The courageous decision of NBA player Jason Collins to come out of the closet got me thinking about Ben Shapiro, the right-wing pundit who tweeted about him: “So Jason Collins is a hero because he's gay? Our standard has dropped quite a bit since Normandy.”
Considering that Shapiro has also tweeted that Newt Gingrich and Mark Levin are heroes, we'd have to say that his standards have dropped quite a bit since Normandy. But Shapiro also tweeted, “@adamcarolla is my hero.” I hope that all us, liberal and conservative, can agree that anyone who regards Adam Carolla as a “hero” has permanently given up the right to defend the word.
But this certainly isn't the first case of Shapiro being homophobic. Back in 2003, Shapiro wrote, “If you pay tuition, you're sponsoring the militant homosexual agenda. If you pay taxes, you're sponsoring the militant homosexual agenda. If your child majors in English, you're sponsoring the militant homosexual agenda.”
I discovered that quote while writing a review of Shapiro's first book, Brainwashed.
Shapiro's book about the evil liberals in academia unintentionally disproved much of what he claimed. Here's what I wrote about Brainwashed:
Shapiro admits, “I don’t believe that large numbers of conservative students are purposefully targeted for grade penalization.” Shapiro, who seemingly cannot write a paragraph without making a factual error, a distortion of a statistic, or a specious argument, somehow managed to get good enough grades from all of his left-wing brainwashing professors to be admitted to Harvard Law School.
Shapiro, to me, reflects why there's a growing gap between left and right on campus. Leftist students who do well in school and score high on standardized tests tend to go to graduate school where they are trained to explain and defend their ideas, and then become professors. Right-wing students who are challenged by their professors reject the criticism on ideological grounds. Conservatives (like Shapiro) with high-level test-taking talents tend to go to law school, and then are embraced by the world of right-wing commentary and talk radio. Instead of learning how to examine the facts, they are taught how to be outrageous. As I noted in my book about Rush Limbaugh, they realize that facts don't matter as much as assertions, the more over-the-top, the better.
That's partly why conservative intellectual culture in America is becoming so anti-science, anti-reason, anti-education, and openly bigoted. While they falsely condemn academia as being a world of leftist groupthink, conservatives like Shapiro live firmly in the realm of right-wing groupthink. In his most recent, and even dumber, book, Bullies, Shapiro fantasizes about the terrible imaginary repression of conservatives and openly endorses bullying liberals to fight against the victimization of the right.
The immature rantings of Shapiro as a college student weren't something he grew out of. Instead, his dumbest beliefs were reinforced by a right-wing culture that nurtured every nutty idea he had, and pressured him never to stray from a far right ideology. As a result, Ben Shapiro has become a professional idiot. And Shapiro's success in that job certainly inspires other conservatives to reject the difficult path of long years in graduate school with little hope of a faculty job, when it so much easier to rant and rave with little care about the arguments you're making. That's why Shapiro's first reaction to Jason Collins' announcement reflects the bigotry and the idiocy of the far right today.
Crossposted at DailyKos.