In 2021 Elon Musk created overnight millionaires by pushing the Dogecoin meme. In 2022, he may be gearing up for something far more dramatic. The world’s richest man might be on the cusp of launching a global crusade to restore freedom of speech.
Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
What should be done? https://t.co/aPS9ycji37
Creating an alternative platform could be interesting, though several of these exist already. Twitter remains, by Elon’s own admission, the de facto public town square. Despite its severe censorship, it is still the only major digital public space where anonymous accounts can interact with celebrities, journalists and business titans (including Elon), where world leaders engage in spirited public diplomacy, and where dominant cultural and political narratives incubate and spread.
The most exciting possibility is therefore the most obvious one: Musk should simply buy a controlling stake in Twitter itself. He could certainly afford it. At $31 billion, Twitter’s market cap is less than 15 percent of Musk’s current net worth. Even if one regards Twitter stock as entirely worthless, Musk could theoretically buy a controlling stake in it and still be the world’s richest man by fifty billion dollars, and free speech would be restored to the “land of the free.”
But in practice, it’s not that easy. In fact, one would be hard pressed to imagine a project more dangerous and difficult than restoring free speech to a major tech platform like Twitter. At the same time, it’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile project. Restoring genuine free speech would do more for patriotic Americans than the GOP taking back the White House in 2024, and it would pose a greater threat to the ruling Regime than anything Russia, China, or Iran might plausibly do.
Free speech online is what enabled the Trump revolution in 2016. If the Internet had been as free in 2020 as it was four years before, Trump would have cruised to reelection. Massive censorship and suppression are the tools needed to prop up COVID tyranny, the Ukraine war fever, and the idea that Lia Thomas is a “woman.” America’s decrepit and illegitimate ruling class intuitively understand this: Absolute freedom of speech, or even the speech norms that prevailed a mere decade ago, would instantly cause the American regime as we know it to crumble.
In short, transforming Twitter back into a real free speech platform would represent nothing less than a declaration of war against the Globalist American Empire.