A lot of the time, I don’t know what to think about Elon Musk. Part of me thinks of him as a marketing genius who plays a real life genius–in a way, a sort of snake oil salesman, with a lot of sizzle and not much steak. Like he’s better at selling products than developing them.
On the other hand, I see a lot of the stuff he says on Twitter and the memes he posts, and I think, “Wow, this is one of the few billionaire oligarchs who actually seems to get it, and isn’t just a part of this Davos Class that looks down on everyone else as peasants and cattle.”
A lot of the time, when he makes some major public announcement, I think he’s got some other angle, or that it’s just a way to promote his businesses and put more money in his pocket.
But then, he announces he’s taking about a 9% stake in Twitter, and a few days later, tries to buy the whole thing. I can’t see what his hidden agenda would be here other than, “Hey, I just really value free speech, and I think Twitter is doing a horrible job when it comes to free speech.” It seems like a genuine “White Hat” move on Elon’s part.
All the worst people in the world are against it–that is to say, blue check mainstream media “journalists,” especially those that work for the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and the Mike Bloomberg-owned Bloomberg News.
Do I suspect that there’s some sort of secretive self-interested angle in all this for Elon? Sure: I think, deep down, he knows that the insane run-up in Tesla’s share price (the main source of his net worth) is unsustainable and he needs to find a way to cash in on that paper wealth, but without causing a massive exodus in Tesla shares. I mean, in December 2019,Tesla’s market cap was about $75 billion. Today, it’s $971 billion. Elon Musk’s net worth, prior to the crazy pandemic stock market bubble, was about $20 billion, which is less than half of what he is now paying for Twitter:
Now it is over $270 billion.
But again, most of that is paper wealth. It’s a product of the insane rise in Tesla’s share price. If Tesla’s stock crashes, his net worth crashes along with it. I’m sure Elon Musk does not intend to only be the world’s richest man temporarily. I’m sure he intends to remain the world’s richest man for the foreseeable future.
And so he needs a way to convert a lot of his Tesla paper wealth into real wealth–he has to strike while the iron is still hot.
What better way to do that than by buying a company? He’s going to pay $43 billion for Twitter. He does not have $43 billion sitting around, so what he’ll do is just sell some of his Tesla shares to buy Twitter, and boom, just like that, he’s diversified. All of the sudden, his wealth is not concentrated in Tesla.
All I’m saying is if your wealth ballooned from $20 billion to $270 billion in under two years, and you secretly believed it might be unsustainable, you might take steps to lock in some or most of those paper wealth gains. If Tesla stock falls 80%, and Elon’s net worth goes back down into the $30-40 billion range, then now, at least he will at least have Twitter to show for it. He actually took advantage of the meteoric rise in his net worth.
Do I think this is Elon’s main motivation behind buying Twitter? Maybe. I think this plays a major role in his decision for sure, but I don’t think it’s the only reason he’s doing this. After all, if you wanted to convert your Tesla paper wealth into something tangible and real, you could find a lot better ways to do that than buying Twitter. Twitter is one of the most maligned companies in the tech sector. It’s a shit stock, the company isn’t profitable, and it lags far behind its social media peers like Facebook and Google. There has been speculation for a long time that Facebook would just buy Twitter because Facebook has always been significantly larger than Twitter.
If Elon Musk were looking solely to preserve his wealth, and was thinking only of his net worth, he would not have bought Twitter. He would have bought a far more profitable company than Twitter. So I do think there’s really an element of him simply thinking that Twitter is extremely important in the world’s marketplace of ideas, and him believing that Twitter is too important to be left in the hands of the people who are currently running it and censoring it to hell.
I wanted to preface all this with that just because I want to make it clear that I am under no illusions that Elon Musk is this White Hat billionaire savior who is going to restore free speech, destroy Wokeness and save the world from the evil Globalist Oligarchs. I am not that naive.
However, he does seem to genuinely believe in free speech and care deeply about the health of free speech in our society, and I am prone to believing that if he takes over Twitter, it will go back to being an open platform with relatively few restrictions on what people can say. I don’t think Twitter under Elon Musk’s ownership will be a place where you get banned for expressing political Wrongthink and not showing enough fealty to the Current Thing.
