Elon Musk Should Forget About the Vile Twitter

CommentaryI have on multiple occasions been an advocate for conservatives (anyone to the right of Trotsky, actually) to abandon Twitter since the company so often censors in big and small ways. I started having second thoughts when Elon Musk surfaced as a buyer, proclaiming—assuming he does close the deal after months of negotiation—an end to this censorship that reeked of a new form of high-tech fascism—and not just from the notorious blocking of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Musk saw this purchase as the opportunity to open up a new national town square, which would constitute a return to the basic First Amendment principles of our country so abjured by our progressive friends who wish to cancel us at every turn. Hallelujah! He also recently announced, at least according to a podcast, that he will be voting Republican for the first time after voting for Democrats for years. Good on him, but he’s going to lose a lot of friends for it (including most of his fellow billionaires, assuming they were friends). I can assure him of that from personal experience, having made the same shift at roughly the same age he is now.   And yet, regarding Twitter, on reflection, I think I was right in the first place—better to let it destroy itself, or destroy it through neglect. Twitter delenda est—or should be. I gather Musk himself is now hesitating from his purchase because the number of bots (phony accounts) on the site is larger, possibly far larger, than expected. Unsurprisingly, the number following the current occupant of the White House is under suspicion, as is his actual number of votes. Depending on how this plays out, the value of the company is going to decrease, possibly significantly. My primary problem with Musk’s initial dream, however, is with the concept of a town square itself, digital or otherwise, actually being able to function in 21st-century America.  Our society is at each other’s throats to a degree no one living can recall—one side veering toward an American form of socialism/communism replete with covert social credit scores and the other moving equally quickly toward some version of libertarianism. It’s hard to believe we can meet and discuss anything with near the reasonableness necessary for a useful town square. Digitizing on Twitter, of all places, with its besmirched reputation, isn’t going to solve that.  It would just give the opposing sides more opportunities to throw digital spitballs at each other. The chances of convincing anyone of your views would be somewhere between nil and minus 50 in that atmosphere. Indeed, it would be pointless. Further, if you’re really going to have a town square, what’s with those fancy “blue checks” to denote someone of importance? Who determines who has these things? Shakespeare, as always, said it best, this time through the sly mouth of his Cassius: “Brutus and Caesar: What should be in that Caesar? Why should that name be sounded more than yours?” Well, really … why? What makes Jake Tapper more important than you, dear reader, other than the exorbitant salary he is paid by CNN? Are his opinions more valid than the “barber from Peru [Indiana],” the average man that Groucho Marx used to cite when looking for the best judgment of his films? Maybe, but more likely not. I write this from the perspective of one who—despite thousands of followers before they docked me and I quit the site—like Leo Terrell 2.0, never received a blue check on Twitter. (Leo deserves one far more than I.) In full disclosure, I do have the equivalent of a blue check on GETTR, Parler, and Trump’s TRUTHSocial. At first, I received them with gratitude, but now question the system and feel a tad guilty. I don’t think, although I like praise as much as the next person, my words should be “sounded more than yours.”   More importantly, this makes our digital “town square” sound suspiciously like Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” We all remember “Four legs good, two legs bad” from that book. How far is that from blue checks or their equivalents?   What I would recommend is simply authenticating every user and requiring them to post under their own names: no pseudonyms, jokey or otherwise. Either you stand by what you said or shut up. (Legitimately sorry for those who might lose their jobs. Perhaps there should be a way to validate whistleblowers.) But that’s all assuming I would recommend such sites at all—which I don’t.   I would recommend to the brilliant and imaginative Mr. Musk that, even if Twitter descends to the bargain of bargains, he should just, as we say on the street, bag it.  The site is already too tainted to be resurrected. In the words of Brillat-Savarin, “You are what you eat.” And as for whether Donald J. Trump, if he is offered the chance to return to Twitter, should do so, he has already told us that he would bag it. Let’s hope he sticks to that. That someone who was or is president of the United States should be restricted from a website that admits the likes

Elon Musk Should Forget About the Vile Twitter

Commentary

I have on multiple occasions been an advocate for conservatives (anyone to the right of Trotsky, actually) to abandon Twitter since the company so often censors in big and small ways.

