On Wednesday, I co-hosted a screening for Ben Shapiro’s visit to the University of Utah. Prior to the event, a viewer who’s fairly new to politics and hadn’t heard of Ben Shapiro until a month ago (which, let’s be real, how is that even possible?) told me that while he agreed with Ben on gun rights, he didn’t think Shapiro’s argument was all that great. Then he asked me for my take.
Quickly, for those who are unfamiliar with Shapiro’s history of destroying Piers Morgan on the 2nd Amendment, here’s Ben’s basic approach: “The basis for the Second Amendment is not really about self defense, and it’s not about hunting. It’s about resistance to government tyranny. That’s what the Founders said, and that’s what the right believes in this country.”
I restated Ben’s argument and stressed the importance of shifting the debate to remember the core principle of the issue, but then I turned to another source who one might not immediately consider when citing constitutional scholarship: Steven Crowder.
Crowder’s oft-quoted meme on the 2nd Amendment is, “Why do I need an AR-15? Because go f*** yourself.” The question isn’t whether I need a gun but the mere fact that I want one and it’s my right so I’m getting one. Why do you need your iPhone, flat screen, fidget spinner, or Taco Bell? It’s irrelevant. Your money is yours to spend pretty much however you want, up to and including a gun if you so choose, and except in rare conditions, the government can’t stop you.
The real question isn’t why I need it, but who gave the government permission to stop me.
The man said he thought I had a more convincing argument than Ben, which is 100% the highest compliment a conservative can receive.
But I didn’t let it get to my head for two reasons: 1) it was just a mix of two ideas others have been sharing for years, one of them Shapiro himself, and 2) it made me realize the importance of distinct conservative personalities.
Analysis: Shapiro vs. Crowder
Before I go any further, no one can intelligently refute that Ben Shapiro is one of the sharpest and all-around best debaters in modern history. He knows and implements all the right tactics in just the right combinations based on his opponent’s typical strategy and weaknesses. He literally wrote the handbook on this with his bestseller Bullies, and he frequently speaks on how to use the Left’s talking points against them.
That said, he has a very unique brand that doesn’t lend itself to certain audiences, and depending on his goal, he may speak very differently. In debate, you are not trying to convince your opponent of anything; you’re trying to show the crowd that you know better than your opponent and that he’s a stooge. This is Shapiro’s bread and butter.
In dialogue, however, you actually do want to find some common ground, and Ben’s strategy here, conscious or not, is typically to prove his point analytically through philosophical reasoning. Personally, I love this. But it doesn’t impact everyone the same way.
For example, at the University of Utah, Ben was asked to provide evidence for the existence of God, the soul, and free will. To be fair, this is a deeply philosophical question — the kind Ben attracts because he’s so brilliant. But the first words out of his mouth were, “All right, I’m gonna give you the Aristotelian slash Aquinas argument for the existence of a God,” and he continued in that vein, citing the concepts of actuality vs. potential, contingency, an infinite regress of causes, and the unmoved mover.
Not everyone speaks this language. I’d bet that many people don’t know that Aristotelian (especially when hearing it rather than reading it) relates to Aristotle. Of course, I loved his answer, but I’ve read Aristotle. And although I haven’t read Thomas Aquinas, I’m acquainted. But I also watch C-SPAN in my spare time, so I’m clearly not the metric by which one should measure public political interest.
Bottom line: there is none greater than Ben Shapiro in the modern conservative movement. But going with pure Shapiro as a communication tactic might not be enough to attract the largest base. I don’t think Shapiro believes that either.
Enter Steven Crowder.
Crowder’s approach is comedic, irreverent, and inflammatory. He’s not a provocateur like a certain flamboyant, pro-pedophilia, Alt-Right apologist whose name I won’t dignify; Crowder’s schtick is actually incredibly substantive, and in some cases, as with his recent undercover exposé on Antifa, legitimately groundbreaking.
He intentionally triggers Leftists, but not just for the sake of triggering. He educates by debunking historical myths, exposing corruption, and rebutting culturally popular political lies from the likes of John Oliver, Vox, and Samantha Bee.
Ben Shapiro is fully capable of inciting outrage with witty one-liners (hence the thug life videos); it’s just not how he leads. Steven Crowder is highly intelligent and often delves into deeper territory than just politically infused comedy, or even comically infused politics, but he does so in a way that makes sense to someone with any level of political expertise.
I don’t hesitate at all in saying that Ben Shapiro knows more than Steven Crowder about political theory, I can say with equal confidence that Crowder is more effective at communicating with the average listener.
