Not a shift in direction
This isn’t a shift in direction for the content I make. I just figured I could do something a bit more entertaining, partly because I can’t edit videos and because I lack the time or skill necessary to make response videos and I also lack the will to get out there and debate people on subjects I’d rather debate in the quiet of a voice chat amongst politically diverse friends.
As the person I’m analyzing today is quite an ideologue, I expect to hear some extreme things and others perhaps more reasoned. I’ve only heard of Ben Shapiro by name, and through people in the Social Justice community. He appears to be one of those “Rationals”, pseudo-intellectuals who are looking to bring back reasoned discourse into modern day dialogue. That just happens to be my goal as well, so let us see what Mr. Shapiro has to say for himself.
This video is called “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Transgenderism and Pro-Abortion arguments“. My presumption here is that he makes some convincing knock-down arguments against the concept of being a transgender AND the necessity for abortion. With a title like that, though, I can probably guess that whoever made this entry is a very big fan of this man, so I’m going to take that title with a grain of salt. These are reactions I got as I was listening to the video live, so there was no prior experience with this video.
Seems like a conference where Shapiro is taking questions, which is already a very honest thing to do, and considering the video starts with a seemingly overweight female with make-up, possibly in her early twenties, I’m going to guess that this person is one of the bad guys.
0:18 – The person asking the question asked why Shapiro says things like “transgender people are girls trying to be boys and boys trying to be girls”, which on its own is kind of false already. Quickly after, the girl says: “Gender is disconnected from sex” to which Shapiro interjects saying the opposite. First argument.
0:22 – It is still a cultural thing, it is still from society, says the girl. To which Shapiro responds: “No it is not in the mind. You’re not a man if you think you’re a man.”
0:55 – “The idea that gender and sex are malleable is not true.” – “I am not denying your humanity if you are a transgender person, I am denying the sex which you claim to be.”
Okay, and Shapiro appears to know something about the psychological connections between gender identity and the DSM’s interpretations of it, even going so far as to admit that it has changed names. Well, if the definition of misidentified genders has changed, is it possible that the lines between gender and sex, through scientific discovery and cultural change, has also shifted? Also, if the girl he’s talking to knows her stuff, a proper rebuttal to this would be: “I am not claiming anything with regards to my sex. I am claiming things with regard to my gender. These are not the same things.”
1:16 – “I’m not going to change biology because it threatens the subjective sense of what you are.”
Here again, Ben Shapiro decides to disregard that there is any disconnection between gender and sex but does not really provide an appropriate rebuttal to the notion other than making reductive wisecracks, that for sure take away from the girl’s point, but don’t really make a convincing case if it turns out the speaker does not even understand what he’s talking about.
1:38 – “You have to be a boy to be a boy scout.”
I’m sorry, what? Where… huh? What does that have to do with gender identity? The girl appropriately falls for it by asking “Where’s that written?” which leads to the heel-arr-eous response of “In the name “boy scout”.” All of this would be very interestingly put and a convincing argument against transgenderism if that had anything to do with it. In the end here, Shapiro knows he has no idea what he’s talking about, so he’s eloquently directing his interlocutor in obvious pitfalls, probably (and by probably, I mean definitely) with the aim of stirring up his crowd of fans who react to every punchline he makes. Quite the stand-up comedian, for sure. A thinker? Not so much.
2:00 – “And if I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose?”
Moose is not a gender. I’m… yeah. Not a gender. No. Or are you saying a person’s species is equivalent to their gender and sex now? Damn it, Ben, you are losing me!
2:34 – “Why aren’t you sixty?”
… I think I can emulate the girl’s dumbstruck expression right then and there. Be QUIET you guys in the back, I’m trying to listen to this man telling me age is the same thing as gender.
2:44 – To “Age is not the same thing as gender”, Shapiro responds “You’re right, age is significantly less important than gender.”
2:49 – “You can’t magically change your sex. You can’t magically change your age.”
Ohhh, now it all makes sense. Age is the same thing as gender! So I suppose I can identify as 60-year-old-gender now, according to Ben Shapiro. What an enlightening young man he is. This is starting to look a lot like gish galloping. Throwing out as many different outlandish claims so that the person speaking with you has no time to address even one of them, because to do so would take too much time. Doesn’t seem like Ben is here to chat, more like ridicule off of – hmm, what’s the word – a preconceived bias?
