“Unionism suggests that despite our differences, we are, at root, Americans. Disintegrationism suggests that despite our American passports, we are, at root, different” (Shapiro).
Ben Shapiro’s brand-new book “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps” is currently number four in nonfiction on the New York Times best-sellers list. Conservative commentator Shapiro takes an in-depth look at why America is being pulled apart at the seams by “Disintegrationists,” who believe and act on the idea that America is not, and never was, great.
The book compares this ideology with what he calls “Unionist” ideology. Shapiro alternates between in-depth explanations of Unionist and Disintegrationist beliefs on the following topics: American philosophy, American culture, and American history, each one of “three easy steps” for Disintegrationists’ destroying of America.
Shapiro meticulously defines philosophy, culture, and history. The first two chapters address the American philosophy, which Unionists believe rests on the equal rights of human beings and the role of government to do no more than protect those rights. The belief that no matter who you are, you have God-given individual rights and free will, which no governing body can override, is a traditional Christian and American belief that many people in this country were raised on.
However, as Shapiro points out, some people think it’s acceptable for individual citizens to give up existing rights, like freedom of speech or free exercise of religion, simply so some can have “new ones” enforced by the need for “equality of outcome.” This idea is simply absurd and, quite frankly, makes no sense.
America is divided by its interpretations of various rights; the “culture” section of this book dives deep into this idea. Free speech and gun rights are two values Unionists believe in wholeheartedly; our nation’s founding fathers explicitly advocated for the right to speak our minds and to protect ourselves and our families.
Meanwhile, Disintegrationist culture suggests that anyone who is a gun owner “tolerates the killing of thousands of innocent Americans each year,” in the words of David DeGrazia. Shapiro refutes this unintelligent comment, saying that, in actuality, no one tolerates that; rather, most advocates of gun rights believe owning guns is the best way to protect innocent Americans from armed criminals and intruders.
This is especially relevant considering the current issue of defunding the Minneapolis police. Some Twin Cities citizens must feel safer when they have guns in their homes, as armed police officers will not necessarily be the ones to respond to 911 calls. We must take protection of ourselves and our families into our own hands. And if our freedom to defend ourselves is taken away, in the revoking of gun rights, we will be, simply put, screwed.
Another part of Disintegrationist culture Shapiro undertakes is that of the mob mentality. Particularly within the realm of “political correctness,” mob mentality is toxic. In the world of social media, posting anything borderline offensive to any people or group can land you in court, fired, and ruthlessly targeted.
We have all seen this happen recently, although maybe not to the extent of Shapiro’s examples, both on social media and in real life: friends or family who latch on to one misrepresented fact about COVID-19 and post relentlessly about it, over and over again. But we rarely see the conservative side of things being defended or justified. The mob mentality does not want to discuss the opposition, but silence it completely.
On a related note, censorship is spinning out of control and violating Americans’ rights to free speech. A democratic republic requires its citizens to “consider information, make arguments, discuss and reflect,” and taking away the ability to do so takes away the underlying principle of a democracy. Shapiro argues that without the confidence to trust citizens with this, “we ought to hand over power to an aristocracy and ditch democracy altogether.”
Again, this is extremely relevant in light of the censoring of COVID-19 information currently happening. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are all guilty of censoring or taking down content they don’t agree with, whether it has to do with COVID-19 or the upcoming election. They are taking away the right of the people to decipher for themselves what to believe.
After discussing philosophy and culture, Shapiro ends the book with American history and how Disintegrationists seek to change that history, claiming our nation was built on white supremacy and an arrangement of power rather than on fundamental principles. They blame any problem America is facing on its history instead of acknowledging their own faults.
In “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps,” the chapters outlining Unionists’ beliefs are a bit redundant, and readers may find themselves skimming through information they already know. However, the Disintegrationist chapters are fascinating and clearly outline why Disintegrationists think the way they do and where their false claims come from.
While this book is extensive and detailed, the structure of the chapters help readers comprehend and compare two sides of America. Shapiro successfully outlines why America is in grave danger of separation over political ideals and forcefully argues that Disintegrationists are the number one threat in this department.
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