After weeks of hand-wringing and over a half-million dollars spent in “security precautions,” Ben Shapiro was finally allowed to deliver his speech at the taxpayer-funded University of California, Berkeley Thursday.
Once known as a prestigious institution that could have their pick of the best in academia and scholars in the world, UC Berkeley was birthplace of the free speech movement in the 1960s – a beacon of the best and brightest.
Since then, as the locals know, Berkeley has shamefully descended to a frightfully expensive and middling school, a product of generations of the unique, hard-left progressivism found in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
But the prestige earned so many years ago has not yet completely faded, which is how Shapiro, along with an entourage of security amid a crowd of police arrived to say his peace in a speech he titled, “Say No to Campus Thuggery.”
Ben Shapiro was in top form, rattling off his remarks in his trademark rapid-fire cadence. He gave generously of his time and stuck around at the end for an extended question-and-answer period.
One exchange in particular that caught my attention was a student’s challenge to Shapiro’s position opposing abortion.
“Why exactly do you think a first trimester fetus has moral value?” the student asked.
Shaprio responded, “Whether you consider it a potential human life or a full-on human life, it has more value that just a cluster of cells. If left to its natural processes, it will grow into a baby.”
So the real question is where do you draw the line. Will you draw the line at the heartbeat? There are people who are adults who are alive because they have a pacemaker, and they need some sort of outside generating their heartbeat.
Are you going to do it based on brain function? Okay, we what adult people who are in a coma? Should we just kill them?
The problem is, any time you draw any line other than the inception of the child, you end up drawing a false line that can also be applied to people who are adults.
So either human life has intrinsic value or it doesn’t.
Shapiro asked the student if he could at least agree that life of an adult person has intrinsic value, to which the student responded that he believes it is sentience – or self-awareness – that gives something moral value.
“Ok, so when you’re asleep, can I stab you?” Shapiro asked, to which the student asserted that people who are asleep are still sentient.
“Ok, if you are in a coma from which you may awake, can I stab you?” Shapiro then asked.
“Well then… no,” the student replied. “But that’s still potential sentience!”
“Do you know what else has potential sentience? Being a fetus,” Shapiro said, ending that student’s time at the microphone.
Ben Shapiro continued to take several more questions, eventually wrapping up his UC Berkley appearance at the two hour mark.