Go Elon!

Elon Musk’s kinda, sorta bid to buy all of Twitter for about $43 billion has provoked an utterly predictable meltdown of the  professional Left that manages to be both apoplectic and unintentionally amusing.  Consider, for instance the sober reflections of Robert Reich on the matter. 

Elon Musk

Reich, in the Guardian, argued that Twitter was right to shut down Trump’s account to “save Democracy”. (When Progressives talk about “saving Democracy” they really mean saving Democrats). Musk committed the sin of disagreeing with Twitter’s decision saying that U.S. tech companies shouldn’t be acting “as the de facto arbiter of free speech”.

That, apparently is what sent Reich over the top. He complained that “Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet.” He then went on to assert “That vision is dangerous rubbish.” Which is all you need to know. It’s all about control, and Reich is all for it, provided he and his Progressive pals are the ones in charge. 

Amplifying the inanity he goes on to say “[A lack of accountability] is Musk’s dream. And Trump’s. And Putin’s. And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on Earth. For the rest of us, it would be a brave new nightmare.” Which is the amusing part. 

Amusing because Robert Reich is comparing market accountability unfavorably to bureaucratic accountability. Just ask yourself this question, How long do companies last when they do a poor job of serving their customers? The correct answer is, absent government aid, not very long. Now ask yourself a related question, How long do failing bureaucracies last? The correct answer is: Forever. 

The hysteria over the Musk bid is not limited to Robert Reich. Max Boot similarly hyperventilated on Twitter “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.” So there we go again saving Democracy by keeping a lid on what people are allowed to think and say. 

And then there is Jeff Jarvis, Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York. Speaking of the Musk bid, Jarvis took to Twitter and said “Today on Twitter feels like the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany.”

That of course is taken from Chapter 1 of the standard Progressive playbook.  Anybody who disagrees with the received wisdom is deemed to be a Nazi. Or some other kind of racist, misogynist, white supremacist, etc. etc. The list is endless.

As usual, the Progressives’ reaction is to pretend that free speech on the internet (and elsewhere) is not free speech at all. It is only free speech and worthy of protection if Progressives agree with it. Otherwise it is wrong-think and must be suppressed. 

Unfortunately, the suppression of free speech by bureaucratic means is becoming more common and more aggressive. Progressive members of the California state legislature, for instance, have proposed to take away the licenses of doctors who spread what they call “disinformation”, a not so subtle warning to doctors who are opposed to lock-down-and-mask-mandate protocols. 

And then there is the by now infamous Hunter Biden laptop story. The one that Twitter, Google, Facebook and Apple suppressed, calling it Russian disinformation in the final weeks of the 2020 Presidential race. Except that it turned out to be true. Funny thing though, neither Max Boot, who called the story likely Russian disinformation, nor Robert Reich has been heard from on the subject of accountability on that score.  

In the developing Musk story one thing is almost certain. If Musk proceeds with his attempt to buy Twitter, you can count on the federal bureaucracy throwing roadblocks in his path, beginning with the Federal Trade Commission, and maybe the SEC. 

The threat to freedom in the U.S. does not come from Elon Musk. It comes from Progressive elites whose Command-and-Control ethos is threatened by free speech and free markets. They claim to be bothered by concentrations of power. But that is a lie. They prefer the centralization and concentration of power—in their hands. 

Let’s stipulate that an awful lot of people say an awful lot of stupid things on various Social Media platforms, including Twitter. But stupid is not illegal. Neither is hate speech or the various phobias that Progressives are constantly inventing. They are the price we pay for freedom. 

And while we are stipulating that Social Media platforms can contain a lot of nonsense, let’s not pretend that is what bothers Progressives who, to put it mildly,  manage to post their fair share of nonsense. 

No. What really bothers Progressives is the prospect that their control over the parameters of content could be weakened. Their collective delirium at the prospect of Elon Musk opening up the game thus threatening their status as gatekeepers tells you all you need to know. 

Go Elon!

