The Thug Life has reached the halls of Washington.
During his congressional testimony on Thursday regarding free speech, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro’s Thug Life persona was hilariously acknowledged by Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis, who started his questioning of Shapiro by asking him something that prompted laughter in the chamber: “Ben Shapiro, who came up with the Thug Life Ben Shapiro?”
Shapiro replied, “I have no idea. Wasn’t me.” He laughed, “I never have listened to a complete rap song in my entire life.”
It’s funny and it’s well done; it has some of your greatest hits. Let me ask you; you mentioned the professors; Obviously the professors overwhelmingly are on the Left. Some are fair, and some of them are more perched in their ideology, but I wonder; I see some of the things you’ve dealt with, others, is it the professors doing this or are these just students who are predisposed to do this? It seems like there are a lot of radical students anyway and a lot of them are kind of going to do this even if their professors weren’t egging them on, is that true?
I think there are three groups; I think there are usually a couple of radical professors who egg them on, not the entire Left faculty, because that would be pretty much everyone, but a couple of radical professors who decide that they think it would be worthwhile for there to be massive protests, some student organizers, and then very often lately you’ve been seeing people bused in from the outside. So at Berkeley you saw people coming in from Antifa and integrating with the Berkeley student population and then doing acts of violence. At Cal State LA there were a couple of busloads of people who were bused in. It’s really those three groups, I think.
DeSantis asked, “When you’re dealing with the anti-Semitism and the anti-Israel views on campuses, is that faculty-driven or is that outside the university?”
I haven’t dealt with that as much, because I think that in the last couple of years most of the opposition has been coming from the Black Lives Matter movement, from the Bernie Sanders socialist wing of the Democratic Party. It hasn’t been coming too much from the Israel stuff because I don’t speak about the Israel stuff all that often on campus. I know for a lot of Jewish students on campus it’s very uncomfortable because there are a lot of professors who support boycott, divestment sanctions from Israel and activate their students to do the same.
DeSantis then asked if the government should fund universities that block free speech:
So just from a conservative perspective, we look at some of what’s going on on college campuses and we don’t necessarily like it, but we don’t really want government involved in this anyway, but the other thing people will point out is, we’re funding these universities, so the American taxpayer is underwriting a lot of this stuff. Is there a role for government given that we’re funding it or is it just the type of thing that we fund it and we just gotta keep our hands off? If we weren’t funding it then I would think there would not be a role for government at all, but a lot of money is going to these universities.
Shapiro referred to the Wisconsin law that was passed in the wake of the protests that occurred when he spoke at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The law, which stipulated that students who disrupted speeches would be disciplined, came under attack from some Democrats during the free speech hearing. Shapiro said:
The Wisconsin law that has been discussed repeatedly has been, I think, a little bit unfairly maligned because people are refusing to read the end of the phrase in the law, which is that this is speech that “interferes with the speech of others.” If you have administrators who are basically handing a “heckler’s veto” to people who are standing up in front of other speakers, and then attempting to block it, that’s not actually free speech, that’s trespass. So I don’t know that you need another piece of legislation, I do think you need enforcement of existing law that exists to prevent what is, in fact, criminal activity and not free speech activity, but there are going to have to be some sort of consequences for administrators who don’t abide by the current law, because what they’re doing is that they are essentially saying, “We can’t shut down the speech, but if you go and you make a big fuss, then we’ll say that in order to shut down the fuss we have to shut down the speech.” And if they continue to do that, then I don’t see why my taxpayer dollars should be going to a university that bans me because the university refuses to protect my right to free speech.
DeSantis agreed, “That’s a good point. You talked about the hierarchy based on identity, in terms of who, like a white man would be at the bottom, that kind of a deal; how honest does even that standard apply? Because somebody like a Justice Clarence Thomas, who obviously has a very compelling background; how would he be perceived at these universities in terms of his story, given that he’s a Constitution originalist?”
Or Jason Riley from The Wall Street Journal. Obviously intersectionality in that philosophy is a stand-in for hard-core leftism, and it’s just a way of using multiculturalism as the entree to leftist points of view, it isn’t actually. As you say, if Clarence Thomas says something, nobody on the Left is going to say, “He suffered as a black man so his perspective is more valuable than Joe Biden’s perspective on a particular issue.” You’re not going to hear anyone on the Left ever say that.