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Bill Maher Hosts Ben Shapiro v Malcolm Nance

Showdown between left and right on Maher’s show -- but there was a clear winner.

You know you’re living in strange times when Bill Maher, of all people, starts making the most sense of our late-night prime-time television hosts. Over the weekend, conservative heavyweight and founder of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro, appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher alongside MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance. The duo’s match-up was marketed as a debate on various topics of the day, including critical race theory, the Jan. 6 riots, modern-day authoritarianism, and the mainstream media. Par for the course, the Twitterverse pounced on the occasion, with those on the left and the right watching intently in order to claim victory for their side.

The topic of CRT dominated the night, with many clips posted and retweeted on that portion of the debate. Shapiro masterfully defined CRT in a digestible manner, likely confusing progressives who insist that the broader topic is taught only in post-secondary education.

“Critical race theory essentially argues that racism is baked into all the systems of American society and that any sort of neutral system is, in fact, a guise for racial power … It boils down to, in practical terms, that all disparity equals discrimination.”

Shapiro then depicted how academics came up with the concept to justify their belief systems. Examples included the belief that the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision was not born out of the desire to end segregation but to further the agenda of white Americans. Amusingly, Nance ultimately agreed with Shapiro’s definition, apparently seeing no problem with the desire to tear down the existing system to eliminate “whiteness” from American society.

Nance perfectly encapsulated the typical Democratic response when presented with the realities of this belief system. By the end, Nance had painted himself into a corner, suggesting that meritocracy was a byproduct of racism and white privilege. His argument boiled down to the shift from equality to equity that liberal Democrats have gradually shifted toward in the last generation. To mainstream Democrats, differences in outcomes are racist.

GettyImages-824671398 Ben Shapiro

Ben Sharpio
(Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon)

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the discussion surfaced when Shapiro and Nance discussed modern authoritarianism. Shapiro’s new book, The Authoritarian Moment, essentially argues that, while right-wing authoritarianism has been touted by the mainstream media as America’s looming enemy, reality shows the opposite. Nance contested Shapiro’s central argument, pointing in usual liberal fashion to Donald Trump as the culmination of authoritarianism in America. Nance continued to play the victim, even arguing without evidence that he was taken off the air at MSNBC for writing negatively about the president.

By the end of the segment, Shapiro appeared the clear winner when it came to the political side of the debate. Liberal media activists, bereft of any solid evidence to use against the conservative, settled for a clip of Shapiro stating he would sleep on a bed of money to get over Nance’s criticism of The Daily Wire. Nance turned on Twitter the day after, clearly upset with the basket of deplorables flooding his feed declaring victory for Shapiro, and claimed an army of bots was promoting Shapiro too much. Several mainstream progressives even criticized host Maher for daring to give a Republican a platform to debate his ideas in good faith. After all, it’s not often that the media willingly allow a Republican to take a victory lap on prime-time television.

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Read more from Jose Backer.

Read More From Jose Backer

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