Patriots: For over 25 years, your generosity has made it possible to offer The Patriot Post without a subscription fee to military personnel, students, and those with limited means. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today.

Josh Hammer / April 29, 2022

Questions for Elon Musk

We should wish Musk nothing but the best at Twitter. But we must also remain vigilant — and hold the titan accountable.

The impending acquisition of Twitter by the world’s wealthiest person, Elon Musk, is one of the most improbable developments out of the business world — and, indeed, the political world — in decades. Though a fairly modest percentage of adult Americans use Twitter, at least when compared with more popular social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, the platform is disproportionately influential in shaping the news cycle and driving current events. Much like a major newspaper outlet, then, the composition of Twitter’s ownership matters, even if it matters more for social than for purely financial reasons.

Musk is famously inscrutable — perhaps even enigmatic. But his reasons for acquiring the social media company for a cool $44 billion seem reasonably clear. The Tesla and SpaceX magnate wants to bring free speech and open discourse back to Twitter, which suffered under the heavy-handed reign of its woke co-founder and former CEO, Jack Dorsey. For his efforts, and assuming he can cross the t’s, dot the i’s and consummate the acquisition, Musk should be applauded by everyone opposed to the American ruling class’ censorious hegemony. That ruling class routinely got its way under Dorsey, as encapsulated by former President Donald Trump’s post-January 6, 2021, Twitter banishment.

Twitter under Musk’s imminent ownership augurs well for the future of open, dissident, ruling class-skeptical discourse in America’s 21st-century digital public square. But many questions still remain for Mr. Musk. Here are just a handful of them.

Most important — as is the case for any incoming organizational owner, president or chairman — what kind of personnel changes can we expect right out of the gate? Will Musk fire Dorsey’s hand-picked successor as CEO, Parag Agrawal? (He should.) Will Musk fire all the various software engineers and computer programmers behind Twitter’s many years of censorship, deplatforming decisions and shadowbans (all of which, predictably, tended to skew in one ideological direction)? Even the human resources decision-makers must go.

Just as important, where will Musk go to recruit his personnel replacements? There is now a flourishing countercultural tech world replete with talented, woke-skeptical entrepreneurs, programmers and software developers. The neo-reactionary right-wing blogger Curtis Yarvin emanates from that world, and Peter Thiel is the single public figure probably most readily identifiable with it. Musk should aggressively tap into that network and meet with Thiel and venture capital firm Founders Fund early and often. He must clean house internally and completely revamp Twitter’s recruitment practices.

Furthermore, what public actions will Musk take to redeem Twitter’s image and restore its credibility among the broad subset of the population that no longer trusts it? A truth and reconciliation commission-style approach is needed here. Within the confines of what is permissible under extant intellectual property law, Musk should publicly expose Twitter’s old algorithms that were used to ban and shadowban digital speech that ran counter to the ruling class’ preferred narrative. Public shaming is one of humanity’s oldest methods for restorative justice; good ol’ fashioned shaming will be a helpful tool for Musk as he seeks to reassure Americans that he means business.

Next, what specific standard will Musk use to secure open discourse and ensure dissident speech is not suppressed on Twitter? The most obvious standard is a First Amendment one; in other words, if the content of the speech is such that the government could not censor it if it were spoken on a public sidewalk, then it should be permissible on Twitter. But even if such a standard were adopted, what steps will Musk personally take to ensure it is upheld? What kind of accountability measures will be put in place to forestall a rogue woke algorithm programmer from sneaking in some code that reverts to the pre-Musk censorship regime? If Musk means business, then he should govern as a hands-on owner — perhaps even CEO, if he can find enough time in the day away from his Tesla and SpaceX duties.

What will Musk do to tamp down speculation that he is too cozy with China? Jeff Bezos — who himself has zero credibility on the China question — mused on Twitter this week: “Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage of the town square?” The context was a New York Times reporter who noted Tesla’s reliance on Chinese lithium batteries, as well as its dependence upon China as a consumer market. And there is more; for instance, Musk spoke last year at China’s World Internet Conference, a confab closely tied to the ruling Communist Party. Musk should take clear actions, once firmly at the Twitter helm, to ease the minds of those Americans who worry that our geopolitical archfoe may be able to get a little too close for comfort to the man who will control our digital town square.

Finally, what role will Musk play in America’s roiling Big Tech policy and legal debates, more broadly? Will he become an outspoken proponent of the need to reform Section 230, the arcane 1990s-era statutory provision that has been interpreted to give Big Tech platforms effective carte blanche for their discretionary content-moderation decisions? Will he advocate for the use of antitrust to break up Google, Amazon and/or Meta (i.e., Facebook)? Will he openly praise Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent suggestion that common carrier regulation may be legally appropriate for certain social networks? Musk now has the perfect platform to become a prominent spokesman on these pressing issues.

We should wish Elon Musk nothing but the best at Twitter. But we must also remain vigilant — and hold the titan accountable to his own professed word.

COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.