Ben Shapiro has been labeled a hero by many conservatives in the political arena. While he is a hero to some he is a villain to others, particularly members of extremist groups that he opposes. His mantra, “Facts don’t care about your feelings” is a phrase often used by his supporters on political and media websites to refute arguments that lack academic substance. He is the author of a number of books and is an author for the National Review. He interviews prominent political personalities from both sides of the aisle, and has a one hour weekend broadcast devoted exclusively to interviewing a single politician or person of note. Yet there are many questions that people want to have answered about Ben Shapiro’s personal life. He currently spends his non-working time actively raising his two children. With this brief introduction, here are 20 things you didn’t know about Ben Shapiro, his personal life, his political life, and his future plans.
1. Politically, he is actually leans very strongly towards being a Libertarian
His critics call him a conservative, Republican, or even an extremist, an Alt-Right voice. Though some of his positions lean towards being heavily conservative, the fact is that he would rather leave the government out of most things that affect the public’s life. He believes the government sucks at most things it does, and prefers to keep the lion’s share of his money instead of giving it to an inept government body. In the World of Shapiro, less government makes for a better democracy.
2. He will never run for political office
Shapiro has stated repeatedly that he will not run for public office because the media cavity search that will be conducted will result in false accusations and claims that simply do not have any basis in fact. Defending against the plethora of baseless personal and political attacks is simply not worth it to him. He also cites his family and the corresponding responsibilities as another reason to avoid the political arena. His supporters have been clamoring for him to run for president – or any office – but they will never live to see that happen.
3. His marriage did not take place in the United States
Fans of Shapiro know he resides in Los Angeles and that he is an Orthodox Jew. They also know that his wife is a doctor. But his marriage took place in the city of Acre, Israel. While he considers himself to be an American citizen, he also has deep roots to his Jewish heritage – which he ardently defends from his political pulpit on the radio and social media.
4. The couple have a son and a daughter, but their daughter has gotten far more Internet attention than his son
Shapiro’s daughter, Leeya, was born with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery. The successful surgery was performed at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Leeya is doing fine. Leeya is not a common name, so finding out about her earliest days is an easy search. One irony about the surgery is that on one of his podcasts Shapiro revealed that the surgeon who performed the surgery on his daughter was the same one who had operated on one of the children of a political nemesis – late night host Jimmy Kimmel.
5. In 2012 he had started his own law firm
Shapiro is well-known for being a lawyer and having gone to Harvard Law School, but not many people know he actually had his own law firm, Benjamin Shapiro Legal Consulting. It would not be his primary career interest though, as just a few years later he would leave that law career behind and dive into the political arena as a speaker, author, and podcaster.
6. He has been the target of serious death threats that have warranted the direct intervention of the FBI
Those threats included members of his family, which means that political violence continues to undermine free speech and a politically free society in America. Though an arrest has been made, Shapiro has had a private security detail accompanying him wherever he goes for several years.
7. Though he politically leans towards conservatism, he lays the responsibility for most of the problems of the country at the feet of the Baby Boom generation
As a matter of cultural history, most conservatives are older as their politics changes as they raise a family and their interests are different. But Shapiro maintains that the same generation that fought in World War II is responsible for the moral decline of the country, as many opted for materialism and failed to instill traditional American values into their children. However, who exactly this criticism applies to depends on your definition of a Baby Boomer, but the technical definition ranges from people who were born between 1946 and 1964.
8. The primary focus of his political message is directed to Millennials and younger generations.
Shapiro goes to college campuses and universities to speak about the positive things the conservative party and his approach to American culture has to offer. He travels around the country, working in part with the Young American Foundation (YAF) to fight for invitations to publicly appear on both liberal and conservative campuses. This has embroiled him in some well-publicized controversies, which he has denied being the cause of. But there are few senior citizens homes on his national itinerary.
9. He ends virtually every speaking invitation with an extensive Q&A session.
Unless you are one of the Shapiro devotees, you likely do not know that the majority of people who show up at his events are there for the 45 – 90 minute question and answer sessions where Shapiro takes questions from everyone – opponents and detractors included – and personally responds to each person. He announces that those who disagree with him should go to the front of the line so he can try to get the person to see the error of their ways.
10. Food is one of his greatest inner conflicts
Because Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew, he religiously adheres to the dietary practices of the faith. He loves hamburgers. But at the same time he admits that he could be convinced that a vegan diet is the best way to go for health and animal rights reasons. Yes, you read that correctly. He did not use those exact words (“animal rights”) but he is aware of many of the problems of corporate farms which include the inhumane treatment of animals and the chemicals used to increase production. He might have a tinge of a liberal streak underneath it all.