Glenn Beck speaks on the radio and asks the question: Is Ben Shapiro the new William F. Buckley?
Opinion: The argument over free speech: intellectually shallow, vitally important | Opinion | ocolly.com
On the right you have individuals like Charlie Kirk and Steven Crowder, two people I’ll admit to otherwise enjoying, who spend most of their time lambasting the millennial generation of being soft and unable take criticism, that they are in social and political echo-chambers. Largely, this line of reasoning is unproductive, meaning it is unlikely to change the mind of its opponents, and, as I’ve been alluding to, it lacks real intellectual heft. That being said, however, this argument has an equally simplistic counterpart.
Erich: Do you see your role, in part, then as guiding the opposition to the Left towards a grounding in a set of principles such as constitutionalism rather than encouraging opposition to the Left by hook or by crook?
Ben: Yes that’s the idea. The idea is to understand why the Left despises the Right and understand that the replacement for that is not a tribalism of the Right but rather a universalism within the founding principles.
Both are indispensable to conservatism.
Ben Shapiro is the William F. Buckley of our generation. If you’ve never seen Buckley’s show Firing Line, you need to right now.
But Steven Crowder is this generation’s Rush Limbaugh, and that title shouldn’t be treated lightly.
I can’t imagine where conservatism would be without either of these legends, regardless of the contrast between Buckley’s reserved intellectualism and Limbaugh’s affinity for sports and song parodies.
At their core, Ben is a thinker and Steven is a comic. Both are brilliant, and they’re exactly what conservatism needs. And whether you’re cut from the Crowder cloth or you lean Shapiro, whether you’re a mix of the two or something else entirely, conservatism needs you too.
Armbands and the death of a Republic
Weeks ago, David Hogg and sister unleashed a new fashion statement for “their” movement. In an attempt to copy Tinker, they want people to protest guns by wearing armbands. The movement Lauren Hogg named #ArmbandsForChange encourages students to make their own armbands, a surprising move for people trying to capitalize off of the death of 17 students. Nonetheless, obvious criticism and comparisons to Nazis ensued. However, I believe Corey Stallings of LowderWithCrowder correctly opined:
Before you break out the hammer and nails to crucify me, I’m not saying the kids are Literally Hitler. I’m not a leftist, after all. I know their choice of armbands wasn’t intentional and they’re copying student hippies from the ’60s. Alls I’m saying is a group of armband-clad underaged lemmings marching in the name of big government isn’t the best look, regardless of their intentions.
We have to cut the kids a little slack on account of their ignorance. They lack experience and perspective to understand the complexities of issues and their actions. This is also why it’s silly to let them dictate American gun policy.
Also, while we’re on the subject, armbands, ribbons, and other grandstanding gestures don’t do anything for a cause. I have yet to find a single person who changed their opinion on a subject thanks to a clever Twitter hashtag. Facts and stats, on the other hand, are effective like Michael Moore taste-testing for Little Debbie. Unfortunately for anti-gunners, facts to back up their views are scarce. Which leads to the dependence on superficial gestures. Which might accidentally harken back to Nazis.
The March for Gun Confiscation is taking place, and while armbands aren’t a major theme, the implications of what they are doing are a reason for liberty overs everywhere to brace themselves. Mob mentality has a dark history and they compare to a little-known story that impacted the Founding Fathers and our history.
Not Quite Tinker
Tinker v Des Moines is a case about students who wore armbands to protest US involvement in the Vietnam War. This is what 14-year-olds learn about in high school government classes. In both cases, armbands are involved; however major differences arise. For Tinker, it was a passive method of protest. Also, Tinker was honest, in that, the Vietnam War was the subject of protest. The Hoggs, on the other hand, want major gun restrictions, to put it mildly. They mask this intent under the guise of protesting gun violence, a term coined by gun control activist in the first place. The scopes of these respective protests are vastly different. One protested a poorly executed military misadventure, the other wants to take away the rights of the people. The latter is quite aggressive. As Stallings noted, the facts aren’t on their side, so they rely on emotions to dictate policy and conversation. They are trying to awaken the mob. Emotions and intimidation are all part of a time-tested means to advance evil. The Nazis are only one example. Another brought down a Republic.
The Dutch Republic
Before the United States, the Dutch had a Republic. The Dutch Republic was a maritime empire dominating Europe in world trade. They even had the world’s first stock market. But all the while, the Dutch struggled with a division between people who believed in the ideals of Republicanism(Republicans or Patriots) or the people who wanted a strong government leader, the Orangist (monarchists). The Orangist supported the royal family, in this instance is William III Orange.
