On Thursday, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro spoke at CPAC, electrifying the crowd, which gave him numerous standing ovations as he declared that "the era of political correctness is over." Shapiro passionately preached that the only way for conservatives to ultimately triumph is to always tell the truth, no matter which side of the political aisle they are addressing.
So, here we are. We are in a place where I didn’t think we would be any time soon; Republicans control the House of Representatives and they control the Senate, and the President of the United States is Donald J. Trump. Which, I’m sure, not a lot of people saw coming, including me; I lost a lot of money on that election through betting. But I’ll tell you what I really didn’t see coming: I didn’t think that President Trump would actually give us some of the most conservative governance of my lifetime, and he actually has the past few months.
I’m talking about a fantastic new Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch; I’m talking about a historically good tax plan; I’m talking about the end of the individual mandate; serious regulatory cuts, the defeat of ISIS; the American Embassy moving to Jerusalem. Most of all, President Trump brought us one really fantastic thing: Hillary Clinton is not, and will never be, president of the United States.
The crowd started chanting, “Lock her up,” prompting Shapiro to respond, “Why bother; she’s already in a jail of her own making somewhere in the woods of upstate New York,” provoking laughter.
There’s a reason that leftism is failing, and it’s not just because Hillary Clinton was the worst candidate in the history of American politics, though she was; and it’s not because Barack Obama was a terrible president, though he was; it’s because something bigger was actually happening: the media don’t see it; Hollywood doesn’t see it; the universities don’t see it. Here is the big secret to conservative success in 2016 and beyond: the era of political correctness is over. (applause)
Political correctness is dying a slow, painful, bloody and agonizing death and all I can say is, “Hell, yeah.”
Political correctness has been a blight on American society for decades, tearing Americans apart one from another. Instead of unity through truth, the Left has offered feelings — the nice, comforting illusion that if something is wrong with your life, it’s actually somebody else’s fault. And if you don’t have facts to back that up — if you can’t point to the evidence of discrimination or cruelty or malice — then we’re supposed to believe you anyway, because if we do anything else that would be challenging “your truth.”
And that’s political correctness in a nutshell: “my truth” over THE truth. There is no such thing as “my truth.” There is just THE truth. There is no “your truth.” There is just THE truth. (applause)
Americans, young Americans, we’re sick and tired of postmodern garbage. And when we sacrifice THE truth for subjective feelings, we are contributing to the downfall of the greatest nation in civilization in the history of mankind. (applause) The whole premise of democracy is that our backgrounds matter less than what we share: a commitment to our common humanity, an ability to think beyond our own personal biases, a willingness to put aside tribal loyalties and walk in somebody else’s shoes.
America is about reason. It always was. America was about the fundamental proposition that human beings are actually capable of rising above their station, of exercising their free will, of being free people. America was based on the idea that good ideas win in the end — a simple faith that if we share a commitment to the value of truth, then we might be able to come together to pursue it.
But the Left has fought for decades to destroy that faith.
Political correctness, of course, is their tool.
Now that term is a term of Marxist orthodoxy; it was originally preached by mass murderer Mao Zedong and Soviet communist Leon Trotsky. No, what originally PC meant was stifling attitudes that didn’t forward the revolution. In practice, what that meant was censorship, banishment, the gulags, death for people who didn’t speak in politically correct ways. Just like a lot of other lefty phrases, by the way; “politically correct,” it’s just like “social justice.” “Social justice” means “Not justice.” “Politically correct” means “Not correct.” (applause)
When leftists in America picked up on the PC movement, they insisted that their goal actually wasn’t to silence; it was instead to open up a new vista of viewpoints. Because, here’s the thing: America was so racist, so sexist, so bigoted, so homophobic, that alternative viewpoints couldn’t be expressed in public. So the only way to encourage members of marginalized groups to speak was to shut everyone up who offended members of those groups. PC was actually supposed to make us free.
That was the promise.
But instead, of course, the intellectual jackboots showed up.
Speaking facts that offended members of supposedly victimized subgroups became taboo. Basic truth went out the window in favor of leftist viewpoints. Victim groups replaced actual victims; language shifted to accommodate the feelings of those victim groups, so as not to reflect “oppressive” hierarchies.
And for years, the PC culture grew stronger.
