BY KOBI AZOULAY
Most 17-year-olds are focused on what college they want to go to, whom to go to prom with and what to do with their life. Political Columnist Ben Shapiro was one step ahead of the game.
Actually, he was many steps ahead.
After skipping both the third and ninth grades, he started college at University of California Los Angeles at just 16. He considered studying philosophy, genetic science or even music, but then Shapiro said he “lucked into” finding the career he has since become successful in.
The day he stepped on campus he read an article in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper, comparing Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
Inspired to make his disagreement known, Shapiro wrote an opposing view. This led to him writing a regular column for the paper and then at 17-years-old, he became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the country.
“I was always very political, but I hadn’t thought of doing it as a career or anything,” Shapiro said. “I just wanted to stand up and say the right thing.”
While searching for prominent endorsements for his column, fate appeared in the form of David Limbaugh, brother of well-known political commentator Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh told Shapiro that if he wanted to write a book, he could be his agent. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Shapiro wrote “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth” in three weeks.
Since then he has written three more books, received his Master’s degree from Harvard Law School and appeared as a guest on numerous prominent news channels ranging from Fox News to Microsoft/National Broadcasting Company (MSNBC).
He was hired as editor-at-large by Breitbart, a prominent conservative news and opinion website, in 2012. After serving in that position for about four years, his departure in March stemmed from a controversy that has recently dominated the 2016 Presidential Election.
Breitbart Reporter Michelle Fields was attempting to ask Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump a question after a campaign event in Jupiter, Florida when Trump’s Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly grabbed her by the arm and pulled her away from Trump.
Two days later, Fields tweeted an image showing bruising on her arm she said Lewandowski caused.
Breitbart released a statement supporting Fields, but they also published an article (which was later changed) suggesting that Lewandowski was mistakenly identified as the person who pulled Fields’ arm.
Citing a lack of support from leadership, both Fields and Shapiro resigned.
Shapiro declined to talk about the situation during his interview with The Flyer due to his legal talks with the company, but said all of his public statements are true.
Some of those statements strongly condemn Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon.
“Andrew [Breitbart] built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies,” Shapiro said in a Politico article. “Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy.”
Lewandowski was recently charged with simple battery for this incident and is set to appear in court on May 4.
Shapiro is a fierce critic of Donald Trump, calling him a “nationalist-populist masquerading as a conservative.” He criticized Trump’s changing abortion stance, egocentrism and 2010 campaign donations to Democrats.
“Donald Trump is not a conservative in any shape, way or form,” Shapiro said. “This campaign is doing more damage to conservatism than any Republican candidacy in my lifetime.”
As a supporter of Ted Cruz in the Republican Primary, he thinks the party should do whatever it takes to stop Trump.
Even if there is a contested convention where Trump has a large delegate lead, he wants the party to choose somebody else.
“If people want to leave the party they can leave the party, but guess what?” Shapiro asked. “If Trump wins the nomination, I’m leaving.”
Presidential politics aside, Shapiro wants to teach Salisbury University students that the leftist buzzwords of trigger warnings, micro aggressions and white flight they have been taught by their professors and administration are all false.
“All of this is nonsense and is designed to shut down debate and stifle the ability to have a free and open discussion,” Shapiro said. “If they know that, they don’t have to be afraid of saying controversial things.”