Are Facts More Important than Feelings? Ben Shapiro, Rationality, and Gender Stereotypes
Ben Shapiro is a conservative pundit who Tweets quite a bit, and he’s sometimes interviewed on cable news programs. He frequently likes telling liberals something along the lines of “facts don’t care about your feelings.”
I’m a conservative myself. Yes, I know that some liberals on some subjects can allow emotion out-weigh reason. That is true.
However, I’m not a supporter of this tendency of some people – usually conservatives and men who uphold sexist gender stereotypes – to trash talk emotions. I do not support the false dichotomy of Fact Vs. Feeling (or Logic Vs. Emotions or Rationality Vs. Emotions).
A person can be logical, factual, rational AND have emotions and show those emotions in a debate. There’s nothing mutually exclusive about it.
A lot of men out there – for some reason I cannot fathom – continue to assume that men are purely logical creatures while all women are too emotional.
By the way, culture puts women in an unfair position on all this Emotion stuff. On the one hand men assume all women are emotional (or “too” emotional, meaning we supposedly don’t have the “stuff” it takes to make reasoned decisions and to hold leadership positions), yet, on the other hand, society tells us it’s all fine and dandy if women cry or show other emotions.
Yes, we women are taught it’s fine to get emotional – but not boys and men, they’re supposed to be stoic – but if we women do show emotion, we get penalized for it and the show of emotion is said to be evidence we are incapable of being logical and rational.
At any rate, it’s not true that all conservatives or conservative men are logical and rational all the time and that they never allow their emotions to rule their behavior.
Witness as an example, the following report on conservative talking head Ben Shapiro getting angry at his conservative interviewer (who he mistook for a liberal), and he stormed off in a huff.
Given that some men and some conservatives do occasionally allow their feelings to show, and they allow their emotions to override their senses, they need to stop lecturing everyone else about not allowing their emotions to hold sway.
I come from a family that taught me to repress all of my emotions.
I was sure not allowed to show anger, because I was taught by both parents (who believed in traditional gender roles) that it was unbecoming, ungodly, or unfeminine, for a girl or woman to show anger.
I was taught that having feelings and showing them was “wrong.” I was also erroneously taught that other people’s feelings, but mine do no.
I have come to realize in the years since how wrong those beliefs are. Consequently, I do not appreciate it when people lecture me about emotions, who shame me for showing or expressing them (especially anger).
Going forward, let this story below serve as a lesson to conservatives and to men – like Ben Shapiro – to stop using Emotion or Emotional Responses as a battering ram by which to cheaply and so easily dismiss someone’s argument.
A person can be both emotional AND factual at the same time.
And, to flip the script: Feelings Don’t Always Care About Facts. As another author of another essay I’ve excerpted on my blog explains, if one is trying to persuade a hostile listener, one needs to acknowledge (and respect) that person’s emotions and emotional issues with a given topic.
Facts did not care about Ben Shapiro’s feelings.
May 10, 2019
by Justin Baragona
Right-wing commentator and “cool kid’s philosopher” Ben Shapirostormed out of a contentious BBC interview on Thursday after accusing the conservative host of being a “leftist” and bragging about how popular he is.
During the pre-taped interview with BBC interviewer Andrew Neil promoting his new book, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, Shapiro quickly became perturbed when Neil—who is known for playing devil’s advocate in interviews—pressed him on recent attempts to roll back abortion rights, asking the editor-in-chief of clickbait rage factory The Daily Wire if those policies would take America back to the “Dark Ages.”
“You purport to be an objective journalist,” Shapiro sniped. “BBC purports to be an objective, down-the-middle network. It obviously is not, it never has been. And you as a journalist are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric, and sending us back to the Dark Ages, why don’t you just say you’re on the left.”
This caused Neil, chairman of conservative magazine The Spectator, to chuckle and tell his guest, “If you only knew how ridiculous that statement is, you wouldn’t have said it.”
In a bit of damage control, prior to the chat’s airing, Shapiro tweeted Thursday that he had taped an interview with Neil and “misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism,” acknowledging that it was inaccurate.
Shapiro, who is famous for saying “facts don’t care about your feelings,” continued to grow frustrated and incensed throughout the 16-minute interview, snarling that Neil was playing “gotcha” by highlighting his old tweets and comments, such as claiming “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage.”
“You talk about undermining the public discourse,” Shapiro whined. “It seems to me that simply going through and finding lone things that sound bad out of context and then hitting people with them is a way for you to make a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I’m popular and no one has ever heard of you.” (Interestingly enough, Shapiro’s own website has heard of Neil, lovingly writing up one his segments earlier this year with the cartoonish headline “British Journalist DESTROYS Argument That U.S. Sanctions, Not Socialism, Hurt Venezuela.”)
Eventually, Shapiro said that the “whole thing was a waste of time” and he didn’t “give a damn” what Neil thought of him, declaring, “I am not inclined to continue an interview with someone as badly motivated as you,” before taking off his microphone and declaring “we’re done here.”
“Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse,” Neil cheekily replied.
On You Tube (video): Ben Shapiro gets DESTROYED by conservative BBC journalist Andrew Neil
Conservative journalist Andrew Neil interviews Ben Shapiro on BBC 2 for Politics Live on May 10, 2019.
Shapiro gets so TRIGGERED by the end of it that he cuts the interview short, believing Neil is some kind of leftist.
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