Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has triggered a hysterical outburst among the “woke” progressive Twitterati after he tendered an offer to buy Twitter and turn it into a private company. For years Twitter has been the “woke” Dems most important enforcer of ideological orthodoxy and “cancel culture.” No wonder, then, that Musk’s offer, coming after his frequent criticisms of Twitter’s one-sided censorship of conservatives and defense of free speech, has induced such panic.
The content of this reaction, moreover, shows just how detached from everyday reality Leftists are, and how little common sense they possess. Their blatant contradictions of fact, and shameless display of ridiculous begged questions and double standards bespeak a hermetically sealed mental world impenetrable to reason, common sense, and reality itself.
Take the old Clinton functionary Robert Reich. He was Secretary of Labor in an administration that campaigned and governed on “Third Way” principles: Rejecting the hard-left drift of the Democrat Party that had alienated old-school working-class Democrats and helped create Ronald Reagan’s success. Clinton announced that the “era of big government is over,” and followed up with tough reforms of lax criminal penalties for violent crime, and requirements that welfare recipients work. He also rejected the racial grievance-industry’s hold on the party when he publicly chastised the race-monger Sista Soulja.
Of course, the new “woke,” post-Obama Democrat Party rejects all those common-sense recognitions of reality. During the Potemkin Democrat presidential campaign, Joe Biden had to apologize repeatedly and beg forgiveness for his support for and participation in the criminal justice reform legislation. That reform helped usher in decades of lower crime in once-feral cities like New York, which have now brought back post-apocalyptic mayhem and disorder thanks to the progressives’ surreal “defund the police” insanity that ignores the common-sense knowledge that if you have fewer cops, you have more crime.
But Reich, like many Clinton-era Democrats, has adopted the gaudy new fashions of Millennials and Gen-Z. Consider Reich’s take on Elon Musk’s interest in reforming Twitter and preventing its censoring of political and ideological enemies. Musk’s world would be dominated by the richest and most powerful people in the world, who wouldn’t be accountable to anyone for facts, truth, science or the common good. That’s Musk’s dream. And Trump’s. And Putin’s. And the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on Earth. For the rest of us, it would be a brave new nightmare.
Hey Bob, the world is already “dominated by the richest and most powerful people,” and for the most part they are not conservatives. They’re woke-friendly progressive globalists like the Davoisie and George Soros, and most of the “tech oligarchs” who control nearly all on-line and streaming discourse. They’re plutocrats like Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world, who owns the Washington Post, the most politically consequential newspaper in the country. The Post eagerly joined in on the cover up of the Clinton’s campaign and DNC’s electoral dirty “Russian collusion” tricks, and Hunter Biden’s laptop filled with evidence of Biden’s corruption––both in-kind contributions to the Dems’ candidates in 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Why hasn’t that unaccountable power to influence our elections disturbed Reich?
Then there’s the CEOs and board members of giant multinational corporations that are imposing racialist nonsense like “systemic racism,” transgenderism, and pronoun etiquette on their employees, and encouraging an anti-liberal, Stasi-like surveillance regime to punish free-thinkers. They’re the antidemocratic, globalist technocrats who disdain national loyalties, self-government, and unalienable individual rights. They’re the “cognitive elites” who run popular culture, schools and universities, and the federal agencies that have usurped the powers of the Constitution in order to intrude into our lives and weaken our Constitutional rights.
Nor are these hegemons “accountable to anyone for facts, truth, science or the common good,” the fate Reich claims would result from Musk’s takeover of Twitter. It takes a peculiar detachment from reality to claim the “woke” Dems’ fidelity to truth, science, and facts. This assertion can’t be taken seriously, not after the Russian collusion hoax, the blatant lies of the Kavanaugh hearings, the January 6 “insurrection” fantasy, Hunter Biden’s laptop cover-up, the preposterous fairy-tale of Donald Trump’s allegiance to Vladimir Putin, the wobbly hypothesis of Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming, or the unscientific notion that biological sex can be overridden by a transient desire. And how can Reich make such claims after two-and-a-half years (and counting) of covid mitigation confusion, lies, misinformation, and disastrous fallout from mask and lock-down policies that did not have much to do with science or fact, but rather politics and power?
Not much concern for the “common good” in that debacle, which has increased deaths of despair, impaired children’s education, and psychologically scarred kids for decades to come. Or in the defund the police disaster that has filled blue-city streets with murder and mayhem. Or in the lunatic assault on our oil and gas industry that has damaged our economy and saddled ordinary people and families with exorbitant prices for gas and food. Or the scheme to include sexual content and exotic sexual preferences in curricula for prepubescent children.
In the mouths of progressives, “common good” is a euphemism for top-down rule by power concentrated in government functionaries whose first loyalty is to the power of their bureaus and offices. As for accountability Reich touts, who has been held to account for this long catalogue of crimes and lies, many of which involve federal officials violating the Constitutional restraints on their powers?
Even more despicable is Reich’s slur that Musk’s “dream” is that sort of elite dominance over others that today’s progressives preach in word and deed. Just as despicable is the claim that Donald Trump lusts to be a “strongman and a dictator,” a musty campaign slur with no basis in empirical facts or actions. It was birthed in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign, and has burrowed itself deeply in the progressive mind as a knee-jerk response that soothes their still toxic disappointment and political guild-resentment over Trump’s presidency. The rest of us see it for what it is: projection of progressives’ own ideological aims onto their enemies, and a tactic–– increasingly desperate as a November blood-bath looks more and more probable––for politically assassinating Trump, and using the ex-president to distract voters from the “brave new nightmare” of Democrat rule over the last two years.
Finally, the greatest insult to our intelligence is the claim that Musk and conservatives are threats to free speech. For years we’ve known that it’s not conservatives who want to “cancel” those whose Constitutionally protected speech they don’t like, or who organize mobs to uninvite or shout down speakers they deem politically incorrect, or invent crimes like “hate” speech to justify censorship. All the assaults on free speech come from the “woke” progressives, for whom uncensored free speech is a threat, for it exposes the lies and propaganda in which they trade, and offers alternatives to the progressive elite’s technocratic regime.
Moreover, true conservatives and libertarians understand that free speech in a diverse polity must be open to all styles of speaking and varieties of ideas. Attempts to impose gate-keeping standards of speech and restrictions on topics have always been the habit of autocrats, tyrants, dictators, and totalitarians. And such standards are notoriously vulnerable to subjective and ideological manipulation and abuse. That’s how we get the Orwellian notion that censorship protects and enhances free speech, or Newspeak like “content moderation.”
The ideological claims of Reich and his ilk do not require complex philosophical arguments to refute. A recognition of reality and common sense are enough. Whether people like Reach are true believers or cynical opportunists, they’re leading their party to a midterm debacle that millions of Americans with common sense and experience of the real world will inflict on the Dems––for lovers of freedom, a consummation devoutly to be wished.