It’s easy to laugh, as some of us do, at the phrase “conservative intellectual.” When the most prominent public spokesmen for the right’s ideas include Milo Yiannopoulos, Charles Murray, and Dinesh D’Souza, one might conclude that the movement does not have anything serious to offer beyond “Feminism is cancer,” “Black people are dumb,” and “Democrats are Nazis.” (Those are, as I understand it, the central intellectual contributions of Yiannopoulos, Murray, and D’Souza, respectively.)
But according to the New York Times, it would be a mistake to write off Conservative Thought so hastily. For we would be overlooking one crucial figure: Ben Shapiro. Shapiro, we are told, is “the cool kid’s philosopher, dissecting arguments with a lawyer’s skill and references to Aristotle.” The Times quotes praise of Shapiro as a “brilliant polemicist” and “principled gladiator,” a quick-witted man who “reads books,” and “takes apart arguments in ways that make the conservative conclusion seem utterly logical.” Shapiro is the “destroyer of weak arguments,” he “has been called the voice of the conservative millennial movement.” He is a genuine intellectual, a man who “does not attack unfairly, stoke anger for the sake of it, or mischaracterize his opponents’ positions.” He is principled: he deplores Trump, and cares about Truth. Shapiro’s personal mantra, “Facts don’t care about your feelings,” captures his approach: he’s passionate, but he believes in following reason rather than emotion. Shapiro, then, represents the best in contemporary conservative thinking. And if the cool kids have a philosopher, it is worth examining his philosophy in some depth.
I will confess, I had not spent much time listening to or reading Ben Shapiro before reading about him in the New York Times. That might be a damning sign of my own closed-mindedness: here I am, a person who considers himself intellectually serious, and I have written off the other side without even engaging with its strongest arguments. So I decided to spend a few wearying days trawling through the Shapiro oeuvre, listening to the speeches and radio shows and reading the columns and books. If Shapiro had arguments that Destroyed and Decimated the left, I wanted to make sure I heard them. I consider myself a bit of a leftist, and I like to know when I’ve been decimated.
I’ll admit that I was not immediately dazzled by the force of Shapiro’s intellect. I started with his controversial recent Berkeley speech. Toward the beginning, he addressed Antifa protesters, whom he called “communist pieces of garbage”: “You guys are so stupid… you can all go to hell, you pathetic, lying, stupid jackasses.” According to the Times, there is a wide gulf between Trump/Yiannopoulos-style vulgar conservatism and Shapiro-style Logical conservatism, but I just am not sure that I see in “Go to hell, you communist piece of garbage” the kind of “polemical brilliance” that Shapiro is reputed to demonstrate. The rest of the speech, when it got beyond making Botox jokes about Nancy Pelosi, was strong on insults (“pusillanimous cowards,” “hard-Left morons,” “uncivilized barbarians”) and light on actual argumentation and substantive factual claims. Shapiro did say that the alt-right are full of “bullshit” and that the left overstates the threat posed by Shapiro’s speeches. (Both true.) The main thrust of the speech, though, is that America is the greatest country in the world, that there are no real injustices facing black people, women, and poor people, and that if you don’t do well economically here it’s entirely your fault. As he says:
This country is an amazing place full of opportunity. Nobody, by and large, cares enough about you to stop you from achieving your dreams. That includes you, people who are shouting out there in the audience. No one cares about you; get over yourselves. I don’t care about you; no one cares about you…That means, in a free country, if you fail, it’s probably your own fault.
Shapiro scoffs at all claims that racism is a serious problem facing black people. This is in part because “I wasn’t an adult when Jim Crow was in place… and I would bet you money that the people in this room haven’t acted in a racist manner, that they haven’t held slaves, or voted for Jim Crow.” He says the idea that black people’s disproportionate poverty has anything to do with racism is “just not true,” and tosses out a few points to prove that the importance of race is overstated: First, Asian Americans are wealthier than white people, which would be impossible if racism determined economic outcomes. (Shapiro doesn’t mention that the vast majority of Asian American adults are immigrants, and they are disproportionately from the wealthier and more highly-educated segments of their own countries.) Second, he says, people of any race who work full time, are married, and have high school diplomas tend not to be poor, meaning that poverty is a function of one’s choice not to do these things. (In fact, this theory, widely cited by conservatives, turns out to be vacuous: of course people who have full-time jobs usually aren’t in poverty, the problem is that black people disproportionately can’t get jobs.) Next, Shapiro says that because black married couples have a lower poverty rate than white single mothers, “life decisions” are what creates poverty. (Actually, even when two black people pool their wealth in a marriage, “the median white single parent has 2.2 times more wealth than the median black two-parent household.”) Finally, Shapiro says that the disproportionately black population in America’s prisons say nothing about racism, because black people simply commit more crimes, and “if you don’t commit a crime, you’re not going to be arrested for it” because “the police are not going around arresting black people for the fun of it.” (I have some black men in Louisiana I’d like Shapiro to meet so that he can explain his theory that people do not get arrested for crimes they haven’t committed. But I’d also like to hear him explain why black men receive 20% longer sentences for the same crime as white men with similar backgrounds.)
What dispirited me about Shapiro’s approach is that he’s clearly not actually very interested in Facts at all. The role that race plays in American life is a serious sociological question, one that isn’t answered easily. But Shapiro plucks only the statistics that suggest race doesn’t matter, and pretends the statistics that suggest it does matter don’t exist. Nobody can trust him, because if he comes across a finding showing that incarceration rates more closely follow crime rates than racial demographics, you can bet it will appear in his next speech. But if someone shows that a white man with a criminal record is far more likely to receive a job callback than a black man without a criminal record, you’ll never hear it mentioned. It would be perfectly reasonable for Shapiro to critique these findings; sociologists critique each other all the time. Instead, he selects only the parts of reality that please him. Just look at his reply when he was asked about the black-white wealth gap: “It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture.” That’s a strange thing to say, because the wealth gap has existed continuously since the time of slavery: average black net worth has always been lower than white net worth, and there were massive structural obstacles to the black accumulation of wealth well into the 20th century, as we can see in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writings on the lasting impact of housing policy. Family wealth is passed down intergenerationally, and so it’s hard to conclude that the fact that the average white family has $13 of wealth for every $1 of wealth held by a black family is the sole result of spontaneous contemporary black cultural choices, with no historical component whatsoever. The impact of human decisions on outcomes, and the factors that shape the available range of choices, are difficult topics in social science with no easy answers. But one thing we do know is that, since black people were enslaved for 246 years (and free for 152), and Jim Crow was in operation during the time of people who are still alive (thereby being a core determinant of both their life outcomes and the capital that they were able to pass onto their own children), anyone who says “culture is everything” and “race is irrelevant” is not actually seriously interested in trying to figure out how the world works.
In investigating Shapiro’s works, then, the first sign that he might not be a “philosopher” was that he didn’t seem especially interested in the central task of philosophy, namely the critical scrutiny of your own beliefs. Shapiro’s worldview is fixed and immovable. Watch the video of his answer on the racial wealth gap: when his black co-panelists laugh at his answer about culture, he does not think to himself “Hm, perhaps they know something I don’t know about what it is like to be black,” he thinks “They must be irrational and in need of my wisdom.” He doesn’t listen to anyone, he just confronts them.
My initial impressions were also soured by Shapiro’s casual bigotry. That may not be the wisest observation to lead with: I’m sure Shapiro would be very pleased with himself to hear me call him a racist. (Though Shapiro always looks somewhat pleased with himself.) Nothing could better prove his point: the left has no arguments, so they resort to calling people they dislike “racists.” And since he explicitly says that he isn’t a racist, what am I doing if not using the classic left-wing “bullying” tactic of dismissing your opponent as a nasty, bigoted individual?
But, well, I don’t know what else to call a statement like this: “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage.” (Shapiro followed it with the hashtag #SettlementsRock.) Arabs like to bomb crap and live in sewage. Perhaps I’m crazy. Perhaps there’s a definition of the word “racism” that wouldn’t include a statement like that. But since the statements “Black people are violent and want to live in sewage” or “Jews are violent and want to live in sewage” would both sound… somewhat racist, I don’t see how the conclusion can be avoided. What do you call a crass pejorative generalization about an entire ethnic group? I know one word, but I’m open to others. (By the way, it’s amusing that Shapiro can see Gazan children swimming in sewage and think “Wow, Arabs must just really have a thing for sewage,” a train of reasoning roughly akin to “Wow, Haitians must really love dying in earthquakes, since a lot of them seem to have done it.” Though I am reliably informed that Shapiro is a master of logic, so I am sure there is more to this than mere simple-minded prejudice.)
Shapiro’s thoughts about Arabs are all along similar lines. Usually conservatives are careful to draw a distinction: they are not condemning an ethnicity, but rather adherents to an ideology, namely Islamism. Not so with Shapiro: for him, the problem is not Islamism or even Islam writ large. It’s Arabs: “The Arab-Israeli conflict may be accurately described as a war between darkness and light. Those who argue against Israeli settlements—outposts of light in a dark territory—argue for the continued victory of night.” Arabs “value murder” while Israelis “value life,” and “where light fails, darkness engulfs.” Arabs are therefore, as an undifferentiated unit, a people of darkness. Palestinian Arabs are the worst of all: they are a “population rotten to the core… Palestinian Arabs must be fought on their own terms: as a people dedicated to an evil cause.” The “Arab Palestinian populace… by and large constitutes the most evil population on the face of the planet.” Since they’re “rotten to the core,” there’s no such thing as a good Arab: your evil is defined by your ethnicity, by being a member of the People of Darkness and Murder rather than the People of Goodness and Light. Again, it may just be my failure to understand Facts and Logic, but I am having trouble understanding how population-level generalizations about the moral characteristics of particular ethnic groups can be anything other than bigotry.
Shapiro has been clear about the implications of his view of Arabs as a dark and murderous people. He has said that “Secular Zionism[, which] requires that Arab citizens of Israel be guaranteed equal rights,” “has always provided the seeds of [Israel’s] destruction.” Instead, “God’s road map requires the Jews to kill those who seek to kill them.” Since Arabs universally “value murder,” I can’t see how this is anything other than a philosophical justification of genocide. Shapiro has said that Arab nefariousness could be stopped without resorting to genocide, and is offended by anyone who tries to invoke the g-word to describe his beliefs. But since he has said
- that Arabs are inherently murderous and bent on destroying Israel and
- God permits Jews to kill those who seek to kill them, it’s hard to see how he could disagree with anyone who did advocate genocide, except on pragmatic grounds.
Shapiro once explained his actual preferred solution to the problem of the dark Arab hordes: mass expulsion. As he said, bulldozing Palestinian houses and subjecting them to curfews are insufficient “half-measures”: the only solution is to drive every last one of them forcibly from their homes and take their land:
The Arab enmity for Jews and the state of Israel allows for no peace process. The time for half measures has passed. Bulldozing houses of homicide bombers is useless. Instituting ongoing curfews in Arab-populated cities is useless… Some have rightly suggested that Israel be allowed to decapitate the terrorist leadership of the Palestinian Authority. But this too is only a half measure. The ideology of the Palestinian population is indistinguishable from that of the terrorist leadership. Half measures merely postpone our realization that the Arabs dream of Israel’s destruction. Without drastic measures, the Arab dream will come true… If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution… It’s time to stop being squeamish. (Odd that the NYT didn’t choose to quote this passage in its profile.)
Every last Arab—even those who are Israeli citizens—must be deported, Shapiro said, because their ethnicity means that they harbor a murderous “Arab dream.” But to anyone who thinks this sounds like the textbook definition of “ethnic cleansing,” he has a firm response: “It’s not genocide; it’s transfer. It’s not Hitler, it’s Churchill.” Shapiro is referring to the Allied expulsion of German-speakers from Polish territory immediately after World War II, in which “Anywhere from 3.5 million to 9 million Germans were forcibly expelled from the new Polish territory and relocated in Germany.” Shapiro favorably quotes Churchill’s desire that “There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble … a clean sweep will be made.”
There is only one problem with the precedent cited by Shapiro: it is actually a forgotten historic atrocity, which was characterized by mass rape, torture, and murder, and left at least 400,000 people dead. Germans were interned in concentration camps and endured horrific journeys in which pregnant women froze to death. As Tara Zahra explains in a review of R.M. Douglas’s Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War:
After the Nazi defeat, the Volksdeutsche fled or were expelled to the West, and were stripped of their citizenship, homes and property in… “the largest forced population transfer—and perhaps the greatest single movement of peoples—in human history.” Douglas amply demonstrates that these population transfers, which were to be carried out in an “orderly and humane” manner according to the language of the Allies’ 1945 Potsdam Agreement, counted as neither. Instead…. they were nothing less than a “massive state-sponsored carnival of violence, resulting in a death toll that on the most conservative of estimates must have reached six figures.” …Ironically, then, the postwar population transfers completed a process of segregation and ethnic cleansing that Hitler himself had begun….Interned women throughout Czechoslovakia and Poland were subject to rampant sexual abuse, rape and torture. Germans were also forced to wear armbands or patches marked with the letter “N” for Nemec (German)—collective payback for the humiliation that the Nazis had inflicted on populations in the East. When they were finally transported west, the expellees traveled by cattle car, sometimes going with barely any food or water for up to two weeks. One victim recalled that each morning, “one or more dead bodies greeted us…they just had to be abandoned on the embankments.”… Douglas concludes by calling the expulsions a “tragic, unnecessary, and, we must resolve, never to be repeated episode in Europe’s and the world’s recent history.”
This is the model that Shapiro believed should be applied to the murderous Arabs. (Perhaps Israel could even have them wear patches with little “A”s on them. But that might seem a little racist, and Shapiro is firmly against racism.) Shapiro has since suggested that his position on ethnic cleansing has evolved (without admitting that he ever endorsed it), in part because large-scale population transfer is simply impractical. His position on the inherent evil of Palestinians, however, does not appear to have softened.
As I say, I realize I am playing right into Shapiro’s hands by invoking the r-word to describe his belief that Arabs are bomb-throwing sewage-dwellers who deserve to be ethnically cleansed. But I happen to think Shapiro is a bit inconsistent on this. His standard of evidence for what constitutes ethnic prejudice seems to vary based on who the target is. When it came to George Zimmerman, Shapiro concluded that “there’s no evidence of Zimmerman’s racism.” Bear in mind that Zimmerman: approached a stranger because they had a Confederate flag tattoo so he could brag about killing Trayvon Martin, got thrown out of a bar for calling someone a “nigger-lover,” ranted about his girlfriend sleeping with a “dirty Muslim,” tweeted that the lives of “black slime” don’t matter, labeled Barack Obama an “ignorant baboon,” posted memes comparing Michelle Obama to Chewbacca, and literally had a Confederate flag profile picture and sold paintings he did of said flag. (Oh, and he also murdered an unarmed black teenager and proudly posted a photo of the boy’s corpse on Twitter, but Shapiro has made it clear that he believes Trayvon Martin deserved to die.)