3:01 – “Just because you can do things legally does not mean that they are correct biologically.”
In response to the girl saying that you can change your sex, your name and your gender, all within the bounds of legality, this is definitely a good response to the last thing Shapiro said, but knowing she’s just beaten him on his argument, Ben quickly jumps on the one word that is easy to misconstrue as meaning something else than what she said. Now, of course she once again fell for it, being a naïve 22 year-old. (that’s her age, she says so in the video)
3:10 – I will now proceed to compare transition surgery to sterilization of the mentally ill.
I don’t think this needs to be addressed, considering it stems from a red herring that Shapiro aptly put into place. It is an invalid argument by virtue of not addressing what the girl said: You CAN change your sex. The word “magically” here does not matter, because if Shapiro admitted that sex transition surgery took place, he’d also have to conclude that there’s a discrepancy between gender and sex. I suppose we can’t have that now, can we?
3:17 – *Round of applause for a successful red herring!*
3:32 – “All their problems would go away if I would just pretend that they are the sex to which they claim.”
Not sex. GENDER. Although technically yes, if they do the transition thingie where they replace ladybits with manbits, you would probably not be able to tell the difference. Only upon discovering the truth would you suddenly be outraged and demand the person to then be called a He instead of a She. Now why would you want to do that? Because you’re an asshole seems like a good reason, but otherwise I see it as simply being a closed-minded conservative who doesn’t like change. No amount of incorrect interpretation of biological science is going to change that.
4:33 – “40% suicide rate in transgender people is not due to bullying according to any science that I know of.”
Although Ben stresses he’s against bullying of any sort, he does seem to deny the possibility that being transgender does not lead to bullying which could lead to suicide. Well, then! Let’s have a look at some numbers. Apparently, from the same study Ben so quickly cites in a hush toward this girl, there is a high prevalence of suicide attempts from people who come out to their entourage about their gender non-conformity.
Prevalence of suicide attempts is elevated among
those who disclose to everyone that they are
transgender or gender-non-conforming (50%) and
among those that report others can tell always (42%)
or most of the time (45%) that they are transgender
or gender non-conforming even if they don’t tell them.
Oh and this…
Respondents who experienced rejection by family and
friends, discrimination, victimization, or violence had
elevated prevalence of suicide attempts, such as those
who experienced the following:
— Family chose not to speak/spend time with them: 57%
— Discrimination, victimization, or violence at school,
at work, and when accessing health care
• Harassed or bullied at school (any level): 50-54%
• Experienced discrimination or harassment at
• Doctor or health care provider refused to treat
• Suffered physical or sexual violence:
— At work: 64-65%
— At school (any level): 63-78%
— Discrimination, victimization, or violence by law
• Disrespected or harassed by law enforcement
• Suffered physical or sexual violence: By law
enforcement officers: 60-70
— Experienced homelessness: 69%
Well, then! Glad to see this is not legit, otherwise I would’ve single-handedly defeated Mr. Shapiro’s argument. (src: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf)
All in all, that report shows a higher frequency of suicides in males (as in most studies on suicide figures) and also includes some stats on LGB folks, notwithstanding transgenders, and comes to similar statistics even amongst non-transgender individuals. So I guess all that talk of bullying not being a cause in the suicides of LGBTQ+ demographics is not only misleading, but factually incorrect.
I should hope this isn’t the report Shapiro was citing in his speech, because that would be quite embarrassing, considering most of the information I just cited above is available in the first few pages. You’d have to not have read the study and report its stats from second-hand sources to miss such a glaring highlight.
Now then, let’s carry on.
4:56 – Third world countries have lower suicide rates than first world countries.
Oh, joy, more stats to verify! According to this page on Wikipedia, Canada ranks 87th, and the United States rank 48th.
The top highest (top 5) suicide rates are:
- Sri Lanka
- Côte d’Ivoire
5:02 – “Suicide appears to be a privilege of the upper-classes if you look at it from a financial perspective.”
That probably makes even less sense than age being the same thing as sex.
5:43 – “There’s no evidence to suggest that suicide rates would go down in transgender communities if people just started pretending men are women and women are men.”
Well, again, no one is asking for that and according to the stats you yourself used, yeah… it would probably help. You are part of the problem, at this point, because you not only refuse to acknowledge the issue, you disregard it entirely by way of willful ignorance.
