In an appearance on “Life, Liberty & Levin” Sunday night, bestselling author and Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro discussed a central theme in his new book, “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps“: the “Disintegrationist” movement sweeping across the country that targets the “ties that bind us,” undermining and disrupting Americans’ sense of cultural unity and shared values.
Host Mark Levin began the discussion by noting the looting and arson, the rise of Antifa, the Democratic Party’s general embrace of the movement, and a corrupt media that has thrown their weight behind radical voices.
Shapiro commented, “The fact is that what we have seen over the last several weeks is the full flowering of an ideology of Disintegrationism that has been running roughshod through our universities, through our media, through our major cultural institutions for years, and it sort of just broke out into the open over the last several couple of months.”
“There are really two conflicting visions of America that have been at war for quite a while,” said Shapiro. “One is a vision of America that sees American history as a story of America’s beautiful and wonderful and eternally true founding ideals and Americans striving to live up to that — failing, stumbling, falling, but eventually succeeding. An America that is founded on basic notions in the Declaration of Independence that bring about unprecedented prosperity and freedom for not just millions of people in America but billions of people over time and around the world. An American philosophy that is beautiful in its essence, that is all about freedom and liberty and a culture that really values rights and in which all of our debates take place on this moral basis that rights preexist government.”
“That was the original vision of America,” he continued. “That’s what I call the ‘Unionist’ vision of America. That which what holds us together. And any country that holds together has to share a history — they have to share a culture; they have to share a philosophy.”
Shapiro then described what he called a “second strain” battling for control over the American narrative that ultimately seeks to destroy this unifying vision.
“This is the strain that is virulently running through our politics right now, a strain that I call ‘Disintegrationism,'” he said. “The idea that really America has never had any ties that bind us and that American history is a story of one group clubbing another group over the head. America’s philosophy is really just sort of a ‘pasteboard mask,’ and really what it is covering up for is hierarchies of brutal power dynamics, and that our culture of rights is really a lie and that those rights ought to be thrown out in favor of an orthodoxy that rules from above and tells you how you ought to think.”
“And you can see all of this coming to fruition in everything from the riots and the looting to the ‘1619 Project,'” he emphasized. “I really didn’t think it was all going to burst out into the open like an overripe cantaloupe here, but that’s exactly what’s happened.”
Levin responded by asking what has triggered the burst so suddenly.
Shapiro replied, “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that President Trump exists. I think that he provides a point of commonality in which no matter how radically Left you go, you’re going to find allies in the kind of old falling apart liberal school, who will side with you just to get rid of Trump.”
“The real story of what’s happening here is not even Right versus Left; it’s radical Left versus everybody else,” Shapiro said.
“You’re seeing a battle that’s breaking out inside the Democratic Party between Nancy Pelosi, who’s now, quote-unquote, ‘moderate’ but who’s radically left, and people like Ilhan Omar,” Shapiro added. “And you’re seeing who’s winning that battle.”
Shapiro then tied the political manifestations of this ideological battle to trends he’s experience first-hand on college campuses. “There was this old idea from the ‘moderate liberals’ that all of the passion they saw win college campuses, the censorious, ideologically fascistic top-down stuff you were seeing on college campuses; the ‘microaggressions,’ the cancel culture, all of that would go away once these good-hearted but overzealous leftists reached the halls of power,” he said.
“It turns out that they were there, and when they entered the halls of power they decided just to uproot all the systems and take it over,” he continued. “This is the French Revolution in real time without the actual physical guillotines.”
Shapiro then brought the discussion back to the fallout from Trump’s upset victory.
“The fact that President Trump campaigned on the basic idea of ‘Make America Great Again,’ and the counter from the Left was not that President Trump wasn’t capable of making America great again; their counter was actually ‘America was never great,'” he said. “That was the divide, in essence, and that was happening back in 2016 …”
Shapiro went on to posit that that “the real story” over the last year or so is how many people have been “cowed into silence.”
“This is why the cancel culture we’re seeing, I talk about it in the book, this is why the cancel culture has become so dangerous,” he explained. “Cancellation isn’t about them coming after you, which they have, or me; it’s about them coming after people who don’t have the capacity to defend themselves. You have a platform; I have a platform. I can refuse to be cancelled. But there are tens of millions of Americans who cannot refuse to be cancelled who live in fear of being cancelled for simply expressing something as simple as, ‘Yeah, I voted for Trump’ or ‘I’m considering the possibility of voting for President Trump.’ That is a cancellable offense in Left world.”
The threat of “cancellation” is particularly real during “one of the worst economic downturns in American history,” said Shapiro. And the surest way to become a target is by the Left labeling you “racist,” a term that has been “refined” for the Left’s agenda. “The Left has openly and obviously refined the term ‘racist’ to mean you are part of the American system,” he said. “They will say this openly … the idea that you can only be ‘anti-racist’ if you fight the American system.”
“They are perfectly open about the fact that they want to disintegrate all the ties that bound us together,” he stressed. “They say the ties never existed, that they shouldn’t exist. That’s dangerous. That’s a recipe for the county absolutely falling apart.”