Today on radio, Glenn interviewed Ben Shapiro, Editor-at-Large for Breitbart.com and the author of the new book Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans. How do conservatives move forward when the left tries to shut down every argument and ostracize them and their ideas? Shapiro and Glenn discussed the issue on radio.
Full Transcript of Interview:
GLENN: Ben Shapiro is really truly a remarkable, remarkable reporter and he’s the editor at‑large of Breitbart.com. He entered UCLA at the age of 16 years old and he does not sit down at a fight. And he is the author of a new book called Bullies, and I’m a fan of Ben’s and I wanted to put him on the air and talk about the book because I think that really, Ben, what we’re facing now is, you know, when you have somebody from the labor unions coming out the other day saying, you know, labor unions 100 years ago had no problem just saying what it was, and it’s killed the rich. And people cheered. We are headed towards real trouble with bullies.
SHAPIRO: Yeah, we certainly are. And Glenn, you know this better than anybody because you’ve been standing up to bullies for virtually your entire career. But I mean, when you look at how the left operates, the way that they operate now today, and it’s infected the entire democratic establishment, is they see us as morally deficient. They are not interested in having a simple political discussion. The reason that Mitt Romney lost this last election was not because he lost on policy. The exit poll showed that most Americans agreed with him on policy. It’s not because they thought that President Obama is a good president. Most agree that President Obama is a really bad president.
GLENN: Okay, can you stop saying ‑‑ hang on just a second, Ben. We’ve banned that guy’s name. So can you just call him that guy? Because I’m almost in shock therapy with you saying his name so much.
GLENN: We can’t take him anymore. But go ahead. Go ahead. Just try your best.
SHAPIRO: Okay. I’ll do my best. The fact is the reason that Mitt Romney lost is because he was perceived, widely perceived as a bad guy. That guy’s campaign, the president’s campaign ‑‑
GLENN: Thank you, thank you.
SHAPIRO: ‑‑ was designed, designed to make Mitt Romney look like a horrible human being. If you just watch that campaign from the outside, the impression you got is that that guy, the president, is a nice guy. Because Mitt Romney kept saying over and over he’s a nice guy. And the impression you got of Mitt Romney is that Mitt Romney is a racist, bigoted sexist homophobe because that’s what the media and President Obama were pushing. And they do this so they don’t have to debate us. That’s the whole point. To bully us into silence and to make the American public think these guys are all evil and they are all nasty and that’s why now we’re in discussions about how we reach out to the black and Hispanic community and convince them we’re not racist. You can’t convince them you’re not racist. Once you’ve been tarred with that brush, there’s no way to defeat that. The only answer is to fight back against these guys and as that guy once said, punch back twice as hard.
GLENN: Okay. So now here you are, and we’re looking at the war with guns. They are bullying ‑‑ I had a gun manufacturer call me and say all of his bank funding has been stopped because ‑‑ and this is the second one now in just a couple of days ‑‑ because the bank said we just can’t do business with you. That’s bullying. That’s the federal government being, their hands deeply in these banks, the banks afraid and they are just not going to do business because we can’t handle it.
SHAPIRO: That’s exactly right. I mean, look at even the media strategy on the whole gun control debate. What they’ve been doing, Sandy Hook, they are standing on the dead bodies, the kids from Sandy Hook and saying if you don’t agree with our gun control proposals, it’s because you’re a bad person. It’s because you don’t care about these kids.” They are not interested in discussing which policies actually best protect against violence. They are not interested in talking about the City of Chicago had a has tons of gun legislation and regulation and is the American center for gun violence. They are not interested in discussing any of that stuff. What they are interested in doing is sitting on their high horse and then looking at us and saying, “You guys don’t care about dead kids and the reason you don’t care about dead kids is because of politics.” And it’s despicable and it really is evil. I mean, look at how they are targeting the National Rifle Association. What does the NRA have to do with anything here? They are an interest group that’s designed to defend the Second Amendment, but the media has them on and then berates them for not abandoning their position on the Second Amendment. There’s been a lot of talk, I mean you’ve seen it, a lot of talk about violent video games and violence in the culture and kind of nastiness in the culture. I have yet to hear David Gregory have on the head of the ACLU and say Europe’s extreme defense of a broad interpretation led to sandy hook. They don’t do that. They only do it with rightwing interest groups or conservative interest groups because they use incidents like sandy hook as a club to wield on our side of the aisle.
GLENN: You know the thing I like about your book is it makes the case on all of it. I mean, we’ve just talked Sandy Hook, you can talk Hobby Lobby they are doing it, they did it with Chick‑fil‑A, they are doing it with the EPA as you point out. We talked about it with the banks. It’s race. It’s all of it. It is silence people. Silence them, silence them, silence them. Make them afraid.
