If you are skeptical of claims that an ascendant ruling class has been hard at work transforming the country into a single-party surveillance state in which only approved speech is permitted, your doubts should be allayed by the hysteria that greeted Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter. His proposal to pay $54.20 per share — 38 percent higher than its closing price on April 1 — was eminently fair. Yet it has been portrayed by our self-appointed patriciate as a dangerous power play by a sinister plutocrat with fell designs on democracy. What really worries them, of course, is the democratizing effect of free expression on a major social media platform.
Consequently, we get privileged public figures like Robert Reich conflating unfettered free expression on the internet with despotism: “That’s Musk’s dream. And Trump’s. And Putin’s. And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on Earth.” We find members of the corporate media like Max Boot insulting our collective intelligence with claims like this: “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.” We are expected to take this kind of nonsense seriously and ignore the obvious realities pointed out by Elon Musk himself during his interview with Chris Anderson at last Thursday’s TED conference:
Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square. So it’s just really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.… I’m saying this is not a way to make money. It’s just that my strong, intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. And a good sign as to whether there is free speech is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like. And if that is the case, then we have free speech.
It appears, however, that the Twitter board would rather dilute the value of the company’s stock than give up censorship. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, “The company on Friday adopted a so-called poison pill strategy that makes it difficult for him to significantly increase his stake beyond 15%.” This ploy will work as follows: If Musk or any single entity acquires ownership of 15 percent or more of Twitter’s outstanding stock in a transaction not approved by the Board, existing shareholders are granted the right to purchase additional shares at a discount. This dilutes the value of shares owned by Musk or anyone else attempting to acquire a controlling interest.
Musk may well take Twitter to court for this maneuver as he hinted last Friday: “If the current Twitter board takes actions contrary to shareholder interests, they would be breaching their fiduciary duty.” It is all but certain that Twitter will be hit with a number of lawsuits from other shareholders on the same grounds. It is also possible that Musk will continue pursuing a controlling interest in the company by partnering with other large investors on a bid. If all of this seems less like a counterrevolution than a high profile hostile takeover of an undervalued public corporation, consider the definition of “revolution” offered by Commentary’s Abe Greenwald in September of 2020:
The battle for the survival of the United States of America is upon us … a revolution should not be understood as synonymous with an armed insurgency. It is the transformation of popular ideas and beliefs and, most important, of a country’s national character that marks the advent of revolution. The French Revolution was inaugurated by the non-violent creation of the National Assembly.… By clinging to the colorful notions of revolution in our shared imagination, we dangerously underestimate the significance of what has transpired in the U.S. this summer.
And “content moderation,” the de rigueur euphemism for censorship, always plays an integral role in any revolution. Three-hundred years ago, in 1722, Benjamin Franklin warned: “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.” Most Americans intuitively understand this. Elon Musk is unique only in the sense that he has the financial resources to do something about it. After talking to Seth Dillon about the banning of the Babylon Bee, Musk began musing online about the uneven application of Twitter’s policies: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”
Then, on April 13, Musk filed his proposal to purchase Twitter with the SEC and thereby joined a counterrevolution that had already begun in 2021 with parental revolts over the leftist agenda of school boards. The arrogance of the latter turned a lot of ordinary middle-class women into genuine activists capable of upending blue state gubernatorial elections. Meanwhile, skyrocketing crime rates have all but killed the moronic defund the police movement and have seriously vitiated the longtime loyalty of Hispanic and Black voters to the Democratic Party. The big test for the counterrevolution will come in November, when it attempts to recapture majorities in both houses of Congress.
Meanwhile, as Charles Gasparino reports in the New York Post, the SEC has responded to Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter by launching an investigation into his business activities: “Are they worried conservative voices might get equal billing as those on the left with Elon running the show?” Of course, and with good reason. If Musk manages to get control of Twitter, our so-called elites will be unable to successfully compete in an open public debate. This, in turn, will increase the chances that the Democrats will receive the drubbing they richly deserve in November, and the counterrevolution will be well on its way to returning the country to its rightful owners — the voters.