It's not really surprising that Shapiro's book should be intellectually void. Conservative personalities are driven primarily by fear of change, and so any pseudo-intellectual arguments they make in favor of their position rarely withstand a moment's adequate scrutiny. Polemic is therefore the central strategy of such folk as they have little else to fall back on. It's always amusing to draw examples from history, but for every example one cares to cite there will inevitably be a counter-example to prove the opposite. Real intellectuals understand that history teaches few lessons, the notions of ancients were at best half-formed, and a careful reasoning from first principles is usually the only coherent option available. Except of course this option is not available to those of a conservative bent, because it would lead to unwanted conclusions.