At a Young America’s Foundation’s Fred Allen Lecture Series event on the campus of Stanford University Thursday evening, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro unpacked the “dangerous game” being played by both the radical Left and Alt-Right — two groups, he argued, that “feed off one another.”
Leading up to the event, Shapiro’s speech was protested by social justice activists, who organized a “silent rally,” erased messages by Stanford College Republicans promoting the event, and decried Shapiro’s supposedly “dehumanizing” ideas while simultaneously comparing him to an insect in need of extermination — in other words, all the usual antics that have become common on college campuses with Shapiro’s speeches, in particular, and those of any right-leaning personalities, in general.
Shapiro’s speech was initially titled “No, Leftist Idiots Don’t Get To Raise My Kids,” but, as Shapiro explained Thursday night, a heckling campaign by the Alt-Right inspired him to shift the focus to not just leftists, which he shredded succinctly in his opening comments, but those on the fringe-right who, he argued, are similarly destructive to political discourse.
“I want to talk about the dangerous game being played by two particular nasty groups who feed off one another: I am speaking about the radical Left and the Alt-Right,” the bestselling author and podcast host told the packed auditorium (video of full speech below). While he noted that he rips the radical Left all the time on campuses because they are “dominated by the censorious and nasty radical Left,” Shapiro explained that he chose to focus more on the Alt-Right for this speech, in part because they’ve been “encouraging their minions to show up to ask pre-written questions designed to elicit LOLs from likeminded idiots who populate 8chan and Gab.”
As The Daily Wire reported, two days before Shapiro’s speech at Stanford, Alt-Right hecklers descended on a speech at Cal State LA by Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh to ask him trolling questions — the stunt didn’t go well for the hecklers. Their appearance at the event is part of a larger coordinated attempt by Alt-Right influencers to disrupt mainstream conservative events. Hecklers similarly crashed an event a few days earlier involving Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
“The radical Left and the Alt-Right need each other,” said Shapiro. “And they’re playing a game, in which the radical Left seeks to delegitimize anyone who isn’t radically Left by lumping them in with the despicable Alt-Right — and in which the Alt-Right seeks to make common cause with anyone ‘cancelled’ by the radical Left, specifically with the supporters of President Trump who have been maligned falsely as evil by the radical Left, in order to artificially boost their numbers.”
“These two goals are mutually reinforcing,” Shapiro explained. “Here’s how this garbage works… Let’s say, for example, that you believe that ‘white civilization’ — a nonsensical term, since civilization is not defined by color but by history, culture, and philosophy — is under attack from multiracial hordes. Let’s say that you’re antipathetic toward Jews and enraged by the liberties guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States. Let’s say you spend your days ranting about how American conservatives and traditional classical liberals — the sole protective force against the radical Left — haven’t ‘conserved’ anything. You say America is not a propositional or creedal nation, even though the nation’s founding literally begins with the words, ‘We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights… Let’s say you cite Christianity as the basis of your values, but you’re more likely to quote Nietzsche than Christ.”
After exposing the self-contradictory and transparently racist ideology espoused by Alt-Right influencers, Shapiro addressed their four-part strategy for mainstreaming their fringe movement.
“First, you declare your allegiance to President Trump, and declare that you aren’t really Alt-Right, even though you obviously are,” he explained. “You show up to lectures wearing a MAGA hat in order to get the media to cover it – and in order to demonstrate that you’re truly a representative of the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump. You call yourself ‘America First,’ hijacking Trump’s slogan, but twisting it to mean ‘white Americans first.’ The media will eat it up, because the media love nothing better than suggesting that Trump is a white supremacist, despite the fact that he has repeatedly condemned white supremacism.”
Strategy two, Shapiro explained, the Alt-Right attempts to define themselves as “the heirs to conservatism.”
“You do so by simply lying about mainstream conservatives. You suggest that mainstream conservatives are insufficiently committed to social conservatism. You do this by asking questions like, ‘How does anal sex help us win the culture war?’” he said in reference to an Alt-Right heckler’s question at a TPUSA event. “The purpose is to simultaneously pose as edgy and also preserve your ability to say you were just joking.” Such actions, said Shapiro, “is by definition losing the culture war.”
