Musk Makes the Mask Slip

Musk Makes the Mask Slip

Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

The Tesla CEO’s bid to buy Twitter has prompted many prominent figures to admit bluntly that they oppose free speech.

by Corbin K. Barthold

Though he has just offered to buy Twitter for around $40 billion, it’s far from clear that Elon Musk knows how to run a social media platform. Speaking about his bid at an event last week, Musk mused that people should be “able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.” But a social media product that came to be dominated by anti-Semitism, porn, coordinated abuse, virulent racial animus, and bot-generated foreign propaganda—all forms of speech “within the bounds of the law”—would soon have little value. During the same interview, Musk announced that his “top priority” is to eliminate spam—perfectly lawful communication. Musk does not seem to have thought this through yet.

Twitter is not necessarily a well-run business. Mark Zuckerberg once described it as a clown car driven into a goldmine. It has drawn scrutiny from activist investors before—a fact that likely played a role in Jack Dorsey’s recent departure—and is thus in a poor position to reject Musk’s offer on grounds that the company’s stock is undervalued. Still, from a business perspective, Musk has not explained how he would finance his purchase (he’s incredibly rich but not liquid), and he has yanked investors’ chains before (a few years back, he was about to take Tesla private, until he wasn’t).

If Musk is trolling the humorless progressives who dominate our institutional and cultural heights, though, he has already achieved a coup. That Musk might buy Twitter has caused a meltdown among Twitter elites. “Today on Twitter feels like the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany,” wrote one blue check. “[This] could result in World War 3 and the destruction of our planet,” exclaimed another. Robert Reich has equated Musk to Vladimir Putin.

Musk has done more than simply induce liberal tears. He has caused a mask to slip. He has prompted many prominent figures to admit bluntly that they oppose free speech [Emphasis added]. Read the rest at city-journal.org.

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