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UNLOCKED: Elon Musk Doesn't Care about Free Speech
He funded Twitter with money from repressive theocrats.
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Last week, the world’s richest man Elon Musk bought America’s customer complaint board, Twitter.com. After months of trying to get out of the deal, he flipped his frown upside down and made a show of the acquisition.
In the months leading up to his forced purchase, Musk has become the darling of the American Right due to his ostensible commitment to “Free Speech.” Putting aside Conservatism has no true belief in free speech (see their attempts to censor criticism of Israel), it’s important to take this notion head-on.
Not only is Musk no defender of civil liberties, but he’s an active agent against them.
Shut Your Musk
In a sense, Musk’s Free Speech crusade fits right at home with Conservatives. He rides a high horse, imagining himself a Free Speech Defender, then uses his immense power to stop people from saying things he doesn’t like.
For example, Musk has been repeatedly condemned by the National Labor Relations Board for union busting at Tesla plants. He himself told workers they would lose stock options unless they stopped discussing unionization. Following a slate of software-caused crashes of Tesla in China, the company asked Bejining to use its censorship powers to silence criticism of faulty cars. And then there’s the time he hunted down an anonymous Twitter user who was critical of Tesla, doxed him, and reported him to his boss. All because the user tweeted accurate updates about Tesla’s financial woes.
But the hostility to free speech goes far beyond Musk’s individual actions.
To acquire Twitter, Musk needed funding. While he is the world’s known richest man (I still think it’s actually Putin, but that’s a different discussion), most of Musk’s assets are tied up in his companies. So, he called his friends, the rulers of oppressive theocracies.
Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia invested $1.89 billion dollars in Twitter, making him the 2nd largest shareholder behind Musk.
And in addition to getting in bed with the Bonesaw Billionaires of Saudi Arabia, Musk got additional funding from Qatar’s wealth fund.
The crimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are too numerous to count, but here are a few that illustrate they are no believers in free speech:
Just last month, Saudi Arabia sentenced 72-year-old U.S. citizen Saad Ibrahim Almadi to 16 years in prison over tweets criticizing the regime.
Article 136 of the Qatari penal code, which was instituted in 2020, calls for the imprisonment of “anyone who broadcasts, publishes, or republishes false or biased rumors, statements, or news, or inflammatory propaganda, domestically or abroad, with the intent to harm national interests, stir up public opinion, or infringe on the social system or the public system of the state.”
Most famously, Saudi monarch Mohammed bin Salman ordered American journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be murdered and dismembered in a Turkish consulate for criticizing his regime in the fall of 2018.
As he funded his “free speech utopia” with money from the most anti-free speech people on the planet, many have begun to call Musk a hypocrite. But that is inaccurate.
To be hypocritical, one must act contrary to a dearly held belief. As he has shown, Musk holds no commitment to anything besides his own financial interest and the protection of his ego.
He is not a hypocrite. Just a conman.
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