Does he really want to defend the principles of free speech universally or just manipulate it for his own gain?
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Elon Musk is in the news again for his views about free speech. But does he really believe in it? Does he really want to defend its principles universally or just manipulate it for his own gain?
When thinking about the subject of free speech and how my own personal campaign to promote it has led to me being penniless and at times close to being thrown in jail – and this is in the EU – four guiding principles come to mind.
- Most people don’t actually even know what free speech is or what it entails as it is pretty ugly when put under the spotlight. Free speech means just that. The freedom for anyone to speak their minds on any subject, so that means rapists can give their views about women’s rights, or Nazis can talk about their wish to kill Jews etc.
- Most wealthy or powerful people like Musk who talk about free speech do not actually want free speech for all. What they really want is free speech for me and others like me who share my views.
- Just as paedophilia is nearly always linked to blackmail, free speech is nearly always dominated by hypocrisy. There is never a genuine debate about free speech, even when the media take it up like in the recent attack by the Guardian on Musk, only a masquerade of the farcical subject. Can the Guardian really lead the debate on the subject?
- Those who take the floor on free speech never, ever tackle the subject of reforming defamation laws because, simply put, the present laws in western countries which were formed in the 17th and 18th centuries were created for one purpose in mind: to protect the elite from having their debauched lifestyles ever being exposed. Defamation laws have nothing to do with democracy and fairness.
It’s this last point which exposes Elon Musk for being a hypocrite. As a billionaire, he will never be a victim of slander or defamation as these laws – certainly in Europe – are so absurdly tilted to helping the rich. If Musk really cared about free speech, he would start here. Reforming defamation laws so that poor people had their day in court. In the UK for example, most defamation cases filed against journalists or media by wealthy individuals never see the light of day in court – and so are never defended by poor journalists who have a scoop against someone powerful – simply because how the legal process is structured for the rich. Defamation cases in the UK are absurdly expensive to support and nearly all so-called cases get quashed within a week or two of journalists publishing their pieces simply because there is no legal aid for humble people who find themselves as defendants. Moreover, with the financial demise of big media in the last 30 years, these laws have had a huge impact on how newspapers report on politicians, for example, as a new risk averse culture has emerged in the newsroom to avoid legal fees.
And people like Musk know this all too well. While he is being wrongly attacked for being anti-Semitic for simply engaging with far-right commentators on his own platform, his knee-jerk reaction to the Anti-Defamation League in the U.S. (ADL) to sue them is telling. He exercises his right to free speech but anyone who comments on his choice of how he goes about that needs to be dealt with. And when you have lawyers in Manhattan who know how to manipulate the laws, with money as no issue, then there’s little wonder that free speech takes a dive every time.
The elites are not interested in free speech, only pretending to be behind it for their own profiles. Musk’s Twitter X company has launched a number of legal challenges against the ADL and other online groups which claim to be against hatred on his own platform. He has challenged them, asserting their claims that X is a safe haven for online hatred, often targeting religious minorities, is costing him billions. And he’ll probably win given that financial damages resulting from corporate defamation, is a lot easier to win as, for example, straightforward defamation cases against media personalities who struggle to prove that defamation against them was malicious.
The Guardian’s recent slur against Musk can’t be taken seriously. But then neither can Musk’s claims to be a champion of free speech. Perhaps I need to add a fifth category which is that most of the time the subject of free speech, whenever it emerges, is usually bullshit. Hypocrisy, double standards and outright lies are comfortable bed partners with the subject as a whole. Free speech is overrated. Just ask any journalist who receives a high court judgment made at midnight by a Belgian court, conducted in his absence, which financially destroys him.