I listen to Ben Shapiro for years. He seemed to come out of nowhere in 2016. He’s my insight into mainstream conservatism. In general, I don’t think he’s that bad. He’s fairly conventional, but mass appeal lends itself to conventionality.
Over the years, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of Shapiro’s podcast and am very familiar with his brand, The Daily Wire. However, Ben Shapiro has long bothered me. For a while, I couldn’t quite figure out why. He’s religious. He’s conservative. I should be a big fan. And it wasn’t until I spoke with Dr. John Peterson on my latest episode of Gregarious Chant, and we discussed Shapiro for a bit that I realized why.
Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings
Shapiro’s slogan is “Facts don’t care about your feelings,” which he uses to dunk on 20-year-olds at state universities. It’s rather innocuous at first glance. It’s a true statement and it has a nice alliteration in it. As a marketing slogan, it’s top-notch. As a philosophy, it’s kind of stupid.
For one, facts don’t care about anything. They’re just facts. And they are purely descriptive.
Once you start analyzing the facts and deriving prescriptions from them, you’ve entered into “feelings land.” Ben Shapiro does this in every episode of his show. He takes the facts and starts prescribing things based on his conservative feelings. It’d be a boring show if he didn’t. We all do this. So at first analysis, Ben Shapiro is a hypocrite. That’s not a big deal, we’re all hypocrites. He’s a hypocrite in the same way people who screech “Follow the science” are hypocrites. It’s a hypocrisy common to rational materialists. It’s a hypocrisy common to our time.
I think however there is another way to interpret this slogan that is more revealing. “Facts don’t care about your feelings” could be translated as:
Reason doesn’t care about your revelation
This translation could be the marketing slogan for Rationalism. It too has some truth and has a nice alliteration in it. You can just imagine Richard Dawkins spewing this phrase on the Bill Maher show while some poor caricature of an Evangelical sits there and takes it. It’s a nice slogan for rationalism.
Rationalism is the philosophy that views reason as the only source of knowledge. Truth does not come from the senses but instead from intelligence through the use of deduction. Rene Descartes is arguably the most famous philosopher of this school of thought. The majority of Rationalists are atheists as materialism which often accompanies rationalism is an atheistic philosophy.
This isn’t an inquisition against Shapiro. His personal beliefs are his own and are likely not reflected in a marketing slogan. Furthermore, he’s written a book with essentially Faith and Reason as the subheading, and he is very open about his Jewish faith. But I do think the popularity of that slogan is an inditement of our current time and of Shapiro’s brand of conservatism.
By championing rational materialism above all else, claims to truth and to ought become very difficult. Here is an example of two atheists, and cohorts of Shapiro, debating the nature of truth. I’ll spoil it for you. They get nowhere fast.
But it is a philosophy that has taken over the left and large segments of the right. The far-left being Marxist materialist of all varieties. The centrist-left and centrist-right being different flavors of corporatist classical liberals. This leaves the far-right or dissidents of all varieties as the only ones likely to not subscribe to this philosophy. This speaks to the ubiquity of the philosophy of rational materialism in our modern time.
Rationalism in our Modern Time
The yard sign above is essentially the Nicene Creed for leftist Rational Materialism. However, this creed is filled with platitudes and nonsensical political slogans. These signs are everywhere. They’re more than just lawn signs. They’re an outward sign of submission to a secular religion.
The rise of rational materialism is tied to what is we at The Masculinist refer to as Negative World Christianity. In Masc #13, Negative World Christianity starts in 2014. However, I’d argue the seeds of it were sown much earlier, with its completion happening in 2014 right after the rise of The New Atheists(Some of whom again are cohorts of Shapiro).
The fruits of this philosophy on society have not been good. I won’t get into all the issues we see in the United States and in the West. And I think people are beginning to realize that these atheistic philosophies have led to problems. This YouTube video between an iconographer and an atheist is telling. They both are in an agreement that perhaps the best thing for society is to return to an emphasis on myth.
My point is this. Conservative Christians are in the minority position and living in a negative world. This naturally makes Conservative Christians desperate for allies. Ben Shapiro presents himself as an ally. And on many issues, he is an ally. However, his underlying philosophy and his cohorts were responsible for creating this negative world for Christians. As Michael Malice is famous for saying, “Conservatives are just liberals driving the speed limit.”
Facts may not care about your feelings. But it may be the case that feelings are better for our society.