JFB

Live Not by Lies

A little more than 48 years ago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century,  released the text of “Live Not by Lies.” The following day he was exiled to the West. He did not receive a particularly warm welcome. Then President Gerald Ford refused to meet with Solzhenitsyn fearing that it would imperil his attempts at detente with the Soviet Union. 

It is important to understand what Solzhenitsyn meant when he said live not by lies. In Soviet Russia, lies and propaganda permeated everything. Tests in school, for instance, routinely promulgated the party line; getting good grades, getting into the right schools and getting ahead necessitated joining the Party and then buying into and cooperating with the lies told by the Party. 

The  Soviet State, which was subordinate to the Party, routinely used violence to enforce its will. But while the use of violence was there on the surface for all to see—if they wished to see—the Party had a much more insidious weapon. 

The Communist Party induced people to cooperate in its lies. In order to get ahead, people would go along to get along. Consequently they would parrot out things that they knew in their hearts were lies. But they were afraid to say so out loud. And so they were corrupted as was their society.

The Party deliberately embarked on this campaign of spiritual demise so they could reconstruct the Utopia of a classless society. But first the Party needed to crush the human spirit and human individuality. They would do this by getting the citizens to deny their own self-worth and individuality. They would pretend to accept the lie that they were merely members of a class with class, not individual and familial, interests. Children were encouraged to spy on their parents. The East German Stasi was particularly adept at this. The notion of the family was thus attacked. The Party was to be supreme. 

There is no greater example of the lie than the fact that every single Communist dictatorship on earth was called a “Democratic People’s Republic.”

And so where are we now? Progressives, the not-so-new authoritarians, demand a total unrelenting conformity with the Party line, no matter what it is, no matter how obviously foolish. Dissent is not permitted. The punishment for heterodoxy is cancellation. 

Consider the Orwellian mind set of Progressives. We are supposed to pretend to believe that University of Pennsylvania collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas is a woman. This despite a teammate’s observation in the Daily Mail that “’It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women.” Anybody who points out the obvious—namely that Lia Thomas is a man—is labeled a “transphobe.”

Progressives now use the term “birthing person” and refer to “chest feeding” to avoid using the terms “mother”, “women and breast.” God forbid (another verboten term) that we imply that only women get pregnant and deliver children. 

And remember abortion doesn’t result in the killing of a human being. It’s simply a form of health care. 

Of course there is the discrimination problem. Progressives are quite OK maintaining simultaneously that (1) discrimination against women is forbidden and that (2) there is no such thing as a woman. And by the way, aborting unborn girls is OK because as we all know, there is no such thing as a girl. Or a boy. They just haven’t decided yet. And anyway, biological sex doesn’t count; gender, a self-determined social construction is what counts. 

About the discrimination bit. How exactly is that defined? Well here is what it is not. It is not a case that Joe refused a good or service to Sam because Sam is in a “protected” category. It is treated as a statistically disparate outcome between group A and group B. The underlying fiction is that all talents, skills, tastes and attributes are equally distributed among all groups. Therefor any variation in outcomes is a result of “discrimination.” Which of course the State will “correct” by its use of coercive power. 

Which brings us around to “systemic” and “structural” racism, misogny, and white supremacy. We are routinely told that the U.S. is uniquely racist through and through; that its institutions were developed to maintain a white power structure and that women are treated as second class citizens—by design. 

Needless to say anyone who refuses to buy into this is a white supremacist, defender of the patriarchy etc etc.  

What is awfully difficult to explain though, is why so many non-white, non-European immigrants are willing to cross such high hurdles to enter the U.S. And why so many immigrants show up in the U.S. penniless and wind up in the upper income brackets. And why, for instance, Americans of Indian descent earn far greater than the mean income in the U.S. And on another subject, why the majority of college students are now women. 

There is a reason for all this. It is that the Progressive establishment depends on lies in pursuit of its objective to recreate American society in its own Utopian image. It will never succeed because it is at war with human nature (See Lia Thomas above). 

With that in mind I pose two questions. (1) How much damage will Progressives do on their well trod path to failure? And (2) why do so many otherwise sensible people insist on pretending to believe what is clearly nonsense? It’s a puzzlement. 

Joe Benning