From that, we might conclude that Shapiro has an extremely high threshold for evidence he will consider sufficient to deem someone a bigot. But it doesn’t apply universally: Shapiro seems rather quick to accuse his opponents of anti-Semitic prejudice. That could be because they have described him as a “neoconservative,” which Shapiro considers an anti-Semitic slur. Or they could, like the “Nazis” at PETA, have diminished the relative value of Jewish lives by elevating the importance of animal lives. But nobody is quite as bad as Barack Obama, who Shapiro believes harbors a deep hatred of Jews. As president, Obama was a “philosophical fascist” whose anti-Semitism was “clear-cut.” To support the “fascism” charge Shapiro cites evidence like Obama’s “dictatorial demands (‘I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay’),” the “scornful looks and high-handed put-downs directed at his political opponents,” and the “arrogant chin-up head tilt he uses when waiting for applause.” Shapiro says that Obama’s vision for America is totalitarian, citing Obama’s hope that “the American people [should have] a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.”
Alright, well, we may disagree over whether pressuring Congress to pass a jobs bill makes you literally Mussolini. But Shapiro says the anti-Semitism part is clear-cut. Why? Well, the first piece of evidence is that when the Israeli military stormed an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine activists, the Obama administration soon released a statement saying that “The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained.” “How else are we to interpret [this] lightning-fast, knee-jerk anti-Israel response?” except as evidence of anti-Semitism, Shapiro asks. But perhaps you’re not convinced. Well, Shapiro has more. In 2009, Rahm Emanuel went to speak at AIPAC and told the audience that U.S. efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear program would be conditional on successful resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. This, Shapiro says, showed that Obama harbored a deep animus against Jews, because he holds Israel to a higher standard than he holds anyone else. And while it may have turned out that Rahm Emanuel never actually said anything like this, leading at least one other columnist to issue a correction, Shapiro stood firm. Not only did he not amend the story, but he later called Emanuel (who held Israeli citizenship for nearly two decades, whose middle name is literally Israel, and who even Jeffrey Goldberg thought made the idea of Obama being anti-Israel seem “a bit ridiculous”) a “kapo,” i.e. a Jew who does the Nazis’ bidding. Shapiro said that any Jewish person who voted for Obama was not really a Jew at all, but a “Jew In Name Only” serving an “enemy of the Jewish people.” They may “eat bagels and lox,” but by supporting an “openly” anti-Semitic administration they are “disgusting” and a “disgrace,” and the “twisted and evil” “self-hating Jews” who “enjoy matzo ball soup” and “emerged from a Jewish uterus” but nevertheless choose to “undermine the Israeli government” “don’t care a whit about Judaism” and in fact hold “anti-Semitic views.” (Those may be snippet-length quotes but go and read the columns if you suspect me of excising context or nuance.)
You must forgive me, then, for being somewhat confused by Shapiro’s conception of prejudice, which includes people who say “these deaths are regrettable” but excludes those who use the n-word and shoot black children in the face. But I realize I am missing the meat of the Shapiro philosophy. Nevermind Shapiro The Ethnic Cleanser, what about Shapiro The Destroyer Of Weak Arguments? Shapiro has built his reputation on his formidable ability to dismantle liberal orthodoxies, his dazzling use of logic to expose leftists as vacuous bullies who must stifle conservative speech because they cannot actually refute or debunk it.
I’d like, then, to closely examine how Shapiro destroys a liberal argument, in order to see his famous method at work. Let’s look at how Shapiro “debunks transgenderism.” When a student questioner confronted Shapiro about his belief that transgender women should not be considered women, here’s the argument he gave in defense of the position:
You’re not a man if you think you’re a man…. As far as the actual psychological issues at play, it used to be called gender identity disorder; now they call it gender dysphoria. The idea that sex or gender is malleable is not true. I’m not denying your humanity if you are a transgender person; I am saying that you are not the sex which you claim to be. [I]f you’re going to dictate to me that I’m supposed to pretend, I’m supposed to pretend that men are women and women are men, no. My answer is no. I’m not going to modify basic biology because it threatens your subjective sense of what you are.
When the questioner replied to suggest that transgender people just wanted to fit in, Shapiro hit her with a burst of Stone Cold Logic. After asking her how old she was, he asked her why she wasn’t a different age. Answer: because age is a fact not a choice. Then he asked her why she didn’t just change her species:
SHAPIRO: If I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose? If I redefine our terms…
YOUNG WOMAN: That’s a completely different thing.
SHAPIRO: Yes, that’s right. Men and women are a completely different thing. This is true. Have you ever met a man or a woman? They are completely different.
Shapiro’s position on transgender people is very simple then. He rejects “the pseudo-scientific nonsense that a man can magically turn into a woman,” because it is no different than thinking an undergraduate can turn into a moose. Shapiro says that “individuals who believe they are a different sex than that of their biology are psychologically ill—self-evidently so” and has compared the idea of being transgender to his schizophrenic grandfather who thought the curtains were speaking to him.
But for a man who loves Logical Argumentation and would never “mischaracterize his opponents’ positions,” Shapiro doesn’t actually seem to grasp what the left argument about gender actually is, or what it is he’s actually supposed to be disproving.
Here is the actual argument that is made: the traditional conception held by people like Shapiro has treated “sex” and “gender” as synonymous. You’re either a man or a woman. Which one you are is defined by your chromosomes. And because chromosomes are part of biology, and can’t be altered, you can—as Shapiro says—no more change your sex/gender through your state of mind than you could change your age. There are men and there are women:
The argument made by the left is that this simple story doesn’t account for something important: in the real world, we don’t form our understanding of whether someone is a man or a woman by their chromosomes. Instead, we form it by how they look and act. What people mean when they say that “gender is a social construct” is not that “chromosomes are a social construct” but that in practice, gender isn’t reducible to chromosomes. In the two pictures above, the person on the left is actually a transgender man and the person on the right is actually a transgender woman. It would seem strange to call the person on the left a “woman” and the person on the right a “man,” because the fact that we associate gender with “masculinity” and “femininity” rather than just “chromosomes” means those words don’t seem to fit those people very well.
This is the reason why people started to draw a distinction between “sex” and “gender,” with sex referring to the biological component and gender referring to those qualities that seem much more fluid. Transgender people do not “think they are a different sex.” Instead, they realize that their “gender” doesn’t match their sex. As a transgender person explained in response to Shapiro, “most of the trans people I know, including myself, are under no delusion about what we were born as or what biological sex we are, we just feel uncomfortable with the features of our biological sex and seek treatment, usually, to alter those features and minimize our dysphoria.”
The dysphoria is not the “delusional belief that you don’t have a penis when you in fact do.” It’s the distress that comes from feeling like a member of the “female” gender despite having the “male” sex, or vice versa. The argument being made is that the existing way we classify sex/gender is not adequately describing the actual fact, which is that because gender captures more than just chromosomes, the traditional terminology causes confusion and needs revising. Scott Alexander has a poignant and funny essay explaining why categories like “male” and “female” are malleable and why we should adjust them depending on the goals we’re trying to accomplish:
In no case can an agreed-upon set of borders or a category boundary be factually incorrect. An alternative categorization system is not an error… Just as we can come up with criteria for a definition of “planet”, we can come up with a definition of “man”. Absolutely typical men have Y chromosomes, have male genitalia, appreciate manly things like sports and lumberjackery, are romantically attracted to women, personally identify as male, wear male clothing like blue jeans, sing baritone in the opera, et cetera. Some people satisfy some criteria of manhood and not others, in much the same way that Pluto satisfies only some criteria of planethood… For example, gay men might date other men and behave in effeminate ways. People with congenital androgen insensitivity syndrome might have female bodies, female external genitalia, and have been raised female their entire life, but when you look into their cells they have Y chromosomes. Most people seem to assume that the ultimate tiebreaker in man vs. woman questions is presence of a Y chromosome. I’m not sure this is a very principled decision, because I expect most people would classify congenital androgen insensitivity patients (XY people whose bodies are insensitive to the hormone that makes them look male, and so end up looking 100% female their entire lives and often not even knowing they have the condition) as women. The project of the transgender movement is to propose a switch from using chromosomes as a tiebreaker to using self-identification as a tiebreaker.
Shapiro thinks being transgender is a mental illness, just as he believes homosexuality should still be considered a mental illness (and was only taken off the list thanks to “pressure group influence”). But mental illness is another situation where the classifications we choose are choices: homosexuality does not “inherently” fit in the category of mental illness; a society decides what it wants to call “illness.” And since there seemed to be very little good to come from calling some perfectly ordinary human trait an “illness,” all this did was create unnecessary stigma. Likewise, it was decided that there was no reason to see “believing your gender identity to be different than your biological sex” an illness, so the DSM was revised accordingly, to focus on what did actually seem a problem, namely the distress this can lead to.
Gender and sex are complicated topics. There are a lot of unanswered questions (e.g. What is identity? Should gender be entirely subjective? What are the differences between racial and gender identity?) All of these, though, are attempts to work out how we should revise our categories in the way that best reflects the human reality and allows us to talk coherently. The traditional categories were just too simple to capture the more complicated facts of how gender actually works. (Actually, Shapiro himself inadvertently proved this. In discussing why he would never recognize Laverne Cox as a woman, Shapiro accidentally referred to Cox as “she” before quickly correcting himself. Why did he slip? Because Laverne Cox does seem like a woman, based on how the category “woman” is applied socially, and it feels weird to call her a man. Even Shapiro’s subconscious is telling him that transgender people should be referred to by the gender they present as rather than by their biological sex.)
Shapiro isn’t interested in discussing any of this seriously. Just look at how he distorted his questioner’s response about moose: he says “Why aren’t you a moose?” and when she replies “That’s different,” he interjects “That’s right, men and women are different.” She clearly said that species and gender are different (which they are, in that there’s a good argument for revising one of the categories but not for revising the other). But he tried to convince his audience that she had essentially conceded his point, by seizing on and spinning the word “difference.” (We call this “sophistry” rather than “logic.”)
At every turn, Shapiro shows that he simply wants to make his questioners look foolish, rather than present the facts fairly. Just look at his discussion of suicide and bullying:
The idea behind the transgender civil rights movement is that all of their problems would go away if I would pretend that they were the sex to which they claim membership. That’s nonsense. The transgender suicide rate is 40%. And according to the Anderson School at UCLA ….it makes virtually no difference statistically as to whether people recognize you as a transgender person or not… It has nothing to do with how society treats you… The normal suicide rate across the US is 4%. The suicide rate in the transgender community is 40%. The idea that 36% more transgender people are committing suicide is ridiculous. [Note: Shapiro has misconstrued a statistic on suicide attempts as a statistic on successful suicide] It’s not true and it’s not backed by any science that anyone can cite. It’s pure conjecture. It’s not even true that bullying causes suicide… There’s no evidence whatsoever that the suicide rate in the transgender community would go down in any marked way if people just started pretending that men were women and women were men.
I can’t find a study from the Anderson School about transgender suicide. The one UCLA study I can find on the subject, the one I think he must be referring to, directly contradicts Shapiro’s contention, concluding that “a higher than average prevalence of lifetime suicide attempts was consistently found among NTDS respondents who reported that they had been harassed, bullied, or assaulted in school by other students and/ or teachers due to anti-transgender bias” and “the prevalence of suicide attempts was elevated among respondents who reported experiencing rejection, disruption, or abuse by family members or close friends because of antitransgender bias.” (Another study found that “social support, reduced transphobia, and having any personal identification documents changed to an appropriate sex designation were associated with large relative and absolute reductions in suicide risk.”) So when Shapiro says that there’s “no evidence whatsoever” and it’s “not backed by any science,” it’s actually backed by the exact study he has just cited. (That study also demonstrates why another Shapiro talking point, that transgender suicides can’t be caused by prejudice because black people have low suicide rates, is false: a crucial determinant of suicide likelihood is people’s level of family support, and if black people have strong support networks, similar levels of discrimination could lead to differing levels of suicide.)
For a man who cares about Facts rather than Feelings, Shapiro doesn’t seem to care very much about facts. There are plenty of minor mistakes that cast doubt on the Times quote that Shapiro “reads books.” Some are just the little slip-ups that come from careless writing, e.g. the U.S. abolished slavery in “1862,” “atheistic philosopher Gilbert Pyle” [sic]. Others are suspicious unsourced generalizations, e.g.“Walk into virtually any emergency room in California and illegal immigrants are the bulk of the population.” But there are also major embarrassing bloomers, like Shapiro promoting the false rumor that Chuck Hagel received a donation from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” A New York Daily News reporter had made up the group’s name, as something so ludicrously over-the-top that nobody could possibly believe it, but Shapiro credulous enough to think the organization could exist, and published an article demanding answers. When it was pointed out that there was no such group, Shapiro did not retract the story. Instead, he doubled down, insisting that because he reported that sources said there was a Friends of Hamas, and the sources did say that, his reporting was sound. (Note: this is not how journalism works.)
There are plenty of other points at which Shapiro has showed that his command of Logic may not be terribly strong. He loves Facts, but will make statements like “monitoring mosques is the simplest and most effective way of preventing terrorist attacks” and cite “simple common sense” as his source. He will look back fondly on the era of the Hays Code, in which movies that did not portray correct moral messages were censored, and state that it is “no coincidence” that many great films were made during this time. (Someone ought to introduce Shapiro to the idea that just because two things occur at the same time does not mean that one of them was responsible for the other.) The ACLU’s attempt to bring Abu Ghraib photos to light was “designed as a direct attack on American soldiers abroad.” (Again, there’s no argument here, he just says it.)
Hip hop is “not music,” people only say it is because of “cultural sensitivity,” and it is the product of a “disgusting” culture; again, one presumes these are just Facts, not Feelings. (No, he didn’t like Hamilton either, and spent part of a radio show playing Hamilton and West Side Story side by side, like a cool kid, in order to show that Hamilton has “forced rhymes that aren’t actually rhymes” and has “no harmony, no melody, just rhythm, and this is my problem with rap generally.”) The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act was literally worse than Plessy v. Ferguson and the case that allowed mentally ill people to be sterilized. (Shapiro believes the decision “said that the federal government can force you to do anything” because it can “tax nonbehavior,” though since there is zero practical difference between providing “a tax penalty for not doing something” and “a tax credit for doing something,” this framework means every tax credit is a form of totalitarianism.) Some of his arguments just make no damn sense at all: witness his contention that capitalism doesn’t mean the greedy pursuit of self-interest, corporatism does, while capitalism just means… I’m not sure. (Try to reconcile his statement that capitalism isn’t about economic self-interest with his statement that capitalism values people by their economic usefulness.) Or his case that socialism is racism because in capitalism people are valued entirely in accordance with their market worth, irrespective of race. (Shapiro has argued that shop owners who discriminate among customers would go out of business, which might be true if there wasn’t a huge racial wealth gap and no consumers ever preferred to patronize racially segregated establishments.)
