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Musk’s Twitter Battle Critical Juncture in Culture War

AMAC Exclusive – Daniel Berman

Twitter

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is a seminal event not just in American but also in global affairs. It might seem insular to suggest that Twitter is somehow the center of current events, but it is in fact the center of elite discourse in the modern world. It is where journalists and opinion-makers canvass for stories, and where governments and PR firms seek to place them. At the end of the day, its true value has always laid in how no one could fully control it. Ordinary people could choose to discuss the things they felt were important, and the media and government officials, also on Twitter, were forced to respond. In a world where debates in the media, at universities, and in workplaces are all strictly controlled, Twitter was perhaps the most democratic space left.

Elon Musk’s economic bet in buying Twitter is clear. It was not about personal politics or opposition to content moderation in principle (though Musk clearly believes “content moderation” had become outright censorship) but rather that the value of Twitter was being diminished by ideological censorship. If it was the lack of control that had made Twitter one of the last places where real people could talk about the issues that mattered to them, and that was what kept companies, advertising firms, and governments on the platform, then censorship was killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Even the “disinformation” journalists and “experts” who made crusading for censorship of opposing views core to their identity would not have jobs without Twitter’s freedom of speech. As much as they hated hearing some of the views real people had, there was no other place where real people had not been intimidated into silence.

This made the narrative that emerged from Musk’s takeover superficially perplexing. In the first days of Musk’s new order, following the termination of nearly 70% of the company’s workforce, journalists and discontented former employees insisted that Twitter was on the verge of collapse. Even many conservatives were joking on the night of Friday, November 18th that Twitter might not be there at the end of the weekend. Advertiser boycotts and rumors that the app could be pulled off the Apple and Android app stores have received disproportionate attention, especially as Twitter has failed to collapse, even while the rhetoric from Musk’s adversaries has escalated to absurd levels of hysteria. A Washington Post piece declared that Musk’s changes amounted to “opening the gates of hell.”

Watching the narrative evolve in real time from “Musk is crashing Twitter” to “if Musk’s Twitter is not stopped the gates of hell will be opened!” revealed the true fear motivating the coverage. The elites feared not that Musk would fail, and Twitter with it, but that Musk might succeed, and a stronger Twitter would emerge. Not only would this allow voices that many of those in the media and academic elite despised, it would also set a broader example that freedom of speech was profitable and that censorship loses money.

It is easy to see how this would worry a broad class of elites. The premise of ESG policies for major investment firms, and the “equity” bureaucracy in government, is that “woke” values lead to productivity. “Diversity,” as defined by the left, by which they mean the exclusion of incorrect or “wrong views,” is a strength. Allowing disagreement on politics or values invites conflict and inefficiency. The idea is that companies that adhere to creating the culture of a policed college dorm will be rewarded with the most talented employees. Those that fail to embrace the new fashion will find it increasingly hard to hire a workforce drawn from the ranks of “woke” generation Z and millennials.

If instead Musk can prove that Twitter’s value as a marketplace, and value to the marketplace, are increased, not decreased, by reducing censorship, it will raise questions about the premise of the vast majority of corporate and governmental HR policies.

This has legal as well as policy implications. Companies often have fiduciary obligations to their shareholders. ESG policies are defended on the grounds that they produce concrete, economic returns. If that is called into question with hard evidence, then the legal standing of those policies will be undermined. This may be why Apple appears to be threatening to remove Twitter from its app store without explanation. Either Apple, its capital investors, or both, stand to lose on their ESG bets if Musk succeeds.

Musk is also undertaking a wider challenge to premises about HR and recruitment. His termination of nearly 70% of Twitter’s workforce called into question two assumptions within the tech sector.

