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Why elites can’t stand Elon Musk

The saga of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter saw new developments last week, as Musk reaffirmed his original offer to buy the company for $54.20 per share, a price that puts the company’s value in the chilly low. figure of 44,000 million dollars. After the original deal closed in April, Musk attempted to back out in July, claiming that Twitter was misrepresenting the number of bots on its platform. Twitter sued Musk to force him to go ahead with the purchase, and both parties were to go to trial on October 17.

It appears that judgment won’t be necessary, as Musk is basically giving Twitter the price he had promised. Twitter’s stock price soared 22% on the news, and many now have renewed optimism (or fear) that Musk will go ahead with the purchase and end up introducing less restrictive content moderation policies on the platform.

The relaxed billionaire


The $54.20 figure is notable for two reasons. First, it’s a bit higher than Twitter’s share price at the time of the original offering (around $40 per share). Second, in a classic Musk move, it appears to be a reference to 4/20.

Although Musk hasn’t confirmed the reference as far as I know, it’s hard to believe he fell for that kind of number by accident.

Aside from being funny, there’s almost a sense of teasing in this move. By inserting these kinds of figures into official documents – and, by extension, into the main headlines – it is as if mocking the world of clowns that Twitter has become. His message to Twitter executives is not “please sell me your company.” The message is more like “this is all a joke on me lol”.

It is not the first time that Musk has brought his playful, irreverent spirit and meme culture to the market. A few years ago he launched his car into space because he thought it would be fun, and some of his companies now accept Dogecoin as payment.

In general, Musk seems quite funny, good-natured, and laid-back. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and that’s probably a big part of why people like him.

Another reason why he is so likeable is that he doesn’t mind making fun of politicians, executives and other “blue verified account” elites. On the contrary, he seems to enjoy it.

Examples abound of Musk mocking elites.

Seriousness and censorship


Musk’s casual and low-key demeanor stands out in part because it’s unexpected for someone of such high status. In a sense, Musk is almost an element that opposes typical elites. His unabashed informality reveals the rigid seriousness that often characterizes the rich and powerful.

Elites tend to see themselves as the guardians of professionalism and decorum, etiquette and political correctness. They can have fun, up to a point, but potentially offensive memes and jokes rank below them. Even the simple act of joking is frowned upon.

As a personal matter, this rule is not a big problem, but it is a rare elite that considers this a purely personal matter. In the eyes of most elites, everyone must hold to high standards of political correctness or else be forced out of the conversation.

This is the basis of the problem of censorship that we are seeing in social networks and in the culture in general. Superficially it is about freedom of expression versus content moderation. But deep down it is a battle between those who take the establishment and its morals seriously and those who don’t. There are the elites who insist that we be “respectful” to others, and there are the Elon Musks who are fine to leave things as they are.

Comedians have been especially hard hit by this “high-minded” censorship, and no wonder. Think about what comedians do. They make fun of people. Sometimes they even offend people. They say what everyone thinks but no one can say. They intentionally flirt with the politically correct line, because that’s what makes them laugh.

“There has to be a spontaneity and a daring,” says Jordan Peterson, “so they’re always testing the limits of what’s acceptable in speech, and they almost always do it in a way that points to uncomfortable truths of one kind or another.” Another way. Things that people don’t want to admit. Things we keep hidden in the dark. The weaknesses of our leaders. Anything that’s there but makes people too uncomfortable to talk about it, that’s exactly what a comedian focuses on.”

“That’s part of what’s troubling about the state of speech in the free West,” Peterson says in another conversation. “Comedians don’t go to college campuses. They fail to be funny. And if you can’t be funny, then you’re not free. The king’s court jester is the only one who can tell the truth. And if the king is so tyrannical that he kills his jester, then you know the bad king is in control of him. And when we can’t stand our comedians, it’s like, well, there you go. They are the canaries in the coal mine as far as I’m concerned.”

How to weaken elites


The question is how to combat the insistence on political correctness. How to deal with moral busybodies who meddle in matters that are none of their business?

At first, it’s tempting to confront them on their own terms, politely and logically state our case, and ask them to leave us alone. And sometimes that can be the right thing to do. But often a much more effective approach is to do what Elon Musk does: play the fool.

Instead of taking the elites seriously, the fool uses wit, humor, and satire to highlight just how ridiculous the elites have become. He employs clever mockery and tactful mischief to challenge the authority of elites. When done right, this approach can be brilliantly effective. There’s a reason jokes about politicians were banned in the Soviet Union.

Why can’t they bear it? Because our reverence for the elites is actually the source of their power. They win as long as we take them seriously. They lose the moment we don’t.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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