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Has Ben Shapiro Outgrown Being a Polemicist?

(Matt Vailliencourt/Daily)

“But there are times in every polemicist’s career when he must take a genuine stab at intellectual respectability, put away sloganeering and manic hyperbole and see not through the dark lens of partisanship, but grasp the complex world as it truly is.”


Before getting into the meat of this review, I must admit to never paying much attention to Ben Shapiro until quite recently. He struck me as the latest in a long line of conservative pundits going back to William F. Buckley to launch a career as a polemicist by criticizing academia for its alleged and real left and liberal biases. Was he more articulate than some? Sure. But he was also prone to his share of hyperbole and philosophical vagaries. The subjects of his early books, with cute titles like Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans and How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them, seemed closer to Anne Coulter or pre-Trump Glenn Beck than Russell Kirk.

But there are times in every polemicist’s career when he must take a genuine stab at intellectual respectability, put away sloganeering and manic hyperbole and see not through the dark lens of partisanship, but grasp the complex world as it truly is. Shapiro’s The Right Side of History is a major effort in that direction, 200-plus pages analyzing the history of Western thought to answer two fundamental questions: Why are things so good? And why are we blowing it?

As Shapiro opines, never before in history has a civilization enjoyed such benefits as ours in the 21st century, and yet there is a widespread sense that society is getting worse—and the ties that bind us are eroding. Shapiro’s central thesis is that the fundamental pillars of Western civilization are faith in Biblical revelation and an emphasis on Greek reason and natural law. Following the German émigré Leo Strauss’s seminal thesis, Shapiro regards the twin influences of Jerusalem and Athens as responsible for the moral and material prosperity of the West. Unfortunately, we are forgetting and even eroding these pillars under the influence of the modernist thinking of various leftist groups. These left-wing efforts have resulted in the “end of progress,” including spurring the emergence of the “so-called” alt-right. As Shapiro puts it:

“So, has the vision of the cultural Left provided fulfillment? It’s provided solipsism for sure. But it’s also provide polarization. It’s not merely that intersectionality has carved off individuals into racial groups, then pitted them against one another. Racial solidarity among members of the intersectional coalition has also driven reverse racial solidarity from the so-called alt-right—a group of racists who have sought to promote white pride.…The cultural Left’s view of reality has driven anger and hatred—polls show that Americans are more divided than ever. That sense that the world is spinning out of control only feeds into intersectionality’s attack on agency. Individuals’ capacity has been abandoned in this worldview—individuals, after all, are mere creations of the systems into which they have been born. Collective purpose, too, has gone by the wayside—after all, it’s the system keeping you down.”

These are flamboyant accusations to lay at the feet of intersectionality and other left-wing concepts, and it would take a pretty rigorous and convincing book to sell them beyond the already converted. Unfortunately, Shapiro, despite a promising start, ultimately can’t help but fall into rhetorical excess, misrepresentation, and over-simplification. This blunts the impact of his overall argument and renders it a middling text at best, even next to more solid conservative critiques of modernity offered by contemporary figures like Patrick Deneen and Yoram Hazony.

The Crooked Timber of History

The Right Side of History begins with an introduction outlining the four elements necessary to “generate the moral purpose that provides the foundation for happiness.” These are individual moral purpose, individual capacity to pursue that moral purpose, communal moral purpose, and communal capacity to pursue that purpose. For Shapiro, these elements are “crucial”; the only foundation for a successful civilization lies in a careful balance of these four elements. He then goes on to seek to demonstrate why Western civilization developed to balance properly these elements through the providential synthesis of Biblical revelation and Greek reason.

The following three chapters of Shapiro’s book concern how this synthesis came to be. They are also the most convincing. He begins with a lengthy analysis of the emergence of the Judeo-Christian tradition, beginning with the revelation at Sinai in approximately 1313 B.C. and carrying forward to the emergence of Christianity out of the Jewish tradition. There are some errors here and there; for instance, Shapiro ignores debate about whether it was likely Zoroastrianism and not Judaism which first developed monotheism. But, generally, Shapiro makes the solid point that the belief in a singular God which imbued human life and history with purpose was seminally important in the emergence of Western civilization.