So I would be happy if Elon buys Twitter, mainly because I don’t think it’s possible for him to be much worse than the people currently running it. Would he bring back Donald Trump? I don’t know, but Trump is definitely not coming back to Twitter while the current regime is in charge there–so again, in no area of Twitter’s operations would Elon be worse than the Wokes who are in charge now.
And that’s basically the way I feel about it. I believe Twitter should be a haven for free speech, and that you shouldn’t get banned unless you’re outright calling for violence or making legitimate physical threats against other people. I should be able to go on Twitter and say there are only two genders and Zelenskiy is a stooge without risking getting in trouble. Elon Musk’s rhetoric has made it clear that he is much closer to that position than the people in charge of Twitter now, so I support Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter.
But I wanted to just highlight Glenn Greenwald’s take on the matter, because I think he absolutely nails it–as usual.
In US culture, we’re inculcated from childhood that censorship is bad. So of course nobody — especially journalists — wants to say: “I favor censorship.” That’s why they need euphemisms like “content moderation”: to pretend it’s about bots, abuse, etc. rather than ideology.
Everyone knows they are lying. Nobody cares about Twitter censoring bots or spam. That’s not what this is about. The social media censorship people care about is 100% ideological: banning dissent on COVID, the Biden emails, culture war debates, etc. That’s what’s at stake.
Let’s put it this way: On Google/YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, you are free to say the 2000 and 2016 elections were stolen and fraudulent. You can’t say that about 2020. Before the 2020 election, you weren’t allowed to post reporting on the Biden emails. It’s all ideological.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, you weren’t allowed to question the efficacy of cloth masks. You weren’t allowed to interrogate the origins of the virus. You weren’t allowed to debate vaccines or lockdowns. No dissent from Fauci/WHO was allowed. The censorship is 100% political.
You’re allowed to spread any lies, propaganda and disinformation you want if it advances the Ukrainian cause (i.e., the US/NATO cause), but will be instantly banned if you say anything that challenges that on the ground of “Russia disinformation.” This is all explicit.
Censorship of conservatives gets most attention because it’s so common, but censorship of anti-establishment leftists is also frequent: any dissident can be banned. Pretending this is about bots or spam is fraudulent. This censorship is about control of political information.
Social media was heralded as an innovation that would liberate individuals from centralized control by the state and oligarchical power over their speech. It has become the exact opposite: the most powerful tool of information control and speech constraints ever devised.
How dumb do you have to be to believe that journalists – who work at Bloomberg and the Bezos-owned WPost or Comcast or CNN – are worried about billionaires controlling media?
They’re only petrified that the *wrong* billionaire, one who may not censor for them, might reign.
There are many reasons to be skeptical of Musk’s motives and, even if pure, his ability to restore free speech to Twitter. Way too many powerful interests need this censorship. But the panic reveals so much.
And that’s the crux of the matter: what truly scares them is that they don’t view Musk as a guy who’s on their side, and that’s why they’re now so rabidly opposed to him.
It is now purely about loyalty and subservience to the Regime. They are no longer pretending the media is honest, they are no longer pretending social media censorship is For Our Own Good.
The mask is completely off. It’s all about power. They censor social media to silence dissent. They are very aware and conscious of the fact that they control all major media outlets and all major social media platforms–this monopoly is very valuable to them and they guard it with ferocious jealousy.
They are done pretending otherwise.
Finally, this is a quote from GK Chesterton:
Back in his day, they were millionaires. Now it’s a billionaires’ game.
And that’s really what we’re dealing with here, at the end of the day, only now, there’s been a fracture among the billionaire class. Elon Musk has broken ranks and gone rogue, so to speak. Probably because he’s the richest man in the world and wagers he doesn’t have to take shit from anybody. That’s good for us–the worst thing would be a billionaire class in complete lockstep agreement on everything.
You can see the fault lines as clear as day (via DefiantLs):
They’re not against billionaires in control of the media.
They’re against billionaires who aren’t on their side in control of the media. That’s what this is all about.