By the time of the Obama presidency, PC wasn’t just dominant — it had morphed into something almost unstoppable. Advocates of PC had once claimed — rightly — that certain groups in America were victimized. Which is true, of course, certain groups in America were victimized. And they used to present evidence to that effect. But under President Obama and over the eight years he was president, the new PC, what’s changed on our college campuses, the new PC said you didn’t even need evidence of victimization to shut other people up: you just had to claim that you were victimized, and it was our job to give you the benefit of the doubt.
And so a new form of PC was born; one that I’m sure all the college students in the room are familiar with; we’re talking about the PC of “white privilege,” which is nonsense, and “microaggressions,” which is even worse nonsense, and “trigger warnings,” which is even worse nonsense than that, and “safe spaces,” the worst nonsense of all.
The Left said that all politics was about group identity. So if you are white and male, then your perspective is not your perspective as a human being, it’s your perspective as a white male: the White Male Perspective. And if you’re gay and black, then your perspective is not your perspective as an individual human, it’s your perspective as a Gay Black Person.
Now, according to the Left, there’s a hierarchy. So the White Male Perspective is the perspective of privilege, since the founding fathers were white and male — never mind that the highest average household income in the United States exists among Asians. But according to the Left, if you’re white and male and straight, you ’re automatically a beneficiary of privilege — and so you’re simply barred from commenting on anything that matters politically. Because obviously you have been one of the victimizers; you are the beneficiary of this terrible American system.
And if you do comment, and if your comments hurt anyone’s feelings — or even if they could have hurt somebody else’s feelings, they didn’t actually hurt anyone’s feelings, but maybe they might have — that’s a “microaggression.” It’s not just you offended somebody; you “aggressed” them; you did something that’s violent to them and they get to respond in kind; you violated that person’s sovereignty.
These microaggressions, of course, require “trigger warnings” — warnings that you might offend somebody. And only by abiding by these fascistic rules can we actually create “safe spaces,” these pristine bubbles where no one disagrees with you and you get to hug your cuddly teddy bear and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This PC culture took over the university system. It took over the mainstream media. This PC culture meant that universities began to censor speakers, to ban them from campus if they offended members of supposed victim groups. That’s why when I was invited by Young America’s Foundation to speak at DePaul, the college banned me — they literally called out the Sheriff of Cook County and threatened to arrest me if I set foot on campus. It was wild; it was like a nine-foot tall dude, and I said, “If I step right here are you going to arrest me?” And he said, “Yes,” and I said, “Okay, well, now I’m not going to step right there.” (laughter)
They’re actually doing the same thing right now to my friend Steven Crowder; it’s why universities have barred the public from my speeches at UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Minnesota, and University of Connecticut. It’s why Charles Murray was physically assaulted at Middlebury. It’s why Bret Weinstein was thrown out of his job for having the temerity to be white and wanting to teach at Evergreen State College. By the way, Bret is a Bernie Sanders supporter. It’s why Leftists have tried to shut down mainstream conservative thinkers: Guy Benson at Brown and Katie Pavlich at University of Wisconsin and Heather MacDonald at Claremont.
Universities drank the kool-aid of PC, and they’ve been dying from it ever since.
And then there are our friends in the media. Now I don’t mean everyone in the media. There are some good people in the media, but too many of the folks who proclaim that they are objective truth-tellers are actually just advocates of leftism masquerading as truth-tellers. (applause)
And these are the folks who bought into PC culture maybe worse than it is at the university level. These are the people who categorically refuse to use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe immigrants who cross the border illegally.
These are the people who insist that a biological man is actually a woman if he says he is a woman. Hint: he is not. He’s a dude. (applause) Objective facts don’t disappear just because your subjective feelings wish they would.
These are the people who scream “RELIGION OF PEACE” every time an Islamist terror attack rocks a major Western city, but scream “CHRISTIAN RADICALS!” every time a Christian couple refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. (applause)
Then Shapiro addressed the assertion that gun-control advocates have made about gun rights advocates — that they don't care about the children killed in mass shootings — and he grew more passionate:
You want to know who the bigots are in America? It’s these folks in the mainstream media proclaiming their objectivity while they push their agenda.
These are the people who suggest you don’t give a damn about children murdered in mass shootings unless you agree with their gun confiscation schemes. And I have a quick note here: Five years ago I was on CNN talking with my good friend Piers Morgan about this. (laughter) And I accused Piers Morgan of standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook in order to promote their (the media’s) political agenda. The media has not learned one thing; they have gotten worse. The media are lying about you; they’re lying about me; they’re intentionally dividing the country in order to promulgate a gun control agenda. (applause) When the media say — this is a room filled with young conservative people.
