When Leaders Are More Terrified of Free Speech Than Nuclear War, You Know Something is Wrong
Why has Elon Musk sent the Establishment into panic mode?
I’m always wary of people with a lot of money.
I’m not talking about entrepreneurs who become multi-millionaires by starting a trendy clothing line or creating a cool app. I’m talking about the uber rich. Billionaires like Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.
The elite class.
I’m wary of elites because the way the System is set-up, it’s virtually impossible to accumulate an obscene amount of money without exploiting people, twisting laws, or engaging in some corruption or chicanery. So I always question the motives of people who hold 75% of the planet’s wealth, and Elon Musk is no exception. I don’t trust the man.
But I’d be lying if I said Musk doesn’t intrigue me.
Not just because he’s more unpredictable than someone with an obscene amount of money “should” be. Or because he spouts wild theories and is full of surprises (can you name another member of the elite class who’s willing to challenge Vladimir Putin to hand-to-hand combat?)
What intrigues me most about Musk is how the Establishment reacts to him.
I have no idea why he bought Twitter or what he wants to do with it. I have no clue what’s going on in his mind. But here’s what I do know: whether Musk is controlled opposition or a Big Tech savior, he’s clearly disrupting “something. The Establishment loves billionaires, yet this particular billionaire is giving it fits.
The question is why?
Anyone who’s completely honest with themselves knows the First Amendment is on the ropes. The assault on our most cherished constitutional right has thrown many Americans for a loop because it’s so surprising — and puzzling.
Decades ago, the idea that women and black people should be allowed to vote and work beside white men was considered dangerous and amoral. Can you imagine what our country would look like today if we hadn't been allowed to challenge those assumptions? That’s how important freedom of speech is. Yet sixty years later, the indispensable tool used to advance civil rights has been “re-branded” as a weapon wielded by racists and other deplorables.
People with common sense can’t help but wonder: “What reality am I living in?”
The answer is that we’re living in a distorted reality , a topsy-turvy world straight out of Alice in Wonderland where up is down, black is white, and madness reigns.
In this bizarre new reality, free speech has become code for “hate speech” — because expressing an opinion that offends or disrupts the worldview of anyone who isn't a cisgender white male is seen as hateful or discriminatory. We've somehow forgotten that the freedom to challenge any opinion or narrative is what makes America so special.
In this Alice in Wonderland reality, we’re terrified that others might share information that makes us feel uncomfortable or unsafe — because no one should ever be exposed to any kind of risk. We’ve forgotten that freedom always carries some degree of risk.
Our government doesn’t tell us what we can or can’t invest in, even though some people are gullible enough to put their money in Ponzi schemes. We’ve never restricted freedom of religion or association, even though some people are foolish enough to join deadly cults. We don’t keep people from smoking cigarettes, even though they kill 480,000 people each year.
Free speech carries risk, too.
Having the right to believe and say what we want can lead us down the wrong path and make us look foolish, but we’ve always been okay with that. We’ve never been afraid of ideas, now matter how wacky or dangerous they sound, because we weren’t compelled to listen to them. We had faith that the best ideas — and the truth — would ultimately rise to the top and move society to a better place.
That’s the way free speech has always worked . Until now.
Now we’re supposed to believe that because some people have wacky or dangerous thoughts, no one should be trusted to think for themselves or speak their minds. It makes no damn sense, but nothing makes sense in a distorted reality; we’re supposed to just play along until we succumb to the madness.
Our distorted reality even colors the way we view elites and compels us to see the world through a lens in which some billionaires are “good” and others are “bad.”
When we play along with this reality, we'll think it’s reprehensible for a “bad” billionaire (Trump) to run for president, but it’s fine for a “good” billionaire (Bloomberg) to throw his hat into the ring — halfway through the race — and spend $1 billion to purchase four electoral votes. We'll convince ourselves that turning an election into a “Buy it now” auction on eBay is no big deal, as long as it helps us get rid of the “bad” billionaire.
In this topsy-turvy reality, we’ll think it’s "fascinating" when a “good” billionaire (Bezos) buys one of the largest newspapers in the country, but it’s an existential threat when a “bad” billionaire (Musk) acquires Twitter.
Which brings us to recent events.
From the moment the deal was announced, there’s been non-stop hand-wringing in the media and Hollywood. CNN warned that “we’re headed to hell” if Twitter stops censoring content. Cate Blanchett called Musk’s takeover “very, very dangerous.” Actress Jameela Jamil predicted that Musk’s “free speech bid” would end in “lawless hate, bigotry and misogyny.”
There was even panic in Twitter’s offices. Employees went into full-blown meltdown (“Physically cringy watching Elon talk about free speech” an engineer wrote on Slack), and the company’s top lawyer broke down in tears. It’s the kind of terror you might envision if Vladimir Putin announced he was running for Congress (or buying Amazon).