The text then moves on to discussing the contributions of Greek reason and is similarly convincing. Shapiro observes that the Greek thinkers believed that a “designer” deity has ascribed a telos to human life which could be apprehended through reason. They discovered the proper form of political life by maintaining that the telos of human kind was to become virtuous, which necessitated a form of government free of tyranny and the violation of virtue. As with his analysis of the Biblical tradition, a fair bit is sanded over here. Little attention is paid to the Greeks’ elitist belief in the inhumanity of the “barbarians” or Aristotelian doctrines about “natural slaves.” These gaps will become problematic later in his interpretation of the defects of modernism relative to classical thought.

Chapter Four then nicely brings the two traditions together in an erudite treatment of the scholastic tradition, albeit with some politically correct moments. In one amusingly telling moment, Shapiro tries to make the case that Christian leaders in the eighth century were “crusading” against enslavement—except when they sought to enslave Muslim war captives. However, Shapiro’s analysis is generally a readable, though slight, contribution to an honorable tradition of contemporary political theory in the vein of Strauss and Macintyre.

The more serious problems with the book come in its latter two thirds, which deal with the emergence of modernism. As will become obvious later on, Shapiro regards modernity as a regression from the glories of antiquity through Medieval scholasticism. He has a few kind words to say about early modern and some Enlightenment thinkers, such as Locke and Adam Smith. However, he is notably selective in which of their doctrines he admires—praising their support for capitalism and private property while ignoring their deepening epistemic skepticism and nominalism, without ever examining how the latter might have contributed to the former.

Immanuel Kant is almost comically misinterpreted as founding moral logic in the “human heart.” This would have amused the Prussian philosopher, who continuously stressed that duty must be done whether it makes one happy or not.

This is, of course, a major oversight, since it is precisely Smith’s growing belief that in the implausibility of classical and religious explanations for human behavior that motivated him to stress moderated self-interest as the new root for social organization. Shapiro also praises the founding of America while brushing over its major tensions, suggesting for instance that men like Jefferson and Madison knew that slavery was a great evil. There is little acknowledgement that their failure to act on this realization destabilized the American polity and led to violent civil war and centuries of racial oppression. One is baffled at how all this is given a politically correct whitewash here, but 21st century intersectionality is to blame for racial polarization and even the rise of the alt-right.

Unfortunately, things only get worse as the book goes on. Shapiro has an admirably sophisticated understanding of religious and classical thought, and his passion for those traditions shines through in the book. This care does not extend to his treatment of later thinkers, many of whom are crudely dismissed and even blatantly misrepresented. Shapiro caricatures Spinoza, author of the Ethics, as “disparaging the very notion of ‘good or bad.’” This is not at all true; Spinoza’s crime was to redefine good and bad in a manner Shapiro doesn’t care for and to argue for the salience of this redefinition over the course of hundreds of pages. Immanuel Kant is almost comically misinterpreted as founding moral logic in the “human heart.” This would have amused the Prussian philosopher, who continuously stressed that duty must be done whether it makes one happy or not. Indeed, an act undertaken purely because it brought happiness to the human heart could never be considered truly moral.

There is the blatantly simplistic misreading of Karl Marx—seemingly a must for contemporary conservative polemicists—where Shapiro claimed that for Marx ,“the value of a product could be measured by its ‘socially necessary labor time,’” which, of course, ignores the immense dialectical complexities traced out even in the first chapter of Capital between exchange value and use value. Max Weber, who chimed in in The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that modernity would be an “iron cage” of rule by bureaucratic “specialists without spirit, sensualists without soul,” is accused of “reverence” for bureaucracy. Poor Sigmund Freud’s ideas aren’t even summarized, just subjected to the withering argument that he was a “charlatan” and then ignored after half a page. And the hits go on.

It is not that modernity should be insulated from criticism—many political theorists and philosophers have made astute criticisms of it—but Shapiro’s interpretation of modernity’s major figures is so skewed that it shows a lack of respect for the richness of the Western tradition he claims to revere. Shapiro’s history of modern philosophy is a politically correct fudge which mutates from tragedy to comedy when he discusses how all this contributed to the rise of the “modern American left.” He insists that modern leftists are effectively neo-pagans in their insistence that there are no “objective moral standards, progression in history” or free choice. This is insulting to pagan thinkers—including the Greeks, one might add—whose views were actually quite varied and is head-scratching as a label for the contemporary Left. Shapiro’s reading of this is shocking in its crudeness. The thinkers in the Frankfurt school apparently supported unbridled “Dionysian paganism,” supporting easy sex and cultural rebellion. Little attention is paid to Adorno and Horkheimer’s relentless critiques of hedonistic culture and their insistence that capitalism was establishing a society in which all barriers to the pursuit of instrumental desire were being overthrown.