First, that management was at the mercy of employees. A myth has developed that software engineers are in such demand that companies must do whatever the engineers demand to keep them happy. The result is that if employees disapprove or protest actions of management, as Netflix employees did in response to Dave Chappelle’s supposedly “transphobic” comedy special, management will have to give in. The result has been a “digital cancel culture” where companies have been forced to drop clients who were both profitable and had not violated any policies because a far-left workforce demanded it. How much of Twitter’s “moderation,” especially regarding transgender issues or the Hunter Biden laptop story, was driven by management and how much was driven by a woke workforce that viewed disagreement with trans medical procedures for minors as akin to “genocide” and a Trump reelection as likely to trigger the apocalypse remains unclear. But Musk has taken on the idea of an unaccountable left-wing workforce that makes its own decisions, and if he wins, he proves it is possible.

Musk is also proving a second point. The rapid proliferation of jobs in ”Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” roles and HR bureaucracies run amok has affected every major institution in America, public or private. It is conceded, even by many on the left, that a large proportion of these roles are unneeded and do little or nothing. Yet it is widely believed that removing them would be so painful that it would bring down the entire structure. This has been the argument about why universities cannot reduce administrative overhead, or why any, even marginal reforms to the State Department or Department of Justice under Donald Trump threatened to “destroy” them.

If Musk can remove 70% of his workforce, including nearly the entirety of these departments, and Twitter continues to function, he will have set an example for everyone else. Companies may delay in following the example, and it is hard to see universities doing so unless coerced by external pressure, but it would have massive implications for the federal workforce under a future Republican administration.

The federal workforce has long reflected the values of the classes from which it is recruited, which has meant that as the median postgraduate has drifted to the left, so too has the government “deep state.” But under Obama and now Biden, it has been flooded with woke “equity” initiatives which have sought to politicize recruitment and promotion, while making life intolerable for the few conservatives who remain until they quit. Previous efforts by GOP presidents to change internal policies, including training, have been obstructed.

Musk’s actions at Twitter imply another path. They suggest that a GOP president, rather than embarking on years of “study” about how the bureaucracies should be reorganized, only to have those plans undermined by a hostile administrative state, could just eliminate entire offices and even departments without causing the system to cease working. It seems increasingly clear that only such radical action could allow the sort of reversal of trends a future Republican administration will want, especially within the first term.

Special interests ranging from the media, to universities, to DEI-promoting hedge funds are invested in Elon Musk’s failure at Twitter. But everyone else should be invested in his success. Because if he can succeed, he will not only save free speech online. He will also prove the shibboleths which have come to dominate the American elite wrong, paving the way for a societal revolution in the years to come.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.


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Gary
2 months ago

I wish him well. It’s time the cream of society comes to the top. We’re had enough of their sour ideology try to set themselves up as a moral authority. What a joke, I’m surprised how many people are swallowing this climate coolade. It’s time we got our heads out of the sand.

Mimi
2 months ago

Elon Musk may very well turn out to be the Donald Trump of the internet. Bringing back the traditional values of this country, and doing it quickly and efficiently. We conservatives are not the minority in this country, we are just not as loud and in your face as the liberals. However, being efficient in business, bringing in high profits by using conservative business measures, like firing non essential employees, and getting other companies to follow suit, will be like very loud screams to the loud mouthed liberals. Thank God for men like Elon Musk and Donald Trump.

Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Mimi

If he succeeds then he will have proven that he is much more capable than President Trump in getting things done that need to be done and has provided the model for doing so. President Trump failed in many ways by not forcing through what needed to be done. This is due to both his inexperience and ignorance in dealing with the Federal Government, but also in the failure of those who were brought to advise him. He was flat out not advised by those around him. This resulted in so many lost opportunities. Yes, he exposed so much of what needed to be changed, and maybe it was just too much that needed to be done at one time, but Musk is more than a bull in the closet, he is heavy broadside artillery laying waste to that which needed wasting.

Mimi
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

President Trump was subject to governmental procedures and regulations, he was not the “owner” of the United States. Elon Musk owns twitter he can do pretty much anything he chooses to do, and at whatever speed he chooses to do so. President Trump had to fight his own party RINOS plus, democrats to get things done. Musk says “you’re fired” and it’s done. Get the difference?

