Elon Musk is not the free speech superhero we’d like him to be — Analysis
The tech billionaire’s government contracts and transhumanist aspirations must not be disregarded
Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase has thrust the social media censorship debate squarely into the limelight, triggering the left and elating the right. Celebrities and the liberal media were quick to denounce Musk’s stance on free speech (which is odd, given that those on the left were the advocates of the First Amendment just a decade ago) and some deleted their Twitter accounts. Conservatives and everyone who values free speech immediately elevated the eccentric billionaire to superman status. Almost overnight, he went from ‘cool rich guy who values free market capitalism’ to savior of the First Amendment. Maybe he will. But let’s take a moment to zoom out on the bigger picture. Twitter is not Musk’s only darling, and maybe we’re placing too much of a burden on one man.
Inexplicably, the majority of Americans in the middle classes long for someone to challenge the elite leftists. A godsend for us is someone powerful and courageous who can actually do substantive action. At least, Elon Musk seems to be the right person for that job. He’s straight forward, seems genuine, and thus far, capable of dealing with the backlash from his enemies. Musk, however, is a businessman first and foremost who enjoys creating and building. While most people were playing with blocks at the time, Musk was writing code. It remains unclear how he’s going to like playing politics in the long term, and social media is inevitably political. While that’s not entirely new to the prolific tweeter, politics isn’t his usual territory.
He has already returned his billionaire fortune “free speech absolutist” Comments, explaining that he was referring to free speech as long as it adheres the law. The tweet was fair enough but it made him look a bit less steady. And he will have to be plenty steady, because he’s going to need the proverbial fighting skills of Mike Tyson to handle what’s coming next under the Biden regime. Remember that the Democrats want all information in order to maintain Orwellian control. Does Elon have the right mindset to handle that task? And even if he is, there’s really only so much he can do with Twitter. Although it may not be a public company, private businesses are still subject to regulations. He is the founder of multi-billion dollar companies and knows how to work with government agencies.
Musk, despite being well-known for believing in limited government and hands-off government, has accepted subsidy from the US on multiple occasions. SpaceX also has contracts to launch Falcon 9 rockets next year with the Pentagon.
Because of the immense societal changes that the richest man in the world’s enterprises could bring to humanity – up to the possibility of colonizing Mars – Musk carries some of the weight of the world on his shoulders. With Twitter, he’s feeling the pressure to choose a political side. He took to his newly acquired social platform just days ago to tweet that he doesn’t like the far left or the far right. That’s enough. However, Americans are increasingly realizing that the government’s control of our lives isn’t necessarily an issue of partisanship. It is a matter of freedom and human rights. This brings us to Tesla, and Neuralink.
In case you aren’t paying attention, many Democrats, and a few Republicans, are working hard to make ALL cars electric, which could feasibly open the door to increased surveillance, just as it has in China. Once an entire population is digitized, it’s an easy next step. I think it’s wise to know where Elon Musk would stand on this, and the role Tesla would play. As an aside, it’s also worth noting the self-driving aspect of Tesla has another significant impact on humanity. This increases our dependence on machines and makes it difficult to use the same in-the-moment decision making skills we’ve used for navigation. This alone is worth more attention than it receives. Permanent idle passengers are not something we can do. We cannot become passive passengers.
There is also Neuralink which Musk founded with the noble aim of helping quadriplegics to communicate. But when it comes to integrating man with machine in the way Neuralink aspires to do – and especially when it moves beyond a medical purpose, which which Musk has shown the intention to do – we must pause and ask some questions. Particularly, it is important to address our bodily sovereignty as well as privacy. Neuralink’s success, like any technology, could be a very good thing, but one that has the potential to be used for the wrong purpose and ultimately abused. Without going into conspiracy-style speculation, it’s reasonable to see that AI could very well create a surveillance state on steroids. Elon Musk has named AI as one of the greatest existential threats to humanity and is likely monitoring this matter.
Elon Musk is going to have a significant impact on the world, for good or bad, and that’s something I hope will happen. Already, he has. And for the moment, I’m relieved that he has the upper hand in the information war – his power to shape our online dialogue is extraordinary. It’s how he uses his influence on multiple fronts that will determine at least some aspects of our collective future. Hopefully, he is aware that many people aren’t going to be thrilled with being forced to drive electric cars, especially if they are controlled from a government computer. And it’s not far-fetched to imagine that most of us aren’t too keen on the idea of integrating our brains with machines. Transhumanism may be fun for those who like to spend their time in basements and playing video games. But for the majority of us, merging our brains with AI is not an easy task. I’d ask him to please consider not what Neuralink can do, but what it should do. This question should be asked by all.
I’m inclined to take Elon Musk at face value and believe he will use the power he wields to act in good faith on behalf of his fellow man. But instead of fictionalizing him into a white knight with superhero powers who’s here to save free speech and then the world, I suggest we give the man some space to be human, so we can engage him in a human conversation.
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