FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks during the first of several legislative hearings planned to discuss balancing free speech and public safety in Sacramento, Calif. A University of Connecticut Republican student group has invited Shapiro to speak on Jan. 24, 2018, on campus in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

 

 

If I had to point to a single malady that’s destroying the world, it would be narcissism. That manifests itself in too many ways to list here, but if I drew a picture of the earth, it’d be holding a selfie stick.

If I was forced to list a #2, I’d certainly go with ignorance. But, perhaps, my 2nd place is subsumed by the 1st. Perhaps it takes a lot of empowerment to rage against things about which one forgot to first learn.

We live in an era where people will hit the local CVS, drop thirty clams on sharpies and poster board, and spend an entire day screaming at the powers that bedevil — all the while, literally not knowing the definitions of the words on their signs and tongues.

“We forgot to find out what we’re yelling about.”

Oops.

Generally, that wouldn’t have happened in the 80’s.

And the cultural shift is more than a smidge less than Totally Awesome.

But here we are, at a time when activists at Boston University have launched a petition to ban conservative talk show host and author Ben Shapiro from speaking at an upcoming event.

That would be, the Ben Shapiro who’s Jewish and has been shouted down by CVS fans as a Nazi as he sports a yarmulke.

The petition, in an ode to the selfie stick, labels Ben a “racist hatemonger.” It’s received 1,248 signatures so far.

Also in motion: as reported by The Daily Wire, the college’s efforts to reduce the event by half and make sponsor Young America’s Foundation pony up the security fees required to fight the CVS people.

Yea, lo, and other Biblical words that apply:

As Young America’s Foundation’s Kara Zupkus reports, the petition labels Shapiro a “notorious racist and misogynist” and condemns the university for allowing the mainstream conservative to voice his opinions on its campus. The petition paints the university’s free speech-suppressing move to dramatically reduce the audience size of the event and burden YAF with unreasonable security fees as simply a self-serving effort to protect the university’s “image” in light of progressive outrage over allowing conservatives to speak on campus.

Here are some pieces of the petition, as found at Change.org:

Ben Shapiro is a far-right ideologue who has made a litany of bigoted, hateful, false, and inflammatory remarks. From 2012 to 2016, he was Editor-at-large of Brietbart magazine, where he worked closely with Steve Bannon to promote the spread of far-right and openly fascist ideas. He left Brietbart in 2016 and began touring college campuses to promote his bigoted worldview.

Incidentally, if you ever want to hear someone talk extremely unfondly of another, check out Ben’s opinions of Bannon.

More from the protestors:

Shapiro is a major racist and Islamophobe, as well as an apologist for war crimes committed by the United States and its allies.

Shapiro has openly called for mass ethnic cleansing. Most notably, he supports the forcible removal of the Palestinian people from Israel and the Palestinian Territories. For example he wrote, “If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper.” The forcible transfer of an occupied population is defined by the Geneva convention as a war crime and a crime against humanity according to the International Criminal Court, because it entails mass violence against a whole people. Shapiro’s comments are open support for genocide, and clearly constitute a form of hate speech.

Openly called for ethnic cleansing?

Hate speech? What about free speech? They’ll tell ya:

The fact that Boston University is willing to give a platform to Shapiro is absolutely disgusting and should be condemned by all students and progressive people. This is not “free speech” or a “free debate of ideas.” Shapiro denies the existence of transgender people, he wants to deny women the right to make decisions over their own bodies, and he has openly advocated for genocide and war crimes. These are all forms of hate speech. Shapiro is a racist, far-right zealot who’s aim is to incite hatred and bigotry on our campus and in the larger society. If Boston University truly cares about being a diverse campus; if they truly care about being a welcoming campus to women, queer people, and non-white people, then they should immediately uninvite Ben Shapiro. If they refuse to do so, then the University is unquestionably providing Shapiro with a platform to spew hate-speech as well as incite violence and discrimination against marginalized sections of BU community.

In addition, he’s this stuff:

Shapiro is also a misogynist, homophobe, and transphobe. He supports the banning and criminalization of abortions even in cases of incest and rape.[4] These arguments deny people the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. They perpetuate patriarchy and social, political, and economic inequality for women and LGBTQ+ people. Shapiro has also promoted a slew of homophobic and transphobic statements. He opposed the Supreme Court ruling which overturned the ban on same-sex marriages[5], claimed that gay and lesbian couples were unfit to raise children, and more. Furthermore, he has repeatedly denied the existence of transgender people, saying that being transgender is simply a “mental illness.”[6] It was not so long ago in this country that homosexuality was treated in the same fashion, and these statements serve to perpetuate discrimination and oppression against transgender people. Again, these remarks are not a form of Shapiro “exercising his right to free speech” but rather constitute a form of discriminatory hate-speech aimed at discrediting and disenfranchising whole sections of the population.

In the case of the petitioners, they did in fact get some things right. And it sounds as if “free speech” means the freedom to say things with which they agree.

Also, in fairness, they do reference an article Ben wrote in 2002. And it’s unsurprising that it would’ve been controversial if not hated. In 17 years, might his perspective have changed? At the time, he was 19.

Some people at Boston University don’t want to find out:

We Demand that Boston University refuse to allow Ben Shapiro to speak on campus, and we call on all progressive students and community members to take a stand against BU’s decision to provide a platform Ben Shapiro and his hate speech.

One commenter at Change.org observed, “This event poses a danger to BU’s queer and trans community, and the Dean of Students office taking strides to help support it reflects broader cultural problems failed to be addressed institutionally. Shame on everyone involved with the execution of this event.”

-ALEX

 

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