By Michel Rectenwald*
Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter and make it a private company has apparently been successful. Now the real action begins. Musk’s takeover exposes the Big Digital media complex to unwelcome and unusual competition, while threatening to loosen its near-total control of information and opinion. Twitter represented an essential element in a configuration of information that excluded competitors and participants from the digital sphere through progressive criteria, including awakening, political allegiance and obedience to the official dictates and narratives of the world. ‘State.
The response to the arbiters of acceptable expression’s takeover of Twitter was as hysterical as it was swift. the New York Timesthe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Media Matters for America, establishment faculty members and other “experts” rushed to bolster defensive forces against free speech.
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, described the sale of Twitter to Mr. Musk as
a victory for disinformation and the people who spread it. Musk could unleash a wave of toxicity and harassment and undo Twitter’s efforts to increase the quality of engagement and make its platform safer for users….
This potential deal is about much more than the future of Twitter. A sale to Elon Musk without any conditions will pollute the entire information ecosystem by opening the floodgates of hatred and lies. Twitter’s board needs to consider that now before the deal is done.
Despite the special plea for safe spaces, Carusone is right about one thing. The agreement is not limited to the future of Twitter. As if it wasn’t already obvious, Twitter’s board’s earlier attempt to foil Musk’s seizure of the company with a poison pill betrayed the Big Tech cartel member’s true nature. He did not function as a for-profit competitor in the free market, but rather as an essential part of a carefully organized monopolistic information bubble which he helped to cultivate and nurture, and within which he never didn’t need to compete.
Musk’s commitment to free speech has raised the hedgehogs of establishment gatekeepers, who ironically view free speech as a “threat to democracy.” Alluding to Twitter’s state functions, California State East Bay communications and history professor Nolan Higdon said Musk’s acquisition makes “democracy less and less likely to work the way it’s designed. “. Democracy here does not mean equal representation in the public sphere, but rather the pre-established dominance of a particular “democratic” ideology. This ideology is defined by the imperatives of “diversity, equity and inclusion”, which are expressed in terms of acceptable and protected identities and policies.
Rights groups fear that Musk’s commitment to free speech could endanger supposedly embattled identity groups, who will be harmed by the speech of others being given the possibility of Twitter’s restrictive algorithms being crushed. “Regardless of who owns Twitter,” wrote Deborah Brown, researcher and digital rights advocate at Human Rights Watch, “the company has a responsibility to respect the rights of people around the world who depend on the platform. Changes to its policies, features, and algorithms, large and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts.
The assertion that speech can “harm” others on its own is now the typical snowflake special totalitarian pretext for shutting down the speech of those deemed intolerable. During this time, the New York Times relentlessly smears Musk and with FT announced a timely expose on the auto mogul. And rumor has it that woke advertisers could orchestrate a full-scale boycott of Twitter.
But there is much more at stake than containing an errant opinion or disciplining a supposedly renegade capitalist like Musk. Big digital companies like Twitter have taken over oversight and control functions once given to governments. These functions have been delegated to corporate assets such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube and others, replacing them as agents of the state while increasing the power and penetration of the state. These government functions include the development of the political domain himself.1
Twitter has functioned as a political state apparatus – an agent of propaganda, censorship and (dis)information for the state, the state defined by Henry Hazlitt as “the ruling clique”. Letting any of these major assets fall into the “wrong” hands undermines these functions and casts new doubt on the regime’s ability to crush dissent and control the population.
- 1.The term “political field”, defined by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, refers to a particular type of social terrain: a delimited space of struggle for political power, structured by rules of access, where resources are distributed differential way between the actors and the set of legitimate positions on questions of government is limited, that is to say that certain political positions exceed the limits of legitimate discourse. (Stephanie Lee Mudge, “STATE OF THE ART: What is Neoliberalism?” Socio-economic report 6 (2008): 703–31, esp. 707.)
*About the author: Michael Rectenwald is the author of eleven books, including thought criminal, beyond waking up, Google Archipelagoand The spring of snowflakes.
Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute