Jack Elbaum
Jack Elbaum is a high school student and Washington Examiner contributor.

In defense of Ben Shapiro

More than likely the most prominent conservative voice in the country, Ben Shapiro is also among the most targeted. He is routinely labeled “Alt-right” despite his fierce repudiation of their ideology, far-right racists are quick to jump on the fact that he is a practicing Orthodox Jew who did not support Trump in 2016, and dishonest leftists will never miss an opportunity to take his words out-of-context in order to put a blemish on his career.

In the past year, he has been blamed for the defacing of an Indiana Synagogue despite the fact he is one of the most famous Orthodox Jews in America, he has been pointlessly smeared with an out-of-context clip of him talking about why pro-life advocates would not kill baby Hitler, he has been called bigoted, racist, islamophobic, and homophobic more times than one can count, and a profile of him in the Economist was originally published with the title, “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, the alt-right sage without the rage.” After the Economist was made aware of their grossly mistaken error, they published an editor’s note that read, “This article has been changed. A previous version mistakenly described Mr. Shapiro as an “alt-right sage” and “a pop idol of the alt-right”. In fact, he has been strongly critical of the alt-right movement. We apologize.”

Do I agree with all of his positions? No, but there is no denying that he is a smart guy with well-thought-out beliefs and a strict moral code. The people perpetrating these absurd smears against the Harvard Law graduate are more than likely those who don’t listen to or read Ben Shapiro on a regular basis. So, despite all of the fake outrage surrounding him, what does Ben Shapiro really believe, and are these attacks warranted?

I would consider myself a Ben Shapiro fan, and someone who knows his work better than most. I either read or listen to him most days, and as a result, his worldview has become pretty clear to me. In short: Ben Shapiro is a mainstream, down the line, traditional conservative. He believes in lower taxes, outlawing abortion, free trade, traditional gender roles, replacing government entitlement programs with private charity, and an active American role on the world stage — nothing out of the ordinary for a strong conservative.

This is not to say that Shapiro does not gaffe, or has never said anything in the past that would make one cringe — he absolutely has on multiple occasions. The big difference with Shapiro is that he admits when he is wrong and tries to do better in the future. On his website, The Daily Wire, Shapiro has a full column detailing all of the things he has said in his 17-year political career that he regrets. Nearly every time a person goes back into Shapiro’s history in order to try and slander him, the fact is that he most likely has either addressed or retracted the poorly-chosen words that make him look bad. In an age where most people will defend anything they have ever said or believed, even if it looks terrible now, Ben Shapiro is different.

Notwithstanding this, there is no questioning the fact that he is controversial. With his strong stances on transgender pronouns, gay marriage, and anti-discrimination laws, liberals most definitely have a bone to pick with Shapiro. At the same time, he is no bigot. He doesn’t believe the government should ban gay marriage, he didn’t support President Trump’s original “Muslim Ban”, and he supported Ilhan Omar’s right to wear her hijab on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite an old rule that would prevent her from doing so.

He is an honest actor that is operating in a dishonest landscape. There are plenty of areas those on the left could have animated disagreements with Shapiro, but to lazily label him as a “white supremacist”, as a person recently did on Twitter, would be a dishonest move that is the peak of pure partisan hackery.

About the Author
My name is Jack Elbaum. I am a seventeen-year-old high school student at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, IL. I have also written for the Washington Examiner, Chicago Tribune, and Daily Herald. You can contact me at jackelbaum16@gmail.com.
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