Shapiro mocked T.I. for naming his children “Zonnique and Deyjah.” (It’s not clear what the Rational basis for disliking black names is.) When Barack Obama said that “we need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs,” Shapiro wondered why Obama thought anyone should “be rewarded for their sexuality.” (I am curious how Shapiro did on the Logical Reasoning section of his LSAT if he believes “Don’t punish X or reward Y” means “reward X and/or Y.”) He thinks that criticisms of those who seem to love wars but decline to fight in them are “explicitly reject[ing] the Constitution itself, [which] provides that civilians control the military.” (Go ahead and try to figure out the reasoning on that one.) He was strongly against a federal ban on using cellphones while driving, because it would take away drivers’ freedom of choice, yet he believes it is “morally tragic” that we no longer use the police to stop people from making and watching pornography, because it follows the “silly” philosophy that “as long as what I do doesn’t harm you personally, I have a right to do it.” (Shapiro said that if pornography is legal, there would be no logical reason not to legalize the murder of homeless people, without addressing the potential meaningful distinctions between “having sex” and “killing a person in cold blood.”) Shapiro may be The Cool Kid’s Philosopher, but on the rare occasions when he actually dips his toe into metaphysics, the results are catastrophic: he argues that atheism is incompatible with the idea of free will because religious people believe that free will is granted by God. (“My beliefs say that your beliefs can’t be true therefore they can’t be true” is known as “assuming the conclusion.”)
But separate from Shapiro’s shaky ability to tell the truth and understand simple reasoning, I find his actual moral values somewhat horrifying. These can’t be “debunked” or “disproven,” of course: they’re matters of differing instinct. But I don’t share Shapiro’s religiously-derived conviction that “any moral system condoning homosexuality” will lead to a “fluid, careless amalgam of values” that will cause America to “suffer the fate of ancient Rome.” (Nor do I see any Facts to support this hypothesis.) I’m especially troubled by Shapiro’s stance on war. In defending the invasion of Iraq, Shapiro specifically praised imperialism, saying that for the United States, “empire isn’t a choice, it’s a duty.” Nevermind “weapons of mass destruction”: maintaining U.S. global power is an end in itself, even if 500,000 Iraqis had to lose their lives a result. Shapiro even endorsed invading countries that do not pose any immediate threat, suggesting that almost any Muslim nation could legitimately be attacked if doing so served the interests of our “global empire”:
Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to our nation? Perhaps not. But toppling Saddam Hussein and democratizing Iraq prevent his future ascendance and end his material support for future threats globally. The same principle holds true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others: Pre-emption is the chief weapon of a global empire. No one said empire was easy, but it is right and good, both for Americans and for the world.
(We could call this the “Better Kill Everyone Just In Case” doctrine.)
What’s more, Shapiro doesn’t believe that criticizing the American government during a time of war ought to be legal at all. The champion of Free Speech has literally called for reinstating sedition laws. When Al Gore told a Muslim audience that he believed the United States’ indiscriminate rounding-up and detention practices after 9/11 were “terrible” and abusive, Shapiro called the statements “treasonable,” “seditious,” and “outrageous” and demanded that the law respond:
At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say “enough.” At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition… Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions…. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war…. This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional—and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign [sic] to undermine it.
The Wilson administration’s crackdown on critics of the war, and the imprisoning of dissidents, were actually a low point in the history of American liberty, and the legal decisions upholding these acts are now discredited. But Shapiro sees this, along with the even more disturbing mass internment of Japanese Americans, as a model for eliminating critics of America’s wars. (Although elsewhere Shapiro has called the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Japanese detention “evil and disgusting.” Consistency, as I have indicated before, is not his forte.)
Having surveyed Shapiro’s work, and pointed out the various ways in which he is not terribly logical, not terribly consistent, and not terribly well-informed (in addition to being not terribly humane), it is worth asking why so many people think of him as a “principled” and “brilliant” dismantler of arguments. The answer, it seems to me, is largely that Shapiro is a very confident person who speaks quickly. If he weren’t either of these things, he wouldn’t seem nearly as intelligent. Because he doesn’t care about whether he’s right, but about whether he destroys you, he uses a few effective lawyerly tricks: insist that there’s “no evidence whatsoever” something is true, demand the other side produce such evidence, and when they stammer “Buh-buh-buh” for two seconds, quickly interrupt with “See? What did I tell you? No evidence.” Or, just pluck some random numbers from a study, even if they’re totally false or misleading, e.g. “40% of transgender people commit suicide and the risk doesn’t go down if they are treated better,” which was nonsense but sounded good. Cross-examine people with aggressive questions that confuse them: Are you a moose? I said: are you a moose? No? I didn’t think so. I rest my case. Use shifting burdens of proof: demand a wealth of statistical evidence before you will admit that black people face any unique hardships, but respond to every criticism of the Israeli government by calling the speaker a “proven” and “undeniable” anti-Semite. Disregard all facts that contradict your case, but insist constantly that the other side despises facts and can’t handle the truth. Call your opponents “nasty,” “evil,” “brainless” “jackasses.” All of these techniques work very well, and with them, you, too, can soon be Owning and Destroying your political opponents on camera. (I would probably lose a debate with Ben Shapiro quite badly, as my instinct in public conversations is to try to listen to people.)
Let me tell you why Ben Shapiro actually aggravates me. It is not his voice or demeanor, though I understand why others find these characteristics grating. Nor is it the way he inserts references to first-year law school doctrines even when they aren’t actually relevant. It is, rather, that Ben Shapiro is lying to his audience, by telling them that he is just a person concerned with the Truth, when the only thing he actually cares about is destroying the left. “Facts don’t care about your feelings” is a fine mantra, albeit kind of a dickish one. But it’s worthless if you’re going to interpret every last fact in the way most favorable to your own preconceptions, if you’re going to ignore evidence contrary to your position, and refuse to try to understand what your opponents actually believe. The New York Times actually quoted a sensible-sounding ex-Shapiro fan, who said he realized over time that Shapiro was just concerned with convincing other people he was right, rather than actually being right. Shapiro is annoying because he claims to love speech and discourse, to believe you should “get to know people… get to know their views…discuss,” but if you’re an Arab he’s already convinced you’re a secret anti-Semite, and if you’re a poor black person he doesn’t need to know you to know that you’re culturally dysfunctional.
The encouraging news is that if Ben Shapiro is the sharpest thinker among millennial conservatives, millennial leftists don’t have too much to worry about. You may feel as if Shapiro is a Vaporizer of Poor Logic, the Aristotle of our time. You may feel as if he has brutally torn apart every person who has crossed him in public, through his tried and tested technique of speaking extremely quickly until they give up. You may feel that he is brilliant and thoughtful and sincere.
But before you treat these feelings as real, remember that annoying little fact about facts: They don’t really care how you feel.
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45:04you’ll be able to participate in and ifhe’s fun to play with in adults we’llteach him things and then he wins atlife and so when you say to your kid itdoesn’t matter whether you win or losematters how you play the game whatyou’re saying is don’t forget kid thatwhat you’re trying to do here is to dowell at life and you need to practicethe strategies that enable you to dowell at life well you’re in any specificgame and you never want to compromiseyour ability to do well at life for thesake of winning a single game andthere’s a deep ethic in that and it’sthe ethic of reciprocity in games partof the reason that we’re so obsessedwith sports is because we like to seethat dramatized you know like the personwe really admire as an athlete isn’tonly the person who wins we don’t likethe narcissistic winners they’re winnersand that’s a plus but if they’renarcissistic they’re not good teamplayers they’re only out for themselvesthen we think well you’re a winner inthe narrow sense but your character issuspect you’re no role model even thoughyou’re a winner and it’s becausewe’re looking for something deeper we’relooking for that the manifestation ofcharacter that allows you to win acrossthe set of possible games and that’s areal thing that’s a real ethic it’s a46:13fundamental ethic I think what you’re46:15pointing out that’s very important is46:16we’re we’re searching for the person46:18who’s got it all nailed someone who46:21tries their hardest but is also honest46:25enough about the circumstances to not46:28cry foul when it’s gone46:30the other person’s way yeah well that’s46:32part of resilience that’s right like46:34you’re not gonna win it you’re not going46:36to you’re not gonna score on every shot46:37right it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take46:39the shots doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try46:40to to hit the goal but part of part of46:43being able to continue to take shots is46:46to have the strength of character to46:48tolerate the fact that that in that46:49instance you weren’t on top it’s more46:52trivial in games than it is in fights46:55and it’s also the response is much more46:59negative to the from the fans if you47:01lose a fight and complain about it it is47:04it’s ruthless there because they47:07understand that you’ve made a huge47:09character error yeah so why do you think47:12it’s more important in fights than it is47:14in games why do you think it is because47:15the consequences are so grave because47:17you recognize that the high is much47:19higher and the lows are much lower to47:21lose a basketball game sucks but it’s47:23nothing like losing a fight there’s no47:25comparison it’s not even so what do youthink it is the damages the fighter ifhe complains about losing why is that amistake why do the fans respond sonegatively to that because they knowthey know that you lost they know thatyou’re complaining for no reason andyou’re not a herothey want you to be better than themthey want you to be the person that hasthe courage to step into a cage or a47:47ring or wherever you with whatever the47:49format is you’re competing and to do47:51something that’s extremely difficult and47:53when you do that they hold you to a47:54higher state right to lose with grace47:56yes and when you fall especially if you47:58were a champion that is one of the most48:00disappointing things ever when champion48:02complains right and and it is okay so48:04response is horrific from the audience48:06okay so that’s a great example so let’s48:08imagine what does the person who loses48:11something important with grace do and48:13the answer is fairly straightforward48:16accepts the defeat and thinks okay what48:18what is it that I have left to improve48:21that will decrease the possibility of a48:22similar defeat in the future yes right48:24soso so what he’s doing is because the48:27great athlete and the great person is48:30not only someone who’s exceptionally48:31skilled at what they do but who’s trying48:33to expand their skills at all at all48:35times yes and the attempt to expand48:38their skills at all times is even more48:40important than the fact that they’re48:41great to begin with because the48:42trajectory is so important more48:43important in particular to the audience48:46it’s extremely important the audience48:48because you are the person who’s48:49competing you are expecting them to live48:52out this life in a perfect way or in a48:54much more powerful way than you’re48:55capable yes and so part of that is the48:57skill because they put in the practice48:59but part of that also is the willingness49:01to push the skill farther into new49:03domains of development with each action49:05and that’s really what people like to49:07watch right they don’t like to watch a49:08perfect athletic performance they like49:10to watch a perfect athletic performance49:12that’s pushed into the domain of new49:14risk they want to see both at the same49:16time you’re really good at what you do49:18and you’re getting better okay so you49:19lose a match which is not any indication49:22that you’re not good at what you do you49:23might not be as good as the person whobeat you but if you lose the match andthen whine what you’ve done is sacrificethe higher order principle of constantimprovement of your own skills yesbecause you should be analyzing the lossand saying the reason I lost insofar asit’s relevant to this particular timeand place is the insufficiencies Imanifested that defeated me and I need49:45to track those insufficiencies so that I49:47can rectify them in the future and if49:48I’m blaming it on you or the referees or49:50the situation that I’m not taking49:53responsibility and I’m not pushing49:54myself forward and so then you also take49:56the meaning out of it like one of the49:58things I’ve been doing on my tour people50:01are criticizing me to some degree for50:03saying things to people that are obvious50:04well first of all it’s not like I didn’t50:06bloody well know they were obvious when50:08I wrote those rulings you were the rules50:10in my book for example stand up straight50:12with your shoulders back you know treat50:14yourself like you’re someone responsible50:16for helping it’s like I know perfectly50:18well that those can be read as cliches50:20the question is cliche let’s say is50:23something that’s so true that it’s that50:25it’s become that it’s become it’s widely50:29accepted by everyone well but we don’t50:31know why it’s true anymore and so it’s50:35this issue that the issue that we’re50:37talking about here or the issue of being50:38a good sport we need to figure out why50:40that’s true and the reason that it’s50:42true is that you’re trying to push your50:44development farther than you’ve already50:45developed at every point in time and now50:47that’s the proper that’s the proper50:49moral attitude so50:56when you see an athletic performance50:58where someone is pushing themselves50:59beyond what they are you see someone51:01dramatizing the process of proper51:03adaptation it isn’t the skill itself51:05it’s the extension of the skill when you51:07see someone acting like a bad sport then51:09they’re sacrificing that and so they’re51:10sacrificing the higher for the lower and51:12no one likes that in the fights it’s got51:15to be see the question is that’s the51:17thing I can’t quite figure out is why51:19that would be even exaggerated in a51:20fight situation and you said it’s51:23because the stakes are so high51:24yeah the consequences of victory or51:26defeat they’re just so much greater51:29there’s your your health is on the line51:32it’s one of the rare things that you do51:34where your health is on the line your51:37physical health right so there’s more51:38extreme victories and more game defeats51:40and so the morality that’s associated51:42with defeat is more extreme exactly51:44because there’s more on the line and the51:48way people treat the champions it’s it’s51:50a it’s a very different thing it’s the51:53the respect and adulation that a51:55champion receives is it’s the pinnacle51:58of sports in terms of the the love from52:01the audience when someone wins a great52:04fight it’s there’s nothing like it and52:06this is one of the reasons why these52:07people are willing to put their health52:09on the line because that high the high52:11of victory and it’s not just a victory52:14it’s a you know what what is that who52:16was it who said the victory is really52:21the victory over the lesser you it’s a52:24victory it’s always the victory is over52:28you’ve got to realize a guy like steep a52:30Miocic who defends is heavyweight title52:33this weekend in the UFC he is he’s the52:37heavyweight champion the world but he’s52:39not undefeated he lost in his career52:41he’s lost a couple of times and he you52:43know as I’m sure he’s lost wrestling52:45matches and sparring sessions in the gym52:48and all he’s a product of improvement52:51right he’s a product of discipline and52:53hard work and thinking and strategy and52:56constantly improving upon his skills and52:58so so in because of that he’s the53:00baddest man on the planet so my in my53:01book rule for is this is 12 excuse me53:05this is from 12 rules for life rule 4 is53:09come53:10carry yourself to who you were yesterday53:11not to who someone else is today yes53:13because you need to be you need to have53:15a hierarchy of improvement you need to53:18be aiming something for something and53:19that means you’re going to be lesser53:20than people who’ve always already53:22attained along that dimension yes and53:23that can give rise to envy so the53:26question is who should you defeat in the53:27final analysis and the answer is