Soretha
2 months ago
Reply to  Mimi

Yes happy of the work both have done for our country

Bill T
2 months ago

Truth and freedoms are convoluted and the propaganda spreading hypocritical theories are actually why these progressive liberal democrats are freaking out about the new direction of Twitter, they used this site to destroy our sitting president and to completely corrupt our elections. Now that they are no longer able to dictate and spread there one sided opinions about any and everything they desired there out to destroy this venue. It’s what the Marxist progressive liberals do best, twist everything into there disgusting language and then these hypocrites accuse there opponents of doing exactly what they do. We’ll the curtains have been lifted ( kind of like the wizard of oz) and the evil has been completely exposed to all the people of the country and the world. These last few years have been the most damaging and divisive times this country has ever had and with the leftist socialist democrats it’s only getting worse. I’m sure Twitter will be the only free voice of the people for the people, and believe me it’s exactly what this socialist administration is so desperate to stop at any and all costs,too late g guy or them because now everyone is watching what our corrupt president and governments every move will be . Checkmate and good riddance to our hypocritical leftist politicians.

Vanessa
2 months ago

I find the idea that if Musk can succeed with a hugely reduced workforce that can become a model for other companies and especially the government very exciting as a taxpayer. I would love to see him show them how it’s done correctly!

Susan VB
2 months ago

Great article! May others jump on the band wagon and get elected to office, in order to clean house politically, so that we can once again become the Republic that our founders envisioned!

Ray Hensley
2 months ago

I am amazed at how deep this commentary takes us! It’s these types of commentaries that will keep us informed of the real directions of changes that are being shoved down Americans’ throats, without choice.

America is the melting pot of the world. We are here so we can be free to do what we want to do with minimal constraints but still, we do need restraints to keep us all on the same paths in fundamentals, and visions played so if we can agree we have the freedoms to accept or refuse.

We need to embrace all cultures for what they have contributed not divide them based on skin or history! We are now and history is done, if we could change history, why would we want to? Our history has made us diverse in knowledge, traditions are melding, and only those who want to profit from our past are pushing events that have occurred in the past. We are now and we can change the future to make us continue to be a free, strong, and diverse country for all who choose who call America home!

Our Federal government is attempting to control each state to make us all uniform but it is the diversity of each state that resilience is made from. Each state of this union makes us the Americans we are and we should embrace this not control them with a snakes head government.

My upbringing was based on all our blood is all red, the only opinions we should have of others are whether they are good or they are bad. Then we choose do we go past them and look down at them or do we try to help them. Our world is not equal nor is it all safe, and many freedoms are regulated, suppression is prevalent, a country like America is unique and we need to be infesting others who are under dictators or those governments that rule with fear and suppression.

I am proud to be an American, if I change my mind then I need to go to another country that my beliefs may follow. We are free to do so in America can we say this about some of our other countries the size or bigger than America. We all should know the answer to that!

May America be blessed by us all together working toward common goals to make our futures better

Mary Christine
2 months ago

A bit of a lengthy read but well worth it. Hope for the future to reverse these miserable, dangerous, prejudicial, woke policies of late in many industries. They are driven by a “brown shirt ” style enforcement and coercion of whomever does not comply. Scarey times we live in as well as sad as our young have little to no work ethic nor drive to excel in anything. They want a 4 day work week with full time pay along with full benefits etc, etc, etc.Keep it up Elon Musk, we love and admire you.

John
2 months ago

Very well said. I am a Head of Human Resources and the time spent on Woke nonsense has become intolerable. Critical Race Theory which at its core is Hate Theory and it’s roots are literally in Communism has infected most corporations. Climate change is now a religion not just a disproven theory. Fascism is what the “anti-fascists” are actually advocating and practicing. The Left has become adept at labeling and cancelling any intellectual debate about issues they deem “sacred”. God is mocked in every way by the Left. Perversions of all sorts are being forced for people to accept and even praise. Marriage is deemed irrelevant. Morality is non-existent. The Revolution of Evil is upon us and the Left gleefully embraces it. Now you see how bankrupt and corrupt the Left is when Musk dares champion Free Speech.