Now, raise your hands, young conservatives, if you care about the kids who were killed in Parkland.
Shapiro and everyone in the room raised their hands. He asked, "Now, raise your hand if you also wish to preserve Second Amendment rights."
He and the audience raised their hands again.
Shapiro then bluntly addressed the media: "You see, both things can go together, media." That elicited thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
When you sit there and stand there and suggest that we don’t care about dead children because we don’t mirror what you want us to think, that is because you are acting like vile human beings. (applause) It is vile; it is disgusting to suggest that we don’t care about fellow Americans who died at the hands of an evil maniac. It is you who are standing in the way of real progress. And by the way, note for the media, okay: for all those folks in the media who are in the room: here’s something we’ve done at Daily Wire as members of the media. It will cost us clicks; we don’t care. There are studies that suggest that one of the ways that mass shooters become more common is if you show their names and faces on television. We at Daily Wire no longer do that. So I challenge you in the media: you want to lead the way on gun control?
(Huge applause and standing ovation) You want to stop mass shootings? Put your ratings behind your morality!
After the applause died down, Shapiro continued, "And yet these folks in the media don’t understand when President Trump criticizes the media why so many conservatives cheer. They don’t understand; they think it’s just because Trump is mean to the media and that we’re all following Trump. No. We didn’t like you guys before." (laughter and applause) He went on:
These are the people who remind us each and every day that America is a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic country — while they take home their pretty large paychecks while living in the freest country in world history, all the while claiming they’re objective truth-tellers. And again, then whine that it’s because of Trump.
And then there’s Hollywood, too, of course, our friends in Hollywood. I’m from Hollywood, so I get to deal with them a lot. Hollywood is a place where nobody right of Karl Marx can get a job, or anyone who voted for President Trump hides it for fear of losing their career.
Hollywood is a place where it’s nearly impossible to make a movie about evil jihadists, but virtually every single action movie features some rich white businessman somehow organizing a terror attack. We’re talking about Hollywood, these purveyors of PC, where suburban families all hide deep, dark, horrible secrets, but where wife-swapping sex partiers actually enjoy deep, abiding relationships. (laughter) Hollywood, of course, where women are molested every day by powerful men, but where those same powerful men and women lecture the rest of America about our lack of moral decency. (huge applause)
These folks I’m talking about, Hollywood, the universities, a lot of the folks in the media, not all of them, many of them in the media; these are the purveyors of political correctness.
And they were winning.
See, here’s the thing: Americans are, by nature, polite. We follow rules. We care about not offending other people. We want other people to feel respected. We actually like each other, for the most part, and we’re not all that interested in ticking off our neighbors.
But the Left finally went too far.Maybe it was the specter of the president of the United States tacitly nodding at riots in major American cities. Or maybe it was the feeding frenzy media declaring over and over that founding ideology was dead, and had to be replaced with something new and shocking. Maybe it was a culture that saw every single traditional value as an obstacle to be overcome. Or maybe we just got frustrated with the lies.
Whatever it was, the American people finally said enough.
We said ENOUGH.
We said, “No, you don’t get to lie about America. And no, I won’t lie about America, even if it makes you feel better if I do.”
We said, “You don’t get to tell little boys they can become little girls just to avoid offending people.” (applause) “You don’t get to slander members of our police departments across the country by calling them racists without any evidence. (applause) You do not get to claim, against all available evidence, that women are paid less for the same work. (applause) You don’t get to suggest a la our good friend Bernie Sanders, that stealing money from some and giving it to others makes you a moral human being. It doesn’t; it’s the reverse.” (applause)
And we said, “Most of all, you don’t get to shut us up.” (applause)
The Left finally pushed too far. Americans realized that we were being turned, slowly but surely, into weaklings. Older Americans realized their kids were being taught to play victim instead of thinking for themselves; they realized that children who think they’re victims won’t actually take control over their own lives. Everyone in this room is capable of success; it’s a free country. Everyone in America is capable of success if they apply themselves and if they follow some basic rules: if they get a job; if they don’t have babies before they are married; if they graduate high school. You do these three things you will not live in permanent poverty in the United States.
