On Friday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” Shapiro breaks down a Washington Post article that uses the “Hitler/dog” logical fallacy to claim that conservatives are reminiscent of 19th-century Southern slaveholders. Video and partial transcript below:
Herein lies The Washington Post’s argument [in its recent article]: Everyone on the Right is Hitler; everyone is Hitler. And they will make this argument ’til their face turns blue. It’s one of the reasons why President Trump is president — is because everybody who happens to be even slightly right-of-center is tired, sick of being labeled a white supremacist. They’re tired of being labeled racist, they’re tired of being labeled all the bad words in the universe simply because they disagree with Nancy Pelosi on tax policy and abortion. And as we’ll see, the Left doesn’t understand this.
So when people like me say, you know what, why don’t you have a conversation with us? Because we actually agree on white supremacy being evil — we all agree that Nazis suck. We’re all on the same page here. The first response of the Left is, “Ah but aren’t you a Nazi?” That’s like, God bless it, you’re making my argument for me. My whole argument is that we are having a tough time conversing with one another and people are getting angry and they’re responding in dramatically reactionary fashion because you keep calling them something they are not.
If you keep calling people Nazis, eventually they just throw up a giant middle finger, and the middle finger has a giant “T” on it. Right? That’s the Trump middle finger. That’s what it was. You went at the Right long enough, you kept calling us white supremacists, you kept calling us Nazis, and then Trump was out there basically saying you’re all schmucks. [So] we’re like, OK fine, that guy. Do it. So the Left’s response to this: But aren’t you Nazis, though? Aren’t you Nazis?
Now, here is the greatest example of this I have ever seen. So yesterday, in The Washington Post, there’s a piece by a woman named Eve Fairbanks. The piece is titled “The Reasonable Rebels.”
Washington Post: Conservatives say we’ve abandoned reason and civility. The Old South used the same language to defend slavery.
This is literally the Hitler/dog argument. This is, Hitler had a dog, you have a dog, thus by logical deduction, you are Hitler. What the actual F?
It turns out, you know who has called for reason and civility? Like a lot of people over the course of all of human history have called for reason and civility. And by the way, I would note that the Old South did not make its bones on calling for reason and civility. They made their bones on firing on Fort Sumter, for God’s sake. They initiated the largest war in the history of the United States, ending with the deaths of 600,000 people. That was not reason and civility.
Also, you know [how] I know that conservatives today are not like the Old South when they call for reason and civility? Because I’m not whipping black folks while I’m calling for reason and civility, you moron. Because I don’t own slaves, you dumba**. Like, what are you, what are you even talking about? This is it. It is exactly the Hitler/dog argument. It is exactly the Hitler/dog argument …
Hitler used to eat vegetables. Do you eat vegetables? Do you? Do you? Hitler liked art. Do you like art? Hitler listened to classical music. Do you listen to classical music? You keep saying reason and civility. You know who else used to say reason and civility? Hmmm? Only difference between you and the slaveholders is that they held slaves. Yes, that is a big difference. That is a very, very large difference. OK, so I’m not exaggerating. This is a very, very wrong piece making exactly this argument. Ready? Here it is:
Washington Post: After the El Paso shooting, Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative podcaster…
Thank you very much.
Washington Post: …asked Americans to draw a line between the few conservatives who are white supremacists and those who, like him, aren’t.
First of all, no I didn’t ask Americans to draw a line between the few “conservatives” who are white supremacists, and those like me who — what I said, is that it is non-conservative by definition to be a white supremacist because conservatism is about values. Conservatism is about the sacrosanct nature of the individual. Conservatism is about judging individuals as human beings. It is not about group identity. That cuts directly against conservatism. So no, you get it wrong in the first sentence and then it gets worse.
Washington Post: Almost all Americans are “on the same side,” he said, and “we should be mourning together.” In his telling, we aren’t, for “one simple reason: Too many on the political Left [are] castigating the character of those who disagree,” lumping conservatives and political nonconformists together with racists and xenophobes.
Then we get to the good part. Eve Fairbanks says:
Washington Post: I grew up in a conservative family. The people I talk to most frequently, the people I call when I need help, are conservative. I’m not inclined to paint conservatives as thoughtless bigots.
Wait. But yeah.
Washington Post: But a few years ago, listening to the voices and arguments of commentators like Shapiro, I began to feel a very specific deja vu I couldn’t initially identify. It felt as if the arguments I was reading were eerily familiar. I found myself googling lines from articles, especially when I read the rhetoric of a group of people we could call the “reasonable right.”
Washington Post: …It felt frustrating, When I [read, listened and watched members of the “reasonable right]. What was I reminded of?
What was the thing she was reminded of? Hitler. That’s what she — what? She’s reminded of slaveholders. That’s what she was reminded of.
Washington Post: My childhood home is just a half-hour drive from the Manassas battlefield in Virginia, and I grew up intensely fascinated by the Civil War. I loved perusing soldiers’ diaries. During my senior year in college, I studied almost nothing but Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. As I wrote my thesis on a key Lincoln address, Civil War rhetoric was almost all I read: not just that of the 16th president but also that of his adversaries.
Thinking back on those debates, I finally figured it out. The reasonable right’s rhetoric is exactly the same as the antebellum rhetoric I’d read so much of. The same exact words. The same exact arguments. Rhetoric, to be precise, in support of the slave-owning South.
So I say that we’re on the same side because Nazis suck, and she reads from that [that] I’m a neo-Confederate. And so is Bari Weiss. And so is Jordan Peterson. And so is Jonathan Haidt. All of us saying: Why don’t we have like a conversation and talk about stuff?
We’re just like the people who decided to fight a civil war to secede from the United States while enslaving millions of black people. Exactly the same. The same guys, cause you’re crazy.