Feb 2 • 15M

Whoopi Goldberg and Ilya Shapiro Prove Intent Does Matter

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The podcast version of Sasha Stone's Substack essays.
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On his daily podcast, Ben Shapiro notes that many were outraged that ABC had suspended Whoopi Goldberg from The View for two weeks following comments she made about race and the Holocaust. But Shapiro notes that it isn’t good enough to suspend her, per the Left’s and The View’s OWN standards. He cites the Ilya Shapiro case wherein Georgetown Law is now trying to decide whether Ilya Shapiro should be fired for an offensive tweet. The students at Georgetown are holding a protest and demanding he is fired.

If Georgetown fires Shapiro, if the collective hive on the Left goes along with this, then they must, by their own standards of intent vs. impact, fire Whoopi Goldberg.

Says Ben Shapiro:

Okay, so here's the thing. They didn't just suspend Roseanne Barr, for making a racist statement about Valerie Jarrett. They fired Roseanne Barr and took the top rated sitcom off the air. So here's the deal. If you guys are going to play this game, where if somebody is openly identified as anywhere close to a conservative and they say something that is a bad thing, little trademark symbol, if somebody does a bad thing, and they're completely removed from their job, then you don't get to suspend Whoopi Goldberg, you have to fire her. These are the standards and you set them and you don't get to play by two sets of standards.

One of the most inexplicable untruths we’ve been forced to swallow over the past few years is the idea that intent doesn’t matter. When someone, or a group of people, feel hurt or offended it’s called impact. You caused them to be offended and thus, you are guilty.

Impact matters. Intent does not. You are still required to apologize and take responsibility for causing harm. As in:

But you can see how that would be a problem for the modern-day Left. They need villains. If Dustin Hoffman got handsy with a woman on a set 40 years ago, even if that was just what people did back then (it was), intent can’t matter. Punishment must be enacted because the story being told NOW causes harm to people who hear it.

Intent can’t matter when deciding whether the Roosevelt statue should stay outside the National History Museum in New York. Intent doesn’t matter if an old Hollywood movie has outdated stereotypes. These images still cause harm and must contain a warning or else be removed entirely. The image of Thomas Jefferson causes harm because he once owned slaves, regardless of how things were back then.

If a professor says something that people find offensive, he or she could lose their job. We don’t even argue about it much anymore. We just kind of go along with it. The Left is in power and they don’t really believe in forgiveness. They believe in punishing people for impact, like Donald McNeil at the New York Times.

The only acceptable response to Ilya Shapiro’s tweets about a “lesser black woman” is that he meant it because he is a racist. They would never consider the other possibility - that he did not choose his words wisely and was swarmed and persecuted as a result. He has apologized, of course, but that doesn’t matter.

This is covered quite well by Bari Weiss on her substack:

Led by a Slate journalist, the Twitter mob did what Twitter mobs do and stoked the intended result: In an email to the school the dean called Shapiro’s tweets “appalling” and “at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law.”

Then Shapiro, who had already deleted the tweet, sent an apology addressed to the Dean William Treanor and the entire Georgetown community: 

“I sincerely and deeply apologize for some poorly drafted tweets I posted late Wednesday night,” he wrote. 

If you’ve ever been the center of a Twitter swarm you know that the last thing they care about is intent. They look at the words and decide what they mean. If enough people agree about the intent that becomes the “take” and the only acceptable one. I once defended Ansel Elgort whose girlfriend was 19 when he was 21. She had taken to Twitter to complain about how Elgort had treated her when they were together and after they broke up. Twitter reacted and within minutes Elgort was being called a pedophile rapist. When I said “sorry but a relationship with a 19-year-old is not pedophilia.” It was — and considering how many of these I have gone through by now — really bad. I never backed down, though. I never apologized. Instead, I wrote about it here.

That was in 2020. Almost three years ago. It is not getting better. It is getting worse.

They DEMAND that Ilya Shapiro be considered a racist. They DEMAND that the rioters on January 6th be insurrectionists. They demand that Joe Rogan is killing people with disinformation. And so they must DEMAND Whoopi Goldberg is an anti-semite.

To quote Jonathan Pie once again — this is what YOU wanted.

But intent does matter. It has to. If you are deciding who is “good” and who is “bad” and you are making it impossible for someone to have any kind of defense, then you are going along with what can only be described as a totalitarian movement. And the Left has become a totalitarian movement. They decide what is true and you have no right to dissent or refuse or deny that truth or you will be punished by the institutions of power that they control, which is all of them.

As we speak, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, has joined defacto government officials Harry and Meghan in pressuring Spotify to dump Joe Rogan.

As Ben Shapiro says:

The Federal government is now actually pressuring companies to violate free speech principles. That is a First Amendment violation. And this is super dangerous, which is why again, they should lose their job. Let's hold them to their standard, Whoopi should lose her job. She was purveying misinformation. This means she should lose her job. If they're going to do it, they made this bed, now they have to lie in this bed. You made it, you lie in it, or we go weapons down. And we tried to reestablish some sense of classical liberalism in the country by agreement. Otherwise, it will be all out warfare here.

I personally thought Whoopi Goldberg’s statements on race and the Holocaust to be a great way to talk about something that is getting lost over time. And yes, of course, it was about race. It was about wiping out the Jewish people who have always been considered a race for hundreds of years. If you are born with Jewish blood you are Jewish. I am half-Jewish. I wasn’t raised as a Jew. My mother was not religious and not Jewish. Still, I am considered a Jew and I have felt what it is like to grow up Jewish. It is something people know about you that is a defining characteristic whether you are practicing or not. It’s your nose. It’s your eyes. It’s, sometimes, your bra size (ahem). Most importantly, Hitler believed Jews had to be wiped out for the superior Aryan race to prevail.

You can watch a dehumanization event playing out in real-time right now. Trump supporters have been dehumanized to the point where they could be carted off to camps and Blue Check Twitter would cheer. Jen Psaki would make some comment about how they were too dangerous to have around and that would be that. But a Trump supporter can get out of it, even a white male one, by throwing themselves at the mercy of the Left. They care more about ideological compliance than they do, say, skin color. But Jewish people could not have done that. Even if they’d become Nazis they would be still sent off to concentration camps because of their Jewish blood. That is about race and it’s about genocide.

Likewise, Joe Rogan’s questions about Ivermectin or the vaccine’s side effects are absolutely worth discussing loudly and with transparency. Just because they believe in compliance on the Left doesn’t mean everyone does.

Dumping Joe Rogan from Spotify does not shut up Joe Rogan. It does not shut up “disinformation.” It is what they called a “show trial” in the Soviet Union. Both Stalin and Mao were fond of punishments in public. The higher profile the target the better. It is an act of intimidation and a show of power. That our government would wade into that debate is terrifying. It’s another in the long slow slide we’ve been watching over the past few years as the consolidated power in this country continues to align with the government against the people.

Intent does matter because it has to.

If you are driving down the road and you accidentally hit and kill a family of four that is not necessarily your fault, even if you are responsible for their deaths. But compare that to driving down the road and aiming your car at a family of four. One is obviously worse than the other.

Any politician who fights against this madness will be very popular in 2022 and 2024. The Democrats and Joe Biden should be taking a firm stand for the people, for free speech, and yes, for INTENT. We need leaders who can lead us out of this mess, not ones who keep driving us back into it.

At the moment, Spotify is holding firm and not firing Rogan. Ilya Shapiro is still only suspended from Georgetown. And Whoopi Goldberg is only suspended from The View. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.