Ben Stein

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[*Weeping*] I don't think any president has been more wrongly persecuted than Nixon, ever. I just think he was a saint.
—Stein in All the President[']s Men: Revisited, still not learning anything after all these years[1]

Ben “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller” Stein (initials: BS) (1944–) is a former presidential speechwriter, actor, comedian, and conservative pundit who is best known for using the expertise he built writing the droning, monotonous speeches of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to do a hilarious send-up of a teacher giving an economics lecture about the Laffer Curve in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He was also the author of the novel Ludes, which may explain his speaking style. Moving right along, he had a television game show where you could win his money, $5,000 of it, by defeating him in a trivia contest. To his credit, he usually (but not always) won. According to evangelicals, his ass is going to burn in hell because he is a Jew, even if he did star in the pseudoscience film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and once worked for a raging antisemite (Nixon).

Stein has degrees in economics (Columbia University, 1966) and law (Yale, 1970). He was valedictorian of his law school class at Yale. He has been a non-tenured professor of law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, used to write a weekly column in the New York Times and occasionally gives opinion pieces on CBS News Sunday Morning.

Not much of importance has been heard from him of late; he has lost all respect of freethinkers after his involvement with Expelled.


I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys.
—Ben Stein equating (just male) homosexuality with pedophilia[2]

Stein is the archetypal neoconservative; he is a Republican,[3] supporter of "civil rights leader" George W. Bush,[4] chickenhawk (somehow equating non-interventionism with antisemitism),[5] and a free marketer (he is a fan of Milton Friedman).[6]

His opinion of science is as follows:[7]

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers, talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed …that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion[note 1] — that’s where science leads you.
Crouch: That’s right.
Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.
Crouch: Good word, good word.

It makes you wonder what he thinks of Albert Einstein and all of the Jewish scientists that were responsible for the Nazi brain drain. This is especially nonsensical because Hitler was not what most would call a fan of science, with one writer noting there were "complicated interactions between science and politics in Nazi Germany."[8] Hitler was not even willing to reason with the father of quantum mechanics because "Nazi authorities still saw him as Jewish and expelled him from his post at Göttingen University."[9]

About his old boss he said:

I'm not much of a believer in conspiracy theories. I've seen up close and personal how wrong they were in the case of my old boss, Richard M. Nixon. He was not a criminal mastermind. He was not paying attention to a bunch of juvenile delinquent aides and they did him dirt. It was a case of an absent minded father, not a KGB plot.[10]

It also makes you wonder what he thinks of Tricky Dick's anti-Semitism.

Stein's economic predictions have recently inspired a phrase of comical derision, Ben Steinery. On the other hand, sometimes he will take a stand for a legitimate moral issue. In what Republican circles would considered unorthodox views, he's in agreement with progressive income tax and capital-gains tax, and has strongly advocated raising taxes on the rich in many recent appearances on Fox Noise, usually to be yelled at by his "interviewer".[11] He also favors a single-payer health-care plan.

He was aghast at the way Larry Craig was shunned after his incident in the bathroom, saying that Craig's sexuality was no one's business but his own (which would be totally true if Craig hadn't made it an issue before by moralizing about sexuality). Stein's own sexuality includes asking a lady for very much more than she was willing to, erm, give.[12][13]

Stein endorsed Al Franken in 2008 and Ralph Nader over GOP presidential candidates. He considered voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election should Donald Trump have won the Republican nomination, but ultimately ended up voting for him anyway once he was nominated.[14][15]

Ben Steinery[edit]

Ben Steinery is an expression of derision, scorn and mockery coined in a January 2008 column titled "Farewell to Ben Stein" by Wall Street stock analyst and financial blogger Barry Ritholtz.[16] The phrase refers to the many dubious economic prognostications made by Stein.

As declared by Ritholtz:

"I propose the phrase "Ben Steinery" be substituted where ever you would have used the phrase "Tom Foolery" in an economic context."

Some typical, real-time usages of Ben Steinery include:

"Actually, there hasn’t been much of a debate - just the informed, well-reasoned deflation minority opposed by a lot of Ben Steinery."

"All this Ben Steinery in the housing markets is spawning some awesome 'Fozisms.'”

"When the sub-prime crisis began, the Ben Steinery School of Economics said that sub-prime is such a small part of the mortgage sector, that even if every loan went bad, it couldn’t impact Main Street."

"Enough Ben Steinery! We have a football game to watch!"

See also[edit]


  1. Especially ironic in this context, given that similar red herrings are so favoured by Holocaust deniers that we've dedicated an entire RationalWiki page to the phenomenon.