News and Commentary

Ben Shapiro On Hero-Worship In Politics: ‘We Are Better Than This’

Concluding his Monday podcast, having addressed the subject of his resignation from Breitbart News, along with five other members of the staff, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro summed up the dangers of hero worship in politics, addressing not only those who worship Donald Trump on the right, but also those on the left who have their own political figures before whom they genuflect.

Shapiro said:

I don’t want to see the conservative movement fall in thrall to some idol who can tells us that we can be great again, and just because he says it we’re supposed to worship and fall at his feet. That’s not who I am, that’s not what the conservative movement is, that’s not who you are. America is better than this. We are better than this.

If you’re on the left and you worship your politicians, you’re better than this. And if you’re on the right, and you’re worshiping Donald Trump, you’re better than this. Because worship of politicians leads to the sort of violence that we’re seeing on both sides now. It really is scary stuff. Let’s all come together around common America ideas, not around people. Around American ideas. Let’s reeducate ourselves as to what they are. If we do that, then we really can make America great again.

Shapiro is correct; hero-worship exists on both sides of the political aisle. On March 5, in Orlando, Florida, Trump told his supporters to raise their right hands and take a pledge that they would vote for him. He intoned, “Can I have a pledge? A swearing? Raise your right hand … I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.” Then he threatened, “Thank you. Now I know. Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”

On the other side of the aisle, the cult of Obama even featured a sand statue of Obama a few blocks from the 2012 DNC. The usual symbol of the Democratic party, the donkey, was absent at the convention, replaced by ubiquitous symbols referring to Obama himself.

As Ezra Klein gushed over Obama in The American Prospect in 2008, “He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.” He was echoed by Oprah Winfrey, as Politico reported:

In Winfrey’s telling, the protagonist – an old woman who had survived slavery and the Civil War – would ask every child, “Are you the one? Are you the one?” “I do believe I do today we have the answer to Miss Pittman’s question – it’s a question that the entire nation is asking – is he the one?” Winfrey said. “South Carolina – I do believe he’s the one.” According to one academic discussion of the book by Christopher Mulvey, a professor at University of Winchester in the United Kingdom, the passage continues to ask whether the child is the one who will “carry part of our cross,” a “messianic figure.”

“If you’re on the left and you worship your politicians, you’re better than this. And if you’re on the right, and you’re worshiping Donald Trump, you’re better than this.’

Ben Shapiro

Worship of any leader leads to violence, for the intolerance of opposing viewpoints often leads to violence. The whole American Revolution was a reaction to hero-worship, and it’s betraying American principles to worship any leader.