Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

What’s wrong with Ben Shapiro?

I really mean, what’s wrong with the way the US popular rightwing commentator Ben Shapiro handles himself and talks in public discourse? I’m not going to analyze him or his personality.

For full disclaimer, though many left-wingers consider me an extreme right-winger and many right-wingers see me as an extreme lefty, I consider myself a left-winger with a good dose of realism. But at the end of the day, I’ll choose the truth, wherever it will be found.

I can’t really listen to coreligionist Shapiro for too long, but watching his recent flopped interview at the BBC has clarified for me why.

There is Only One Truth

He’s very smart and fast. But he sees very little gray. That means that he quickly comes to a conclusion and that anyone who thinks differently must be wrong — and when not quickly convinced by him must be evil, stubborn or stupid.

An example. Fundamentalist Christian theology holds that any abortion is murder of a full though growing human being.

(Orthodox Judaism doesn’t think so but in the Diaspora in the West, many Orthodox Jews are so assimilated and unknowledgeable about the Jewish Law and Tradition that they sometimes think to be on the Jewish path when they just parrot a controversial Fundamentalist Christian position.)

Feminists teach that it is sexist not to let the pregnant woman decide if she would carry a pregnancy to completion or not.

Shapiro cannot see that both points of view might be right. That is not right-wing; there are also many left-wingers who only can see one truth at the time.

The Dutch great beloved humanist psychiatrist P.C. Kuiper once asked rhetorically: Is it because we’re raised by patriarchal fathers who insisted always to be right that we think that there can only be one truth?

Shapiro gets angry and quarrelsome when others don’t want to adopt his viewpoint and opinion. He literally has no tolerance for what he considers wrong ideas.

If One Doesn’t Know Enough

Shapiro condemns transgenders but what I’ve heard him say gives away that he has not one transgender friend. He (again) shoots from the hip without doing a deep study on the issue.

As a popular opinion maker, he should not just wing it when issues come to the fore but dedicate serious time to research. Or his consumers should realize that this is just an opinion — not a deeply rooted vision.

I betcha that he can’t tell us why facelifts are OK but a sex change for transgenders is not. I can tell you. Because that is what the fraudulent “gays curers” say. And he’s too rash to find them lying. He has no time for intuition or second thought. As long as he can defend it, it doesn’t need to make a whole lot of sense.

The Worst Is When We Don’t Know That We Don’t Know

He’s for reparative therapy for gays. The Bible says it’s wrong and what else is there to say?

He doesn’t seem to have gay friends. Shows in his lack of empathy. He thinks that him reading a Bible verse gives him the Truth. He misses that between G^d’s word and his mouth sits his interpretation — also when he quotes verbatim.

(Never mind that religious Jews don’t judge anything from verses. Again, that is assimilation to Christian Literalism (Biblicism). Orthodox Jews go by the Oral Law.)

Surely, the Torah forbids inter-male anal intercourse but if one studies this, that needs to be an injunction for heterosexual men only. Holding that a million Jews and half a billion Gentiles are supposed to live against their sexual needs is preposterous — but only for people who don’t do everything on snap judgments. Many Orthodox rabbis admit not to understand this — an option Shapiro doesn’t seem to have.

Relax, Man

He’s so tense. Don’t blame the victim! He is a Jew and while there are many calm, cool, laidback Jews, let’s not blame any Jew for being tense.

I don’t know if he ever laughs. If he ever realizes that calmness could sometimes be an option. To lower his voice, slow down his speech.

Look at Mayor Pete. He smiles. He’s not Jewish but you can’t say he always had an easy life.

* * *

The BBC interviewer seems to have set out to ask Shapiro, how he can complain about the present angry political discourse in the US if he’s so irritable himself. Shapiro was angry for most of the interview. QED.

So, let’s learn from this. Our thinking might depart from reason, logic and reality when we are too much in a hurry, see the world only as black-or-white, settle for quick brain flashes, quote people whose integrity we didn’t check out and stay tense and belligerent.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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