Ben Shapiro is the new star of the right. Like many other longtime members of conservative media, I’ve been following Ben for years — from when he started out with Andrew Breitbart, whom he considers his mentor, to when he created his own outlet, The Daily Wire. But in the past year, Shapiro’s star has risen high above everyone else.
Perhaps the major reason Shapiro has rapidly gotten more popular is that he is a fantastic debater. He’s basically William F. Buckley 2.0. Smart, witty, extremely articulate, and well-informed. On top of that, the Daily Wire editor-in-chief is very, very, very principled. He was a skeptic of Trump during the campaign, but has always treated him fairly, which he continues to do today. When Trump does something good he praises him. But when the president makes a mistake, Shapiro is more than willing to call him out on it. He often talks about “Good Trump/Bad Trump,” which basically says it all.
Until very recently, such an honest, principled approach wouldn’t be a great differentiator, but it certainly is in this age of partisan hackery. Just look at Sean Hannity. That kind of cheerleading is what we’re sadly getting used to.
So, that’s why Shapiro has broken through the fold — and good for him. What’s even better is that he used his speaking time at CPAC to drive this point home once again. It’s one thing to do it at your own outlet, or on Twitter. He did it in the lion’s den, where 95 percent of the visitors demanded complete loyalty to Trump and his agenda.
Just watch his speech:
Shapiro started off by — rightfully — praising Trump for giving “us some of the most conservative governance in my lifetime.” He was talking, he explained, “about a fantastic new Supreme justice, Neil Gorsuch. I’m talking about a historically good tax plan. I’m talking about the end of the individual mandate, serious regulatory cuts, the defeat of ISIS, the American embassy moving to Jerusalem.”
This praise is well-deserved. Trump has indeed proven to be a more conservative president than many of his primary critics has expected him to be.
Later on, however, Shapiro also — and again rightfully — criticized Trump and his partisan loyalists:
— Michael van der Galien (@MikevdGalien) February 26, 2018
Said Shapiro: “When President Trump complains everything negative anyone has ever said about him isn’t true, or when President Trump says he had the biggest inauguration crowd in history, or when the president says there were good people marching in Charlottesville, that is not him waging an effective war against [political correctness]. It is nonsense. It is immoral. And it actually helps those who push [political correctness].”
It’s downright impossible to disagree with Shapiro on this. If we conservatives want to fight political correctness — and it is a battle we’re winning! — we have to make sure that we are speaking the truth. We can’t use “alternative facts.” After all, that’s exactly what differentiates us from our opponents, who don’t believe there is such a thing as “objective truth.”
Trump is governing like a conservative, but his tweets and words are too often aimed at firing up his base or insulting “the other side” rather than on exposing the Left’s lies and countering them with some important truths.
As Shapiro likes to say, “facts don’t care about your feelings.” And that’s exactly why we on the right need to repeat those facts time and again until the very moment we have finally destroyed political correctness — or at least pushed it below the surface where it doesn’t do any harm.