“Breaking Ben”: Analyzing the Rhetoric of Intellectual Conservatives Through the Historical and Theoretical Framework of Instrumentalized Reason

Hussein Mohamed Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Andrew Levy Butler University
In recent years, there has been a growth of a new identity of political speaker: a new age, reactionary conservative intellectual, who argues that they use logic and facts instead of emotions and mischaracterizations to share the truth about society, regardless of who it upsets. There is no better example of this new figure than Ben Shapiro, who has seen massive success and popularity. Shapiro commonly appears on news networks, runs a nationally syndicated podcast with millions of listeners, and writes for his own news website, The Daily Wire. He is known for his mantra “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” Shapiro has voiced anti-immigration views with videos such as “Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority” and defines transgenderism as a mental illness, purposefully misgendering trans men and women. Shapiro frames many of his arguments as if they are evidence-based and factual, as if that they are undisputable, embedded in “cold hard truth.” However, not only is Shapiro’s use of statistics and evidence flawed and misleading, his framework of fact-based rhetoric, or “Instrumentalized Reason” is a strategy shared by past proponents of race science (eugenics) and fascist ideology. The aim here is to provide a historical and theoretical framework for better understanding the inherent bias, hegemonic ambitions, and false mythology used by conservative reactionaries like Shapiro to harmful ends.
English Literature & Creative Writing
Oral Presentation

When & Where

11:30 AM
Jordan Hall 303