by Mikaela Wall
photo courtesy of voiceofisrael.com
Ben Shapiro, the conservative political commentator, came to the Roanoke College campus on Sep. 21. He spreads his motto, “Yes on facts; no on feelings,” as he travels around the country speaking on college campuses, at rallies, and on news networks promoting his controversial views. In his talks, Shapiro takes on social movements, government, and everything in between.
His speech began that evening with an explanation on his cancelled appearance at The California Institute of Technology (CIT), where the institution claimed that he was controversial and threatened diversity on campus. Despite this, Shapiro decided to appear at the school because he believed that the campus should be exposed to an unpopular and sometimes radical opinion. After the experience at CIT, Shapiro said he was thankful that RC was willing to bring him on campus and create an open environment of discussion among the student body.
Shapiro began with an explanation of how his left wing views can create income equality. This issue remained a common theme throughout his talk, and he returned to it the topic by asking, “What happens for the left when they can achieve equality of outcome? The equality of feelings,” meaning no one’s feelings will ever be hurt again if everyone has equal outcome, a concept Shapiro is extremely against.
The talk then turned to the political correctness enforced upon students on college campuses across the nation.
“…if everyone had to shut up if they’re going to offend you, the easiest solution is for no one to talk,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro’s example was when a student asks another student where they are from. This is a common question that no longer simply is a way to learn more about a classmate or a professor. Instead, it has grown into something conversational because of the negative connotations our society has begun to associate with people who are foreign.
What followed this discussion, was another hot-button topic in today’s political atmosphere: white privilege and supremacy.
“The notion of white privilege suggests that society can fix it, but only you are responsible for your own decisions,” said Shapiro in an argument about the impossibility of a government to fix every inequality in a person’s life. The concept of “decision privilege,” a term he created, was used to depict how people in the United States fail because of the poor decisions that they have made.
Micro and macro aggressions were the next topics on Shapiro’s agenda. Microaggression is a term coined to encompass the casual and potentially derogatory comments about any marginalized group. Shapiro says he should be able to say what he wants, and if that happens to offend someone, that should not be his problem.
“I don’t have to want to offend you, but you have been micro-aggressed if I say something that offends you,” said Shapiro.
A macro-aggression, typically violent, is what Shapiro describes as the left wing response to a micro-aggression. Shapiro questioned the justifiability of a violent macro-aggression reaction.
The topic of our nation’s transgender community was introduced with a comment on Caitlyn Jenner, who won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs this past year. Aggression in the transgender community became the subject of this portion of the night. Shapiro told the audience about a time he insulted a transgender woman on the set of CNN. The woman reacted with a macro-aggression and threatened Shapiro’s safety. His colleagues responded to this incident by telling Shapiro that he should have known his comment would offend the woman, instead of helping to get the woman off of him.
From this, Shapiro addressed his opinion on trigger warnings, which is a term used to let people know that what they are about to say might be offensive. This is a tactic used to protect people’s feelings. Shapiro also further described trigger warnings as a way of protecting people from the hardships that are prevalent in a free society, which in his opinion, is utterly ridiculous.
“Assault is forgiven, but a verbal comment is not,” said Shapiro.
As the evening came to an end, Shapiro honed in on his main concept: we shouldn’t have to be diligent of what we say for fear that it might offend anyone.
“The safe place should be America,” Shapiro concluded. “We should be part of a generation that builds, not a generation that destroys”
The Roanoke College Republicans were extremely satisfied with this event and plan to have more speakers come to RC as the election season continues.