Does Elon Musk Really Care about the Future of Free Speech and Western Civilisation? By James Reed
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man says lots of weird things, as techno geeks do any way. At present he has proclaimed that he wants to buy Twitter to let the bird of free speech fly free once more. Yet, if he really wanted to do this to save Western civilisation, what has taken him so long, for he would have stated a new platform yonks ago? Why, I even have a name for it: Elon! Instead of tweets, which is a bit corny, people make “musks.” And he could have the symbol of a musk rat at a computer, frantically at work. So, Elon, I am available for a job in your think tank, with my own requirement being plenty of toasted cheese sandwiches to be washed down with nice red wine. What do you say?
“Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, the world’s richest person, and recently the largest shareholder in Twitter who is now offering to buy the company in its entirety, reiterated his statements in support of online free speech today.
Speaking during an interview at TED 2022, the mega-billionaire also said there is a “plan B” if Twitter’s board does not accept his offer to buy out the company, but would not elaborate on what that plan is.
In the interview, Musk said that his motivations for purchasing Twitter were not primarily financial.
“My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” said Musk.
“I don’t care about the economics at all.”
The tech mogul went on to describe his own definition of free speech, and his philosophy on content moderation.
“If in doubt, let the speech — let it exist,” said Musk. “If it’s a grey area, I would say, let the tweet exist.”
“But in a case where there’s perhaps a lot of controversy, you would not necessarily want to promote that tweet.”
“I’m not saying I have all the answers here,” continued Musk. “But I do think that we want to be very reluctant to delete things, and just be very cautious with permanent bans. Timeouts, I think, are better than permanent bans.”
“A good sign as to whether there’s free speech is, is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? If that is the case then we have free speech.”
“And it’s damn annoying, when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like. That is a sign of a healthy, functioning, free speech situation.”
Musk’s emphasis on his values-based motivations for buying Twitter stock echo what he wrote in his purchase offer to Twitter’s board, disclosed earlier today.
In the letter, Musk said he believes “free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” but that Twitter will “neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
“Elon Musk says he wants to purchase Twitter. If he does, we’ll soon learn if he’s the “free speech absolutist” he claims to be.
You never know what’s going on when it comes to billionaires, especially tech billionaires. These are mercurial guys, insanely ambitious guys, with impossible codes to crack.
Well, not all of their codes are indecipherable. But, unfortunately, too many of these guys are just bad guys, straight-up villains right out of those terrific 70’s conspiracy movies that had stars like Robert Redford and Warren Beatty on the run. You know, power-hungry megalomaniacs who see human beings as either utilitarian or in the way.
Tesla owner Elon Musk, the richest man on earth by a pretty wide margin, a guy worth almost a quarter trillion — with a “T” — dollars, is presenting himself as someone different. Unlike billionaire villains like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, and Jeff Bezos, Musk has made moves that caught the ear of right-leaning people like myself, who are desperate to see at least one of these guys become a champion of individual liberty.
For example, Musk moved much of his operation out of the failed state of left-wing California and into the red state of Texas. Although he sells electric cars, Musk called for more domestic oil exploration after gas prices hit record highs earlier this year. He’s also made several public statements that make it sound like he understands the importance of free and unfettered speech in a democracy—something the above-mentioned freaks do not. And now, as of today, he’s made a pretty serious offer to outright purchase Twitter and take it private.
If this is not a cynical move on his part to boost Twitter’s stock price and then sell his nine percent at a sweet profit, if he really does end up owning Twitter and taking it private, what would that mean for Twitter? Is Musk the free speech hero Twitter so desperately needs? Does Musk understand that these tech freaks suckered us onto their platforms with the promise of “free speech” only to pull the rug out from under the political right after they’d succeeded in monopolizing the public square?
Does he truly understand how immoral and un-American that is?
More importantly, does Musk have the moral courage to stand up to the demonic hell-storm that will attempt to destroy his name, reputation, business, and life should he do something as bold as reinstating the Twitter accounts of former President Trump or James O’Keefe, or if he allows people to debate things like gender and lab leaks and computers-from-hell without the fascist interference the establishment demands?
Does Musk get that those are the stakes?
Because those are the stakes.
If Musk is serious, if he’s a man of his word, if he is who he claims to be and reinstates free and unfettered speech on Twitter, does he understand that the entire establishment — including the corporate media, IRS, and FBI — will focus billions of dollars and millions of man-hours into seeking his personal and professional destruction?
As far as what Musk should do with Twitter if he does end up owning it and going private, that’s pretty simple…. Twitter (and all social media) should be guided under the same speech rules as the telephone. You can say and do whatever you want on the telephone without losing your telephone. What you can’t do is break the law. You can’t threaten, harass, or engage in a criminal conspiracy or criminality. But if you do, Ma Bell doesn’t punish you by taking away your phone. Instead, before you lose any liberty, you are first given due process through the legal system.
That is the only appropriate moral standard for free speech. It is also a clear and concise standard that removes political and social biases and confusion.
What’s more, that is the only appropriate standard for someone like Musk, who has declared himself a “free speech absolutist.”
I applauded Musk’s decision not to block Russian media outlets. I was impressed that the decision was made in the heat of the left’s moral panic just after Russia invaded Ukraine. That was the exact right move. So…
If Musk does obtain control of Twitter, will he display the same amount of moral clarity and courage towards his own countrymen as he did for the Russians?
I doubt very much it will happen, but whatever, Elon will make more money, then onto the next big thing.