It is unsurprising Shapiro doesn’t acknowledge these arguments since his own anti-consumeristic moralism might, therefore, clash with his consistent support for capitalist markets; he might actually have to consider that the most powerful economic system the world has yet seen might play a role in the vulgarization of culture he detests. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality, which has become a useful analytical tool in analyzing barriers to agency among different groups, becomes a philosophical trope to suggest one can only ever be a victim determined by social circumstance. Martin Luther King Jr.’s critiques of capitalism are ignored to paint him as a proponent of American religiosity and optimism. Moreover, the result of all these misrepresented ideas has apparently been the erosion of Western greatness and the apparent dissolution of the social fabric. The long American history of racial intolerance, greater economic precarity resulting from neoliberal policies, the destabilization of identity resulting from globalization, and anger at the political marginalization of the average citizen in favor of the affluent are all apparently minor social processes next to university professors preaching contempt for Western civilization.

Conclusion: The Unbearable Lightness of Argument

These historical errors are fairly slight next to the most pressing problem with the book: its surprising lack of argumentation. For all of Shapiro’s distaste for modernism, his work is very much a product of that situation. Its primary argument for belief in Judeo-Christian revelation and Greek reason would be unrecognizable to Plato or Maimonides. There is no argument concerning why the Judeo-Christian God exists and no elaborate discussion on how the Greek mode of reasoning presents a more accurate vision of the world as it is than the modern one. Instead, there is an insistence that not believing in the Judeo-Christian God and ceasing to adhere to the Greek mode of reasoning has produced bad results, which looks a great deal like an argument for “pragmatism,” which Shapiro claims to disdain. Even if this were true, it would settle little. As Strauss himself pointed out in his book Natural Right and History:

A wish is not a fact. Even by proving that a certain view is indispensable for living well, one proves merely that the view in question is a salutary myth: one does not prove it to be true. Utility and truth are two entirely different things.”

Even if Shapiro had proven that modernism and its leftist variations made it more difficult to live well, it would not prove the underlying philosophical assumptions were true. If the moral claim that the non-existence of God made it impossible to believe human life and history had a purpose turned out to be true, that would not mean we could move from such a moral claim to an ontological one about whether God actually exists. If it turned out that the reasoning of the Greeks made it easier to be happy and virtuous, that would not independently show that the Greek view of reason reflected the real world more accurately. This is the fundamental problem in Shapiro’s outlook. His moral condemnation of modern philosophy condemns it for producing conclusions and affiliated consequences he does not like, without actually engaging with the arguments of those figures that their conclusions simply reflected how the world is.

Some of them were even deeply unhappy about this, including figures like Kant and Nietzsche, who were deeply concerned that the proofs they leveled against the existence of God might lead to moral and social tensions. In his Vocation lectures, Max Weber acknowledged that modernity destroyed the sacred belief systems which brought a kind of stability to earlier “traditional” societies. He, nonetheless, accepted that modern thinking had devastated the epistemological and ontological arguments supporting those sacred belief systems and the processes which developed out of that thinking were having dramatic consequences across the globe. This included the leveling and desacralizing impact of modern capitalization.

Weber was, therefore, faced with a choice between facing up to the occasionally bleak but exhilarating modern world or retreating to the Churches. This gives Weber’s work a tragic realism that is entirely lacking in Shapiro, who wants to blame everything he dislikes on expedient targets and caricatured villains. This ultimately makes The Right Side of History an unconvincing read, unlikely to reach anyone but the already converted. There is certainly room for solid conservative critiques of modernity, and some of the better ones reflect on problems—like secularization—which are frequently ignored by progressives. But they would need to be carried out in much better faith and with less partisan intention than Shapiro’s book.

Matt McManus is currently Professor of Politics and International Relations at TEC De Monterrey. His book Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law is forthcoming with the University of Wales Press. His books, The Rise of Post-modern Conservatism and What is Post-Modern Conservatism, will be published with Palgrave MacMillan and Zero Books, respectively. Matt can be reached at or added on Twitter via Matt McManus@MattPolProf

59 thoughts on “Has Ben Shapiro Outgrown Being a Polemicist?

      1. So…this is a book review. You can’t objectively review anything. Second, the review is full of direct evidence that Ben Shapiro misrepresented philosophers to prove his points, actively made mistakes, and just overall did a bad job because he was blinded by partisanship. As in you can literally look at what these people thought and wrote and see Ben’s final conclusions are more or less nonsense that they would laugh at if they were still alive.