SHAPIRO: Yep. I mean, Glenn, look. The best example of it is what they tried to do to you, right? If you take a look at what Media Matters, the David Brock organization has been doing for years, what they do there is they sit there at the behest of the government, at the behest of the White House, they have weekly meetings with the White House and Media Matters sits there and monitor programs like yours and they wait there to hear you say something, take out of context and use it to launch boycotts against the advertisers, trying to destroy advertisers’ business based on false constructions than what people like you say. And that’s specifically designed to get you to shut up. That’s what they want to do. There are two goals and one of two things have to happen: You either voluntarily stop talking which isn’t going to happen or they try and shut you up. These are not pro First Amendment people, these are not pro speech people. These are not pro civility people. They are not civil. We have to stop treating them as if civility is going to win the day. We had the moral high ground in the 2012 election and we lost. The moral high ground doesn’t do us a lot of good when we’re fighting people who are absolutely ‑‑
GLENN: So how do you ‑‑ so I don’t want to become everything I despise.
SHAPIRO: You know, I don’t think that we have to become everything we despise but I do think that there is a Geneva Convention with regard to civility. I think that civility is like the Geneva Convention. If you operate in uniform, then the Geneva Conventions cover you. If you operator out of uniform, if you’re a terrorist, the Geneva Conventions don’t cover you, right? If you look at civility, it’s sort of the same way. If you operate within the bounds of, look, we all want to get the right thing done for the American people, we’re just trying to figure out the best way to get there, that’s civil conversation we can all have. If it turns into them screaming at you that you’re a racist, you sitting there defending yourself, I’m not a racist and let’s discuss policy, that’s not going to help. That’s a good recipe for losing.
GLENN: I’m writing down the Geneva Convention for civility.
PAT: I like that.
GLENN: I think you should develop that.
PAT: I like that.
GLENN: I think that is absolutely ‑‑
STU: In other words, we’re stealing your idea, Ben.
SHAPIRO: Go for it. Appreciate it.
GLENN: I just think that’s ‑‑
PAT: That’s great stuff.
GLENN: I think that’s profound. I mean, I really do. What is the ‑‑ what is the one I think that you think that, A is coming our way that people aren’t really putting together yet and, B, what is the one thing that you wish people could grab and say, guys, if you would just understand and do this,” things would begin to change?
SHAPIRO: I say the one thing I think that’s coming our way is the kind of internationalization of American values on a broad level. The attempt to take American values and make them obsolete or unseen. You are now unpatriotic if you don’t believe that we ought to sign onto Kyoto protocol. You are now unpatriotic if you don’t believe we should sign onto Agenda 21. You are now unpatriotic if you think we should sacrifice in favor of internationalism. If you don’t see this coming ‑‑ you see it played out domestically. On the fiscal cliff debate, the class warfare stuff they are pushing, that’s been pushed in Europe for years. The idea is if we defend free enterprise, that makes us bad people. If we don’t see this coming, then we’re going to lose the debate. And the way to push back against it is to label people what they are. These people are antipatriotic. They are antipatriotic. They don’t believe in patriotism. They don’t believe in American values. All the leftists who are out there talking about how, you know, they believe in the Second Amendment but then they want a UN treaty on gun control, you don’t get to have it both ways.
GLENN: Yeah, you’re not unpatriotic. You’re an anticonstitutionalist.
SHAPIRO: Exactly. Exactly.
GLENN: You’re against the Constitution and the declaration of the United States of America. And that they can’t defend because you can show them all the time. The idea that people are patriotic or not patriotic, I don’t even know what patriotic means anymore.
GLENN: I really don’t know.
SHAPIRO: This is what they’ve done. They’ve redefined patriotism to mean anything they want it to mean. They say that the centrist patriotism which is basically saying that being unpatriotic is patriotic. I mean, it defends what you’re dissenting to and what you’re dissenting from. They’ve created these slogans. Right now if you dissent from President ‑‑ from that guy, then ‑‑
GLENN: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: You are not going to ‑‑ then you’re unpatriotic, right? If you dissented from George W. Bush, then you are patriotic according to the left. They have completely hijacked the term “patriotism” to mean that if you flag‑burn, that is the highest form of patriotism but if you don’t think that people should be allowed to flag‑burn, then you’re unpatriotic. They’ve completely skewed it. So you are exactly right, Glenn. I mean, you’ve been on this for a while. Did the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are the documents that matter and we have to make an affirmative case for them again. People don’t read the Federalist Papers. They don’t know about it. People don’t know the basis for the Second Amendment. They think the basis for the Second Amendment is that you should be able to hunt. That’s not the basis for the Second Amendment. And anybody who reads the Federalist Papers knows it. We have to make an affirmative case again for why the ‑‑ I mean, it’s sad that we have to do this but this is what the left has done with their bully tactics, with their polarization of America. They’ve turned it into if you defend the Constitution, it’s because you’re a racist. Because after all, the Constitution enshrined the 3/5ths rule. So we have to go back and we have to make a fundamental case for why the Constitution matters and Declaration matters and why those who oppose it are objects of tyranny and freedom.
GLENN: Ben, you keep doing what you’re doing. I’m a huge fan of yours and I’m glad that it’s always nice to see on our own islands that there’s another island out there as well shouting just as hard, and I appreciate it.
SHAPIRO: Hey, thanks so much. You’re the best.
GLENN: You bet. Ben Shapiro. The name of the book is Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silencing America.