No, Ben Shapiro is not using “snuck” premises

In a recent video entitled “7 Reasons Ben Shapiro Is So Dominant In Debates Charisma on Command notes Ben Shapiro uses “snuck” premises as a debate tactic to win arguments in a pseudo-gimmicky fashion. Or in other words, he introduces points of contention as a ‘given’ in order to dominate his opponents.

To begin, Charisma on Command provides two examples of a “snuck” premise.

The first is in a widely popular video on the topic of planned parenthood and abortion. Ben points out to the contender, “I don’t have a problem with Planned Parenthood, I have a problem with killing babies” and Charisma on Command notes that the words killing babies makes the assumption everyone in the room already believes an unborn fetus is a person. I strongly disagree that this is a tactic Ben is using, and I believe the harsh language is a byproduct of the individual proposing a number of questions unrelated to the original topic.

It is important to note the individual in the video raises four different arguments to Ben on the topic of Planned Parenthood and abortion yet never actually brings up the topic of personhood. What I actually believe Ben is doing here is baiting the person into arguing about personhood by using the overly visual phrase, ‘killing baby.’

Why do I believe this?

Because Ben knows the real question for most people on the topic of abortion is at what point do you draw the line of personhood. In fact, Ben debates this topic with other students in many other videos.

For example,

September 15, 2017 Ben Shapiro debates personhood with an individual at UC Berkeley.

March 28, 2016 Ben Shapiro debates personhood with two female students.

October 19, 2017 Ben Shapiro responds to abortion claims on EWTN.

If Ben was trying to mislead the other person through making assumptions on personhood, why would he have this open debate in various other forums? Why would he even bring up the topic in the original video when the individual had already made four other arguments and was not likely to bring it up herself?

Charisma on Command then provides another example when Ben Shapiro states “a checker at a grocery store doesn’t have a right to Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates money.” He believes the “snuck” premise here is that a socialist or communist wouldn’t necessarily think they have a right to another’s money but may believe in redistribution of wealth.

Let’s take a step back here and better understand the arguments at hand.

The topic of discussion is redistribution of wealth and it stems from the prior discussion Shapiro had with this individual on income inequality. Income inequality is the disparity in income between two individuals. For example, there is large income inequality between myself and Bill Gates. The reason why Shapiro is rightly pointing out you do not have a right to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos’s money is because the socialist perspective is that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos should be giving their wealth out to the masses; in other words, a form of ‘redistribution.’

See this Tweet from Bernie Sanders on the subject:

“38 years ago, the top 0.1% owned about 7% of our nation’s wealth. Today, that same 0.1% owns 2 2% of the wealth.”

Notice how Bernie is implying few are getting more and more wealthy while the masses are getting more and more poor? Shapiro is attacking a redistribution policy by giving it moral context. If you do not agree that you have a right to Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates money than you probably do not agree with redistribution of wealth. You therefore probably do not side with Bernie Sanders, but you side with Ben.

In both of these cases Charisma on Command implies Ben Shapiro is using charisma and charm to sneak in premises on arguments the debater may not agree with and Ben uses this as a tactic to win debates. This is not only an incorrect reading of what Ben is doing, but it implies he is trying to win through a gimmick rather than facts and logic.

5 thoughts on “No, Ben Shapiro is not using “snuck” premises

  1. “killing babies makes the assumption everyone in the room already believes an unborn fetus is a person.”
    No, Ben was stating that the idea of killing babies is wrong. The word baby, making people imagine a cute chubby cheeked child. Ben used killing babies in association with killing “an unborn fetus” to elude peoples thoughts that “an unborn fetus” can be a baby, there for something living. You can change the meaning of a phrase or word in a debate/argument with association. Using such a thing in the way Ben did would be considered a “snuck premise”. So I believe it fair that Charisma on Command used this as an example. Sorry to say but I did not read your full article as I feel similar cases of misunderstandings would occur again.

    -Jack Lieske

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    1. You just used a snuck premise. “to elude peoples thoughts that “an unborn fetus” can be a baby”. You are presenting the idea that an unborn fetus could not be a baby as established fact. This can become a semantic argument, but the vast majority of people consider an unborn fetus to be a baby. Perhaps ever person who was ever born was refereed to in the womb as a baby.

