Ye gods, I’m so tired of Elon Musk and his sycophants, almost as much as I’m sick of Donald Trump and his. Every time someone criticizes Musk, his (largely White male) bootlickers come out en masse like an indignant and egregiously offended group of Bronies who take criticism of their hero as a personal affront. They need to get some boundaries because negative commentary and satire of a public figure should not prompt that much butt-hurt and aggro in those who admire the person.
Even worse, they want to make it political, like it’s a liberal thing not to like the guy. As someone who identifies as left of center, for me, it’s absolutely not political. He lost me long ago with his antivax garbage and his denigration of higher education, even though he needs people with advanced degrees to build his toys and run his companies. He’s more than a little sexist and racist, judging by his comments, and no, he is not the founder of Tesla like many believe. Tesla was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Half the people who come out and rage in Musk’s defense appear to not even know that much.
His sycophants, so many of them armchair “experts” in Constitutional law, want to make it about “freedom of speech,” as though Twitter’s previous bans on hate speech somehow curtail the right to speak one’s mind. The problem with that is that the Constitutional right to “freedom of speech” extends only to the government in that it prevents the government from censoring the press, incarcerating people for peaceful assembly, and punishing those who petition for redress. Social media is privately held, and if the owners want to ban the word “cat,” they have every legal right to. I’ve had other blogs in the past, more popular and well-tended blogs, and I absolutely had a list of words that were banned in the comments because I have no tolerance for intolerance, hate speech, or incivility on any site I run. While my country is designed to be a democracy, my blogs and sites are not. The buck stops with me.
Furthermore, the First Amendment does NOT protect ALL speech. It does not protect incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, or threats. And guess what, kids? More and more courts are finding racial epithets and other forms of hate speech to be “fighting words.”
The Musk syhophants like to go on about how Twitter had “censorship” before Musk came in. I would like to know what is so wrong with a private company wanting to make its platform welcoming to all. Why should women, people of color, trans people, gay people, immigrants, and other marginalized groups have to be subjected to hate speech and bigoted rants meant to intimidate and frighten them? Why should any platform be welcoming to hatred? There is mounting evidence that hate speech online harms the mental health and well-being of the people it targets. It’s a form of cyberbullying, and it is psychological violence.
Sorry, racists, homophobes, and misogynists. You need a better argument to defend that egomaniacal jerk and the way he is further lowering a platform that was already a cesspit of conspiracy theories and low-brow, emotionally stunted discourse.