News brings word that the pint sized pundit, Ben Shapiro, is going to Berkeley to give another speech. Judging by his twitter activity, he is hoping it will attract Antifa and be shut down by the city. It is hard to know exactly. He could also be playing it the other way, hoping the event goes off without a problem. That way, he can blame the growing army to his right for the recent crackdown of speech by our masters. Like all of the boys and girls who color inside the lines, Shapiro needs to believe safety is a virtue.
Either way, this stunt is just that, a stunt to draw attention to himself, as well as an effort to re-establish his brand of Progressive punditry, as the extreme edge of acceptable. Calling Shapiro a Progressive may strike some people as weird, but that is the truth of it. He embraces all of the blank slate arguments of the Left. He takes, as a given, that the Left’s moral framework is the default for society. You see that in his twitter rants about the alt-right. Shapiro is a man of the Left, just the lagging edge of it.
Shapiro is also a notorious pen for hire, a guy who will say anything if you write a big enough check. He used to say nice things about Trump and the issues that Trump is now championing. Then the Wilks brothers hired him to be an anti-Trump loon, so he went full-on NeverTrump last year. Now that there is money to be made on the Trump train, Shapiro and all the other faux right-wing grifters have gotten on-board with Trump. One gets the sense that if Antifa writes him a check, he could be persuaded to support communism.
Of course, as that Charles Johnson piece reminds us, Shapiro was in on the Michelle Fields hoax a year ago. For those who have forgotten, she claimed to have been assaulted by a Trump campaign staffer at an event. Shapiro and several other fake conservatives demanded Trump quit the campaign over it. Shapiro even quit Breitbart over it, coincidentally just when the Wilks brothers check cleared. Video later revealed that the staffer in question merely brushed past Fields and she had been lying.
That is the thing about our chattering classes. They are never called to answer for their perfidy. Fields still gets on TV as a pundit, despite having been exposed as something of a sociopath. Shapiro was never pressed to explain his role in that affair. National Review is happy to give him a platform, as no doubt the Wilks brothers are stroking checks to them too. There’s little doubt that Sloppy Williamson was paid to write those insane anti-Trump columns last year. Even by his standards, they were a cornucopia of crack-pottery.
Since Charlottesville, Shapiro has been taking every opportunity to condemn the alt-right and you see that in the linked twitter rant. The game he is playing is the moral equivalence strategy. He keeps equating the alt-right with Antifa, comparing what you do not see, with what you do see. People hear about the alt-right, but they see black clad lunatics toppling over statues and smashing windows in street riots. Chad and Stacey out in the suburbs can be forgiven for confusing the two and condemning both.
That is the role guys like Shapiro play for the Left. These so-called conservatives happily define the boundaries between what is and what is not acceptable on the Right. He and his fellow pens-for-hire are the palace guard, defining the outer boundary of the political Right. It is why they are more worked up over the alt-right than the violent left-wing mobs of Antifa. The former is a real threat to their position, while the latter is good for selling books no one will read and building their media brand.
The other angle Shapiro is working is the flattery fraud. He invests a lot of time and effort in presenting himself as the thinking man’s right-winger. That in itself reveals something about him. His appeal is that smart normies can feel like intellectuals because they listen to Ben Shapiro. The fact that he can say he supports free speech and in the same thread condemn the speech of everyone to his Right reveals him to be a pseudo-intellectual moral nullity. He is an obsequious rumpswab, who will say anything for a dollar.
It is just another example of the corruption of the Official Right™. They may as well be actors, hired by the Left to play a role in the Prog political drama. They will never bite the hand that feeds them. It is why they are falling all over themselves to signal to the Left that they are perfectly OK with cracking down on dissident speech. It is not about ideology. It is about the paycheck. If the boundary of the Right gets pushed out, guys like Shapiro are no longer useful. It is why their guns are always pointed at us, rather than the Left.