      Also you are assuming Ben’s intentions in that he is wanting them to picture a cute chubby cheeked child instead of perhaps wanting the to picture a growing human in need of protection which still applies to a fetus.

      Also your thoughts elude the proper use of elude because you can not elude other people’s thoughts. Only your own thought can elude a subject.

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  2. This article doesn’t really finish.
    Ben doesn’t use a ‘snuck premise’ here because, in choosing between two ways of speaking about child murder, Ben uses the one that accords with his view… as opposes to using the one that accords with his opponents! Let us note that the word ‘fetus’ is the Latin for ‘baby’, and so is a deliberate blurring of the concept. The term ‘abortion’ comes from a medical crisis where the woman’s body, perhaps because of a medical issue she has, and perhaps because the baby misinformed or died in utero, casts the baby out.
    IOW they are using a word that comes from a disastrous loss of a baby… and using it to cover up the murder of a baby. Perhaps in a few years we will be using ‘SIDS’ to cover up child euthanasia!
    It is only a snuck premise if the other terms available are in fact neutral. Not when they are deliberately deceptive.

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  3. You misunderstood his point on the wealth inequality comment.

    [He believes the “snuck” premise here is that a socialist or communist wouldn’t necessarily think they have a right to another’s money but may believe in redistribution of wealth.]

    This wasn’t his point. His point was that a Socialist/Communist most likely doesn’t believe in private property, to begin with so the root of the discussion would be that the money that Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates hasn’t isn’t “their” money to being with but Societies.

    You accepted Ben Shapiro’s premise when you say:

    [The topic of discussion is redistribution of wealth and it stems from the prior discussion Shapiro had with this individual on income inequality. Income inequality is the disparity in income between two individuals. For example, there is large income inequality between myself and Bill Gates. The reason why Shapiro is rightly pointing out you do not have a right to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos’s money is because the socialist perspective is that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos should be giving their wealth out to the masses; in other words, a form of ‘redistribution.’]

    So you and Ben are arguing that the money actually belongs to Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and that Socialist/Communist would be arguing that it would only be fair or just for them to “share” their money with others (aka redistribution).

    True Communist and Socialist aren’t making that argument. They are arguing that wealth belongs to Society because creating it is a collective endeavor and no individual owns it.

    So those are two completely different arguments which is why it is a “snuck premise”.

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    1. @Aaron Jones
      In regard to what you are saying, it seems to me that Ben is simply making a counterargument rather than using a snuck premise. Essentially, money is the product of one’s labor. The reason that I, for example, have no right to take Bill Gates’s money is that I have not performed the labor that Gates performed in order to generate that money. If Gates had worked all his life as a store clerk, he would not have become a billionaire. I believe that Ben’s premise is that people like Gates deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor because they did things that very few people in society were able to do. Would anyone, socialist or otherwise, really dispute the assertion that the accomplishments of Gates, Bezos, and others were more difficult to achieve than those of a cashier? I doubt it. If what those billionaires did was easy, then tens of millions of people would have done the same thing. There are countless cashiers because that job requires a skill set that countless people have, but there are relatively few wealthy entrepreneurs, because relatively few people have the skill set and the confidence to take the required risks to succeed in that line of work.

      Basically, both Ben and the socialists make a moral argument: the socialists say it’s immoral for workers (unskilled ones, in particular) to have to work so hard for so little pay, whereas Ben says it’s immoral for an entrepreneur to take risks and perform labor that few other people could perform, only to have some of the fruits of their labor taken from them. Ben believes that “redistribution” should occur by way of voluntary donations, whereas socialists believe that it should occur by way of government coercion.

      Overall, I think that Ben’s point is that different jobs require skill sets of varying degrees of difficulty and knowledge; therefore, those who put in the effort to acquire the necessary skills for a certain job should be allowed to earn whatever they can, rather than being heavily taxed in order to give money to those who did not work to acquire the skills necessary to perform a high-paying job.

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