Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro speaking at Stephens Auditorium on Wednesday night. 

Ben Shapiro presented “To Save America, Wokeness Must Be Destroyed,” and took questions from observers Wednesday evening.


The event was sponsored in part by the Iowa State Committee on Lectures, and Young Americans For Freedom, a student organization that promotes the principles of limited government, individual freedom, free enterprise, a strong national defense and traditional values, as outlined in the Sharon Statement.


Shapiro’s lecture was to serve as a critique of left-wing ideologies and how the elimination of “wokeness” will save America. 


“The only way you’re going to be able to break the chains of history is to make good decisions," Shapiro said during his lecture. "What people on the left like to talk about isn’t actions and solutions; all they [the left] like to do is bitch about problems that occurred 60 years ago.” 


Thomas King, a sophomore majoring in biology, delivered the first question to Shapiro and prefaced it with, “as a biologist here at ISU, I can confirm that there are two genders, by the way,” followed by a question regarding CNN+.


An unidentified questioner prefaced their question by chanting “Black Lives Matter” three times, afterwards expressing they were joking.


“When he started that I was like ‘Oh my goodness!’ because for a second I thought he was Black, but I think he seemed to be white, so when I saw that and people started booing where we were sitting, I was taken aback,” said Cindy d'Almeida, a Black freshman at Iowa State majoring in biology.


D'Almeida said she could see some of the points made by Shapiro but not all of them.


“There were some points, like the sexual education in classes and schools, where it really didn’t make sense to why that wouldn’t be taught in school,” d’Almeida said.


The point d’Almeida is referencing is a portion of Shapiro’s lecture where he said sexual education does not need to be taught in schools to children and that humans have been able to propagate for centuries without being taught sexual education.


Shapiro spoke on social issues in regard to sexuality and gender and said men are men and women are women, expressively in opposition to left-wing ideology, according to him.


“We may say there are ‘male’ and ‘female,’ but there are in-betweens,” d’Almeida said. “There are more mixes of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosomes.”


On social media platforms such as Twitter and the Iowa State University subreddit, some students voiced their disapproval for Shapiro’s arrival, expressed in a post titled, Please don't go to the Ben Shapiro thing to make a scene and give him content by Reddit user u/alienatedframe. D’Almeida shared her stance on Shapiro’s arrival. 


“I feel like if they want to have somebody like that on campus, then they should,” d’Almeida said. "It may affect some people negatively, but as long as they can have their own people represent them too, then everybody should.”

(7) comments

Nuke Em

Division is easy. It's unity that takes hard work. Shapiro is an intellectually lazy individual. And he is not truthful. Here's an example: "'What people on the left like to talk about isn’t actions and solutions; all they [the left] like to do is [complain] about problems that occurred 60 years ago.'” Don't forget, folks, it was the RNC who came to their most recent convention without a platform. What they did have was a shadow agenda based in fear and a fealty to the oligarch class (the latter of these two is something the mainstream Dems are guilty of, too). There are serious issues in America today (infrastructure, labor rights, health care, suicide, homelessness, addiction, etc.) and all the GOP focuses on is suppressing individual freedoms (see: the right to read what you want; the right to identify as you want). I've said it before in other places on the comments section: the GOP is only concerned with the First Amendment when they feel their rights are being trampled; they don't give a second thought to how their anti-"wokeness" tramples on the 1st Amendment Rights of others. The conservative voter has been co-opted and distracted by the antics of rabble-rousers like Shapiro. This is life experience talking, here. Half of my family are conservatives, and many of them have been "lost" to QAnon et. al.

Facts and Logic

As someone who went to the lecture, I can say that the quote referenced in the comment above and in the article as well was taken rather far out of context.

The context of the quote was in response to a question posed (not during his opening remarks as the article stated). In context, Shapiro was making the point that in order to break the chain of history (such as slavery or poverty), the answer is to focus on individual responsibility and work in those ways to 'change' history (create a new path for the future). He argued that in contrast, the left likes to take events from history (60 years ago) and complain about them and attribute them to overarching racism and evil of the United States. This creates a place where there is no solution for the left - no matter what the United States will always be racist.

Really, guys, the whole lecture is online( You could at least watch it (if you weren't there) and at least get the comments in context (or just review it if you were, like I did). Honestly, you don't even have to agree with the quote to at least frame it properly.

Also to the article writer, I'm not sure how many people were at that lecture (internet says capacity is 2,602 seats) but that auditorium was packed and they said they turned away a couple hundred people at the door. So I think finding someone in support of Mr. Shapiro at the lecture shouldn't have been that hard. It's really basic journalism to find people on both sides of an issue, and you probably had at least 2,000 people to pick from there. Slow clap for the journalism efforts...

CJ Osborn

Well said. Great point on the conspicuously absent content on attendance/interest. I would have loved to see an ariel view of the lines of people waiting to get in prior to the 7pm opening.

Huan Huan

I hear student government denied their funding for a drone. Would've been cool to see.

Jake Modely

i can smell you through my computer screen

Nuke Em

You're probably right: ISD could have done a better job of contextualizing the quote, especially for those not as familiar with Shapiro's ideology. But the context you share does not negate the fact that systemic issues (e.g. racism, hostile stigmatization of gender & sexual minorities) still exist, granted in very different forms than 60 years ago. To deny this is like saying, "Welp, we had a Black president, so now we're a post-racial society." Systemic issues continue to exist because of the oppressive practices of the white "ruling" class. For example, the practice of denying home loans to certain racial demographics has been statistically and anecdotally proven. It would seem, then, that the ability to fully realize "individual responsibility" in this case (by building wealth through property investment/ownership) is decided by racially prejudiced practices in banks. Further, if an individual is not approved for property loans, they would have a much lower chance of building generational wealth. That's how systemic discrimination works; it then turns around and says certain folks (without, say, the ability to build wealth through said home-ownership) are lazy and that they should boot-strap their way to self-determination. It takes a special kind of cynic to apply this kind of thinking evenly to everyone. It also brings us full circle to the systems that are in place that hinder such bootstrapping self-determination.

On another point of Right-wing talking point: journalism (aka "fake news"). I'm all about reading critically and providing feedback to journalists. In most cases, they will take that criticism and use it. That is, if the criticism is made in good faith. But to continually harp on the shortcomings of certain journalism (what you may broadly consider MSM) is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's like discrediting a good, factual article just because some marketing hack wrote a bad/sensational headline.

Huan Huan

The lecture was amazing and almost 4,000 people showed up all together. They could not fit them all in.

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