The PayPal co-founder on why his friend is taking on the censors
Technology investor, podcaster and co-founder — with Elon Musk — of PayPal David Sacks is currently at Musk’s side in planning the next steps for Twitter. Sacks has not been given a formal role yet, but internal sources say that he already has a Twitter email address.
UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers spoke to him about how he sees the Twitter takeover, and whether it can represent the start of a “fightback” against censorship and moral bullying. Watch the full interview here.
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“[24:34] It’s ironic that, at the same time we say we are in a global struggle against autocracy and authoritarianism, we are increasingly embracing authoritarian tactics at home. You’re seeing increasing censorship, you see people within the Democratic Party basically say they don’t support free speech anymore. You see financial deplatforming, like what PayPal is doing, based on people’s political viewpoints.”
“[26:49] The hope is that this is the beginning of a pushback against this wave of censorship and deplatforming. I am concerned with this larger movement that is taking place here, which is that our civil liberties are increasingly jeopardised by what Biden has labelled a ‘global struggle’ that he perceives to be both domestic and foreign. It is really scary to think about the ways in which the security state could be applied to domestic political opposition.
“We’ve seen hints of this: you saw that the Homeland Security Department had that attempt to create, basically, a Ministry of Truth, an organisation to define disinformation. This is the part of our government that has all the guns for them to be defining what misinformation is — and they included this idea of misinformation in their definition of terrorism. So there have been these hints, or warnings, that the powers of the state are going to be used to crack down on domestic political opposition.
“And again, it’s framed in this this sort of Manichaean way that it’s somehow part of this global struggle. And of course, anybody who wants to raise a question about what we’re doing in Ukraine is labelled pro-Putin and the domestic opposition is labelled pro-Putin as well. So it’s this scary metastasising of our cultural war into something, I think, much more dangerous. A lot of people thought that the culture war was the sort of the sideshow and wasn’t really relevant to our politics, but now, it has sort of metastasised into something, I think, much scarier.”
“[29:07] This is the big battle. It depends on how the battle is met, and how it is resisted. And I do think that Elon buying Twitter is helpful in the sense that he believes in free speech not censorship, and hopefully that will inspire other people to push back against these authoritarian tendencies in the West.”