Religious Right Gets New, Younger Face
But don’t let their tender years fool you, because these kids spout just as much venom as their silver-haired counterparts.
Like chips off the Jerry Falwell block, they are deeply religious, disgusted by popular culture and would like nothing more than to put you — and the entire adult entertainment industry — out of business. And cable news shows are tripping over each other to broadcast their message.
Best known among this new breed of youth pundits are Ben Ferguson, 22, who first hit the nation’s airwaves at the age of 13 and is billed as “America’s youngest talk radio host”; Kyle Williams, a 14-year-old columnist and master of conservative talking points; and Ben Shapiro, a 21-year-old UCLA grad and author of two books, including “Porn Generation.”
In “Porn Generation,” Shapiro calls for the government to put an end to “pornography, obscenity and indecency across the board, from Howard Stern to Larry Flynt, from TV to the Internet.”
Shapiro goes so far as to say the government should use any means necessary to get the job done, including aggressive censorship and the abolition of judicial review.
“Censorship is completely in concert with traditional conservatism,” Shapiro told XBiz. “It is only in the past decade or so that censorship has fallen out of favor in this country.”
Shapiro added that the “[largely liberal] Supreme Court’s perversion of the First Amendment to cover pornographic, obscene and indecent material has undermined support for censorship, as has the lure of personal fulfillment propagated by the social left under the guise of ‘rights.’”
In Shapiro’s mind, censorship is a traditional American value that has been undermined by an illusory and unfounded Leftist notion that Americans are entitled to personal liberty.
As for judicial review, the constitutional instrument set in place to provide a check on the legislative branch and protect Americans from overreaching or unbalanced laws, Shapiro said, “The time has come to do away with judicial review as a whole.”
Yes, Shapiro is recommending scrapping a significant chunk the Constitution. Such extraordinary measures are necessary, he said, because the “‘live and let live’ status quo” running rampant in America directly contradicts “the notion of a communal society.”
Jim Peron, executive director of the Institute for Liberal Values, finds this an interesting choice of words from someone who claims to be a Reagan Republican.
“What collectivism!” Peron said. “In the name of the communal society—it almost sounds Marxist."
"There is no individualist with Shapiro," Peron added. "He sees society as one big ant hill.”
It’s a charge Shapiro isn’t quick to deny.
“The premise behind the ‘live and let live’ ideal is that your private behavior does not hurt me,” he told XBiz. “But if society condones immoral behavior, that does hurt me; it hurts everyone.”
Statements like that have made Shapiro a controversial figure among many conservatives who are old enough to have voted for President Reagan and prefer a more limited role for government.
“Shapiro’s way of ending the pornucopia comes straight from the annals of totalitarianism,” conservative columnist Bernard Chapin said. “What he is advocating essentially means there is no such thing as individual rights, as everything should be construed as falling within the state’s interest.”
While it is easy to dismiss Shapiro because of his young age, he is being actively promoted by GOP operatives as the voice of his generation, and that in itself makes him dangerous.
As Chapin put it, “Ben is the sort of fellow who gives you a bad case of the heebie-jeebies.”