you53:29should defeat your former self53:30you should be constantly trying to do53:32that and you’re the right control for53:34yourself to because you’re the one who’s53:36had all your advantages and53:37disadvantages and so if you want to53:39compete fairly with someone then you53:40should be competing with you and it is53:42the case and this is what we were53:44talking about – with regards to the self53:46improvement of the fighter is well if53:49you’re improving yourself then what you53:51are doing is competing with your lesser53:52self and then you might also ask well53:54what is that lesser self and that lesser53:57self would be resentful and bitter and53:59and aggressive and vengeance seeking and54:04all of those things that go along with54:05having a negative moral character and54:07those are things that interfere with54:08your ability to progress as you move54:10forward through life so it’s very54:13necessary to understand that this is why54:15you know I’ve been stressing this idea54:18of personal responsibilities like well54:20personal responsibility is to compete54:21with yourself is to be slightly better54:23than yourself the next day and it better54:25in some way that you can actually manage54:27and that’s humility it’s right like well54:29I’m a flawed person and I’ve got all my54:31problems could I be as good as person X54:34it’s like not the right question the54:36right question is could you be slightly54:38better tomorrow than you’re currently54:39flawed self and the answer to that is if54:41you have enough humility to set the bar54:44properly low then you could be better54:46tomorrow than you are today because what54:49you also have to do is you have to say54:51well here’s all my flaws and my54:54insufficiencies and the best that54:56someone that flawed and insufficient54:58could do to improve and actually do it55:00is this and that’s not worth going out55:02in the street and celebrating with55:03plaque arts you know it’s like well this55:05is why I tell people to clean the room55:07it’s not going to brag to someone that55:08you did that but someone is insufficient55:10as you might be able to manage it and55:12that means you actually are on the55:14pathway to self improvement and you’re55:15transcending your former self and you55:17might say well what’s the right way of55:19being in the world if there is such a55:21thing and it’s not acting according to a55:23set of rules55:24it’s attempting continually to transcend55:26the flawed thing that you currently are55:28and what’s so interesting about that is55:30that the mean meaning in the meaning in55:32life is to be found in that pursuit so59:56it’s things are going really badly foryou and that there’s just chanceassociated with that sometimes and youand the people around you are doingstupid things to make it worse it’s likeokay what have you got under thosecircumstances you’ve got the possibilityto slowly raise yourself out of the mireyou’ve got that the possibility to dojust what the fighter does when he’sdefeated which is to say well regardlessof the circumstances that might have ledto my defeat like even if there wereerrors on the part of the referee thisis no time to whine about it this is atime to take stock of what I did wrongso that I could improve it into thefuture and that’s the right attitude youknow in the Old Testament one of thethings that’s really interesting aboutthe Old Testament stories is in the OldTestament the Jews keep getting wallopedby God it’s like they struggle up andmake an empire and then they just getwalloped and then it’s all crushed inthere and they’re they’re out of it forgenerations and then they struggle backup and make an empire and then they getdemolished again and it happens over andover and over and the the attitude ofthe Old Testament Hebrews is we musthave made a mistake it’s never to shaketheir fist at the sky and curse fateit’s never that the presupposition is ifthings aren’t working out it’s my faultand that’s a hell of a presuppositionand you might say well of course youknow what’s that that underestimates thedegree to which there’s systemicoppression etc etc and and the and thevagaries of fate it’s like it doesn’tover underestimate it it’s not the pointthe point is your best strategic61:28position is how am i insufficient and61:31how can I rectify that that’s what61:33you’ve got and the thing is you are61:35insufficient and you could rectify itboth of those are within your grasp ifyou aim low enough one of the things whydo you see the that’s another thing youkeep saying aim low enough have a lowenough bar why do you why do you meanthat well let’s say you’ve got a kid andyou want the kid to improve you don’tset them a bar that’s so high that it’simpossible for them to attain it youtake a look at the kid and you thinkokay this kid’s got this range of skillhere’s a challenge we can throw at himor her that exceeds their current levelof skill but gives them areasonable probability of success and solike I’m saying it tongue-in-cheek tosome degree you know it’s like but ifyou’re but I’m doing it as an aid tohumility it’s like well I don’t know howto start improving my life someone mightsay that and I would say well you’re notaiming low enough there’s something youcould do that you are regarding istrivial that that you could do that youwould do that would result in an actualimprovement but it’s not a big enoughimprovement for you so you won’t loweryourself enough to take the opportunityincremental steps yes and so this isalso what is achieved through exerciseit’s one of the most important well whatdo you do when you go and lift weightsyou don’t go on like if you haven’tbench press before you don’t put 400pounds on the damn bar and drop the anddrop the bar through your skull I knowyou think look when I started workingout when I was a kid I was I was waitabout a hundred and thirty pounds and Iwas six foot one so thin kid and Ismoked a lot I wasn’t in good shape Iwasn’t in good physical shape and I wentto the gym and it was bloodyembarrassing you know when people wouldcome over and help me with the goddamnweights here’s how you’re supposed touse this you know it was humiliating andmaybe I was pressing 65 pounds orsomething at that point you know butwhat am I gonna do I’m gonna lift up ahundred fifty pounds and injure myselfright off the bat no I had to go inthere and strip down and put my skinnygoddamn self in front of the mirror andthink son-of-a-bitch there’s all thesemonsters in the gym who’ve been liftingweights for ten years and I’m strugglingto get 50 pounds off the bar tough luckfor me but I could lift 50 pounds and itwasn’t fair very long until I could lift75 and well you know how it goes but andI never injured myself when I was latelifting and the reason for that was Inever pushed myself past where I knew Icould go and I pushed myself a lot youknow I gained 35 pounds of muscle inabout three years in University I kindof had to quit because I was eating sogoddamn much I couldn’t stand itseething like six meals a day it wasjust taking up too much time but there’sa humility in determining what it isthat the wretched creature that you arecan actually manage aim low and I don’tmean don’t aim and I don’t mean don’taim up but you have to accept the factthat you can set yourself a goal thatyou can attain and there’s not going tobe much glory in it to begin withbecause if you’re not in very good shapethe goalYuuka day could attain tomorrow isn’tvery glorious but it’s a hell of a lotbetter than nothing and it beats thehell out of bitterness and it’s waybetter than blaming someone else it’sway less dangerous and you could do itand what’s cool about it there’s astatement in the New Testament it’scalled the Matthew principle andeconomists use it to describe how theeconomy in the world works to those whohave everything more will be given fromthose who have nothing everything willbe taken it’s like what’s verypessimistic in some sense because itmeans that as you start to fail you failmore and more rapidly but it also meansthat as you start to succeed you succeedmore and more rapidly and so you take anincremental step and well now you can64:58lift 55 pounds instead of 52 point 565:01pounds you think well what the hell is65:02that it’s like it’s one step on a very65:04long journey and so it’s it and it65:07starts to compound on you so a small65:10step today means puts you in a position65:11to take a slightly bigger step for the65:13next day and then that puts you in a65:15position to take a slightly bigger step65:16the next day and you do that for two or65:18three years man you’re starting to65:20stride you know what I have so many65:22people coming up to me now this is one65:23of the things that’s so insanely fun65:25about this tour which is so positive65:27it’s it brings me to tears regularly65:30it’s mind boggling because people come65:32up to me and this is happening wherever65:34I go now and they say they’re very65:36polite when they come and talk to me you65:38know and they’re always apologetic for65:40interrupting and so it’s never it’s75:34that what that means is that these kidshave been educated for twelve years andno one had ever sat them down and saidokay what the hell are you doing and whyand how are you gonna get like where doyou want to go why do you want to getthere how are you gonna get therehow are you gonna mark your progressthey’ve never walked them through thatexercise you walk people through thatexercise just to get them to do thatincreases the probability that they’llstay on track by 50% that’s incrediblewell it’s one of the things I’ve alwayscomplained about is that they know onepeople teach you facts they don’t teachyou how to approach life they don’tteach you how to think they don’t teachyou how to confront why do theinsecurities and different traps thatyour mind will set up for you yeah wellthat’s what partly what’s so fun aboutdoing this lecture tour because that’sexactly what I’m talking to people about
..83:28right I’m transmitting information thatI’ve learned from very very wise peopleand so there’s that but also we don’twant to underestimate the utility of thetechnology right because we have thislong-form technology now and it’senabling us to have this discussion andso we can get deeper into thingspublicly and socially then we were ableto before and I see this I see this as amanifestation of that and and as and I’mhoping too that maybe maybe what’shappening because we’re gonna have a lotof adaptation to do in the next 20 yearsas things change so rapidly we canhardly comprehend it and hopefully theway we’re going to be able to managethat is to think and hopefully theselong form discussions will provide thepolitical or provide the public forumfor us to actually think to actuallyengage at a deep enough level so we’llbe able to master the transformationsand I think that’s possible and himpart of the reason that I wrote thisbook and well part of the reason thatI’d be doing what I’ve been doing for84:24the last thirty years because I reallyhave believed since nineteen eighty fivesomething like that that the way out ofpolitical polarization the way out ofthe excesses of the right and the leftis through the individual I think theWest got that right the fundamental unitof measurement is the individual and thefundamental task of the individual is toengage in this process of humbleself-improvement I believe that’s thecase and that’s where the meaning is andthat’s where the responsibility is and Ithink and I’m hoping that if enoughpeople in the West and then and then therest of the world for that matter butwe’re very polarized in the West rightnow if enough people take responsibilityfor getting their individual life’stogether then we’ll get wise enough sowe won’t let this process of politicalpolarization put us back to the sameplaces that we went so many times in the20th century I don’t see anotherantidote for it it’s not political it’sethical this is the message that Ialways hear from you and this is you asa friend this is the you that Iunderstand but this is not how you’recommonly represented you are the mostmisrepresented person I’ve ever met inmy lifeI have never seen someone who has somuch positive that gets ignored andwhere people are looking for any littlething that they could possiblymisrepresent and switch up and changeand I’m kind of stunned by it I mean II’m really not sure what it is about youthat’s so polarizing with all thesedifferent people that are deciding that85:58you are some sexist transphobic evil86:04person that’s this right-wing86:06all right the figure you know even to86:11the point where it’s it’s it’s kind of86:14humorous to me sometimes when I read86:16some of these these takes on you what do86:20you think that’s from like what what is86:22have you this is a new thing for you86:25you mean this only been the last few86:27years that you’ve gone from this86:29relatively unknown professor in a86:33university into86:33Anto to being this worldwide figure86:36where people you’re obviously your86:39message is resonating with people in avery huge way but the people that areopposing you they’re vehemently opposedwhat do you think that is collectivistdon’t like me collectivists what do youmean by thatpeople who think the probably properunit of analysis in the world is apolitical and B group oriented theidentity politics types don’t like me atall and they have every reason not tobecause I’m not I’m not a fan ofidentity politicsI think things that’s why you’remisrepresented but mentally there’sother reasons I mean I came out againstthis bill in Canada bill C 16 that thathypothetically purported to do nothingelse but to increase the the domain ofRights that were applied to transsexualpeople but there was a there was plentymore to that bill man let me tell youand I read the policy dot the policiesthat went along with it and it was acompelled speech bill and so I opposedit on the grounds that the politicians87:36are not supposed to leap out of their87:37proper domain and start to compel speech87:40it’s not the same as forbidding hate87:42speech I’m I think hate speech should be87:44left alone personally for all sorts of87:46reasons but to compel the contents of87:48speech is a whole new thing it’s never87:51been done before in the history of87:52British common law English common law87:53and it’s actually the Supreme Court in87:56the 1940s in the u.s. said that that was87:58not to be allowed and so it was a major88:00transgression and they said well we’re88:02doing it for all the right reasons it’s88:03like no no you don’t get it88:05you don’t get to compel speech I don’t88:07care what your reasons are and why88:09should I trust your damn reasons anyways88:11what makes you so st. like so that you88:14can violate this fundamental principle88:15and I should assume that you’re doing it88:17for nothing but compassion and that88:18you’re wise enough to manage that88:19properly it’s like sorry no I read your88:22policies I see what you’re up to I don’t88:24like the collectivists I think they’re88:26unbelievably dangerous and I have reason88:28to believe that so I think that when88:31push comes to shove if your unit of88:35analysis is the group and your worldview88:37is one group and its power claims88:39against all other groups that that88:41that’s not acceptable it’s it’s88:43tribalism of the worst form and it lead88:45to nothing but mayhem and desire88:47and part of the reason you’re doing it88:48isn’t because your compassion it’s88:50because you’re envious and you don’t88:51want to take responsibility for your own88:52life and I’m calling you on it and so88:55you don’t like me so I must be an88:56alright figure I must be a Nazi saying88:59your house needs a lot of work man89:01there’s a lot of rot in the in the89:03floorboards89:04the plumbing is leaking the water’s89:05coming in you’re not you’re not the sage89:07and Saint you think you are there’s so89:10much work you have to do on yourself89:11that it would damn near kill you to take89:13a look at it do everything you honestly89:15think that that’s why people are89:16responding to you in a negative way that89:18they only have their own personal89:20problems that they’re avoiding it can’t89:22possibly be that you represent to them89:24something that is either cruel or89:30something that is not compassionate89:33about people and their differences and89:35their flaws and their their humanity89:38because I think it’s certainly the case89:40that there the vision that’s been89:42generated of me is yeah that’s but89:44that’s what I’m getting at oh yeah89:46there’s that too but why is layers say89:48theirs well part of its the political89:51polarization you know at the moment89:52we’re viewing almost everything that89:54happens in the world through a political89:56lens at least the journalists at least89:58first of all first of all I gotta make90:01this clearconditions oh no we can’t do that it’s134:32like the discussion you guys wanted whydo you continue and agree to have theseconversations that are gonna be editedoh well that’s a good question the JimJefferies one was another one yeah Jim’s134:43a friend of mine but I mean he gave you134:45a good question and you actually gave a134:46good answer you said actually I’m134:49probably wrong about yeah yeah and you134:50were talking about whether or not gay134:52people should whether someone should be134:55forced to bake a cake for cake for gay134:57people yeah I said forced to probably134:59not they said well what if they don’t135:00want to get baked a cake for black135:02people yeah and he said well actually135:05probably it probably should be forced to135:07yeah well probably wrong yeah well I was135:09probably wrong in everything I did and135:11that in that part of the discussion135:12because I hadn’t thought that issue135:15through enough to actually give a good135:16answer he didn’t expect that issue135:18because this is not something you talk135:19about commonly no and it’s it’s actually135:21complicated right I mean obviously the135:23whole I won’t serve you because you’re135:25black thing is not good but then again135:27you have you also have the right to135:29choose who you’re going to affiliate135:30with but135:31that’s complicated because it’s a135:32commercial circumstance and then if135:33you’re making a cake is that the same as135:35serving or is that compelled speech