I started having second thoughts when Elon Musk surfaced as a buyer, proclaiming—assuming he does close the deal after months of negotiation—an end to this censorship that reeked of a new form of high-tech fascism—and not just from the notorious blocking of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Musk saw this purchase as the opportunity to open up a new national town square, which would constitute a return to the basic First Amendment principles of our country so abjured by our progressive friends who wish to cancel us at every turn. Hallelujah!

He also recently announced, at least according to a podcast, that he will be voting Republican for the first time after voting for Democrats for years. Good on him, but he’s going to lose a lot of friends for it (including most of his fellow billionaires, assuming they were friends). I can assure him of that from personal experience, having made the same shift at roughly the same age he is now.  

And yet, regarding Twitter, on reflection, I think I was right in the first place—better to let it destroy itself, or destroy it through neglect. Twitter delenda est—or should be.

I gather Musk himself is now hesitating from his purchase because the number of bots (phony accounts) on the site is larger, possibly far larger, than expected. Unsurprisingly, the number following the current occupant of the White House is under suspicion, as is his actual number of votes. Depending on how this plays out, the value of the company is going to decrease, possibly significantly.

My primary problem with Musk’s initial dream, however, is with the concept of a town square itself, digital or otherwise, actually being able to function in 21st-century America. 

Our society is at each other’s throats to a degree no one living can recall—one side veering toward an American form of socialism/communism replete with covert social credit scores and the other moving equally quickly toward some version of libertarianism. It’s hard to believe we can meet and discuss anything with near the reasonableness necessary for a useful town square. Digitizing on Twitter, of all places, with its besmirched reputation, isn’t going to solve that. 

It would just give the opposing sides more opportunities to throw digital spitballs at each other. The chances of convincing anyone of your views would be somewhere between nil and minus 50 in that atmosphere. Indeed, it would be pointless.

Further, if you’re really going to have a town square, what’s with those fancy “blue checks” to denote someone of importance? Who determines who has these things? Shakespeare, as always, said it best, this time through the sly mouth of his Cassius: “Brutus and Caesar: What should be in that Caesar? Why should that name be sounded more than yours?”

Well, really … why? What makes Jake Tapper more important than you, dear reader, other than the exorbitant salary he is paid by CNN? Are his opinions more valid than the “barber from Peru [Indiana],” the average man that Groucho Marx used to cite when looking for the best judgment of his films? Maybe, but more likely not.

I write this from the perspective of one who—despite thousands of followers before they docked me and I quit the site—like Leo Terrell 2.0, never received a blue check on Twitter. (Leo deserves one far more than I.)

In full disclosure, I do have the equivalent of a blue check on GETTR, Parler, and Trump’s TRUTHSocial. At first, I received them with gratitude, but now question the system and feel a tad guilty. I don’t think, although I like praise as much as the next person, my words should be “sounded more than yours.”  

More importantly, this makes our digital “town square” sound suspiciously like Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” We all remember “Four legs good, two legs bad” from that book. How far is that from blue checks or their equivalents?  

What I would recommend is simply authenticating every user and requiring them to post under their own names: no pseudonyms, jokey or otherwise. Either you stand by what you said or shut up. (Legitimately sorry for those who might lose their jobs. Perhaps there should be a way to validate whistleblowers.)

But that’s all assuming I would recommend such sites at all—which I don’t.  

I would recommend to the brilliant and imaginative Mr. Musk that, even if Twitter descends to the bargain of bargains, he should just, as we say on the street, bag it.  The site is already too tainted to be resurrected. In the words of Brillat-Savarin, “You are what you eat.”

And as for whether Donald J. Trump, if he is offered the chance to return to Twitter, should do so, he has already told us that he would bag it. Let’s hope he sticks to that. That someone who was or is president of the United States should be restricted from a website that admits the likes of Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei isn’t only—to quote Orwell again—“objectively pro-fascist,” it’s sick. 

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


Follow

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on GETTR and Parler @rogerlsimon.