Conservatives Are Always Triumphant and Also an Oppressed Minority, According to Notably Stupid New Book
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Because this kind of script-flipping is so easy, because it requires no rigor and little effort but only a suspension of disbelief on the part of your audience that they can be both the rightful inheritors of all that is good and an unjustly picked-on minority, it’s like vitamins to guys like Ben Shapiro. When you’re the heir to massive amounts of privilege but you spend all your time complaining about how everything isn’t just-so, you come off as an utter pussy; but there’s no money in copping to your good fortune, so Bullies is just the latest in a vast body of rightist literature trying to have it both ways. Since I lost my food stamps, I haven’t got 25 bucks to spare on the thing, but the fever of a flavor can be found in this ‘interview’, or ‘cross-promotional handsie’, with the National Review‘s wart-in-residence, Kathryn Jean Lopez:
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is there a perverse irony in the fact that StopBullying.gov is a project of the Department of Health and Human Services?
BEN SHAPIRO: It’s laughable that this administration considers itself an anti-bullying administration at all, especially given its routine bullying of businesspeople, religious believers, and gun-owners, among others.
The transformation of a low-paid bureaucrat penning earnest pamphlets on behalf of teenagers being humiliated and beaten by their peers into a menacing figure is hilarious enough, but it attains the appropriate Shapirovian levels of absurdity when we are expected to believe that the people the HHS is engaged in “bullying” include the Catholic Church, multi-billion-dollar international corporations, and the downtrodden and helpless huddled masses known as “gun-owners”.
LOPEZ: Why are you so worked up about Barack Obama hating child bullies? It’s not actually true that “All Americans, virtually without exception, hate bullies,” is it, when there are, in fact, bullies? The point of your book…?
SHAPIRO: President Obama has made an enormous deal over the past four years about child bullying. He’s declared it a crisis, and spent vast sums of capital pushing the notion that every American has to stand up against bullying. But in talking about that effort, Obama praised none other than Dan Savage, who runs the It Gets Better Project — and also bullies the hell out of everyone who disagrees with him on gay marriage.
I’m not sure what Lopez is getting at in her question. She seems to be implying that if Americans hated bullies, there would be no bullies, and the whole thing comes across as a kind of weird defense of bullying, but that can’t be right. Anyway, it’s Ben’s answer that really gets to the heart of the matter. By implying that efforts to promote equal rights for gays is actually a way of bullying people who want to be able to keep bullying gays, not only does he get to cast bigots, homophobes and religious fanatics as victims, but he gets to completely ignore the role of the right in hundreds of years of bullying homosexuals, which is, after all, what our current political climate is a response to. It’s the most perfect kind of co-option: promulgate oppression, and when the oppressed push back, claim that not only are you the one being oppressed, but that you’ve been the oppressed one all along.
Ben delivers another gorgeously shameless iteration of this argument later on, when he condemns Hollywood “blacklisting” — only he’s not talking about the actual blacklisting of leftists in the 1950s by the political right, but the entirely imaginary blacklisting of conservatives in Hollywood today.
LOPEZ: Why would you say something like: “No wonder Obama looks like he’s lost weight. He’s been lugging that gigantic cross around for the last four years.”