it’s135:37like oh my god these are border cases135:40that cause a lot of controversy I don’t135:42mean serving black people obviously135:43that’s not a border case but these cases135:45that caused a lot of controversy is135:47where two principles are at odds and it135:49isn’t exactly clear where to draw the135:50line and I’m not happy with you know I’m135:53not happy with my answer to that but I135:55hadn’t spent that like week it would135:57take to think through the issue and135:59really have a comprehensive perspective136:00you didn’t expect that to be a subject136:02anyway no no what how long did you talk136:05to Jim for oh I think about 45 minutes136:08maybe an hour first Oh two minutes yeah136:11well my daughter has told me and and my136:14wife as well my son as well and these136:16discussions we’ve been thinking about136:18how to handle the media which is a verycomplicated question and one hypothesisbeing don’t do interviews that will beedited and I’ve thought about that andand and and being thinking about it andthat might be the right answer it mightbe the right answer going fooling it isright and well it could it could easilybe although it’s the only way you can’tbe misrepresented just all the problemsthat I’ve seen with you all of them comefrom you being edited yes I mean there’scomplex subjects that people woulddisagree with you on but when you lookat complete mischaracterizations of yourpointthese have been established because ofediting yes well I guess the onlycounter-argument is this and I mean alot of these a lot of theseopportunities come I’ve hadopportunities that are coming at me arate at a rate that doesn’t allow me tothink them through as much as I couldoptimally but but then there’s anotherthing which is it isn’t necessarily amistake to lay yourself open to attackbecause sometimes it reveals the motivesof the attackers like that’s whathappened in the Kathy Newman interviewno that could have gone really sidewayslike I was lucky there to some degreebecause she interviewed me for 40minutes or whatever and something likethat and then they did chop it down toseven minutes or three minutes and itwas exactly what you’d expect and thatis what I expected afteraway from the interview I thought oh mygod they’re just gonna chop this intoreprehensible segments and pillory mebut I walked away from it because therewas 50 other things to do but then itwas so funny because they did do thatand then they put up the whole interviewand the reason they put up the wholeinterview was because they thought theinterview went fine it isn’t that theyknew that that was gonna cause commotionnot at all not a bithe141:23journalists I’m certainly not taking141:24anywhere near the number of141:26opportunities that I have in front of me141:27right we are trying to be very carefulin picking and choosing but that doesn’talways go well and it’s like it could bethat it could be that I shouldn’t doanything that is edited at all that’scertainly possible so well this is theproblem you speak in these you speak inthese long-form podcasts and interviewsand you get a chance to extrapolate andunpack some pretty complicated issuesand compare them to other complicatedissues and try to find meaning andmiddle ground and and try to try toilluminate certain positions when youexpose yourself to editing you youexpose yourself to someoneidea of what the narrative should be andhow to frame your positions in it in anddishonest way yeah and you’re seeing ittime and time again when it exposes the142:23problem with medium look I went to the142:25Aspen ideas festival last week which is142:27a whole story in and of itself but I was142:29interviewed there by a journalist from142:31the Atlantic Monthly and it was a142:33relatively long form interview I think142:35we talked for 40 minutes something like142:37that and it’s going to be edited142:39now I trusted her I trust her now142:42whether that’ll be well how that will142:44play out in the final edit I don’t know142:46because she won’t be the only one making142:48the decision right well the question is142:50should have I done it well look it was142:53the Aspen ideas festival it’s a142:54different audience it’s left-leaningI thought well maybe I’ll go talk to aleft-leaning audience people are alwayscriticizing me for not doing that Iusually don’t do it because I don’t getinvited but so I went and talked to themit’s like and Barry Weiss interviewed mein front of the Aspen ideas festival andthat was long-form uncut and put on theweb and so maybe that was useful theAtlantic thing well it might be goodwe’ll see it does expose me to the riskthough because it’ll be edited so and itwas it wise to do itlook I’ve been fortunate so far despitethe fact that I’ve been taken out ofcontext at times and fairly significantproportion of times but not theoverwhelming majority of times the netconsequence of all of that has been to143:46engage more and more people in a complex143:48dialogue as far as I can tell so that’s143:51the good that’s the good it doesn’t mean143:54the strategy that I’ve implemented so143:56far is the only strategy that will work143:58into the future we can also clearly144:00establish it you didn’t planning this to144:02happen this this whole thing that144:04happened from you opposing that bill and144:07then going to where you are how manyyou148:11know what you’re talking about so you148:13take the listeners on a journey right148:15it’s an exploratory journey but148:17fundamentally what’s propelled you to148:19superstardom in some sense is not justyour ability which is non-trivial butthe fact that you’re on this gianttechnological wave and you’re one of thefirst adopters and I’m in the samesituation we’re first adopters of atechnology that’s as revolutionary asthe Gutenberg printing press and sothat’s all unfolding in real time it’slike look at what’s happening yeah wellthe spoken word is now as powerful asthe written word that’s never happenedbefore in human history and we’re on thecutting edge of that for better or worsethat’s a very good way to put it thespoken word is just power yeah and maybeeven more so why is it so accessible topeople that don’t have the time to readwell or stuck in traffic you know or orand here’s another possibility maybe tentimes as many people can listen tocomplex information as can read complexinformation in terms of their ability toprocess it sure could easily we don’tknow maybe it’s maybe it’s the same it’scertainly easier to listen to a book ontape for me than it is to read a bookyeah well so for us so the question isfor how many people is that true and Iwould say it might be true for them forthe majority of people and then peopleare doing hybrids you know so becauseyou can sync your book with audibleright so they’ll read when they have thetime but then when they have found timewhich is also a major component of thisthat that’s the time when you’re drivingor the time when you’re doing dishes isnow all of a sudden you can educateyourself during that found time this is149:40a big revolution and the band blowing149:43out the bandwidth makes a huge149:44difference because while we talked about149:46that at the beginning looks like people149:48are more intelligent than we thought and149:49you and I are both and the rest of this149:51intellectual dark web that’s kind of149:53what unites us say is everybody has an149:55independent platform virtually everybody149:57they have an idiosyncratic viewpoint150:00they’re interested in having discussions150:02and pursuing for the furtherance of150:04their knowledge even though they might150:05have a priori ideological commit150:07Sam doesn’t I suppose I do and and Ben150:09Shapiro certainly does but they’re still150:11interested in having the discussion but150:14more importantly they’re capitalizing on150:16the long form and and the fact that150:18that’s possible is a reflection of this150:19technological transformation and the150:21technological transfer information might150:23be utterly profound it looks like it and150:27so that’s you know I’ve been trying to150:29sort this out because I keep thinking150:30why the hell are these people coming to150:32listen to what I’m saying it’s like well
150:33I’m a guru you know I’m a sage it’s150:35something like that it’s like don’t be150:37thinking that first think if there’s150:41situational determinants first take your150:43damn personality out of it okay what’s150:45going on oh yes this is all fostered by150:48YouTube and fostered by podcasts what’s150:50so new about that150:52no bandwidth restrictions no barrier to150:55entrance possibility of dialog because150:58people cut up the YouTube videos into151:00chunks and make their own comments on it151:02it’s a whole new communication151:03technology also a lack of interference151:06by executives and producers and all151:08these different people that have their151:09own bodies unmediated yes unmediated is151:11giant yeah yeah well that’s all part of151:13the reason you’re so popular too is like151:15you just put this on like so you’ve got151:17exactly the right balance of competent151:21production because there’s nothing151:23excess about it like it’s competent but151:26no more than that I know that’s by151:28design but you also don’t edit it it’s151:30like what you see is what you get it’s151:31like everyone’s relieved by that we can151:33make our own damn decisions no I think151:35that’s very important if you’re gonna151:36have a conversation with someone that’s151:38honest you you can’t decide what to151:40leave in and what to take out and it’s151:43just well that’s partly also why I deal151:45with the press the way I do yeah if I’m151:47gonna have a full conversation it’s like151:48I’m willing to take the hits yeah and151:50and I understand what you’re saying but151:52that’s one of the reasons why itfrustrates me so much is that I see whatthey’re doing and I’m like what you’redoing is ancient what you’re doing isit’s it’s this is what people did twentyyears ago thirty years ago for you can’t152:03really do that anymore152:04you can’t misrepresent people you used152:06to be able to if you were in the press152:07you could take people quote amount of152:09context do whatever the fuck you wanted152:11put an article about them they couldn’t152:12do a goddamn thing about it it happened152:14to me in nineteenit was like ninety-nineI did a I had a comedy CD that came outand this woman wrote an article about itand it just she just lied she lied aboutmy perspective she lied about the bitsshe misquoted the bits she didn’t justparaphrase themshe changed what the bits were to makethem you know misogynist or hateful orwhatever it was and in doing so I thatthere was no recourse there was nothingthat I could do about them like wow I’dnever experienced that before I was likethis is stunning and then I found outthis person did that a lot and this iswhat she did and there’s ultimate powerthat comes at being the person who hasthe pen being the person who has thetypewriter and you you’re the person whoworks for you know the Boston Globe orwhatever the publication is that that issomething that existed forever you knowand that you had to be either a friendof the press you had to play ball youhad you had a bend to their will you todo what they wanted you to do and theycould misrepresent you and choose topaint you in any way they like and it’sone of the reasons why I don’t doanything anymoreI don’t do any interviews anymore Idon’t do anything I don’t want to doanything yeah this I do enough man you153:28want to know about me it fucking there’s153:29a thousand podcasts there’s more than a153:32thousand there’s I think there’s there’s153:351,100 and there’s a bunch of other ones153:37three right let’s just it doesn’t make153:38any sense153:39yeah well that that’s that that it may153:41also be the position that I increasingly153:43find myself in I think it’s the right153:45position because then the153:47misrepresentations don’t exist anymore153:48so then the only problem is the dispute153:50over the actual ideological153:52conversations or the other the actual153:55concept but you know the thing is you153:57know you made a point there that’s quite153:58interesting it’s like we are in a new154:00media landscape so now if someone comes154:02out as a as a media figure with some154:06institutional credibility and154:09misrepresents its exposed and so then154:12the question is how much risk should use154:14shoulder to expose the proclivity for154:16media misrepresentation and the answer154:19to that might be some now it might be154:22moving you know maybe I’ve done enough154:23of that I mean it would be easier for me154:26in many ways if I just stopped doing it154:28but but there’s some utility and having154:31it play out and so154:33well so I’m trying to get I’m trying to154:36only take those opportunities that154:38appear to have more benefit than risk154:41and when I defining benefit154:44well the question is then what154:46constitutes benefit and I guess what154:48constitutes benefit is well that would154:52further the attempts that I’m making to154:55bring information to a vast number of154:57people that could conceivably help them154:59stabilize and improve their individual155:02lives that’s worth a certain amount of155:03risk155:04well it certainly increases your profile155:06increases your profile and even if you155:08know you have 60% of these people are155:10gonna get a bad perception of you 40% of155:12these people that never heard of you now155:14we’re going to understand who you are155:15because they do further investigation155:16yeah so there’s some benefit in that but155:18the negative I mean I get text messages155:21from random people that I was friends155:22with years ago let’s say this Jordan155:24Peterson is just such a lying sack of155:26shit and he’s this not only I don’t even155:28know who the fuck you are and then155:30second of all like why are you155:31contacting me you know I’m saying hi155:33you’re saying he’s a scam artist he’s a155:40fraud he’s in it and I’m like wow and so155:43they’ll see an interview you know like155:45the the Jim Jefferies clip which is a155:47minute long or whatever it is or the155:49Vice piece or the the initial Kathy155:52Newman piece and they just form this155:55determined position on you and then Reid155:58hit pieces on you and then this is where156:01they take their opinion this is where156:03it’s from it’s and it’s like these arethe last gasps of a dying medium Ireally do I just I think too I don’t Idon’t think that people appreciate it Ithink the people that are listening tothis that do appreciate long-formconversations and with all warts and allall the ugliness and the mistakes andthe critical errors and the the peoplethat appreciate that they they they have156:29a real hate for being lied to you know156:32because it’s it it changed when when you156:35try never being treated as if they’re156:37stupid yes156:38yeah which they aren’t yeah that’s both156:41it’s just it’s it’s deceptive when you156:44when you added someone and take their156:47wordsto context and change them around you’rebeing deceptive the New York Times didthat again this week they had somephilosophy professor from Hong KongUniversity write a piece on me and hetook they quoted me it was a sentencethere’s like the first phrase was inquotes and then there was some joiningwords and then the second phrase was inquotes and there was some joining wordsand then the third phrase was in quotesand the three quotes added up to astatement that bore no resemblancewhatsoever to what I was saying how canthey do that in the New York Times thatseems to me to be something that shouldbe the the I don’t but they still Idon’t think they can do I think they’rekilling their brand so fast that theycan’t but it is so disturbing to me as a157:24person who’s been a fan of the New York157:26Times forever I just don’t understand157:28how they could allow that to happen how157:30could you allow your what what is the157:33gold standard for journalism how could157:36you allow it to become something that157:37willfully misrepresents someone they157:39never did to push an idea I never did157:41put my book on the New York Times157:43bestseller list it’s quite comical how’s157:45that possible oh they have rules which157:48they don’t disclose but one of them157:50apparently is well if the book is157:51published and counted and distributed in157:53the United States then it doesn’t count157:54even though they’ve had books like that157:56on the New York Times bestseller list157:57before and I think okay well is this bad158:00or good it’s like well it’s bad because158:02to the degree that I might want to be on158:04the New York Times bestseller list158:05although I haven’t been losing any sleep158:07over but you’re selling I know how many158:09books are selling yeah it’s basically158:10being the best-selling book in the world158:12since January you know it’s gone up and158:14down to some degree but right it should158:16be the number one New York Times158:18bestseller so they they they have the158:20reasons and but I look at that and I158:22think oh well you can only do that ten158:24times until you’re done like because158:27it’s a fatal error158:27you have the gold standard for158:29measurement you’re not measuring158:31properly you’re burning up your brand158:34you think well we’re the New York Times158:35so we can burn up our brand it’s like no158:38you can’t Newsweek is gone Time magazine158:40is a shallow is a shell of its former158:42self like the big things disappear and158:46they disappear when they get crooked and158:48ideologically rigid and so that’s what’s158:51happening at the New York Times not with158:53everyone there but with plenty of them158:55and they’ll die faster than people think158:58but it’s so confusing to me that159:00it didn’t used to be that yeah and now159:04it is and are they just responding to159:06this new world where you have to have159:08clickbait journalism and you know some159:11people are struggling to find people to159:12actually buy physical newspapers which159:14is well it’s a different thing it’s hard159:16to say like because maybe see it’s weird159:18because you don’t have to resort to159:20clickbait because these long-form159:23discussions are the antithesis of159:24clickbait right are they struggling in159:27terms of like how