If the media, Hollywood celebrities, and high-strung Silicon Valley techies were the only ones panicking, I wouldn’t give Musk or Twitter a second thought. But it’s the government’s response that’s raised red flags for me. In the handful of days since the deal was announced, this is what we’ve seen:
Senator Elizabeth Warren condemned Musk’s acquisition as “dangerous for our democracy” because it proves that billionaires “play by a different set of rules than everyone else."(Of course, when “good” billionaires bend the rules by muscling their way into elections at the last minute or using their wealth to become the largest private owner of farmland in the country, that’s totally cool).
Senate Democrats leaders are considering calling Musk to testify about his plans for “censorship” and “content moderation” on Twitter.
The White House even hinted that Twitter could face regulatory action, citing “concerns” over the “power” of tech platforms and the “harms they cause.”
But by week’s end, things had ratcheted up several notches. In a move straight out of George Orwell’s novel 1984, the Biden administration announced it was creating a Disinformation Governance Board to ensure that bad thoughts don’t stray into American minds.
It’s worth noting that this Board will operate under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Why is this important? Because in February, DHS issued a bulletin declaring that “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions,” is now considered an act of terrorism.
In other words, our government is trying to force us to trust it. It’s going to extreme lengths to keep us from questioning or doubting whatever it does or tells us. Yet plenty of Americans have always questioned and doubted our government. So why is this suddenly a crime now?
BTW, Nina Jankowicz, the disinformation expert tapped to head the Board, takes her new job very seriously. She bristles at the thought of “free speech absolutionists” taking over more online platforms, and she’s so passionate about making sure Americans get the “right” information that she even wrote a song about it.
If you think this sounds like something out of a really bad Saturday Night Live sketch, you’re not alone. But this is the reality we’re expected to play along with.
The U.S. government isn’t the only one panicking. Last week, European officials also sent a message to the world’s richest man: Follow our rules, and those rules don’t include unfettered speech. EU’s single market chief, Thierry Breton, threatened to ban Twitter unless it continues to aggressively polices content on its platform.
Yet while Western governments work themselves into a lather over the imminent “harms” of free speech, something else is quietly unfolding in the background: their countries are imploding.
America and Europe are slipping into hyperinflation. President Biden is warning of food shortages, and several European countries have already started rationing food. EU governments have even told citizens to cut back on their energy consumption.
We’re still licking economic wounds inflicted by lockdowns, but our leaders are telling us to gird our loins for more pain. Why?
Because these are the sacrifices we must make to help Ukraine fight Russia. Because it’s imperative that we support “freedom” in another country — even as governments work overtime to keep us from exercising our right to free speech in our own countries.
Does this make sense to you?
Keep in mind that the people who’ve set this disastrous chain of events in motion aren’t working very hard to eliminate (or even reduce) the pain they’re causing us. They haven't taken aggressive steps to broker a compromise with Russia that might save lives and stabilize the global economy. They won’t consider allowing Ukraine to be a non-NATO supported buffer state.
Instead, they’ve doubled down on a course of action that's guaranteed to further destabilize the region and possibly lead to World War Three. The Biden administration has even asked Congress to shell out another $33 billion to support a conflict the West will likely lose. They're ignoring the fact that energy-rich Russia has the economic stamina to withstand anything the West throws at it).
Our leaders are literally staring into the abyss, and they’re not blinking.
What’s even crazier is that they don’t expect us to connect the obvious dots and see where this is all headed: if global supply chains are crippled, food supplies are wrecked, the planet plummets into an energy crisis, and nukes start flying…who will benefit from Ukrainian freedom?
But in the midst of this chaos, Western governments have made it clear that there’s one “danger” they won’t subject us to under any circumstances: disinformation. Because right now, nothing — not even the threat of global starvation or nuclear war — terrifies them more than citizens sharing “bad” information.
Again, does this make sense to you?
Pre-pandemic, America was clearly, in decline. But it wasn’t a total dumpster fire. Two years later, our country is virtually unrecognizable: life is quickly becoming unaffordable, crime in cities is out of control, and we’re battling a fentanyl crisis that’s become the leading cause of death among working age Americans. The situation is better in Europe, but not by much: like the U.S., it’s facing a wave of pandemic-induced crime and a severe labor shortage.
Our leaders aren't blind to what’s happening. If you listen closely, you can tell they’re preparing for imminent and monumental change in the form of a “Great Reset” and a New World Order. You might recall that President Biden campaigned on a pledge to “Build Back Better.”
But build back from what? And better for whom?
Will we “build back” from economic crisis triggered by an expanding war in Ukraine and the breakdown of social order at home? Will governments usher us into a “new world order” where we’ll own nothing and we'll be happy — because we’ll be labeled a terrorist if we raise a stink about owning nothing?
As we sit on the cusp of hyperinflation, food shortages, and global war, we need to ask ourselves why free speech frightens our elected leaders more than anything else facing us now.
If the thought of the masses expressing themselves without censorship is the only thing that truly scares governments, what does that say about the kind of future they have planned for us?
And more important, will we keep playing along with the distorted reality that’s enabling this madness, or will we find the courage to stand with others and resist when the time comes?
Sooner than later, this is a choice each of us will have to make. What will you choose?
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