Elon Musk, Hypocrite

It took two hours, but Frontline finally got there



This is cool, but their guy is not. Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Like a lot of us, I’ve been intrigued by Musk, an apparent technological genius and a social train wreck who seems to care less. Yes, SpaceX, Tesla, and Starlink are remarkable visionary achievements, the kind of things that change society.

But they are things, hardware. It’s when Musk delves into software, dealing with human complications, that his story falls to pieces.

I spent two hours last night watching a PBS Frontline documentary on Musk and his Twitter acquisition and subsequent war on…practically everything. To be honest, the Frontline story was fragmented, contradictory, enigmatic and every other word used to describe Musk himself.

He finds himself dealing with the very complicated subject of First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech and the thorny issues of misinformation, disinformation, and censorship. And it’s all made even more confusing by his uncontrolled impulsive actions when faced with any criticism.

We hear from former Twitter employees who have been crucified by right wing fringe elements who take great joy in not only ruining people’s lives but opening them to threats by sharing their addresses, contact info, and other personal details, all in the name of freedom of speech.

It’s ugly, but Musk justifies his actions by citing how the amendment must be applied universally no matter the results. But, near the end of the show, this ‘commitment’ to freedom of expression falls to pieces.

We see Musk in Turkey, where at Erdogan’s request he censors an opponent to protect his ability to do business there. And this happens in India, China, and other autocratic countries who happen to be huge markets for his businesses.

He justifies this by saying that the First Amendment does not cross borders and is an American thing.

This stopped me in my tracks and clarified everything I have been trying to sort out about his many conflicting stances on freedom of speech.

They are all two-faced bullshit if he is willing to bend his standards to protect his money. He may be complicated, but this is not. You either believe in the right to speak freely, even when your words are not acceptable to many, or you do not.

I do not begrudge Musk his hundreds of billions, nor do I care if he wants to fritter away a big chunk of it on Twitter so he can be king of the playground. But when he justifies ruining lives for his beliefs, then changes those beliefs when convenient, he just becomes another jerk.

Apparently, when you get past the flamboyant surface antics, that is what he truly is, a hypocrite.

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Mastodon: @martinedic@md.dm, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!