“What helps America win the culture war is freedom: freedom against a government encroaching on your activities that don’t harm anyone else,” he said, offering a true conservative response. “As Edmund Burke put it, ‘Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself.’ You know what else helps win the culture war? Engaging with your community, involving yourself in the social fabric. Not creating Pepe memes online and then jabbering about anal sex.”
“In fact, there’s great irony in watching alt-righters claim that they should use the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoints on others – while complaining that the Left uses the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoint on others,” he added. “You can’t really whine about other people shutting down your viewpoint and activity that harms no one else while planning to shut down everybody else’s viewpoints.”
Shapiro also dismantled the Alt-Right’s racially charged rhetoric about “white European” ideals. “Race doesn’t have ideals,” said Shapiro. “And if you think it does, you’re indistinguishable from the identity politics Left. Spoiler alert: you are.”
As for the Alt-Right belief that “white people are superior to others,” Shapiro said the alt-righters’ “own idiocy and bigotry are a perfect rebuttal of [their supposed] supremacy.”
The third Alt-Right strategy, Shapiro argued, is to “troll” their enemies, as they have at recent conservative events.
Their fourth strategy, Shapiro said, is to “count on the Left to help” them. And the Left absolutely will, said Shapiro. “They’ll label anyone on the right Alt-Right, even if we say vocally and in no uncertain terms that the Alt-Right is pure, unbridled, vile garbage — even if members of the Alt-Right target those on the mainstream right. Even if Donald Trump condemns the worldview. You can argue with anything we say… we all disagree with each other pretty frequently. But there’s no doubt none of us are Alt-Right.”
Despite these glaring differences, Shapiro said, “the media and the Left will push the lie anyway.”
“So the Boston Globe will call my website, The Daily Wire, an ‘Alt-Right outpost’ (we forced them to recant); the Economist will call me ‘the Alt-Right sage without the rage’ (we’ll force them to recant),” he said. “Students at Boston University are festooning my posters with a Hitler mustache. Students at this university will mob those trying to put up posters for this lecture; they’ll tear down a large banner advertising my speech and replace it with a banner reading ‘Be tolerant, accept racism’… They’ll issue a flyer that literally depicts me as a cockroach on a bottle of bug spray with the label, ‘Ben B Gone.’”
Shapiro then forcefully defended Trump against the smear. “The media will suggest that Trump is in league with the Alt-Right, even at this late date – they’ll neglect all Trump has done to purge his administration to those who were remotely friendly with the Alt-Right (see Bannon, Steve) and his forcible disavowal of the alt-right and white supremacism,” he said. “They’ll simply overlook that Trump isn’t a white supremacist, and declare that the MAGA hat is equivalent to a Nazi swastika – and they’ll say that by extension, anyone who wears a MAGA hat or votes for Trump is a secret Brownshirt.”
Shapiro then offered a “clarification” for the disingenuous Left: “If someone believes that all men are created equal, … that every American should have equality before the law, in free market capitalism, in small government, in equal opportunity for all people of all races, that person is not on the Alt-Right,” he said. “In fact, they despise the Alt-Right, and the Alt-Right despises them. But people on the Left know this, they just prefer the lie. Why? Because their goal is to delegitimize the entire right.”
The Left’s shutting down of free speech in the name of political correctness and identity politics promotes the growth of the Alt-Right, with whom they share tactics and aspects of their worldview. The only difference between the radical Left and the Alt-Right, is they reverse the victim hierarchy. “All of this is terrible for the country, it’s terrible for the discourse,” Shapiro concluded.
“So, here I am, stuck in the middle with you,” Shapiro concluded. “Anyone, on the Right or Left, who wants to have an actual conversation about tough issues, that isn’t the bumper sticker, but that also is not willing to pretend that ugly bigotry is decency, that identity politics reflects truth, or that trollish meming is a substitute for an actual worldview,” Shapiro concluded. “Let’s have the conversation.”
Video of the full speech below:
Partial transcript based on Shapiro’s prepared remarks.