Note from Senior Management:
Andrew Breitbart built the platform that became Breitbart News Network to give young and important voices a chance to reach a broader audience. Ben Shapiro has been part of the Breitbart “family” and team from the very beginning (Andrew first met him when Ben was 17 or so) and an instrumental part of the Breitbart News site since its re-launch in March 2012. His voice is unique in the fact that he has taken on a broad range of subjects from Hollywood censorship to, now, the bullying tactics of the progressive left.
No one would have been prouder of Ben Shapiro than Andrew. He understood the sacrifice and the tenancity it takes to edit a dynamic site and simultaneously write a dynamic book — “Bullies.”
President Obama and his leftist allies like to claim they’re anti-bullying. They stand up for the little guy. They stand up to the powerful. They protect victims.
They’re liars. What’s more, they’re the true bullies, as I explain in my new book, Bullies: How The Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).
Standing up to the bullying of the left was Andrew Breitbart’s chief mission in life. That’s why Bullies is dedicated to him – Andrew was a mentor to me. I met him when I was 17 years old, a sophomore at UCLA. Andrew saw a column I wrote in the UCLA Daily Bruin and emailed me. That’s what Andrew did. He identified people who wanted to fight back, and he nurtured them. That’s why he’s so irreplaceable. And that’s why we must live up to his dream: of an American public empowered to fight the bullies.
Andrew hated the bullies of the left. “These liberals are bullies,” he said once. But he didn’t run from them. Instead, he embraced the fight. He called it “fun” to “call out these intellectual bullies.” It was this task that got Andrew up in the morning. It’s the fight he sought. It’s the fight in which he reveled.
It’s a fight we must embrace. Leftist bullying reaches new heights every day. And it has found its apex in the Obama administration.
Just take a look at the White House anti-bullying program. In March 2011, President Obama led a White House conference on the supposed scourge of bullying plaguing America. There hadn’t been an uptick in childhood bullying by any available measure; in fact, bullying was down across the board. But President Obama spoke up loud and strong against bullying. “Bullying isn’t a problem that makes headlines every day,” he boomed. “But every day it touches the lives of young people all across this country.” He launched a website under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services to combat bullying. And, of course, he joined forces with the It Gets Better Project.
But Obama wasn’t really against bullying, as I explain in Bullies. When the DHS wasn’t busy running StopBullying.gov, they were busy bullying religious employers into violating their consciences by forcing them to cover contraception for employees. And who headed up the It Gets Better Project? Dan Savage, the thug who screamed at Christian teenagers who had the temerity to walk out on one of his anti-Biblical screeds.
Obama isn’t against bullying. Neither is the left more broadly. After all, when someone stands up to a bully – say, Israel standing up to Islamic terrorists, or even George Zimmerman standing up to a young bully pounding his head into the pavement – the left goes berserk.
Actually, the American left has become the greatest purveyor of bullying during the last half-century. That’s the dirty little secret: buried beneath all of the left’s supposed hatred for bullying is a passionate love for bullying–the use of power to force those who disagree to shut up, back down, or face crushing consequences up to and including loss of reputation, career destruction, and even death.
In order to accomplish their bullying tactics, however, the left has to portray itself as the defender of victimized groups. Those who oppose their political agenda are then portrayed as oppressors of those victimized groups, morally deficient folks who deserve to be run out of town on a rail. The agenda supposedly starts with anti-bullying. It ends with bullying the hell out of everyone on the other side of the aisle.
The left’s goal is to shut down the political debate by decrying their opponents as victimizers. They label their opponents racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, benighted, backwards bitter clingers. They liken them to Nazis, KKK members, terrorists. Then they cast them out like lepers from the political debate. Because who would bother debating a Nazi, or a KKK member, or a terrorist?
This is how the left wins arguments. They polarize Americans from each other. They separate us by groups. They divide us, and they conquer us. They convince us that we’re either victims who deserve recompense or oppressors who must bow to the yoke.
We are no longer E Pluribus Unum. Disagree with President Obama? That’s because you hate black people. (Want to ignore 14% black unemployment, though, and you’re a hero to the left.)
Think that increasing taxes on high income earners stifles economic growth? That’s because you despise the poor. (If you don’t care about rising poverty rates under big government, though, your heart obviously bleeds for the homeless urchins.)
Believe that an unborn child has a right to life? That’s because you hate women. (Ignore sex-selective abortion, however, and you’re a visionary for gender equality.)
Like traditional marriage? You hate gays and would have strung up Matthew Shepard on a fence. (Blackball Proposition 8 supporters from work, though, and you’re an advocate of freedom.)
This is not only how the left wins arguments. It’s how they win elections. They don’t win by offering more convincing policy proposals based on evidence. They win by impugning the motives of their political opposition. Exit polls in 2012 showed that Americans liked Mitt Romney better than Barack Obama on the issues. They liked him better on his vision for the country. But there is one area in which they hammered him: they thought he didn’t have anything in common with them. They thought he was a bad guy. That’s because everything the left did during this election cycle was geared toward bullying Romney. He wanted to fire employees just to watch their wives die of cancer. He wanted to force gay kids into dying broken and sad. He was a racist engaged in “n***erization” of Obama. He was a sexist waging a “war on women” using binders.
The left won this election because they bullied. And the right lost because they did not fight back. Now the left has trained its guns once again on the Tea Party. We’re terrorists. We’re hostage takers. We’re racists and bigots and homophobes. Why? Because we have the temerity to want government to live within its means.
The left is filled with vicious bullies. And we must not treat them with civility. In the words of Barack Obama, we must punch them back, twice as hard.
I learned that message from Andrew Breitbart.
And the bullies are everywhere. Yes, there are bullies on the right. But they are not institutional. The left keeps Hollywood conservative-rein through bullying. They keep the media liberal, even while proclaiming that Democratic hacks like George Stephanopoulos are objective journalists. They use the university system to bully conservative students into silence and to brainwash students into buying their thug politics. They use extra-governmental organizations like Media Matters, who coordinate with the Obama White House, to do the dirty work of astroturfing boycotts of conservative institutions.
Andrew fought those bullies. For that, the media labeled him a bully – because, after all, he was a conservative who opposed the thug left. See, bullying doesn’t stop just because someone dies. Those who fight back must become examples – warnings – to others who would follow in their footsteps.
But if we ever hope to win, we must walk toward the fire. We must retweet the hate. As Andrew once said to me, “Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too.”
We can do it too.
The right must stop playing nice with the bullies of the left. We are not the bad guys here. They are. We’re happy to have debates about policy without questioning whether those on the other side are evil. They’re not. They want the debate stopped. They want to win by disqualifying the other side. That’s despicable. It’s un-American. And there’s only one way to defeat them: by fighting back.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News, and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).