  1. Interesting criticism of Ben. Try not to be too naive of the left. Doubt both sides and understand that some spotlight dems are extreme. That morality in politics isnt always held and valued

  2. Basically your only criticism is that ben is a partisan. That says more about you than him. What a terribly written article.

    1. Actually the major criticism was that Ben Shapiro misrepresented the thoughts of like six philosophers and boldly ignored huge chunks of history to make an argument that only seems logical because of his misrepresentations.

  3. WTF is Merion West?!?

    Sounds like someone trying to make a name for themselves by lamely criticizing one of the great intellectuals of our time.

    1. My thoughts exactly, they’re trying to cash in on his name. I hope Kanye never sees what they’re attempting.

  4. Easy for you to write down all these things. But I bet if you were to debate these things with Ben that you would find out very quickly you are on the losing end. True intellectual people (those of us with common sense) can see right through what the left is trying to do to this country. That is destroy U.S.A. and destroy the moral fabric of society. Leftism should be classified as a mental disorder. The looney bin is the only place for you people.

    1. Easy for you to write down all these things. But I bet if you were to debate these things with Ben that you would find out very quickly you are on the losing end. True intellectual people (those of us with common sense) can see right through what the left is trying to do to this country. That is to destroy U.S.A. from within (just like the Russians talked about in the late 70’s) and destroy the moral fabric of society. Leftism should be classified as a mental disorder. The looney bin is the only place for you people.

    2. Disprove the reviewers points. Disprove Ben Shapiro did not misrepresent multiple people’s views and ignore big chunks of history to reach his conclusion. You have literally all the time you want to do this, as you get to write the response. If Ben DID misrepresent multiple people, the book is trash since it is supposed to be a non-fiction work proving a point. Even if you generally like him. Ben should also have enough money to have someone fact check his work, so either he was lazy, stupid, or didn’t care.

    3. Join the discussion…Literally do you have anything to debate the facts he pointed out? Just crazy right wing ranting. That’s the whole point of the article you did not read or could not understand. Because as we know, Trump loves the uneducated!

  5. Lol. This is pseudo intellectual word salad that it’s author believes is evidence he is Shapiro’s intellectual equal.

    Exhibit A:
    “If the moral claim that the non-existence of God made it impossible to believe human life and history had a purpose turned out to be true, that would not mean we could move from such a moral claim to an ontological one about whether God actually exists.”

    So let me get this straight. Literally the only thing you’re saying there is that whether or not God exists has no bearing on the moral dilemma regarding existential purpose so therefore the question “Does God Exists?” Isn’t a worth while endeavor? Please tell me everyone else sees how stupid this contention is. I honestly think the author got lost in his own kindergarten logic half way through that sentence.

    1. In fact I said it may have a great deal of bearing on how we conceive of existential and moral purpose, but we cannot reason from such promises to conclusions about what does one does not exist.

  6. Leftists amaze me. Mr. McManus,the only thing that you have done with this article is proove the theories and philosophies of Mr. Shapiro. You go straight for judeo Christian faith as having nothing to do with morality and the western philosophies. The greeks ability to reason truths is something well lost by the left. The Greek and Roman empires both started their decline socially when the belief in God and reasonable thought was ignored and dismissed as no longer the central to their belief system, look what what happened to them. Try as you may liberalism, socialism, atheism, Marxism and every other ism used by the left today is absolutely leading our country away from what our forefathers ideas and the founding of this great country. Liberals have done everything in their power to remove God from the public square and slowing moving away form reasonable thought and toward modern thinking e.g. there is more than two genders. Science even says that is not rational and contradicts judeo Christian thought as well. That is just one example
    Biologically., scientifically and biblically cannot be reasoned. I’d say Ben hit the nail on the head with his book and all you can do is attack his intelligence which this article failed at completely. Fake journalism and not even good activism.. common sense is an attribute of rational thought which the left is departing from rapidly.

    1. I’m not sure where I said they have “nothing to do with morality and Western philosophy.” In fact I praised Shapiro’s reading of Greek and religious figures. My problem was his interpretation of modernist writers, and the aforementioned conflation of moral and ontological claims.

