The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, April 17, 2022


I was aware of Elon Musk long, long before he was a recognizable national figure* or a presence on Twitter with 80 million followers; long before he was a disruptor of the automotive industry and our national space-flight program, and long before he became one of the richest men on the planet. At the time I was introduced to Musk, he was the young CEO of a start-up that (he claimed) would revolutionize the automotive industry. 

Industry and financial pundits laughed, calling Musk and his small band of committed engineers crazy, suggesting that their strategy for electric vehicles (EVs) was "vaporware," and guaranteeing that Tesla would be bankrupt within a year or two. When Musk started Space-X, the same thing happened. And yet he succeeded. His businesses thrived. He now employs well over 100,000 people and is worth billions.

Far too may entrepreneurs have the hubris to claim that they're "changing the world." Elon Musk has actually accomplished that. He's a man who thinks outside the box—a bona fide genius whose grasp of technology is astounding, and a visionary who is unafraid to think and act against the tide.

That's what he's doing when he (correctly) states that we're experiencing an on-going threat to free speech. The tech titans who own most of the social media companies all lean Left, hire Left, and espouse an ideology that worships on the alter of Leftist narratives. That's perfectly okay, but they then go far beyond that. 

Those same titans actively and consistently suppress voices that question their preferred narratives. They accomplish this directly through censorship and subtly through algorithmic manipulation of information threads, distribution of commentary, and a 'warning' system that leads to self-censorship.

Those on the Left seem to love this. After all, if dissent from their worldview is suppressed, it makes their arguments appear to be stronger. Comically, they claim that the tech titans and their companies have the right to censor opinion because they run "private companies." You know, the same private companies that many on the left demonize on a regular basis.

Enter Elon Musk and his acquisition of over 9 percent of Twitter stock. Musk is a free speech advocate, suggesting that suppression of speech is a threat to our democracy** and a bastardization of our political process. The Left has reacted with venom, demonizing Musk as a rabid capitalist who ... well, it's all nonsense, and I won't rehash it here. But their reaction indicates that Musk's free speech advocacy has hit a nerve. His positions represent a significant threat to their dominance of information flow, and they're mobilizing to fight it.

Will Musk succeed? Who knows. Then again, people who have bet against Elon Musk over the past decade have lost, and lost badly. Get out the popcorn ... this should be fun.


*  I became involved in the Tesla ecosystem in 2011, loved the company's EV plans and engineering, and was one of the earliest adopters (the VIN # of my Tesla Model S was in the very low 100s). I liked the Tesla business model so much, I founded a company that provided accessories and parts for the car when fewer than 1000 people owned it. People thought I was nuts. And yeah, I did buy the stock in the low double digits when Wall Street said that only fools would do so. 

** Some on the Left suggest than any opinion that does not conform to their narrative is a "threat to democracy." They're projecting. In reality, democracy thrives when a broad array of opinion is available for debate—even angry debate. I suppose their panicky reaction is because the Left is at a significant disadvantage in such debates, mainly because their positions are sometimes counter-factual and illogical. Maybe that's why they feel that a diversity of opinion is a "threat."


Glen Reynolds writes:

“Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the motto of the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. It may sound like a warning, but more and more it seems like a summary of the left’s aspirations to control debate and shut down any opposition.

A recent example of those aspirations appeared in a column by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s big buy of Twitter stock. The original headline — changed after widespread mockery — was this: “Elon Musk’s vision for the Internet is dangerous nonsense: Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet. That’s also the dream of every dictator, strongman and demagogue.”

The mockery was understandable. “Libertarian visions” of “uncontrolled” speech haven’t actually been the stock-in-trade of dictators, strongmen and demagogues. Typically, those authoritarian figures want to silence their opponents and ensure that their own voices, and those of their satraps and sycophants, are the only ones heard ... 

The thing is, what Reich describes is what we have now: a world in which unaccountable oligarchs like Amazon’s Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — people who are in fact “the richest and most powerful people in the world” — use opaque algorithms to mute criticism and disagreement.

That’s not Elon Musk’s vision. That’s the world that Reich’s allies in Big Tech have created.