Elon, you don’t have any thought what the hell you’re speaking about – TechCrunch


Elon Musk is embarrassing himself on the worldwide stage once more by proudly bruiting a grade-school stage of familiarity with the immensely advanced ideas of free speech, censorship, rights and privileges of people and authorities authorities. The truth that this aggressively ignorant particular person is more likely to take over one of many largest communication platforms on Earth ought to scare the shit out of you.

Here’s what the richest man on this planet mentioned earlier as we speak, on the platform he intends to accumulate:

By ‘free speech,’ I merely imply that which matches the regulation. I’m towards censorship that goes far past the regulation. If individuals need much less free speech, they may ask authorities to move legal guidelines to that impact. Subsequently, going past the regulation is opposite to the desire of the individuals.

Elon’s received one factor going for him. He has demonstrated an apparently innate facility to pack extra willful and privileged ignorance right into a single sentence than nearly anybody on the planet.

These statements are so basically improper — factually, ethically, virtually, and in each different approach, that I hardly know the place to start.

For one factor, he would possibly wish to take a look at probably the most elementary descriptions of what constitutes free speech and censorship. Censorship is when state authorities restrict the speech of the individuals underneath their energy. Free speech is the assure that no motion outlined as speech is against the law outdoors a couple of dangerous examples, like hate speech, harassment, and different particular instances (underneath fixed negotiation) that we as a society have determined represent crimes.

However that is an unbelievably difficult and nuanced idea, not an enormous thick line with censorship on one facet of it and gratuitous lack of any restriction on the opposite. The courts are always — as in, always in authorized historical past there are big instances setting new precedents — actually defining and redefining what is supposed by “that which matches the regulation.” We’ve got a complete department of presidency whose job it’s to interpret the regulation. There isn’t any easy answer or algorithm or set of arduous and quick guidelines that govern this, and the concept Elon appears to both assume there’s or, suggest one be drawn up, is the primary signal that he has zero clue what he’s speaking about.

Subsequent is “censorship that goes far past the regulation.” Presumably he means “censorship” similar to moderation by personal actors like corporations, which isn’t censorship (solely governments might be censors) however really, by definition and authorized precedent, an expression of free speech by these corporations.

By in search of to restrict what personal corporations (as they’re thought of underneath the regulation Musk appears to care a lot about) do on this context, he’s proposing limits on their free speech. By suggesting that the federal government be the one to outline and impose these limits, he’s actually proposing a system of censorship.

This isn’t some bizarre twist of logic, it’s what the phrases he mentioned really imply. He simply had no goddamn thought what he was saying.

Subsequent up, “If individuals need much less free speech, they may ask authorities to move legal guidelines to that impact. Subsequently, going past the regulation is opposite to the desire of the individuals.” OK! There really are plenty of proposals alongside these strains, Elon. Proper now the nation is within the thick of an actual and terrifying battle over precise free speech wherein academics are being informed — by their govenments, which makes it censorship! — what matters they will and can’t train in colleges.

Florida and Texas and others wish to restrict free speech; in actual fact they’ve succeeded. Who requested them to try this? “The individuals”? Did “the individuals” will that math textbooks that point out black mathematicians from historical past be banned from use? Or that explaining why somebody might need two dads is forbidden by regulation? The concept authorities motion is by definition the desire of the individuals is among the most naive issues I’ve ever encountered. Is Elon conscious that voting rights are being systematically dismantled and payments are being written by lobbyists? Does he know the historical past of gerrymandering, redlining, voter suppression, and basic ratfuckery that makes up the historical past of “asking authorities to move legal guidelines”?

What the fuck are you aware about “the desire of the individuals,” Elon? Born wealthy and now wealthy past measure, this can be a man who has no thought who “the individuals” are. He thinks they need vacuum tunnels they will load their $80,000 vehicles into to shorten their LA-SF commute or bicoastal way of life.

He could also be shocked that “the desire of the individuals,” outdoors the sycophantic bubble of his replies, is that billionaires most likely shouldn’t exist in any respect. “The individuals” could very will inform him, if he requested, that his unfathomable riches ought to be liquidated and directed to decreasing issues like world starvation — the factor Elon mentioned he’d resolve if somebody despatched him a plan, after which forgot about. In all probability as a result of he has no thought what it’s wish to be hungry, both!

Extra related to the Twitter information, this child’s-first-free-speech-debate tackle some of the advanced and contentious matters in historical past means the plans he has for the social community have to be really, really silly and uninformed.

You might be shocked to listen to this, Elon, however “the individuals” have been speaking about this for centuries. Perhaps audit a freshman course on ethics and philosophy, or simply have somebody summarize the studying listing into a couple of bullets. Different individuals, just like the brightest minds of each technology since we’ve been capable of document it, have thought of these matters intimately lengthy earlier than you had been born into fortune and privilege. Your take is past ignorant, as a result of it asserts information the place there’s none, asserts superiority over one thing you’ve got by no means even thought of. You could possibly run a Hyperloop by means of the vacuum that’s Elon Musk’s information of civics. A Dragon spacecraft may safely float within the void that’s Elon Musk’s understanding of the cultural and authorized labyrinth of expression and identification in a free society.

What this all portends is an extremely simplistic and dangerous tackle free speech and moderation on a platform that desperately wants a classy, humane, and responsive one — one thing that Twitter, Fb, and everybody else have been making an attempt (and failing, however slowly advancing) to do for over a decade. One thing Elon Musk seems uniquely unqualified to ideate or administrate.

Elon, your concepts on free speech will not be what I might name evil or abhorrent, by a protracted shot — they’re simply improper. They’re improper since you are unaware of probably the most primary context and precedent surrounding these ideas, in addition to the extremely specialised situational information that informs the creation and administration of a contemporary communication platform. You merely don’t have any goddamn thought what you’re speaking about.

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