many people buy them159:29safer oh absolutely every newspaper the159:32newspapers in Canada went cap and hand159:34to the federal government for subsidies159:36about six months ago because they’re159:37dying so fast and so some of it is159:40they’re being supplanted by technology159:42that’s a huge part of it but as they are159:44supplanted they get more desperate they159:46publish more polarizing stories that159:48works in the short term to garner more159:50views but it alienates people from the159:52brand and speeds their demise classic159:54death spiral of a big of a big159:56organization and that’s going to clean159:59things out like mad I mean I don’t know160:00where CNN is in the Cable News rankings160:03now our cable show rankings but it keeps160:04falling but it’s falling in the rankings160:07as cable itself disintegrates and dies160:09why do you need cable TV right160:12no one needs cable TV the only people160:14who have cable TV are the people who160:16haven’t figured out yet that you can160:18replace it entirely online for like 1/10160:20the price with with much less hassle but160:22the art is people want a location they160:25can go to to find out what’s going on in160:26the world and this is the one thing that160:28they used to represent and you know I160:31mean I don’t think Fox News is any160:33better I think you just have these160:34ideological extremes left and right and160:37I remember very clearly watching the160:39election coverage before the election160:42like we were leading up to the election160:44I would go Fox News and then I go CNN I160:46just would go back and forth with them160:48on my cable yeah and I would just be160:49laughing I’m like what is really160:51happening in the world because I’m160:53getting to different stories I’m getting160:55Russia and I’m getting Hillary’s emails160:56this is I don’t know what the fuck is160:58what what is happening I’m getting pussy161:00grabbing and I’m getting you know161:03Benghazi yeah you know I’m this is what161:05I’m getting and I don’t understand like161:06why this is obviously ideological this161:10is well not just look it might be that161:11as the technology is supplanted161:14the ideological polarization increases161:17as the thing dies right there struggling161:19for anyone to pay attention and this is161:21the way they have to do it to any shore161:23and I think what’s happening on the161:24other side which is the side you occupy161:27say is that a new technology that’s long161:29form that deals with many of those161:32problems is emerging and it’s going to161:33emerge it’s going to be victorious161:35but in the me might already be161:37victorious in the meantime little baby161:39stuff still exists in the digital world161:42yeah you know and then you’re getting a161:43lot of the articles that are written161:45about you people are absorbing these161:46articles not from a physical form you’re161:48getting it from from digital yeah well161:50okay so then the sense is well do you161:52have fundamental trust in the judgment161:54of your fellow man let’s say and my161:57answer to that is yes because although161:59I’ve been pilloried to a great degree by162:02the radical types in the commentariat162:05and in that classic journalists though162:09comments with regards to me on YouTube162:11are 50 to 1 in my favor and and that’s162:15even the case when the ideologues put up162:16videos about me they’re designed to162:18discredit me and I’ve sold a million and162:21a half books it’s going to be published162:23in 40 countries and thousands of people162:25are coming to my lectures and so I would162:27say the attempts to discredit me aren’t162:30working so and now I think that’s162:34because that even like even if you go to162:35youtube you can see Jordan Peterson162:38smashes leftist journalists you know as162:40a clickbait thing someone’s taken a162:41two-minute clip from a video and they162:43put it out and they’re using that162:44clickbait headlines to attract attention162:46it’s like it does attract attention and162:48that probably even furthers polarization162:50but I think that most people enough162:53people that’s the prayer enough people162:56are going for the long form thorough162:58discussion so that the sensible will163:02will triumph that’s what I’m hoping for163:05the sensible will triumph no I agree and163:07I think that is what’s happened yeah I163:09think that’s why this fifty to one163:10number exists is that there but the the163:13number one in that 50 the 50 verses you163:17know the 50 people that are actually163:18understanding what’s going on and163:20agreeing with you versus the number one163:22that are trying to willfully163:24misrepresent you they still exist and163:25they’re loud you know they’re and163:27they’re163:27to be right and this is one of the163:29things that people love to do they love163:31to fight to be right instead of163:33examining their position and wondering163:34whether or not they are taking you out163:36of context and misrepresenting your163:38positions to the world willfully and163:40doing so in order to paint a negative163:43picture of you that does not accurately163:45represent who you are what you stand for163:47yes but by doing this virtue without any163:50of the work they’re also destroying163:52their own credits this is what’s163:54devastating it’s like the in they’re163:55trying to win they’re killing themselves163:58right well and that’s a good that’s a164:00good motif for the entire conversation164:03it’s like try hard to hard to win you164:06kill yourself you were talking last164:07night when we were when we were over164:08dinner you said that one of the most164:10deadly things for a fighter to do is to164:11overestimate his own position you’re164:14gonna get your abilities yes if you164:17overestimate your abilities you you’re164:18you’re in deep deep trouble because164:20you’re gonna get a wake-up call right164:22and objectivity is one of the most164:24critical aspects of development you have164:26to be you have to be objectively164:28assessing your strengths and weaknesses164:30at every step of the way that’s brava164:33bravado right I’m I’m trying to prove164:35how I’m so powerful I’m so powerful it’s164:37an ego shield and that’s why I was164:39saying that the ego is the enemy were164:40talking about right so I get you know I164:42want to get into this because this is a164:44I think this is a fascinating thing with164:47you personally that your diet you’re on164:51this carnivore dog yeah no okay so I164:53want to preface that with something I am164:55NOT a dietary expert so I’m not speaking164:58as an uninformed citizen yes well this165:01is anecdotal evidence from a human being165:03it is dealt with autoimmune issues yes165:05their whole life yes you have done this165:08for how long now I’ve been on a pure165:10carnivore diet for about two months and165:13a pretty very very low carb greens only165:16modified carnivore diet for about a year165:20so in the year and-and-and-and a165:22low-carb diet for two years so from the165:25time that I’ve known you I’ve known you165:26for what two and a half years now165:27sometimes yeah yeah when I first met you165:29you had much more weight on your body165:31yeah you look different yeah and you165:34were back then you were eating like the165:36standard diet right like normal people165:38yes pasta165:40bread yeah chicken whatever yes right165:42you shifted over to only meat and greens165:46I saw you and like you look fantastic165:48I’m like what are you doing165:50you’re like I changed my diet I only165:51meat in green so I was like wow that’s165:53fascinating well I felt like okay what165:56you’re doing is cutting out refined165:57sugars and all these different things165:59that are problematic preservatives all166:01the bullshit processed foods and you’re166:04having this extreme health benefit I was166:05like wow that’s really excellent you’re166:07showing great discipline then you166:10decided to take it to another place and166:11cut out the greens you know what was the166:13motivation for cutting out the greens166:15well all of the motivation for this has166:17been my experience with my daughter166:19because she has an unbelievably serious166:21autoimmune disease I just talked to her166:22this what is it called166:23well it’s rich arthritis but it there’s166:26there’s way more to it than that166:28but the arthritis was the major set of166:30symptoms she had 40 affected joints and166:32she had to have her hip replaced and her166:34ankle replaced when she was 15 and 16166:36and so she basically hobbled around on166:38two broken legs for two years in extreme166:41agony and that was just a tiny fraction166:42of the whole set of problems I just166:45talked to her this morning she’s in166:47Chicago looks like she has to have her166:48ankle replacement replaced so that’s166:51next on the horizon but but apart from166:54that she is doing so well now it is166:55absolutely beyond comprehension so she’s166:59she’s she’s very trim she had a baby but167:02she’s very trimmed she’s down to about167:03118 pounds she’s about five foot six167:06she’s just glowing with health all of167:09her autoimmune system symptoms are gone167:11all of them and she was also seriously167:13depressed like severely depressed way167:16worse than you think she couldn’t stay167:17awake for more than about six hours167:19without taking Ritalin167:21and she was dying and hide a cousin my167:23cousin’s daughter she died when she was167:26thirty from an associated autoimmune167:28condition so there’s a fair bit of this167:30in our family it was bloody bleak I’ll167:32tell you and my wife always had a167:34suspicion that this was dietary related167:37you know and well we did notice that167:41when Michaela was young if she ate167:43oranges or strawberries that she’d get a167:46rash like there were there were there167:47and then when she developed arthritis if167:50she ate oranges in particular that would167:51definitely cause a flare it was the only167:53thing we could see167:54the problem is is that in order to167:56identify a dietary component the167:58response has to be pretty quick after167:59you eat the thing like if it’s two days168:01later how the hell are you gonna figure168:02that out a lot of these responses appear168:04to be delayed for four days and last a168:07month so good luck figuring that out168:10anyways Mikayla noticed about three168:12years ago no more than that now five168:13years ago she was at Concordia168:15University and struggling with her with168:18her illness and and all the Association168:20associated problems she noticed that168:22around exam time she was starting to168:24develop real skin problems and my168:27cousin’s daughter who I mentioned had168:29really bad skin problems and wounds that168:31wouldn’t heal and that was partly part168:32of the process that eventually killed168:34her and she thought oh it must be stress168:36and then she thought wait a second I168:38really changed my diet when I’m studying168:40all I do is eat bagels all I do is eat168:42bread sandwiches she thought maybe it’s168:44the bread so she cut out gluten first168:47and it had a remarkable effect like a168:50really remarkable effect and then she168:53went on a radical elimination diet all168:55the way down to nothing but chicken and168:57broccoli and then her symptoms started168:59to drop off one by one like and and like169:02one of the things that happened is she169:03started to wake up in the morning she169:04started to be able to stay awake all day169:06when you’re only staying awake for six169:07hours with riddlin staying awake all day169:09that’s like having a life and so a whole169:12bunch of things improved then her169:14depression went away and I’ve had169:17depression since I was 13 probably and169:19very severe and I’ve treated at a169:21variety of ways some of them quite169:22successfully but it’s been a constant169:24battle and my father had it and his169:26father had it and it’s all just rife in169:28my family and my wife has autoimmune169:31problems and her niece a depression169:32define it oh oh would you define it169:36because that’s a word that’s a blanket169:38term yeah169:38well imagine imagine that you wake up169:40and that you remember that all your169:42family was killed in a horrible accident169:43yesterday you would feel that even169:45though the times wrong yes yes169:47just-just-just worse than that because169:50well one of the things Mikayla told me169:52was she thought well what’s it like to169:53be depressed169:54imagine you have a dog and you really169:55loved the dog and then the dog dies and169:57then about three years ago our dog died170:00and that was Mikayla’s dog and she170:02really liked that dog and she said that170:05was bad but it’s nowhere near as bad as170:06being depressed170:08and I asked her to at one point when she170:09was about 15 or 16 I said look you’ve170:12got a choice kid here’s the choice you170:14can either have depression or arthritis170:16which one I’ll take the arthritis170:21after she’d lost two joints so it was no170:26joke it’s no joke man it there isn’t any170:28no I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t say170:31there’s nothing worse because worse is a170:33very deep hole right but it’s bad yeah170:35people prove you wrong right oh yes170:37definitely worse worse is a deep hole170:39anyways her depression went away all170:41these symptoms went away and like170:43radically so what changed her from170:45chicken and broccoli to carnivore well170:47she she kept experimenting and she got170:51very sensitive to all sorts of foods in170:53the aftermath of that too so this is why170:55I wouldn’t recommend that anybody does170:56this casually because we don’t170:57understand much about it but the upshot170:59was that well she kept she kept she kept171:02experimenting and she started to add171:04things back and take them away and171:06sometimes when she added things the171:07results were devastating she was like171:09done for a month she eats the wrong171:10thing done for a month all the symptoms171:13came back the depression came back she171:15thought that her whole dietary theory171:16was wrong because it lasted so long it171:18was so extreme and it’s like I took her171:20two years to figure out that really what171:22she could eat was beef and greens and171:24then she figured out that she could only171:25eat beef so greens themselves well look171:29so what happened okay so two years ago171:32she said dad you have tried this diet171:33because you have a lot of the same171:34symptoms as me now I didn’t have171:36arthritis but I had a lot of the other171:38symptoms and I thought oh Christ171:41okay Mikayla I can try anything for a171:43month she said try it for a month I171:44thought okay whatever I can hang by my171:46fingernails from the windowsill for a171:48month it’s like it’s just not that big a171:50deal171:50and so I eliminated I went on really low171:54carb diet okay so this is what happened171:56I had gastric reflux disorder and I was172:00snoring quite a lot I stopped snoring172:03the first week I thought what the hell172:05that’s supposed to be associated with172:07weight loss because I had gained some172:09weight I weighed about 212 pounds and172:11I’m I what six one and a half so that172:12was my maximum weight I stopped snoring172:15which was a great relief to tear me so172:17that just quit and that’s a big deal172:18right because if you snore you have172:19sleep apnea and then you don’t sleep172:20right it’s like not a good thing okay172:22next I started waking up in the mornings172:25I’d never been able to wake up in the172:27mornings my whole life I always had to172:29stumble to the shower and then maybe I172:31could wake up took me an hour and I felt172:33terrible and so172:34all the sudden I woke up it was like oh172:36look at that I’m awake in the morning172:38and I’m clear-headed and things aren’t172:40gloomy and horrible it’s like well he’s172:42not weird then I lost seven pounds the172:44first month I thought seven pounds172:47that’s a lot in a month and I’d already172:48gone for a whole year on a sugar-free172:50diet I didn’t lose any weight and I’d be172:52the exercise a sugar free but did you172:53cut out bread no no it was just no172:55desserts no sugar no and I thought that172:57might do it didn’t make any difference172:58at all seven pounds well then then I173:02lost seven pounds the next month then I173:04lost seven pounds the next month I lost173:06seven pounds every month for seven173:07months like I’d throw away all my173:09clothes I went back to the same weight173:10that I was when I was 26 and my173:12psoriasis disappeared and I had floaters173:15in my right eye and they cleared up and173:17then the last thing that went away from173:20me I was still having a bitch of a time173:21with mood regulation and that sucked173:23because when I changed my diet I didn’t173:24respond to antidepressants properly173:26anymore they weren’t working and so173:28although I was getting better physically173:30on a variety of ways like radical ways I173:33was really having a bitch of a time173:35regulating my mood and I was having173:36sporadic really negative reactions to173:38food when I ate something I shouldn’t so173:40that took about a year and half to clear173:42up and I was still really anxious in the173:44morning up to three months ago like173:45horribly and then it would get better173:47all day people said well you’re under a173:48lot of stress and I thought yeah yeah173:50I’ve been under a lot of stress for like173:52ten years it’s like it’s a lot but it173:54wasn’t any more stressful than helping173:56my daughter deal with her illness that’s173:58for sure that no this is something173:59different and she said to me quit eating174:03greens and I thought oh really174:04Jesus Mikayla I’m eating cucumbers174:07lettuce broccoli and chicken and beef174:11it’s like I have to cut out the goddamn174:12greens it’s like try it for a month okay174:17within a week I was 25% less anxious in174:20the morning within two weeks 75% and174:23I’ve been better every single day I’m174:24better now probably than I’ve ever been174:26in my life and I haven’t been taking174:27antidepressants for a whole year so I174:30don’t know what and I weigh 162 pounds174:33like I have no I’m and I’ve