One of the kids I used to work with posted a video in which Ben Shapiro is said to “destroy” Black Lives Matter with “simple logic” and “5 facts”. The video that follows contains really awful logic and very little in the way of facts. The video was a Facebook embed I’m not going to try to find an external link for, but it was posted by SubjectPolitics on 2016-12-22, if you’d like to go hunting. Shapiro is well-spoken and passionate—but quite wrong. Below is my response (with minimal editing).

This is just terribly bad. Being articulate doesn’t mean your logic is actually worthwhile or your facts are sound. People claiming logical superiority just because they can talk well, and then following it up with terrible, terrible logic is sort of a touchy point with me, so this could be a bit. :-)

1) “I’m offended by… …Attorney General?”
The “uprising” (his choice of words, but whatever) isn’t against any of those individual people or positions, it’s against a system that they have no choice but to operate in. This is a (logically unsound) tactic intended to dismiss actual structural issues by focusing solely on individual actors.

2) “The idea that we’re supposed to correlate your level of outrage…”
I’ve never heard anyone say that once. Classic “straw man” logical fallacy.

3) “Because it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture.”
Classic BS racist response. Look at the history of “redlining” since the 60s: this is a clearly and explicitly race-based structural form of discrimination that directly limits black people’s access to jobs and quality education. In the extensive documented history of explicit redlining (or blockbusting or whatever other form of housing discrimination you’d like to pick), the explicit factor for the discrimination was race. This whole section is simply false, and the dude’s either remarkably uninformed and simply an expert BSer, or this is a well-practiced lie. On the “you explain to me” sections… well, okay…

3a) “aren’t graduating high school”
First, it’s false that they “aren’t”. Rates are lower, true, but that’s very different; it’s about 73% for black kids vs. 82% overall (NCES, 2013-2014 school year). And that’s before you look at the fact that, overall, they aren’t going to the same schools in the same places, consider any economic factors, look at the incarceration rate, or look at family structure. Given those things, that difference is actually smaller than I expected when I looked it up. The section is rife with the fallacy of trying to pretend individual issues aren’t part of a structural whole, which is particularly glaring when he strings a bunch of them together.

3b) “shooting each other”
Again, he willfully blows past any economic issues or family makeup issues and assumes (in direct opposition to his later claimed objection to not assume cause without evidence) that this is cultural. The #1 predictor for crime rates in any population, demographic, or area is economic, and he blows right past that.

3c) “black kids in prison”
There’s a number of interesting reasons here; the two big ones are sentencing disparities and targeted laws. Targeted laws, first: the textbook example is the differences in penalties for crack vs. powdered cocaine. That difference is entirely manufactured by the legal system, and targeted at racial minorities (as is much of the War on Drugs, something Nixon was pretty explicit about, at least behind closed doors). And even for identical crimes, black people face higher likelyhood of conviction (controlling for evidence and circumstance of the crime) and, if convicted, stiffer average penalties (controlling for the same things). Lots of well-researched evidence for this; see, for example The Sentencing Project, in particular their Shadow Report from 2013.

3d) “…single motherhood…”
We have a system that disproportionately locks up black men. “Simple logic” shows that there’s going to be fewer black men left in the community. Which is sort of the point for the people who built the system.

3e) “…is America more racist now…”
Depending on how you define “more racist”, there sure isn’t any evidence it’s any less. Incarceration disparities have gotten worse. Public sentiment has not improved. Housing discrimination has gotten marginally better, but increased interaction exacerbates the problems of the underlying racism.

4) “Without evidence?”
He hasn’t presented “evidence” for any of his assertions of cause, of course, but let’s move past that. There’s tons of evidence for all of this, and, again, it’s well-documented. From housing discrimination that sticks black people in ghettos, to differences in hiring rates with color-blind vs. non-color-blind hiring procedures, to outright public opinion surveys… the evidence is so monumental that it’s just hard to take this guy seriously at this point.

4a) “…your default…”
Seriously, it’s like the guy’s trying to provide a textbook strawman.

5) “…show me a law…”
See above. Again, this guy’s either terribly uninformed or making a conscious choice to discard the evidence.

5a) “…South Carolina…”
Again with the “sure, there’s lots of individual cases, but we can’t draw any pattern” bit. You string those together and you get a pretty good pattern. We’re getting into meatier examples of this shortly…

6) “I want to find the people… …who think Black Lives don’t matter.”
Again, it’s so hard to take this guy seriously. Has he heard of twitter? Check out the mentions for any prominent BLM figure. And that’s not even involving any question of structural, systemic racism.

7) “Hands Up Don’t Shoot was based on a lie…”
…he asserts. A trial finding that a white man was not guilty of shooting a black man is a pretty logically poor response to a claim of institutional racism in the justice system. Oh, sorry, it didn’t even get to trial. Again, part of a disturbing pattern.

8) “…not statistically true…”
I guess he can spin that how he likes (and he does; yes, more white people are shot by cops - but not proportionally to their population size, which is something you should care about if looking at it statistically). I’d love to see a citation for the John Jay study he mentions; my quick searching for John Jay staff talking about this issue mostly turned up staff pointing out how much more frequently, per capita, black people are shot by the cops.

9) “There is an easy proof: we know all of their names”
First off, that is not any kind of “proof”, even if true. And, of course, it’s not. Logically, we call that argument unsound (conclusion doesn’t follow, even if premises are true) and invalid (premises aren’t true).

10) “In Michael Brown he was justified.”
I strongly disagree. Even if you take the cop’s story entirely at face value, I would have at least sent that case to trial. He repeatedly shot an unarmed man at a distance. You ought to have to do a lot more to justify that than say you feel threatened. Cops, much like the general population, feeling disproportionately threatened by black men is sort of further evidence for the existence of systemic racism, not any kind of counter to it.

I could write papers on any of these points - but thankfully, lots of people already have. For further reading with actual researched materials and sound logic, I’d highly recommend starting with anything by the Equal Justice Initiative or Bryan Stevenson.