Speaking at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro had a visceral response when a young woman challenged his right to have an opinion on abortion because he is a "white, well-off, religious man." Shapiro fired back, "Evil things are still evil." He offered a comparison to the wealthy white men who worked together to abolish slavery, then segued to asserting that Western Civilization used to be about reasoning with others about what was right and wrong. In his conclusion, he bluntly stated, " I refuse to surrender the idea that I can have a moral stance on issues that are of concern to society and of concern to the well-being of the United States simply because of the color of my skin, or the nature of my genitalia, and honestly I believe that any view that feels differently is sexist, racist and bigoted."
The exchange went like this:
The young woman commented:
As a woman and somebody going into the health care field, it’s on your opinion about abortion, I personally don’t think that I could have an abortion just because morally I feel like for myself it wouldn’t be the right choice, but how do you defend your opinion as a white, well-off, religious man? How do you defend telling a woman what she can do with her body, and forcing her to —
Because evil things are still evil, even if I’m a white, well-off, religious man. And good things are still good, even if I’m a white, well-off, religious man. This is one of these identity politics points that I really, I don’t mean to come down harshly on you, I don’t, but it is a point that I really have serious moral qualms with. I think it’s quite terrible, the reason being that the people who were fighting against enslavement of black people were a bunch of well-off, white men for the most part, and those people were saying, “This is a moral sin; this is a moral blot.” They weren’t living in the South, they didn’t own plantations, they didn’t live the lives of the plantation owners. They said, “This is evil and we are here to stop it.”
When you see something that you think is morally wrong happening, especially when you’re talking about the taking of a human life, like listen, I think that you shouldn’t go around randomly killing homeless people. I just have this view. I’m not a homeless person, most of the people who randomly kill homeless people are probably not of my economic strata, my religious view, I don’t know whether they’re my skin color or not, I have no idea what the actual sociological breakdown of homeless killer serial murderers is, but I would suggest that my identity has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.
And this is what Western civilization used to be about. Western civilization used to be about the idea that, yes, I’m not a woman in the health care field, but you and I can have a conversation about what is right and wrong because this is the nature of human reason. The nature of human reason, the nature of right and wrong is that you and I can talk about what’s right and wrong and that I don’t retreat into my identity. If we can all retreat into our identity and our morality is now centered around that identity, morality doesn’t exist at all. We break down into a society of fragmented atoms, where I can’t even say, “You’re torturing a puppy in your backyard? I have nothing to say about that; I’m not a white woman who’s in the health care field."
I’m not going to do that. I refuse to surrender the idea that I can have a moral stance on issues that are of concern to society and of concern to the well-being of the United States simply because of the color of my skin, or the nature of my genitalia, and honestly I believe any view that feels differently is sexist, racist and bigoted.