There’s a Dutch movie on Netflix called Admiral. It’s about how Admiral de Ruyter, one of the greatest admirals of all time, navigated both war and politics. Better action scenes than most of Hollywood. It features Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister, so there’s some familiarity for the American viewer. Anyway, in the movie, the Orangists are depicted wearing Orange armbands.
In history, Charles II made an alliance with the French and German states to coordinate an invasion of the Netherlands. The statesmen, Johan de Witt had long helmed the Republic and through multiple wars, but this war would be his last. The alliance caused such a panic, that mob rule took over. The Orangists seized Cornelius de Witt, Johan’s brother for “conspiring against William III” and tortured him. Violent demonstrations took place. Johan de Witt resigned. He shortly after went to see his brother. The mob seized the de Witt brothers and tore them to pieces and hung the remains against a lamppost. 1672 was the fall of the Dutch Republic. Though the rise of William III, the eventual King of England following the Glorious Revolution, would save them from England, the Dutch Golden Age was ending.
The mistakes made in the Dutch Republic were noted by the Founding Fathers. In Federalist 20, James Madison critiques the Dutch Republic as an example of a failed confederacy. He refers to the United Netherlands as “imbecility in government.”
A weak constitution must necessarily terminate in dissolution, for want of proper powers, or the usurpation of powers requisite for the public safety. Whether the usurpation, when once begun, will stop at the salutary point, or go forward to the dangerous extreme, must depend on the contingencies of the moment. Tyranny has perhaps oftener grown out of the assumptions of power, called for, on pressing exigencies, by a defective constitution, than out of the full exercise of the largest constitutional authorities.
The Founding Fathers put in place many precautions in order to prevent mob rule or imbecility in government as seen in the Dutch Republic. The confederacy, Madison argues was ineffective, and true patriots know that we must avoid the same mistakes.
Hoggs and Mobs
Whether it be larger forces than them or they themselves, their actions are dangerous. I don’t believe that these kids were trying to be Nazis; however, they are, likely knowingly, trying to incite a mob. A more accurate comparison than Nazis would be that they are like the Orangists, wearing orange coincidentally used to protest guns every June. Their protest is assertive and, if successful, will strip the natural freedoms away from many Americans, especially their age group of young adults. Their armbands are identifiers in which they intend to normalize and further mobilize their calls to control the liberties of the people. Calls to actions such as theirs are why the people necessitate a Constitution empowering a unique federal system including a Bill of Rights to specifically protect freedoms from a single tyrant and or the tyranny of the majority.
Sheepdogs, Guardians and Liberty control
The issue of security is a serious matter, we should be following the realistic examples of what works to keep our children safe.
So what is the best way to protect people from evil? Taking a page from ranchers or other rural folk who need to protect their flocks from predation may be the best way of figuring this out. We know what doesn’t work, and that would be depriving the people of their liberty of self-preservation. But this doesn’t stop the left from obsessing over inanimate object control. This is a futile pursuit since even in an environments where the Liberty of self-defense is heavily controlled, shootings still take place.
It would be far better if we did not need these measures, but the Socialist-Left has insisted upon tearing down the country’s moral underpinnings to replace them with it’s vile collectivist ideals. So we have to decide the best way to protect from that which the enemies of Liberty on the Left have imposed on the nation. The fact of the matter is that these commonly held arms have been around for over 100 years while these attacks are of a more recent phenomenon. It also needs to be pointed out that Despite Heightened Fear Of School Shootings, It’s Not A Growing Epidemic as reported on Left-Leaning NPR.
Examine how is security provided in other fields to decide what Will Work.
As has been always the case, Liberty control will not work because evil will always find a way to kill. Witness recent events in Austin, Texas where bombs replaced guns in bringing on terror. Even if guns could be wiped from existence criminals, terrorist or governments would find a way to deliberately slaughter people. Therefore the choice is that of restoring our moral underpinnings or providing new guards for our security. While the national socialist Left still holds sway over the culture, media and government indoctrination centres that necessary restoration will have to wait. So the only realistic option is one of armed, on-scene responders to protect our most precious resource.
Similar circumstances teach the best forms of security: The example of livestock control and protection.
Law enforcement personal are often referred to ‘sheepdogs’. They maintain control over crowds of people in varying situations while also protecting them. We can extend this analogy further as a way of illustrating the way to keep people safe from predation. Ranchers have two main types of animals to assist them, for control they use the venerable herding breeds of dogs ranging from the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Corgi, Sheltie, etc. To protect them they also have animals commonly referred to as Livestock guardians. These range from special breeds of livestock guardian dogs to Llamas or Donkeys. They normally live with the flock to provide around the clock protection. They also blend in with it to a certain extent so that the predators cannot single them out.