    2. Ben good guy and a realist people are content be lazy and winery these days reality teach them differently get off buts work hard then they will know life really works

    3. I seriously don’t think you read the article all the way through. I think your blind faith in a fairy tale religion has made what little brain cells you have left not work properly. You are blinded from reason because your fake religion is what you hold closest to you, ignoring all facts. News flash this country was literally founded on religious freedom. Maybe you should move if you are sooooo un-happy with the lack of God everywhere. Reasonable thought is believing in an archaic book written by man and ignoring science, actual history? This whole comment/way of thinking is insane!

  7. This is the problem. Critics of Shapiro always attempt to label him, either as alt-right or, as in this article, a polemicist. Arguing on the side of logic isn’t controversial. Shapiro is a reactionist. The true controversy is on the side you seem to think is normal. These outlandish ideas from the far left about gender, intersectionality, socialism, and the like are the actual sources of controversy. Trying to rope society back into reality doesn’t make one a polemicist.

  8. I’m about 1/4 way thru the book and just read where Aristotle had objections to Plato’s social stratification… The article says it’s Aristotle. The book also already quite literally addresses the objection this article writer had about it….

    I get the feeling that the book will also be more realistic and generous to the other names dropped than this article was, (particularly God.)

    1. If you read the essay carefully, my objection was to him not dealing with Aristotles own well known support for hierarchical institutions. In this case his arguments concerning the naturalness of slavery.

  9. God, what an insufferable person the author is. You used the opening section of the article to gloat about how little you know about Be Shapiro, a figure with significant cultural impact. And then you belittle him to seem above him. What a horrible way to start what is supposed to be a discussion of his ideas, all of which you get totally wrong. The only thing you accomplish in this piece is proving Ben’s points right.

    1. You opened this comment by belittling me and went on to not engage with any of my points. What does that say about you then?

        1. Well I actually bothered to change my opinion and read through his book, and a number of other pieces hes written. I doubt many of these commentators would extend me the same courtesy.

      1. I read your first sentence. How is it that you wrote an article about something you know little about? Are all your articles about something you know little about?

        1. If you read it you’ll note I didnt pay much attention to him until recently. Partly inspired by others I’ve since read up quite a bit more, which is partly why I provides hyperlinks to other pieces of mine, or references.

        2. Clearly you did not read the essay. It’s about his book. Which he fact checked. And Ben purposely left out a lot to appear right and like a moral philosopher. Which he is neither. Why don’t you try reading it and come back with a legit comment containing facts, history, sources…….. embarrassing. Seriously.

    2. It was a review of his book. He said he didn’t know a lot about him before his fake propaganda book. Focus. Your comment is irrelevant and you have no point to make……….so you did not. Did all of Ben’s fans come running to attack anyone that criticizes their messiah? What part did he get wrong? Seriously back up your completely false comment with facts, sources, history. You have nothing. He pointed out the errors in the book, what do you have to defend it. Nothing. Cause you most likely did not even read the essay. Good bye right wing groupie.

  10. dear author clearly you think highly of yourself , if your so superior why not challenge Ben to a debate

    1. Ben Shapiro is far more prominent and influential than little old me. I’m sure he has plenty of other people to jab at. If he were willing I’d happily debate him.

      1. Ben is happy to talk and debate any and all college students. Even little old you can get down to a campus and test your theory.

      2. You would destroy him with truth and history. So sorry that right wing nuts hopped on here. They must jump online and just act like rabid groupies motivated by bigotry and fake fox news. They reached out to my friend for an interview because he is constantly calling Ben on his BS. You should request a debate. I bet he would not accept it.

    2. Did you read the essay? I think not. Come back with a fact, rebuttal, actual history, sources……stop embarrassing yourself and Ben even more! LOL

  11. Your bias is obvious and your article is rife with little digs at Shapiro. The left can’t stand it when anyone goes against their status quo.

    1. If my bias is obvious why not explain how and why I am wrong in my assessment, without simply making broad assertions. Moreover as I highlighted I have no problems with conservative critiques of modernity. In fact I linked to several right authors I admire.

      1. Don’t hold your breath, Matt, right wingers are quick with the invectives, but reasoned criticism is not their cup of tea. Ben Shapiro is obviously a very intelligent man and I enjoy watching him speak and reading his writings, sadly he compromises that intelligence by resorting to sloganeering and hyperbole. One question for Shapiro fans: why does Ben frequently point out that he and his wife were virgins when they married? It’s relevance escapes me.

