degree to which average people believe race to be an issue worthy of concrete policy, and influences explicit rejections of policy implementation that address racism as an issue. In reality, we do live in a racist society today. Take Dr. Harron’s word for it—a current instructor at Ben Shapiro’s Alma Mater: Harvard University. He explains that, “Race or racial ideology runs deep in our history and culture. In certain ways, it’s at the core of our political culture. Our identities are shaped by race. So, given its centrality in our history, it’s not surprising that it continues to be relevant.”

Evidence for institutionalized racism in America today:

  • Black Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites, and the negative impact of a criminal record is twice as large for African American applicants in job prospects.
  • Indigenous people are killed in police encounters at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group.
  • Black households have only 10 cents in wealth for every dollar held by white households.
  • When all age groups are examined, black students are three times more likely to be suspended than white students, even when their infractions are similar.
  • Redlining, which essentially barred minority populations from sharing in the American Dream and building wealth like their white counterparts, was officially outlawed in the ’60s, but the practice really never went away. In fact, during the Great Recession, banks routinely and purposely guided black home buyers toward subprime loans. A recent study demonstrated that people of color are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than whites.

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