Guardian protect the flock while sheepdogs maintain control.
In both situations it’s the guardians who blend in and are always on the scene in case of attack. With the ‘flocks’ of humans, the guardians are the people carrying concealed weapons. Those bent on evil don’t know who this may be, their numbers or location. The element of uncertainty keeps the human predators at bay. By contrast the sheepdogs usually stand out in a crowd. While they also offer a deterrent effect, this can be negated by their visibility. They can also be targeted first in an attack to defeat that layer of security.
In the world of the rancher attempting to both protect his (or her) flock, they have the sheepdogs to move and control the flock while the guardians protect it. The sheepdogs do offer a layer of protection, but they cannot be present all the time. It’s the livestock guardians who bond with the flock who protect it around the clock.
Recent events illustrated that it’s impossible to keep people safe by banning guns or any other Liberty control measures. The only way to keep them safe in the immoral environment brought on by the Left, is to have both uniformed law enforcement and those carrying concealed on site as dual layers of defence. Merely decreeing a ‘Gun-Free’ zone or banning firearms are dangerous notions that do not work. These fanciful Leftist constructs only serve to deprive the innocent of the Liberty of self-defence and do nothing but raise the body count.
When have the Enemies of Liberty on the Left ever compromised on the 2nd amendment?
The history of freedom always has been one of it’s enemies slowly ratcheting it down with restraints in the name of equality or security.
Everyone knows the drill by now, a ‘Serious Crisis’ takes place, the Left immediately demands the surrender of more human rights forcing the innocent to pay for the sins of the guilty. Meanwhile, those who dare defend those rights are pilloried with almost every pejorative in the book.
The history of Liberty Control has always been one of unending incremental infringements on our rights. The enemies of Liberty on the Left always follow the same progression. They begin with spurious claims over the ‘easy access to guns’, getting whatever they can, after which they reset the sequence for the next go around.
The Left’s idea of ‘progress’ is always one direction, with demands that the pro-liberty side give up as yet more of their freedom. Each time around it’s the same story, with only ever worsening regularity. But why is this the case? When have the Liberty controllers on the left ever compromised on the common sense human right of self-defence, or any other liberties for that matter?
Liberty Control down through the ages.
The dirty little secret of Liberty control is that it has it’s roots in racism, epitomised in the infamous United States Supreme Court case DRED SCOTT v. SANDFORD, (1856):
It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.
Please note that it specifically mentions “the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”, as the partial rationale for the decision.
Further on, the past century has saw an inexorable sequence of infringements with the examples ranging from the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 to the Brady act of 1993.
In some rare cases, the Republican party spearheaded some partial relief of earlier infringements, but these were always accompanied with other restrictions. The overall trend has always been ever intensifying restrictions on the rights that are supposed to be free from infringement.
The Left’s idea of ‘compromise.’
It should be obvious by now that the enemies of Liberty on the Left do not want anyone to have the basic human right of self-preservation. They have made that clear in many articles, editorials and videos on the subject of repealing the 2nd amendment or outright gun confiscation. Consequently, it can be presumed that anything short of that immediate goal is a ‘compromise’ to them.
The win-win eventuality for them is that their ‘compromise’ positions sets up for their ultimate goal none the less. Asserting government control over everyone’s private property with ‘Intergalactic’ Background Checks followed on with the governmental permission requirements in gun registration that will eventually lead to gun confiscation. They would also like to control free-speech with the expedient of ‘Political correctness’ or entirely undefined ‘Hate speech’. But for now they merely want to get people used to these restrictions on Liberty.
The Left’s increasing stridency towards Liberty has intensified as of late, which is quite odd given that they supposedly support the concept with the self-labeling as “Liberals”. The Left has become single-minded in their pursuit of gun confiscation(and it’s precursors), to the point of rejecting measures that would actually serve to protect the children. As is typical of the nation’s Left, they self-label their obsession with taking guns away from the innocent as being ‘reasonable’. Meanwhile, they vehemently oppose workable solutions to the problems they caused in the first place.
Their latest tactic is to exploit the victims of mass murder in a bid to shut down debate and impose their unworkable ‘solutions’ to the exclusion of anything else. Do they even sound ‘reasonable’ or ‘Liberal’ for that matter? They incessantly complain that the proponents of Liberty won’t surrender their principles and once again yield to their demands, but when will they ever compromise and defend liberty?