Vivek Ramaswamy

Elon Musk won’t save us

December 5, 2022
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Elon Musk’s month or so in charge of Twitter has been rather eventful. From banning parody accounts to reinstating former President Donald Trump, there has rarely been a day in which the new CEO and his new platform have not made the news. While some worry that Musk will turn Twitter into a free speech hellscape, others have lauded the Tesla founder for attempting to reduce the platform’s systemic Left-leaning bias. But the question remains: should we be troubled or encouraged by the concentration of all this power in one man’s hands?

Vivek Ramaswamy, political commentator and author of  Woke Inc., sat down with Freddie Sayers to explain why he doesn’t see Musk as a saviour. According to Ramaswamy, the problem of censorship on social media platforms is a tangled web, the threads of which lead us back to the Wall Street Crash in 2008. Back then, capitalists were seen as the “bad guys by the old Left” until they realised that being a bad guy was bad for business:

Effectively a bunch of big banks got in bed with a bunch of woke millennials. Together, they birthed ‘woke capitalism’. They used that to put Occupy Wall Street up for adoption.
- Vivek Ramaswamy

When Silicon Valley caught on, this ‘mutual prostitution’, as Ramaswamy calls it, created a loophole for the US Government where the First Amendment needn’t apply:

What [Silicon Valley] recognised was that; ‘you know what? We can use our monopoly power in service of the objectives that the new Left cares about, to censor or take down hate speech or misinformation as that new progressive movement defines it. But just like the Wall Street, guys, we won’t do it for free, we effectively expect that new Left to look the other way, when it comes to leaving our monopoly power intact.
- Vivek Ramaswamy

Censorship as a company policy soon mutated into an opportunity for poorly disguised state censorship, most notably in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ramaswamy uses lockdown sceptic and former New York Times journalist, Alex Berenson as an example:

This was a critic of the government who the government wanted to silence but could not silence because there’s this pesky thing called the First Amendment. So they used and pressured private companies that operate outside of the system of checks and balances that you have in the government to silence him instead. 
- Vivek Ramaswamy

Elon Musk’s ongoing release of the ‘Twitter Files’ arguably demonstrates more than a fair-weather commitment to, if not ending, then certainly denouncing censorship as well as government collusion with Big Tech. Be that as it may, in Ramaswamy’s opinion, the need for deeper institutional change remains. In his view, Musk will still have to play by the rules if he wants Twitter to survive. And there is one ‘master’ he will always have to appease:

That Master is known as the CCP that both Tim Cook and Elon Musk probably have to bow down to on a given day. So in a certain sense, if you bow down to the same master, maybe your brothers in arms. 
- Vivek Ramaswamy

Thanks to Vivek Ramaswamy for joining us at UnHerd TV.


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