        1. There have been a few reasons Ben points this out, and it is almost always proceeded by a question where it is fairly relevant. He uses it to bolster is insistance on the notion that the federal government has not done a good job over the past two decades when trying to step in and “fix” the social fabric on which our society is built- because the federal government had little to do with it in the past. Rather, it was the community organizations, such as churches and various youth development programs that have constantly come under scrutiny, and attack, due to left-wing groups trying to belittle the organization as a whole. Such as the ACLU comparing the Boy Scouts of America to a militiant group a decade ago for receiving federal support to host their National Jamborees, when they took place at Fort A.P. Hill. Or the constant notion present by some left wing pundits that someone who is religious, must be a crazed fanatic who can not grapple simple reason. So these organizations and their numbers have been slowly degrading and the morals our society were built on is slowly fading away as empathy for other humans declines at rapid rate far greater than ever before in human history.

          It also has to do with his stance on abortion, and is making sure he lets listeners know he and his wife are not hypocritical and made a conscious effort to not be so.

    2. This comment was completely pointless. You have nothing to say about the misquoting in Ben’s book and him completely leaving out items that did agree with his conservative views.

  12. Big fan of Ben, but no opinion here.

    Just wanted to compliment Matt on his diplomacy in addressing some of the comments. Something you and Ben have in common, respectful debate.

    1. Why are you a big fan of Ben? Also, have you nothing to say about all of the information Ben left out while using philosophy to prove his points on morality? How can he be “right” and you a big fan if he does not tell the whole truth?

  13. Well written, although i must say I am not convinced by your criticism because some of it could be argued against you…
    You’ve assumed the triumph of the modern counter arguments against the epistemological and ontological arguments just as Shapiro has the existence of a creator.
    to be fair his point is independent of the truth of the argument because the books narrative is one that compares the consequences of the wide acceptance of different philosophies.
    the book doesn’t make a clear moral or utaliterian argument for or against G-d rather points from a moral argument over happiness the nessecity of the judeo-chistian frame joined with Greek logic.

    It cannot be expected that every question you might have be pre-contested , would it better his work to dwell on the actual arguments for or against each philosophical belief? yes but in the price of the books length and excessabilty to the average reader…
    The point is that the actual arguments for or against can be found elsewhere, this book is giving a quick overview of Western intellectual legacy in regards to this specific aspect pivotal to the wellness of a society.

  14. The author gets lost in his own “flamboyant” rhetorics, and in his own ideological fervor. Ben Shapiro, in his many presentations and articles, makes a lucid argument regarding the advantages of capitalism vs socialism.

    He also presents an articulate and cogent critic of the present state of leftist ideology and leftist sociology.

    None of those 2, most important, aspects of Shapiro’s discourse were discussed in this article. We are left with a tsunami of words and quotes.

    1. Ok. But my review-and the book itself-never discussed the first issue. And as to the second I’ve pointed to some very specific ways he misrepresented points of left wing doctrine, and in all the criticisms I’ve received no one has yet tried to show that I’m wrong.

  15. As a man of the right who mainly only reads this site for the author’s critical analysis of the right, its ideas, and trends, as well as his views on Western thought, I’d like to apologize to Professor McManus for the bile and anti-intellectualism of my fellow conservatives here. The cult of personality and celibrite surrounding Shapiro is unnerving. He’s a useful prophylactic against the left, but he’s not particularly profound theoretical thinker. I’m not a scholar, plus, I haven’t read Shapiro’s book, but McManus’ criticisms seem about right. Pointing out that the collective belief in God is not an argument for the existence of God, unless one perhaps is sympathetic to something akin to pragmatism, which is a modern philosophy opposed to what Shapiro’s worldview, is a fair inconsistency to highlight, showcasing the founder of The Daily Wire as shallow in his treatment of Western thought when his whole book’s argument hinges on his grasp of Western intellectual history being firm. This implicates Shapiro as a dilettante, which doesn’t sit well with the “Facts don’t care about your feelings” brigade. Distinguishing between the normative/useful with the ontological, one case among many here in this review, is spreading pearls among swine, I’m afraid, Professor McManus.

    1. There’s typos in the comment above as I was typing hastily on my phone, but I think my meaning is clear.

  16. I really enjoyed your article and the historical points you brought up, that he left out. It’s honestly really concerning that someone is out there preaching this fake history and people are eating it up. I have a friend that might be going on his show so I started reading some of your articles that linked me to this one. There should be way more voices out there challenging this and I think I need to join my friend in doing so. For someone to leave so much out—-cherry picking information, how can he be right in anyway?

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