The left has gone after Elon Musk for his perceived conservatism. They’ve gone after him for his wealth. They’ve even gone after him for being South African.
The real reason they’re attacking the billionaire on the cusp of completing a purchase of Twitter? He intends to allow users to exercise their freedom of speech if the impending transaction goes through — and no thoughtcrime in the year 2022 is so heinous to the left as the idea that ordinary people, much less conservatives, should even be given a platform to commit thoughtcrime in the first place.
But, as an official reason for the left turning all its guns on Musk, that simply won’t do. Not with the American public, anyway, and with our shared history of defending free expression. As Fox News’ Tucker Carlson pointed out during his monologue on Tuesday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” it’s the “most basic and essential of all the freedoms, and that’s why it’s enshrined in the very First Amendment to the Bill of Rights.”
“It’s central not simply to freedom, but to humanity. It’s not opposable thumbs that separate us from the animals. It’s words. We can speak. That’s our power — words. ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ declares John at the opening of the fourth Gospel,” he noted.
“The word. The word is the most important thing that we have. Take away our ability to choose our own words, and we are no longer fully human. We are subjects. We’re chattel.”
That’s why the left wanted to stop Musk from buying Twitter, given his primary aim has been to lift the platform’s onerous restrictions on conservative political speech: “It is a true, existential threat to the hegemony of the people currently in charge,” Carlson said.
“Authoritarians understand this above all. That’s why they hate freedom of speech. In fact, if you gave them a choice, they’d let you have a fully automatic, .50 caliber machine gun before they allowed you to say exactly what you want,” Carlson said. “With the gun, you might be able to kill people, but with words, you can expose them.
“With words, you can change the world. In fact, there has never been a change, a deep change to the way people live and think, that didn’t begin with words. Not with might, not with violence, but with words. That’s why they’re so obsessively focused on what you can say, on the words you can use, because they understand the power of words.”
Carlson also noted that Musk “was just the other day, a hero to them — he’s the electric car guy, remember?”
Since Musk tendered his offer in April to buy Twitter, though, the weaponry of the left has been loosed on the Tesla and SpaceX founder. He was going to give voice to a horde of snarling alt-right bigots, they said. To this end, even Musk’s country of birth became an issue of contention — prompting The New York Times to run an entire piece attempting to explore how “growing up as a white person under the racist apartheid system in South Africa may have shaped him.”
Meanwhile, a five-hour drive south of Gotham, in the District of Columbia, the scribes at The Washington Post, like columnist Max Boot, have been working overtime to trumpet the dangers of less censorship.
Boot, who can always reliably be called upon to beclown himself in the name of whatever formless rage is currently a’brewing among the Atlantic Council set, tweeted this in April: “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.”
I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter. He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.
— Max Boot 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@MaxBoot) April 14, 2022
Not “moderation” of Max Boot’s content, mind you. As conservative activist Robby Starbuck pointed out, Boot had other information outlets in mind:
You mean like social media giants censoring the Hunter Biden story because they believed propagandists like you who lied about it not being true? That in itself flips the 2020 election. pic.twitter.com/nvUf5mZZvQ
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 14, 2022
Also in the Post back in April, former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao wrote that “Musk calls himself a ‘free-speech absolutist,’ but like many ‘free speech’ advocates, he willfully ignores that private companies are free to establish some limits on their platforms.”
And if those companies don’t exercise the freedom to “establish some limits” on their platforms, the government better do it for them, dagnabbit: “Musk’s appointment to Twitter’s board shows that we need regulation of social-media platforms to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.”
This is ironic in more than one sense, given that Pao published these thoughts in the Post, owned by Jeff Bezos — a rich person who I’m assuming Pao wasn’t terribly concerned about “controlling our channels of communication.” Wonder why.
The chatter about Musk is only rising as his proposed Twitter purchase — which has proceeded in fits and starts — now looks like it will be happening, Carlson said.
“Tonight, after six months of watching this drama, which has gone in and out of the news cycle, it looks like they have failed to stop Elon Musk from buying Twitter,” he said. “All indications that we have as of right now are that the deal will go through.”
He noted that Twitter employee stock has been locked, indicating “some kind of transaction is imminent.”
“A source tells this show that there is a very high probability — 90 percent probability — that within the next two weeks, Elon Musk will own Twitter,” Carlson said.
So now, as Carlson noted, the left is trying to smear Musk as a Russian partisan. Why? Because he’s given the government of Ukraine access to his Starlink satellite network for free — but there’s the off chance he might revoke that.
The Atlantic’s David Frum — a former George W. Bush speechwriter, accurately described by Carlson as a man who has “no level to which he will not stoop in defense of the people in charge” — wants the Biden administration to consider seizing the satellite network. “The U.S. should have a plan ready to nationalize Starlink [the satellite company] fast, if Musk cuts off Ukraine’s connections to advance his political agenda,” Frum wrote.
“His political agenda? In other words, if you don’t like his politics, just seize his stuff,” Carlson said. “And of course, at the core of his politics, all that matters is the call for ordinary Americans to be able to say what they really think. Just take his stuff — by force.”
On CNN, meanwhile, they were entertaining the conspiracy theory that Starlink outages in Ukraine were somehow planned by SpaceX or Musk, in part because Musk “proposed a peace deal suggesting that Ukraine relinquish Crimea to Russia and hold U.N. backed referenda for parts of eastern Ukraine.”
An irresponsible buffoon who “seems to believe that on social media anything goes.” A potential bigot marinated in the culture of apartheid-era South Africa. A Kremlin lackey. Elon Musk is all of these things to the left — if just because he could soon own Twitter and let you say what you think. And the establishment is losing its mind.
“What we’re seeing is the desperation of a regime, not just a political regime, but a cultural regime, a class of people running the country who feel like they are losing power — and they’re panicked,” Carlson said.
“You can feel it in their hysteria. The hectoring lifestyle-liberals, the ones who work to crush the American spirit, freedom and independence of mind, masculinity, those people, the ones who’ve been yelling at you on television for the past five years, feel like, ‘Holy smokes, it’s all slipping away. If the proles get to talk, we’re in deep trouble. Ready the helicopters from the roof of the embassy. We gotta get out of here.'”
More or less. The chattering classes are running from the words of the plebes. They were supposed to be the ones who decided who could say what. Now, it appears Musk will upend all of that and the fear and loathing is palpable.
But they can’t say that. So they’re saying all of this instead.
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