On Thursday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” Shapiro dismantles Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the new generation is more knowledgeable of American history than previous generations. Video and partial transcript below:
If the older generation of Democrats seems to be fading, there’s a new, young generation of Democrats who are brilliant and wise and — oh no, [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] is leading this thing, isn’t she? So AOC, the irrepressible, the brilliant — she was doing what she loves to do: Instagram videos.
Yeah man, she knows Instagram like the back of her hand. She is an Instagram video expert. So, she did an Instagram video a couple of days ago, and she was asked about the new generation — millennials and Gen Zers — and here is her explaining that, in fact, young people are supremely wise and knowledgeable, which is true if you hit your head really hard on the toilet and are about to invent the flux capacitor.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think young people are more informed and dynamic than their predecessors. They actually take time to read and understand our history — the history of the labor movement, history civil rights, history of racial struggles, history of economics, history of the United States, history of colonialism. And they’re not afraid to have those conversations. If anything, I think they’re profoundly courageous because they’re willing to puncture taboos and have conversations that frankly older generations sometimes struggle to have.
Nothing self-flattering like basically categorizing yourself in a group of people who are wise, brilliant, and visionary. I mean, that’s just well done AOC. There’s only one problem with this, which is that young people are disproportionately dramatically ignorant about American history, and it’s that ignorance about American history which helps contribute to the woke sensibility that American history is a long list of sins, with no wins, and that America is rooted and steeped in evil. And when she says that young students — that they know more about American history than their predecessors — absolute crap. There’s not a single statistic that shows that young Americans know more about American history than people who are older than they are. Not one. If you can show it to me, I’m happy to look at it.
Let me take an example. So back in November, there was a YouGov poll that asked more than a thousand people aged 14 and up about their knowledge of the country’s history and institutions, and also about their patriotic feelings toward the United States. Basically, it found that younger generations are less likely to love and respect their country. Now maybe, you would think, well the reason is because they know more about the sins — they know about slavery and Jim Crow … than the people who actually lived through Jim Crow, or the people who actually studied slavery. But sure. Maybe, maybe they’re just super knowledgeable and, having seen the sins of the past, in all of their stock relief, they’ve decided that America’s not that great a place.
Well, there’s only one problem with that, which is that they don’t know crap. It turns out that young people don’t know American history.
The same survey found that 87% of high school students flunked a five-question test of basic knowledge about American history. That is the worst of any age group. High school students didn’t know who was out on Mount Rushmore. Only 35% of high school students could name the presidents on Mount Rushmore. First of all, as we’ll see, watch “North by Northwest.” Second, that 71% of boomers knew the answer. Only 11% could name the rights enumerated in the First Amendment. More than half of high schoolers believed that Barack Obama was a more consequential president than George Washington. So in other words, no, this is stupid, and it is that ignorance of American history that leads so many young people to believe that America sucks. Which also leads them to support people like AOC.
Sixty percent of millennials in this poll said that America was sexist. This, despite the fact that women constitute the majority of college graduates. This, despite the fact that in America’s major cities, women who are coming straight out of college with no kids and no husband — so they are comparable to single men — make more than single men do in the same job market. Sixty-three percent of millennials say that America is racist. More than half of college-age Gen Zers said this about the United States. Baby boomers, 46% say the country is sexist, 42% say the country is racist. Most ignorantly, half of [the] college-age generation — this according to Investor’s Business Daily — think America is more racist than other countries, which is patently insane.
If you’re to make the case that America has a racism problem, you can make that case. If you want to make the case that America is more racist than other countries, visit another country. Only 29% of boomers felt that. So in other words, the more ignorant you are about American history and about America, the worse you think about America.
But according to AOC, millennials and Gen Zers — she’s going to flatter them into a Senate seat. Basically, she’s going to tell them that. Really their dislike for America — their love for socialism, the fact they don’t know what socialism is, the fact that they can’t name the date that slavery ended in the United States, the fact that they probably don’t know what Jim Crow was, the fact they don’t know anything about the United States. That’s actually a sign of their bravery. They’re so brave…
I mean, it really is insane here that the Left spends so much time patting themselves on the back for calling everybody else terrible. Truly it’s an incredible thing. You know, one of the things that you’re taught as a child, when you’re a good child is you are taught not to put other people down to feel better about yourself. In fact, this is one of the things the Left hates about President Trump, right? Is that President Trump is a put-down artist. He’s fantastic at it. He’s an insult comic. And they don’t like it.
But when it comes to Left, the entire Left worldview is rooted in this idea that everybody who is not on [the] Left is morally inferior, has a lack of character, is a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe — and then they’re like, Yeah well you know I’ve examined my country. I’m a world citizen because America is terrible. But you know, I’m brave because I’ve faced up to the fact that America is — no that’s not bravery. Hey, you saying everybody else sucks is not bravery. You separating yourself off from your country and then suggesting false things about your country, that is not bravery. That is cowardice.