SusanP
2 months ago

God Bless Elon Musk! If he is successful with his changes at Twitter, he can prove that far left ideologies are hurting business in the USA, NOT helping business. Woke “equity” initiatives are destroying the USA.

Sromie
2 months ago

Musk is one of the richest people on earth. He did not inherit his money. Therefore he must be very smart. He knows what he is doing.

Frank
2 months ago

Excellent article, bringing up new viewpoints related to this acquisition. Balanced reporting, thank you.

BAE
2 months ago

Great article. The self-serving democrats with woke policies do nothing but HURT our people and country. The left hurts everyone and everything!

Ginger wiley
2 months ago

Excellent, informative article. Love AMAC – pro-active support of seniors also superb!

Peter, not that one
2 months ago

Great article, and an action that should be implimented in so many areas!

Morris Hewitt
2 months ago

Excellent article. I will donate additional to AMAC and join Twitter I will have to get my daughters with the joining part since I have never got engaged in this kind of activity.

Peggy Primm
2 months ago

Refreshing view among the cluttered woke self serving chaos.Imay continue with AMAC

Stephen Russell
2 months ago

I say the Leftists are going looney due to now they CAN be censored
See how they feel about being cancled
About time

Joanne 4 Justice
2 months ago

The leftists have always been looney!

Pete from St Pete
2 months ago

I find it ironic that the billionaire leading the fight against wokeism is not one of our homegrown heroes like Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, etc., but a guy from South Africa Where have our esteemed education institutions failed us?

PaulE
2 months ago

That’s a long, long answer. I’ll just say that most people from other countries value the rights and freedoms offered here in the United States far more than most Americans do. That is because it is such a unique and rare environment in which to live. We tend to take our rights and freedoms for granted and think they can never be taken away, even as those that seek to do so are so openly acting to try and accomplish that act every day.

Mark
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

You are absolutely right. Years ago the State Department said only 10% of American citizens ever got passports, and only half of those passports were ever used. That meant only 5% of Americans had ever experienced the rest of the world. Americans think they understand the world, but they don’t. They don’t know what the rest of the world is like, so they don’t know what they have here.

I was born in the US, but have spent half of my adult life overseas, almost a decade in Europe, but the rest in third world dictatorships. I have never been able to explain to my fellow Americans why freedom is so important, because they’ve never lived without freedom. I fear they’re about to find out what it’s like.

Harry Guzaliak
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Excellent Post

nate
2 months ago

The institutions these feel good drones came from were never esteemed, at least not in this century.

SusanP
2 months ago

The fact that the credentialing of teachers has been controlled for more that 100 years by a paper written by Karl Marx should explain what happened to education in the USA. This pollution of our education system from teaching American Exceptionalism to brain washing students with socialist/Marxist/communist doctrine started at the university level.

Everyone should read “Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon” by Robin S Eubanks. It is available on Amazon. Ms Eubanks is an attorney who became angry when told her daughter’s education was none of her business. She channeled that anger into research and wrote the book “Credentialed to Destroy”. READ IT.

johnh
2 months ago

The future will tell whether getting 70% of employees was a smart move or not. But, very obvious that Musk is not a vert good people person & does not seem to care that this many people are out of a job. In conclusion, he must have know how much money Twitter was losing when he jumped into this foray.

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Do you use mind-altering chemicals?

JBond
2 months ago

Agree with Eric, Paul, and Philip. Wake up John!!!

PaulE
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

You are such an utter fool on so many levels. Truly sad indeed.

Patriot Eric
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Go back to sleep johnh! 70% of Twitter employees weren’t working anyway! That is what a smart business man does! YOU’RE FIRED ????

nate
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

Those are not people, they are institutionalized robots.

Harry Guzaliak
2 months ago
Reply to  johnh

It’s called efficient use of employees, getting rid of dead wood.

GF Founder
2 months ago

While no man is perfect, whether in business or politics, strength of character and principles remains an admirable trait in this particular battle.

Coonie
2 months ago
Reply to  GF Founder

Unfortuanately the left is morally bankrupt & without principles , imo

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