Has the Right’s March Through the Institutions Begun? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Has the Right’s March Through the Institutions Begun?

You likely haven’t noticed this, but there is an awful lot of evidence out there that the Left is beginning to lose the institutions they’ve spent the past couple of decades seizing control over.

Or maybe you have noticed it. If so, it could be that what’s going on with Elon Musk and Twitter might have provided the clue that got you started thinking about this.

You probably already know the particulars here. Musk bought up some 9.2 percent of Twitter, urged on by the social media platform banning the Babylon Bee’s account after the satire publication named Richard “Rachel” Levine, the cross-dressing bureaucrat working in the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, as its Man of the Year in response to USA Today naming Levine as its Woman of the Year.

Along the way, Musk posted a number of things on Twitter highly critical of the app’s treatment of free speech. He conducted a poll asking whether Twitter protected free speech; more than 70 percent of his followers said no. He suggested that Twitter should have an edit button; other apps like Facebook do. And Musk kept hinting that big things were in the offing.

Including Musk openly musing about starting his own social app, which led to speculation that he’d buy up Twitter and then shut it down.

Last week, Twitter offered Musk a seat on its board. On Saturday, he turned it down. Twitter’s bylaws would have restricted Musk to a 14.9 percent share of the company, effectively barring him from upsetting the apple cart more than he already has. When Musk refused the board seat, speculation exploded that what he’s doing amounts to a hostile takeover of Twitter to come.

This column has no information on whether or not that will happen. Musk could dump his 9.2 percent share of Twitter at a hefty profit tomorrow, and if he did, Twitter would likely be mortally wounded. Or he could keep buying and drive the stock price higher. Musk’s initial stock purchases jumped Twitter stock some 30 percent, though it fell from a high of $52 following that buying spree to its current price just below $45.

In fact, Twitter stock dropped more than $2.50 on the news that Musk wasn’t going to join the board, an indication investors were expecting a Musk selloff more than a hostile takeover.

But Elon Musk is in a very unusual position. He’s the richest man in the world, so he has the wherewithal to swallow up Twitter. In fact, he could buy up every share of that company and still have 85 percent of his net worth invested elsewhere. He’s also got the reach, on social media and elsewhere, to get out the kind of messaging that can move the stock price. If Musk wanted to, he could trash Twitter’s stock and make buying it up a quite affordable proposition.

Or he could leave it a shattered ruin.

The thing to remember is that the Babylon Bee incident wasn’t the only provocation for Musk’s potentially hostile interest. Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal, who at 37 is the youngest CEO of a company in the S&P 500, took over from its founder Jack Dorsey in December to the horror of many critics. Agrawal had said in a 2018 interview that Twitter should “focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.”

“Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard,” he declared in the interview. “And so increasingly our role is moving towards how we recommend content.”

This after Dorsey had completely botched his company’s treatment of free speech, including taking the breathtakingly stupid step of banning former President Donald Trump, who had 88 million followers on the app. Dorsey was thought to be a free speech advocate who was dragged into cancel culture by the momentum of Twitter’s employees.

And when Agrawal took over for Dorsey, among his first actions was a diktat from Twitter HQ that users would no longer be able to post pictures of someone without his or her consent. That led Musk to figuratively poke Agrawal in the eye with this:

Of course, the disappearing Soviet apparatchik wearing Dorsey’s face is Nikolai Yezhov, a secret-police official who went from walking alongside Joseph Stalin (or Agrawal, as the case might be) in the famous photo to being executed, buried in an unmarked grave, and airbrushed out of the shot.

Twitter is an institution that commands the participation of most of the corporate press. Lazy journalists use it as a substitute for getting out in the real world and doing their jobs, the effect of which is that much of American journalism comes from a terribly skewed perspective. They think Twitter is America; it isn’t. Most Americans aren’t on Twitter, and those who aren’t have a much different attitude and reality than those who are.

Which is another way of saying that Twitter is an institution that is out of touch with the market it purports to serve. And that’s a real problem. Twitter’s market capitalization is a little more than $35 billion. That’s tiny compared to other Big Tech institutions. But it punches far above its weight in the amount of influence it exerts on other, more consequential media institutions and the national cultural and political narrative.

So if Musk were to carry out a hostile takeover of Twitter, it would be something like the Battle of Midway in the war to restore some balance to our national discussion. Or at least Washington crossing the Delaware. It would be a disruptive eventuality that could expose the fact that our crumbling social, cultural, and corporate institutions have been usurped by people unfit to hold them, and the rout might begin from there.

Because there are lots of institutions that are failing and in severe danger of major disruption, if perhaps of a less dramatic character than Musk’s potential takeover might be for Twitter.

This column has talked about the real decline of higher education, particularly when it comes to attracting men. American colleges are increasingly female-dominated, and students are increasingly pursuing courses of study of the liberal arts variety, if not the Junk Studies variety. The overall value of a college degree is therefore plunging, and the word is getting out — the higher ed bubble is bursting, if slowly.

And of course, there is K-12 education, an institution that has been broken for some time. But the consequences of that failure are only now coming to the fore as parents terrorize school board meetings by objecting to stupid Branch Covidian policies as well as transgender and critical race theory advocacy. Bills like Florida’s anti-grooming law and money-follows-the-child education funding plans are also racing through state legislatures. Meanwhile, the number of people homeschooling their kids has more than tripled in the past three years and private schools are bursting at the seams with students.

Hollywood is in a state of collapse after going horribly woke under the control of the hard Left. And yet the Christian-infused Kurt Warner biopic American Underdog has managed to gross some $27 million at the box office, earning a tidy profit while other films with huge budgets like Nightmare Alley, The 355, and West Side Story fell well short of the black. American Underdog directors Andy and Jon Erwin are unapologetic Christians whose last feature film, I Can Only Imagine, turned a $7 million budget into an $85 million box-office hit.

And Joe Rogan still has 11 million downloads per podcast despite the Left’s attempts to cancel him. Rogan was never a particularly right-wing personality, but he gets friendlier to conservatives all the time. At one point, we were told that the podcast world would be the Left’s answer to talk radio, but that isn’t the reality on the ground. Not anymore.

There is a clear advance afoot, and it isn’t just a reflection of the polls showing a rough election cycle ahead for Democrats. Musk, who isn’t what you’d call a conservative but is a believer in the ideals of the American Revolution and a passionate defender of the First Amendment, is certainly no friend of the shot-callers of the cultural Left. He might just be the man who robs them of their most dearly held Big Tech darling.

And when he does, if he does, conservatives will absolutely delight in telling our cultural Marxist friends, “Well, if you don’t like Elon Musk’s Twitter, then by all means go and build your own.”

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and RVIVR.com, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at Amazon.com. He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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