Robert O'Brien Trophy Winner: Ben Shapiro

While I was unable to post this weekend, I did see this column by Ben Shapiro (though I saw it at the Worldnutdaily) and planned to comment on it. Shapiro, for those who don't know, is a budding right wing pundit who wants to ban pornography and pretty much anything else he finds offensive. And in this column, he's urging that we revive the sedition laws and punish those who speak ill of the government in wartime. His reasoning is truly ridiculous. It takes this form:

In World War I we had the Espionage Act and punished those who spoke out against the war (including folks like Eugene Debs); we won that war.

In World War II, we put the Japanese into internment camps and punished those who spoke out against the war; we won that war.

In Vietnam, however, that damned Supreme Court brazenly and flagrantly upheld the first amendment and forbid the government from punishing those who spoke out against the war; we lost that war.

Therefore, we should lock up anyone who disagrees with any war so we don't lose that war.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you February's Robert O'Brien Trophy winner as Idiot of the Month. And I like Balyen Linnekin's suggestion:

Ben Shapiro, author of Porn Generation...argues at that America needs new sedition laws to prosecute people who say "un-American" things. I agree. And the first person who should be prosecuted is him. Anyone who calls for trampling on the Bill of Rights and giving bureaucrats more power at the expense of citizens is a traitor who should go to jail. Do you see how easy it is, Ben? Give the government the power to throw people in jail for things they say??? Be careful of what you wish for, asshole.

Hear, hear.


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It's fairly clear that Mr. Shapiro is an idiot. Consider his logic in the case of pornography: that it's based on the idea that what does not harm another person is permissible - and that's BAD (according to him). He supports it by claiming that it's comparable with [quote]After all, if someone kills a homeless drifter, how does that affect anyone else?[/i] I'd imagine the homeless drifter has an objection to being killed. But according to Mr. Shapiro, he's an irrelevancy.

Mr. Shapiro appears to be unable to argue a coherent position on ANY topic.

By Rilke's Grandd… (not verified) on 21 Feb 2006 #permalink

Rilke's Granddaughter beat me to that example. If there was a more inane takedown of libertarianism, I haven't found it.

Frankly, I think we're all in the wrong business. Shapiro's either a tremendous idiot or smart enough to realize he's got the perfect job if someone's going to pay him to write this shit.

By Tanooki Joe (not verified) on 21 Feb 2006 #permalink

What did James Madison do during the War of 1812? To my knowledge there was no call for such laws even though the New England states were threatening to secede, calling the war "James Madison's War." We won that war Mr. Shapiro.

By BillySixString (not verified) on 21 Feb 2006 #permalink

This jailing of people who having the wrong view or opinion on a particular topic seems like sending someone to hell for believing the wrong thing. Neither sound particuarly logical or appropriate.

Um, the U.S. didn't win the War of 1812 - it was a draw, at best.

A better example might be the Mexican War. Someone should tell Ben Shapiro that he just made himself an advocate for the imprisonment of Abraham Lincoln, who denounced it on the floor of Congress.

By Robert P. (not verified) on 21 Feb 2006 #permalink

What stunning logic, If no one says the war is bad we will win it - if many people rise in opposition to the war then by god we will lose. Juvenile logic at it's best, ignore all other factors and stick to what "proves" your model - or better yet find the factor that "proves" your case and don't even look for more evidence to back it up. Kind of makes me question our educational system these days, when I was in high school any number of teachers would have torn down my fantasy land if I had written a piece like that one.

So I thought I would take a look at the archives of Mr. Shapiro and found a great peice about how it's tiome to reclaim our republic from the supreme court. The whole piece was rather flawed but I really appreciated this comment;

The checks and balances of the Constitution do not involve the judiciary. They are checks applied by elected branches to one another.

I first ran across Shapiro a couple of years ago. He was a child then. I don't know how old he is now, but he really should have paid attention to a couple of adages:

(i) children should be seen and not heard, and

(ii) it is better to close one's mouth and be thought an idiot than to open it and confirm it.

It is certainly questionable that the US won the War of 1812, and New England was on the verge of secession then. (John Quincy Adams is said to have lost his reelection bid because he wouldn't deny it.) Anyway, there have been been strong dissenting voices whenever the US embarked on its imperialist wars, such as the ones against Mexico, Spain and Iraq. (Have they ever prevailed, and prevented a war?) Moderates are always accused of treason by the jingoists. Shapiro is just another whore going along with the Bushie crowd in subverting the Consitution.