6:43 – “Planned Parenthood perform 300,000 abortions a year.”
While this is correct, this is only 3% of their service each year. In fact, their website does not even speak about abortions in their “At a glance” section.
Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 80 percent of our patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood services help prevent an estimated 560,000 unintended pregnancies in a single year.
Planned Parenthood provides more than 295,000 Pap tests and more than 320,000 breast exams in a single year, critical services in detecting cancer.
Planned Parenthood provides more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests.
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people and adults in a single year.
Planned Parenthood has 10 million activists, supporters, and donors working for women’s health and safety and our fundamental reproductive rights.
Now, you would be dishonest to claim that all Planned Parenthood does is abortions and provide condoms. Which, obviously, is what Shapiro does.
6:48 – “They’re not the only people in America who provide affordable birth control. You can get a pack of condoms for 12$.”
Ahh yes, because condoms never break. I suppose if it breaks, tough luck, bitches! You should’ve abstained from having sex.
7:17 – “I don’t care that you get a condom from Planned Parenthood, I do care when you start killing babies. This is a problem for me.”
So I’m supposing Mr. Shapiro has evidence of this “baby killing” other than the 300,000 statistics about abortions, which does not indicate whether the fetuses aborted were viable or not. Because aborting a fetus that is not viable is not the same as killing a baby, don’t you know? He doesn’t, does he.
7:38 – “Very low percentage of abortions from rape statistics.”
While that’s not incorrect, the women who end up finding out they are pregnant do, in 50% of cases, get the baby aborted.
A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.
And the study’s conclusion:
Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.
So, Shapiro’s dismissive tone here again serves only to highlight his bias on this subject. He isn’t grounding his reasoning on evidence but rather on morality.
8:00 – “I’ll agree about rape-related pregnancies and abortions if you admit that all the other abortions are also bad.”
Objection! The speaker has utilized a loaded question. Agreeing to its terms would be admitting that aborting a rape-related pregnancy is bad versus non-rape related pregnancies. The most ideal response to this would be: “I didn’t say rape-related abortions are bad. I asked you to nuance your position on pregnancies by calling upon rape as being a definitely unwanted pregnancy and whether you would allow someone in such a situation to abort their unborn fetus.”
But unfortunately, the girl didn’t get that opportunity, as someone in the back shouted “All abortions are okay!” Which made Ben laugh in acceptance of the person’s honesty, but then when a sign was risen for him to read, his response was:
8:06 – “Oh! A sign that I can’t read because it has lots of words on it.”
COLOUR ME SURPRISED. BEN SHAPIRO REFUSES TO READ THINGS WITH LOTS OF WORDS ON THEM.
8:14 – “Does the vagina magically confer personhood?”
Wh-… huh? I…
8:38 – After being told that it’s upon the first breath by a participant. “So if you stick a knife through the belly into the head of a nine month old unborn infant, was that baby not a person because it was not breathing?”
Holy hell, watch it with the loaded questions!
I’m pretty sure that this is not related to your initial question, considering you are referring to two different things. One is the graphic description of what a potential late-term abortion would be, and those are rare, but I suppose you won’t bother with statistics on that, will you?
9:30 – “Are you willing to stipulate that all the other abortions are bad, not only the marginal cases?”
The girl barely has the time to answer you that you immediately assume what she was going to say here. She said “No” and I couldn’t make out the rest. The proper answer here, miss, would have been: “I don’t need to stipulate on that because I didn’t say those abortions were bad.”
10:03 – “I believe rapists should be castrated or killed.”
Well, I certainly stand by such a sentiment, but I wouldn’t make it a policy, because someone could definitely abuse that. Earlier you said the “left side of the isle” wants to give them five years in prison. I don’t know what “left side” you’re talking about here, because I certainly wouldn’t consider that a generally agreed-upon view on the left.
In conclusion, my impression of Ben Shapiro is that he hides his religious / conservative dogma behind a façade of evidence-based thinking, which as I’ve shown here, is quite defective. The evidence he accepts seems to be very selective and the sources he cites don’t really agree with him once you’ve taken some time to read. Other than being a loudmouth, this man thus has very little to provide to an intellectual debate other than snide remarks and wisecracks.
His argument on Transgender rights: Transgenderism is false because boy scouts. That is all.
His argument on abortion: Wear condoms, bitches.