Trigger warning: I support Ben Shapiro. Reflecting on Ben Shapiro’s speech this week, here are the five things Shapiro claims that the left uses to stifle opposing opinions—and why he is right.
Diversity: To leftists, diversity applies only to skin color, but not to ideology. Shapiro says, “If you believe that values don’t matter, but skin color does, you are, by definition, a racist.” Emphasizing diversity of race over personal ideology is counterproductive. College is supposed to expose people to new ideas, not keep them constrained and ideologically stunted. Diversity of viewpoint is infinitely more useful because it creates an environment that promotes well-rounded thinking. Shapiro spends time reading both liberal and conservative viewpoints so he can understand the thinking of others and use their thoughts to advance his arguments.
White privilege: A shadowy, “institutional” privilege that favors whites over other racial groups for the simple fact that white people are white. Some say it lives under your bed. The fact is, nobody points to laws that are racist and that privilege white people; they just assume that these laws exist to perpetuate racial disparity. White privilege is more counterproductive than diversity because it tells black people that they can’t succeed due to some shady force that just exists in the ether. Telling an entire group that the deck is stacked against them prevents them from living up to their individual potential. This is not to say that individual racism does not exist or should not be condemned. Find those who spout racist ideals and we will fight against them together, but simply blaming white privilege for everything is damaging and useless. In Shapiro’s words, “We can’t fight ghosts.”
Trigger warnings: Before saying something that might offend someone, the left wants to warn the people with sensitive feelings, lest said feelings get hurt. Life is not going to give you trigger warnings and neither is the real world. Trying to silence the thoughts of others because they offend you shows emotional immaturity and does not make for a productive, free world.
Microaggressions: The thought that a comment is not only offensive, but aggressive in nature, even if the comment was not meant to be either. These statements are subjective and it both stifles open debate and encourages the left to fight back with macroaggressions—actual use of force. By labelling a statement as an aggression, the logical and dangerous continuation is the escalation to actual violence, and one more way the left tries to shut down dissenting speech.
Safe space: “…that warm, special cocoon that makes you feel good about yourself.” Safe spaces come from the propagation of trigger warnings and microaggression culture, and they
create an environment that destroys the idea of free speech—anything that offends you destroys your safe space. Distancing ourselves from views we dislike stunts both intellectual and cultural growth. America is a safe space, and as Shapiro puts it, the “best place to live in the history of humanity.”
Shapiro certainly lived up to his mantra that “facts don’t care about your feelings.” However, his overarching message that we will often disagree but must accept the opinions of others is surely something we can all support.