actually174:36gained musculature I’ve been doing some174:38working out but not a lot and so I can174:42sleep six hours a night no problem I174:44wake up the morning I’m awake if I take174:45a 15 minute nap that used to take me an174:47hour to recover for174:48that’s gone here’s the coolest thing174:50I’ve had gum disease since I was 25174:53that’s been serious enough to have I’ve174:55had to have minor surgical interventions174:57scraping and that sort of thing to keep174:59it at bay174:59it’s go on I checked with my dentist175:02before this last tour no inflammation175:04and that’s associated with heart disease175:06by the way gum inflammation and175:08gingivitis it’s a good risk factor heart175:10disease it means the systemic175:11inflammation is gone and it’s not175:13supposed to happen you’re not supposed175:15to recover from gingivitis and my gums175:17are in perfect shape it’s like what the175:19hell so here’s what happened I lost 50175:21pounds it’s like that’s a lot right I’m175:26nowhere near as hungry as I used to be175:27my appetites probably formed by 70% I175:30don’t get blood sugar dysregulation175:32problems I need way less sleep I get up175:36in the morning and I’m fine I’m not175:38anxious I’m not depressed I don’t have175:39psoriasis my legs were numb on the sides175:42that’s gone I’m certainly intellectually175:47at my best at the moment which is a175:50great relief especially doing this tour175:51depression is gone175:54I’m stronger I can swim better and my176:01gum disease is gone it’s like what the176:03hell and you’ve done you’ve done no176:05blood work so you don’t know what your176:06lipid lipid profile is or no I’ll get176:09that done again when I go back take any176:10vitamins no no I eat beef and salt and176:13water that’s it and I never cheat ever176:17not even a little bit no not soda no176:19wine I drink club soda well that’s still176:23water well you know when you’re down to176:26that level no it’s not Joe there’s176:28there’s club soda Joe’s really bubbly176:31there’s Perrier which is sort of bubbly176:33there’s flat water and there’s hot water176:34so that’s crazy well we ate last night176:40and I ate what you ate just we both had176:43that giant tomahawk yeah I had wine176:46though yeah176:47I’m curious about this I’m very curious176:50and I think you might try it but I eat a176:53lot of vegetables yeah but I don’t have176:54any problems like health problems hey176:56man like I’m not176:58disclaimer number two I am not177:01recommending this to anyone however I177:03have had however I have had many many177:06people come up to me on the tour and say177:09look I’ve been following your daughter’s177:10blog and I’ve lost like a hundred pounds177:13I think what you lost a hundred pounds177:16see I lost 100 pounds in six months I177:17talked to a woman yesterday she lost 15177:19pounds in one month she was 70 it’s like177:22this is all right here’s a question177:25why is everyone fat and stupid that’s a177:29question man because it’s new is there177:32something else it is it’s new and it’s177:35not a sedentary lifestyle that that177:37hypothesis doesn’t seem to hold water177:39there’s something wrong with the way177:41we’re eating and the what’s wrong is177:43that we’re eating way too many177:44carbohydrates I think but they’re never177:46on a no x8 shift the elimination of most177:49carbohydrates has made a big shift in my177:51life and I do cheat occasionally with177:54bread and occasionally with pasta I will177:57I will go off with ice cream and things177:59along those lines but most of the time178:02I’m just eating meat and vegetables most178:05of the time and then I have a cheat day178:07like you know once a week like yeah178:09especially if I go to dinner I’ll have a178:11little pasta and it doesn’t seem to mess178:13too bad but I do feel shitty after I do178:16it it’s like for simple mouth pleasure178:18I’m allowing myself to feel tired after178:21we’re tired yeah that’s a big one man178:23yeah but like I out yeah like well178:26really I can’t no and it’s so178:29interesting to like I can’t believe I178:31can wake up in the morning okay that’s178:33never happened to me in my whole life178:35and when I was a kid 13 12 I had a bitch178:38of a time waking up in the morning it178:40was just brutal I just thought that’s178:42how it was this is what I mean again I’m178:44not a nutritionist either but what’s178:46fascinating to me is I haven’t heard any178:49negative stories about people doing this178:50well I have a negative story okay okay178:53one of the things that both Mikayla and178:56I noticed was that when we restricted178:59our diet and then ate something we179:01weren’t supposed to the reaction to179:03eating what we weren’t supposed to was179:04absolutely catastrophic but it show what179:07did you switch to what did you eat179:09rather um well the worst response I179:11think we’re allergic to or allergic179:13whatever the hell this is having an179:15inflammatory response to something179:17called sulfites and we had some apple179:19cider that had sulfites in it and that179:21was really not good like I was done for179:23a month that was the first time I talked179:25to Sam Harris you were done for a month179:27oh yeah it took me out for a month it179:28was awful real yeah yeah so I would sell179:31oh and what so this is right before this179:32whole truth conversation with Sam Harris179:35at the Guthrie in the mud during during179:36it was I think the day I talked to Sam179:39was like the worst day of my life not179:40because of talking to Sam but it was179:43just physical Jesus I was so dead but I179:45didn’t want to not do it179:46cider like what was his own fights in179:49what was it doing there oh it produced179:52an overwhelming sense of impending doom179:55and I seriously been overwhelming like179:57there’s no way I could have lived like179:59that if that would have lasted for see180:01Mikayla knew by that point that it would180:03probably only last a month and I was180:04like a month yeah my fucking cider well180:08I didn’t sleep that that month I didn’t180:10sleep for 25 days I didn’t sleep at all180:12I didn’t sleep at all for 25 days how is180:15it possible that I’ll tell you how it’s180:16possible you lay in bed frozen in180:20something approximating terror for eight180:22hours and then you get up oh my god oh180:24yeah no and this is some fucking cider180:26from180:27that’s what we thought yeah I mean look180:29again I don’t know what the hell I’m180:32talking about okay this is all a mystery180:34to me180:35the fact that my daughter was so sick180:37see the one thing that I did know cuz I180:39scoured the literature on arthritis when180:41she was a kid the scientific literature180:42and because we were interested in the180:44dietary connection and the only thing I180:46could find that was reliable was that if180:48people with arthritis fasted their180:51symptoms reliably went away and that’s180:53actually a well-documented finding but180:55then if they started to eat again then180:57there were symptoms came back and I180:59thought well what the hell does it not181:01matter what they eat they can’t be181:03reactive to everything it’s like no but181:07they can be reactive to almost181:08everything and the difference between181:10everything and almost everything that’s181:12a big difference181:13and so Mikayla seems to be maybe me too181:15and hammies on the same diet because she181:18has autoimmune problems on her side of181:19the family so Mikayla seemed to inherit181:21all of them your skin looks better old181:24Jesus Joe I’m waiting whatever here yeah181:26yeah you you you look like more vibrant181:28it’s very strange thank you thank you181:30welcome181:31but the see my point is I you’re saying181:34that there’s a there is problems with181:37this diet but that doesn’t seem to be a181:38problem with a diet seems a problem with181:40deviating from the diet your body181:41becomes a custom with well one of the181:43thighs Isis that we’ve been pursuing and181:46there’s some justification for this and181:47the scientific literature is that the181:49reason that you lay on layers of fat is181:52because the fat acts as a buffer between181:54you and the toxic things that you’re181:56eating because fat is actually an organ181:58it has functions other than merely the181:59storage of of calories and maybe when182:02you strip out that protective layer then182:05you’re more sensitive to what you182:06shouldn’t be eating this is all182:08speculative hypotheses right or maybe182:10you sensitize yourself by removing it182:12from your constant diet I don’t bloody182:14well know well I would think it would be182:16much more likely that because you think182:17about people who are alcoholics they182:19develop a tolerance to alcohol182:20you know you get off of that and then182:22you have a drink and your tolerances are182:24shot and then you immediately have a182:26reverse reaction to the alcohol yeah182:28same thing with marijuana yeah when182:30people do it all the time you your body182:32becomes tolerant well I think I think182:34that the layering of fat on might be182:36part of the tolerance mechanism hmm so182:39it’s not merely a matter of182:40caloric intake it’s a matter of of toxic182:43telluric intake buffered by whatever it182:45is that fat is doing as a neuro182:47endocrine organ but again like I said I182:50said I’m out of my depth here but you182:52know the whole everyone’s out of their182:54depth the goddamn food pyramid was made182:56by the Department of Agriculture not the182:58Department of Health it wasn’t182:59predicated on any scientific studies183:01whatsoever183:01we should have we shouldn’t be eating183:03massive quantities of corn syrup we we183:05way too many carbohydrates Michaela183:09posted a paper the other day a doctor183:11has successfully treated type 1 diabetes183:14with a carnivore diet type 1 not type 2183:17so that’s bloody impressive yeah it’s183:21it’s very curious to me because you’re183:24talking about the one adverse reaction183:26which is when you deviated from the diet183:28yeah what I’m talking about is when I183:30read people’s accounts of trying this183:33diet it’s almost universally positive183:35you know but again that’s probably and183:41it’s the same with all these stories183:42that I’m collecting as I’m touring and183:44you know people lots of people have come183:46up to me and said look I lost 45 pounds183:48in the last three months I think yeah I183:51think what’s shocking to me I think well183:53what do you make of that say well I183:55can’t believe it well who can oh I183:56couldn’t believe it183:57fifty pounds it’s like first of all I184:00didn’t know I had fifty pounds to lose184:01you know I thought it was maybe 20184:03pounds heavier than I should have been184:04there should have been 185 something184:06like that I guess that’s 25 to 30 pounds184:09that was the maximum thought no no I184:11lost I meant 162 and I was at 212 so184:14what’s that fifty fifty pounds it’s a184:18lot of weight Jesus I threw had to throw184:20all my clothes away184:22it’s I can’t believe it when I saw you184:24last night I was like you’re so slim184:26like your your stomach is completely184:28flat and it’s and this is not a lean184:31mean fighting yeah man and you’re not a184:33an exercise fanatic it’s not like you’re184:36starving yourself it’s not like you know184:37and I’m not running 5 that’s another184:39thing I should say to people if you want184:40to try a diet like this you eat enough184:43meat and fat so you were not hungry okay184:46you can’t get hungry184:47you’re not eating enough if you’re184:48hungry and if you’re hungry you’re gonna184:50cheat and it’s gonna drive you stark184:51raving mad the other thing that was184:53really cool is like I really liked184:54sweets like I’ve kind of lived on peanut184:56butter sandwiches and chocolate milk184:58not really but that was my go-to food185:00you know both of which were terrible for185:03me but after I stopped eating185:06carbohydrates for a month the185:08carbohydrate cravings went away you know185:11last night when we were out for dinner185:12somebody ordered bread pudding and I185:13bloody love bread pudding with caramel185:15and and and ice cream so it was sitting185:17there and I could smell it like you know185:19I thought I could go all fantastic mr.185:21Fox on that bread pudding and just tear185:24it down in about 15 seconds but it185:26wasn’t it wasn’t as intense as a craving185:28for a cigarette if you’re Nick’s185:29ex-smoker it was like God be really nice185:31to eat that but like my appetite185:34declined by about 75% that’s been185:36permanent that’s been so there’s a185:38perverse thing for you185:39I eat way less and now I’m not as hungry185:42okay how does that make sense185:44well you’re not eating way less you’re185:46eating way less thing yes you have 30185:48ounce steak last night yes yes I’m doing185:51my best not to be hungry although it185:53didn’t look like I was 30 no no no185:55there’s a small 30 on the steak well I185:57think it starts out 30 ounces before185:59they cook it right loses a considerable186:01right right very fatty right but that’s186:03the other thing too you you must have to186:06get a lot of fat yeah well I eat fatty186:08cuts of steak and yeah Michaela is186:09buying fat directly from the butcher186:12store and we cooked that up cut it into186:13small pieces and fry it up till it’s186:15crispy Wow it’s actually quite delicious186:18it’s not bread pudding with ice cream186:20but it’s not funny186:21you mean Dino it’s so ridiculous well I186:23wanna I want your blood profile I want186:25to find out what’s going on with you186:27because one of the big misconceptions186:29when it comes to cholesterol and186:30saturated fat and food is that if you186:33eat dietary cholesterol that it affects186:35your186:35blood cholesterol levels it’s not it’s a186:38super common misconception well those so186:40the thing about clinical studies with186:42diet are virtually impossible to conduct186:44because you just can’t you can’t conduct186:46a proper randomly distributed controlled186:49experiment it’s too hard so a lot of186:51what we’re trying to do is pull out186:52information from correlations right you186:55can’t do it which is one of the real186:56problems with correlating meat with186:59cancer and diabetes and all these187:01different diseases is because people are187:02eating a bunch of shit with that oh yeah187:04and they have different lifestyle187:06profiles or like there’s just endless187:07numbers of confounding variables you187:10only need one con founding variable187:12that’s that’s relevant to screw up the187:13study right you can’t get that187:15information with correlational studies187:17we try because it’s impossible to do the187:19studies but how many people are187:20incredulous when they’re honey people187:22wouldn’t when they’re hearing about this187:24Oh everybody everybody well you or not187:27but you know you’re interested in this187:29sort of thing but they should be187:29incredulous like when people make absurd187:31claims is like oh well I had 50 health187:34problems and I stopped eating everything187:35but meat and they went away it’s like187:36whoo sure it’s like yeah well wasn’t you187:39dying so yeah and I see the results and187:44I know it’s an anecdote I bloody well187:45understand that and I’m highly skeptical187:47about all of this but I’m telling you so187:49that’s why I’m telling you what happened187:51to me and what happened to my daughter187:52and also what happened to my wife187:53because she’s Tammy was always in good187:55shape and she’s exercised a lot and she187:58reduced to the to the pure carnivore188:01died about a month ago she lost like 12188:04pounds188:04she was already slim she’s back to the188:06same weight she was when she was 21188:09she’s like 58 you know and she doesn’t188:13look 58 I can tell you that so it’s188:16really fascinating it’s really188:18fascinating because I just I as a person188:22who studied diet for many years I would188:25assume that you need phytonutrients I188:27would assume do you need vitamins188:29supplements like vitamin C for example188:30turns out if you don’t eat carbohydrates188:32you don’t need vitamin C ha who woulda188:34guessed how does that work I don’t I188:37don’t remember Michaela outlined a paper188:39for me188:39vitamin C is necessary for carbohydrate188:41metabolism but if you don’t if again188:44remember everyone listening I am NOT an188:46expert in this field right so188:49but but I want you to get your blood188:52tested because I think if be pretty188:55funny if it was in good shape yeah it188:57would be I mean I’d like to find out188:59what your nutrient levels are and where189:00they’re coming yeah I mean what what I’m189:03getting a little cramping in my toes189:05from time to time so I’m not sure about189:07potassium possibility that’s a189:10supplement it’s very easy which is why189:12I’m concerned but like and also minerals189:15you know you know in certain minerals189:17you’re getting from vegetables that189:18you’re probably not getting yeah well189:20this is all like look it seems not hard189:23to supplement that stuff though189:24colloidal minerals you know there’s some189:26mineral pills you could take plenty of189:28well there are plants are people who189:30basically lived on meat you know the any189:32what did the mess I basically did yeah189:35there some supplementation but not a lot189:36yeah and apparently if you do a189:39carnivore diet you’re supposed to eat189:40more organ meat and I do some of that189:42but not a lot but I can tell you like189:44I’m I mean well look I wouldn’t be doing189:48this if it wasn’t producing positive189:49results yeah it’s not like it’s fun189:51running for a while well it makes you a189:53social pariah mm-hm like let’s invite189:56the Petersons over oh yeah they don’t189:58eat anything oh we have other friends189:59that’s like well that’s how it works190:01it’s not malevolence right it’s just if190:03you’re a pain no one invites you out so190:05so I’m a social pain and an ideological190:08pain and now I’m a nutritional pain190:10because there’s no friends how difficult190:12is it when you’re trying to get190:13breakfast like what do you do when you190:15oh well lots of times when we were190:17traveling