Younger Americans realized they were sick of being pandered to — that they didn’t need to be told how rough they had it, they needed to be told they could accomplish anything, in this, the greatest country in the history of the world. (applause) Women, men, black Americans, Hispanic Americans, white Americans, didn’t matter — millions of Americans, thinking as individuals rather than check marks on a piece of paper, standing up and saying, “I can do what I want, and I can say what I want, and if you don’t like that, you can go to hell.”
Now, the institutions don’t like it.
The universities keep trying to quash lectures and place restrictions on conservatives. But conservatives are fighting back, in the courts and in the press, and they’re winning. The media keep trying to play the same old game: anyone who refuses their PC diktats is a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe, of course. And it’s not working. The polls aren’t reflecting their wishes. Hollywood keeps trying to play that same old game: the people in middle America are the problem, and the people on the coasts are the cultural vanguard. It’s not working. We don’t care what they have to say, and I’m from the coasts. More and more Americans are alienated from the self-appointed cultural arbiters.
Shapiro then looked to the future, and the necessity for truth:
Political correctness is dying.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Here’s the thing: the era of PC may be over, but it can always come back again. Bill Clinton said in his 1996 State of the Union address that the era of big government was over. At the time, the national debt then was $5.2 trillion. Today, it’s $21 trillion. Bad ideas never die. They just fade away. Temporarily.
The only way to ensure that political correctness continues to lose is if we tell the truth. Not useless abrasiveness. Not meanness. Not false attacks on institutions. We have to tell the truth.
Now, listen: this is the hard part; this is the hard part. We can’t become tribal; the easiest thing to do is attacking people who have been pushing PC.
President Trump likes to attack the media — and some of the time, he’s right. He’s a hammer and the media are a nail, and that’s great. But when President Trump complains that everything negative anyone has ever said about him isn’t true, or when President Trump says he had the biggest inauguration crowd in history, or when the president says there were good people marching in Charlottesville, that is not him waging an effective war against PC. It is nonsense, it is immoral, and it actually helps those who push PC. (applause)
Because when we don’t tell the truth it allows the PC promulgators to pretend that they are the ones who are truth-tellers. And they aren’t. PC is about lies. We can never let the PC Left masquerade as the truth-tellers. Which means we must always tell the truth. Every time we lie, we let them off the hook.
We cannot fight the lies of PC with more lies. We can’t fight political correctness by claiming victimhood without evidence — that makes us part of the politically correct culture. When they lie, let’s call it out, together, loudly, strongly! But let’s not say stupid things just for the sake of melting snowflakes. (laughter and applause)
Believe me, you don’t need hot takes to melt snowflakes. A little well-placed truth does it every time.
That means that our job is to just spout facts, which is pretty easy.
There’s nothing wrong with memes; memes are great. They can be hilarious they can be awesome. All praise to Harambe. (laughter)
But make sure that they are true.
There’s nothing wrong with poking fun at the Left — just make sure that what you say can be backed up with evidence.
If we want to defeat the Left, we don’t need to offend them — they’re offended by nearly everything anyway, up to and including you breathing, sometimes. (laughter)
We need to show that they are liars, and we are the truth-tellers.
And that means telling the truth about everything. It means that when our own side fails, we have to call it out. (applause)
And it means that when people on our own side lie, we have to stand by the truth. Left vs. Right matters a hell of a lot less than right vs. wrong — and right vs. wrong is just another way of saying true vs. false. (applause)
Then the powerful conclusion:
If we want to build bridges — if we want to emerge victorious — if we want to end political correctness, and rebuild on the foundations that our forefathers fought and bled and died for, we’ll need to stand with decency, and with truth.
And we can do it.
So that means it’s time to study up. It means it’s time to be unafraid. My mentor, Andrew Breitbart, used to tell people to “walk toward the fire.” (applause) We don’t have to fear their slings and arrows, because all of those things bounce off of the truth. We don’t have to worry about charges of racism, sexism, bigotry and homophobia, because facts aren’t racist, sexist, bigoted, or homophobic, and neither are we. These are just facts. The facts are your shield; decency is your sword.
No more evidence-free victim mentality. No more subjective feelings trumping objective fact. No more silencing perspectives just because they make people feel bad about themselves. It is time today for truth and decency.
If we stick with truth and decency, we will win.
We’ll win because the human soul does yearn for truth, and it does respond to decency.
We’ll win, because America was built on truth and on decency.
We’ll win, because we sure as hell can’t afford to lose.