Hours after threatening posters were found on campus Thursday, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spoke at Betts Theatre about the economy, discrimination and political divides.
GW’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation hosted Shapiro, the editor in chief of Daily Wire and the host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” as part of a lecture series. At the event, Shapiro discussed capitalism, meritocracy and the future of the two major political parties before a sold-out audience.
In case you missed it, here were some of Shapiro’s top talking points:
1. Advocating for free markets
Shapiro said capitalism has been a major factor in the global decline of poverty. He added that the creation of wealth is a result of the free market system.
“It is maybe the biggest lie of the modern age that capitalism is ineffective,” Shapiro said. “It’s such sheer, unbelievable nonsense that it boggles the mind that anyone actually believes this.”
He said capitalism is inherently more moral than other systems because individuals own their own labor. While no system has eliminated poverty, capitalism allows those living in poverty in the United States to be “extraordinarily” more wealthy than those in other nations, Shapiro said.
“People who are the losers in capitalism are the most successful losers in world history,” he said.
2. Addressing discrimination
Shapiro discussed the ongoing national conversation surrounding racism, sexism and homophobia. He said disparities, like those in income potential and IQ, exist between every group because of the statistical unlikelihood of perfect equality across all groups.
“According to folks on the left, every disparity is discrimination,” he said. “That does not make any sense.”
Shapiro said affirmative action is a “discriminatory system” that is ineffective and hurts certain demographic groups, like Asians. He advocated instead for a “merit-based system.”
Shapiro said no one is pretending that blacks and women have not been historically victimized but argued that America today is “overwhelmingly” not bigoted, racist, sexist or homophobic.
“To suggest that Americans broadly are racist is to cut against available evidence on pretty much every score,” he said.
3. The future of the political parties
In response to an audience question, Shapiro said the best aspects of the Democratic Party are its anti-Russia sentiment and recent support of free trade. He said the biggest problem with the party is that its more “extreme” positions, including nationalized health care and free college education, receive more attention.
“I feel like there are some people in the Democratic Party who are being marginalized,” he said. “I hope that moderates inside the Democratic Party would take the steering wheel out of the hands of the small children who seem to be running the party at this point.”
Shapiro said he did not vote for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election because he feared that Trump was “poisoning” the Republican Party’s values. He added that if candidates who better reflect his views enter the 2020 race, he may “consider not voting for” Trump in 2020.
“I don’t think that actively advocating for people to sit it out in 2020 is quite the same thing as it was in 2016 because the damage that was likely to be done post-2016 has already been done,” he said.