we cook so we’ll usually stay190:20in places where you can cook oh okay but190:22most places you can get a steak mm-hmm190:25and so that’s mostly what we do I’ve190:26been traveling in a Motorhome and so190:28we’ve been cooking in the Motorhome190:29and so not carry beef jerky with me190:32which we make what so yeah it’s crazy190:35you make your own beef jerky well it’s190:38like we have a dehydrator and you just190:40basically put salt on and throw in the190:41dehydrator so that works pretty well you190:45anticipate continuing this well forever190:48Cod forevers a long time I’d like to be190:51able to eat more things but I’m gonna190:52experiment with that very very very very190:55very cautiously I’m gonna add mushrooms190:57next because maybe I could eat them well191:00this is why I’m asking there191:02positive benefits that a lot of people191:04achieve and and experience when they191:07switch to a vegan diet yeah one of the191:09things it is is you get off of the191:10standard American diet with lots of191:12refined sugars and a lot of191:15preservatives a little shit and then you191:18find positive benefits Chris Kresser has191:21gone into depth about this but then over191:22time the nutritional bent deficiencies191:25in that start to wear on your health yep191:28and I’m wondering well it’s certainly191:32possible well certainly eventually this191:34diet will kill me no life will well191:38you’re right191:39biology will yes unless so it science191:42intervened191:42might be that for some people of Megan191:45dieters or vegan diet is preferable to a191:48standard American diet well for sure to191:50a standard American diet but also191:52there’s so much biological variability191:54yeah you know the things that bothers191:56some people don’t bother other people at191:57all and that’s that’s something that we192:00got to take into consideration yeah well192:01that’s why I don’t want to universalize192:03from my experience you know but but this192:05is what’s happened to me and this is192:07what’s happened to my wife and my192:08daughter192:08so and all of its being well with192:10Michaela it’s it’s miraculous I cannot192:13believe it the last time I saw it made192:14me cry I’ve never seen her look like192:17that she looks so good she’s so healthy192:19and all her other joints are not192:21experiencing any problem and she’s192:22taking no immunomodulators at all192:25no medication none and she was on him192:27fro Jesus yes more medication than you192:30can shake a stick at methotrexate which192:31is basically they use it to treat cancer192:34it’s a it’s a what’s what’s the cancer192:36treating drugs called whatever I don’t192:39remember at the moment she was on Enbrel192:42which really really helped but but later192:43opened to bacterial infections so she192:45always had pneumonia in the fall but192:48envel really helped and then heavy doses192:52of antidepressants and Ritalin and Jesus192:54how long has she been on this carnivore192:56diet oh god she’s only been eating meat192:59it’s got to be at least six to eight193:02months now Wow and does she get blood193:06work done uh yep and her blood work I193:08won’t comment on that I don’t know the193:11details of her blood work193:14I don’t know to answer that hmm it’s193:17fascinating I’m curious I’m considering193:19trying it for a while the problem is I193:21eat so much game meat you know what193:23there’s a lot get some fat yeah that’s193:25the trick there try it for a month see193:27what happens you what the hell a month193:29you know just a month ya know a months193:32not hard yeah interesting193:36all right let’s wrap this up all right193:38three hours it’s re 2:20 believe it or193:40not hey crazy prison it’s always a193:42pleasure great see one thing I want to193:44bring up ya for it how weird is this193:46whole association to you cuz it’s weird193:50to me the IDW yeah oh I D WI yeah193:54of course it’s election darkweb it is193:56it’s like I’ve been trying to puzzle it193:58out I mean I think what it is is a loose194:01collection of early adopters of a194:02revolutionary technology that’s what it194:05looks like to me and and it we found194:06each other because we’re all doing the194:07same thing but it’s also a bunch of194:10people that are honest intellectually194:11honest about their and and maybe don’t194:14even disagree even agree on folio194:16definitely but honest about perceptions194:18well and also I think interested in194:20long-form discussion yeah right and and194:22able to engage in it because otherwise194:23we wouldn’t be having the relative194:25success that we’re having in the in the194:27in the milieu you know and it got a name194:29and that’s kind of interesting and194:31that’s Eric though yeah that’s right194:32that’s Eric yes he loves it most194:42interesting about I love to rib him yeah194:44well it’s got this funny conspiratorial194:46element there that’s sort of true and194:48sort of mostly dramatic and was a194:50mathematician he’s always looking for194:52patterns codes yeah yeah I don’t know194:55what to make of it I mean things get a194:57name and then you think well why did194:58that get named and well someone named it195:00but yeah but the name stuck so it seemed195:02our proposed is some degree and well195:04what do we have in common most of us are195:07entrepreneurial most of us have our own195:08platform so we can speak independently195:11most of us are interested in long-form195:14philosophical discussions primarily not195:16political but but bordering on political195:18well just band’s more political oh yes195:20he’s the most yeah but he’s also very195:22sophisticated political commentators so195:24he borders on both the philosophical and195:26the religious yes so195:28and then we’re we’re we’re all the newly195:32new adopters of this new technology so195:34that’s enough to put us in a group and195:35then well it turns out that we’ve all195:37been talking to each other but part of195:38the reason for that is while we’re all195:40doing the same thing on the net so it’s195:42not surprising that we’re talking to195:43each other so I always go for the simple195:45explanations first you know it’s not a195:47movement exactly what it is it’s the195:49manifestation of a new technology and195:52then well do we have anything in common195:53that’s worth discussing that would make195:56this a viable group let’s say and the195:58answer to that is I don’t know you know196:01I’ve been touring with Ruben that’s been196:03good it’s been good to have a comedian196:04along and he’s also a good interviewer196:06he does the q and a’s with me and it’s196:09nice to have some levity in the mix196:11because of the conversations are the196:12discussions with the audience are very196:13serious although I can crack a joke and196:15I can’t tell a joke but if something196:19funny occurs to be I can say it and196:22sometimes it’s funny so that’s something196:24you know and we’ve been we’ve been196:27discussing a fair bit and I had good196:29conversations with Shapiro and Harris196:30for that matter so there is lots of196:32interplay between us but I think that’s196:35more because we we inhabit the same196:37technological space more than the same196:39ideological space apart from the fact196:42that we are actually interested in196:44dialogue fundamentally so we’ll see I196:49mean I’m watching it with curiosity are196:53you apprehensive do you think this is196:54sure potential downsides so there’s lots196:56of downsides to it sure there’s lots of196:58downsides I mean first of all you know197:01most of us are on an individual197:04individualistic path I’m not come I’m197:06not really much of a group guy you know197:08so am I in this group it’s like well I’m197:11pleased to be associated with you guys197:13that’s for sure but I don’t really know197:16what it would mean or if it should mean197:17anything or if it’ll screw up what I’m197:18doing or if it I don’t know anything197:20about it197:21but mostly I’m curious it’s like huh197:24this is a group I thought this is the197:26Rat Pack I thought what I walked into197:28the restaurant of us because we were out197:29last night was Ben Shapiro Sam Harris197:32Eric Weinstein Dave Rubin Joe Rogan and197:35me right and my wife Tammy and so we’re197:38all walking in there and I thought well197:40this is kind of like being197:40back in the 1950s I thought well I know197:42maybe it isn’t but that’s what came to197:44mind so I thought that’s funny and it’s197:46it’s it’s kind of cool and it’s197:48interesting and it’s edgy and all of197:50that but I’m not I’m not taking it197:53seriously197:54I’m not also not you know I’m not taking197:56it not seriously either197:58but I’m just watching I’m watching198:00everybody interact because it is a very198:01motley crew of people it is so and198:04they’re very different and so but it was198:07very much joy thank you okay so why did198:10you think it was enjoyable it’s good198:11conversation I mean yeah everyone that198:14was in that group has been on my podcast198:15or I’ve been on theirs and you know it’s198:18a fun group of really honest interesting198:22people that you Lear very peculiar198:24people specially Eric yeah he’s198:27listening right now I’m fucking with him198:28I love that guy but no I mean they’re198:30all it’s there everyone’s different but198:33everyone’s also unique and they all198:34bring a lot to the table and that’s198:36what’s interesting about it you know198:37think the weird collection yeah you know198:40I I don’t know what to think of it like198:42when Eric called me up about the whole198:44New York Times thing I’m like what are198:45you talking about right like why did you198:49do that198:49what I do what what did you be part of198:51the New York Times article I barely was198:53I just answered a couple questions but198:56there’s a review you’ve got a picture198:57yeah they didn’t direct they didn’t199:00obsess they shouldn’t taken a picture of199:02me I was dressed like I was going199:03onstage at the Comedy Store I didn’t199:05wear anything any differently they were199:06trying to make a big deal of it I’m like199:07look I don’t have any time this you want199:09to take a picture means is what I’m199:10wearing yeah and and we we did it on the199:13parking lot above the Comedy Store and199:15started to rain I go we’re done I got to199:17go I got to go onstage I can’t be199:19soaking wet you know and and then go199:21onstage and that was it199:22you know it was just okay so your take199:24on it is that it’s well it’s in turn is199:26its interest yes well this is the this199:29is probably another thing that unites199:31that group of people everyone in that199:33group of people is likely to get in199:36trouble because they find you too many199:37things interesting199:39right and it’s trade openness that’s199:41another thing that unites all of us yes199:42yeah and so and you know curiosity199:45killed the cat and so yeah but we’re not199:47cats true curiosity also built the199:50pyramids it did it did it and it saved a199:52lot of caps too199:55let’s end with that all right all right199:57Jordan all right pleasure my friend199:59chewy again see you always yeah yeah200:01that’s it folks see you soon200:05[Music]200:10[Applause]200:12[Music]
Rachael Denhollander’s college-aged abuser began grooming her when she was 7. Each week, as Denhollander left Sunday school at Westwood Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Mich., he was there to walk her to her parents’ Bible-study classroom on the other side of the building. He brought Denhollander gifts and asked her parents for her clothing size so he could buy her dresses. He was always a little too eager with a hug. The Denhollanders led one of the church’s ministries out of their home, which meant the man would visit their house regularly, often encouraging Rachael to sit on his lap, they recalled.
The man’s behavior caught the attention of a fellow congregant, who informed Sandy Burdick, a licensed counselor who led the church’s sexual-abuse support group. Burdick says she warned Denhollander’s parents that the man was showing classic signs of grooming behavior.
.. And so when Larry Nassar used his prestige as a doctor for the USA Gymnastics program to sexually assault Denhollander, she held to her vow. She wouldn’t put her family through something like that again. Her church had made it clear: No one believes victims.
.. Tchividjian says sexual abuse in evangelicalism rivals the Catholic Church scandal of the early 2000s.
.. The sex advice columnist and LGBT rights advocate Dan Savage, tired of what he called the hypocrisy of conservatives who believe that gays molest children, compiled his own list that documents more than 100 instances of youth pastors around the country who, between 2008 and 2016, were accused of, arrested for or convicted of sexually abusing minors in a religious setting.
.. Over 2016 and 2017, Mullen found 192 instances of a leader from an influential church or evangelical institution being publicly charged with sexual crimes involving a minor, including rape, molestation, battery and child pornography. (This data did not include sexual crimes against an adult or crimes committed by someone other than a leader.)
.. a 2014 GRACE report on Bob Jones University ..
56 percent of the 381 respondents who reported having knowledge of the school’s handling of abuse (a group that included current and former students, as well as employees) believed that BJU conveyed a “blaming and disparaging” attitude toward victims.
.. half said school officials had actively discouraged them from going to the police. According to one anonymous respondent, after he finally told the police about years of sexual abuse by his grandfather, a BJU official admonished him that “[you] tore your family apart, and that’s your fault,” and “you love yourself more than you love God.”
.. she was told that her husband “was not attracted to his 11-year-old daughter but rather to the ‘woman’ she ‘was becoming.’ ”
.. Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said President Trump’s “grab them by the p—y” comments and other crude language didn’t matter because “all of us are sinners.”
.. 39 percent of evangelicals were more likely to vote for Moore after multiple accusations that he’d initiated sexual contact with teenagers when he was in his 30s. “It comes down to a question [of] who is more credible in the eyes of the voters — the candidate or the accuser,” Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University, said at the time. “. . . And I believe [Moore] is telling the truth.”
.. It was the same message 7-year-old Denhollander heard: Stay silent, because the church won’t believe you.
.. many worshipers he encountered felt persecuted by the secular culture around them — and disinclined to reach out to their persecutors for help in solving problems. This is the same dynamic that drove a cover-up culture among ultra-Orthodox communities in New York, where rabbis insisted on dealing with child abusers internally
.. 41 percent of Americans believe that the end times will occur before 2050.
.. In some evangelical teachings, a severe moral decay among unbelievers precedes the rapture of the faithful. Because of this, many evangelicals see the outside world as both a place in need of God’s love and a corrupt, fallen place at odds with the church.
.. “His interest was in protecting the church and its reputation more than protecting his daughter.”
.. forced to reconcile a cognitive dissonance: How can the church — often called “the hope of the world” in evangelical circles — also be an incubator for such evil?
.. SGC president C.J. Mahaney’s return to ministry. Mahaney had been asked to step down from his role in 2011 because of “various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment and hypocrisy.” In 2012, a class-action lawsuit held that eight SGC pastors, including Mahaney, had covered up sexual abuse in the church. Mahaney and the SGC claimed vindication when a judge dismissed the lawsuit for eclipsing the statute of limitations.
.. Denhollander says she told her church’s leaders this was inappropriate, as Mahaney had never acknowledged a failure to properly handle allegations of sexual abuse under his leadership.
.. when Denhollander went public with accusations against Larry Nassar in the Indianapolis Star, a pastor accused her of projecting her story onto Mahaney’s. When she persisted, he told her she should consider finding a new church.
.. Denhollander was there; she spoke at length in the courtroom, reminding Nassar that the Christian concept of forgiveness comes from “repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror, without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase” it.
Ms. Hicks, 29 years old, told the president in recent weeks that she wanted to leave the White House to explore outside opportunities
..“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood,” Mr. Trump said. “I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
.. Ms. Hicks, who for the most part kept a low profile in the White House, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over her personal relationship with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wives, which he denied. The White House faced widespread criticism for its response to the allegations and Mr. Trump privately placed some of the blame on Ms. Hicks, White House officials said—surprising people inside the West Wing because he has rarely criticized her.
.. Mr. Kelly in recent months had frequently asked others about what they thought of the performance of Ms. Hicks and other top communications officials.
.. Ms. Hicks said she had told certain “white lies” but hadn’t deceived anyone about anything related to the Russia probe.
.. As an example of the sorts of untruths she has told, she mentioned
- telling someone whom Mr. Trump didn’t wish to see that he was too busy to meet. Another example she discussed was
- spinning certain developments in the most favorable light possible.
Republicans on the panel defended her honesty and said the questioning from the Democratic side was a ploy to undercut her credibility.
.. Before joining the Trump campaign, Ms. Hicks worked at a public-relations firm in New York City, where she worked for Ivanka Trump’s brand and the Trump Organization.