Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, has urged more love and less hate after closing a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. The self-described free speech absolutist noted, “The far left hates everyone, themselves included!”, adding “But I’m no fan of the far-right either.”
His comments come on the heels of a shared diagram from the entrepreneur, showing how Musk has moved from the left of being a centrist towards the right, away from what the billionaire calls woke progressives. In his championing of free speech, Musk has seemingly conflated leftism with liberalism.
Carrying on under this assumption, he’s also seemingly erroneously concluded that the left hates everyone. Shanlon Wu, a partner in a DC law firm Cohen Seglais, pointed out Musk’s “misunderstanding”.
Shanlon Wu, who sometimes appears on CNN as a legal analyst, replied to Musk’s tweet, saying “The ‘left’ questions existing institutional biases & ends up disagreeing about nature of those biases & solutions. That’s not hate. It’s free-thinking expressed as free speech.”
The white-collar defence counsel also went on to explain how conservatives seek to preserve institutional power, along with all its oppressive biases including racism and sexism. Shanlon Wu continued, “In contrast “the right” conservatives seek to conserve exiting institutional power so often more united in view points – holding aside Lauren Bobert & Marjorie Taylor Greene type disagreements – their common effort to preserve racist sexist oppressive structure is more hateful.”
He concluded, “Preserving power more easily veers toward hatred because it so based on fear of losing power & fear is what generally leads to hate. Elon Musk’s tweet fudges by using the terms “far” left & “far” righ but use of that term is usually just speaker masquerading as a centrist [sic].”
Musk’s championing of free speech has already seen conservatives like Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin return to Twitter. Meanwhile, Amnesty International issued a statement expressing fear of hate speech on the social media platform amid the billionaire’s push to allow people to express all opinions.
The current criticized assumptions aside, Musk’s stance on free speech also drew the warning of ex-CEO of Reddit, Yishan Wong, who said that the entrepreneur would be in for a world of pain and would have to censor some things on a platform the size of Twitter.
Both Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal have championed free speech too, as evidenced by Dorsey speaking out against the permanent ban on former US President Donald Trump’s account, since his tweets were linked to the January 6 Capitol riots. However, in recent times there’s been a clampdown on conservative accounts on Twitter, with a recent ban on advertisements denying climate change. With ‘free speech absolutist’ Musk in charge now, it remains to be seen if Twitter manages to strike the centrist balance the billionaire desires, or whether the town square of the internet echoes Musk’s stance on leftism, liberalism, and criticality.
Criticality, according to Cardiff Metropolitan University, is defined as questioning and using information, rather than merely absorbing and describing it. It seeks to place information in broader contexts and draw links. To be critical is to also critique what is being learnt, establish weakness in arguments, and find instances of contradicting evidence, if available.