11. He keeps up with modern cultural trends of the non-political variety
Part of his show is often devoted to popular Television shows such as Game of Thrones or movie genres such as the DC Universe. He went giddy over Gal Gadot when she starred in Wonder Woman as most men did, but the fact she was Jewish raised the giddy quotient. Interestingly, he also watches some movies that have morally questionable material but to be fair it’s difficult to find anything to watch in popular culture that doesn’t have some grey areas.
12. He promotes Judaism on his Ben Shapiro Show podcast in various ways
There are two basic ways he does this. The first is through the outrage he displays through anti-Semitic stories that make the news. He will spend one half of his YouTube channel podcasts assailing the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people while leaving other, more important stories of the day only a few minutes of airtime. A second way is for him to spend the entire “Things I like” segment at the end of the show sounding off about the benefits of Orthodox Judaism. It is his show so he can do what he wants, but it is something you should know.
13. He is often a target of anti-Semitic attacks
Shapiro often cites a 2016 analysis by the Anti-Defamation League that cites him among the most frequent target of anti-Semitic tweets. These attacks also come from Alt-Right groups who support white nationalism. One of the reasons is that he is among the most vocal opponents of anti-Semitism in the media today. As seen in #6 on this list, the attacks that result from his public positions sometimes go beyond simple rhetoric.
14. He is a die-hard baseball fan
His devotion to the game goes back to his childhood years and remains an important part of his life today. You will find segments of his podcast filled with comments about the World Series or general controversies. The reason for his passion is it is an outlet away from his pressure packed and sometimes chaotic professional life. He loathes ESPN for many reasons, but the most telling is he would simply like to come home and relax watching a ballgame without the political commentary.
15. He recently conducted an interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
This single event which took place on The Ben Shapiro Show is not remarkable in and of itself, but it demonstrates that he is becoming increasingly connected with conservative and political places of power. While some compare him to Rush Limbaugh, he is far more politically active and involved than Limbaugh. Though it is very unlikely he will ever run for political office (see #2) he is definitely laying a foundation to have a major influence in American politics for the next 30 years.
16. He calls himself “an opinion journalist.”
It is clear in reality he is much more than that, given the more than 1.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel alone. This is actually a clever position to take because he can pick and choose the battles he wants to engage in. As Editor-in-Chief of his website, The Daily Wire, he can be selective of the content that appears on the site, extending that selective liberty to another media venue. This does not mean he does not keep abreast of major world events, but he can keep his focus on what is important to him.
17. Shapiro doesn’t think much of journalists
This is obvious conflict with his self-appointed title of opinion journalist. During a campus Q&A session he had told a young woman, “If you have a camera, you’re a journalist.” Shapiro has been highly critical of virtually every major journalist – and a number of minor ones – on his show. Creating the word “journalisming” as a way to mock the inept journalistic efforts of the day. It seems he forgets that his media nemesis, CNN, dumped a number of their paid journalists in favor of “iReporting” a number of years ago. This new form of journalism was primarily based on the average person sending video to CNN with a connected story. His definition of a journalist is contradictory in one form, hypocritical in another.
18. He often uses his wife as an object lesson in answering subscriber questions about relationships
His wife, Mor, is of Moroccan descent and as everybody knows, is a doctor (in residency). When answering questions about relationships he will turn to personal events in his life where his wife is used as an example of how to properly (or improperly) deal with a specific situation. From all accounts they have a wonderful relationship, so much can be learned from his answers. However, his wife has remained largely silent on the issue.
19. He is trying to restore pride in America in an un-Trumpian way
Anyone who has listened to Shapiro since the 2016 election knows he didn’t vote for Trump. He is a supporter of many of the President’s policy choices, but very few of his personal choices. Shapiro is in a way countering the MAGA movement with a greater emphasis on personal character and being knowledgeable about basic civics. It doesn’t take much to recognize these two qualities are largely absent from both sides of the political aisle, so Shapiro is filling a natural void.
20. He really is not that cozy with Fox News
While it is true Fox has invited him to speak on a variety issues over the years, he also has been known to call out major media figures such as Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter, both who have primetime shows on the network. This is more reflective of his adherence to Libertarianism and avoid getting pigeonholed as a conservative. His recent foray into having a regular, national radio broadcast may be a sign he wants to create a mainstream Libertarian media network that will appeal to today’s youth.