Friday, December 23, 2022

Musk Has Chosen To Make Common Cause With Idiot Trolls And Unapologetic Bigots

Slate  |  Musk is the richest man in the world and yet comports himself online like a pustulous incel on a Mountain Dew bender. Though Taibbi and Weiss were each once ensconced at the absolute top of the American mainstream media—Weiss at the opinion section of the New York Times, Taibbi as a star writer for Rolling Stone—both have since migrated to Substack, where they each run popular and lucrative newsletters that exist to bite the hands that once fed them

Their shared thesis, to oversimplify, is that the mainstream media, Big Tech, and other important cultural institutions now follow a shared set of ultra-liberal speech codes that have been imposed from within by woke young employees. Cowed by their strident staffers, executives at these institutions have allegedly abdicated their leadership responsibilities and have, so to speak, allowed the inmates to run the asylum. Dare to express opinions that transgress these implicit speech codes—dare to say anything that might offend even a single “social justice warrior” within these spheres—and you’ll quickly find yourself excommunicated. The broader implications of this alleged ideological uniformity, Taibbi and Weiss argue, are devastating for speech and democracy.

And actually, fair enough. There is ample historical precedent for leftist political movements using speech codes as tools to empower repressive regimes, just as there are countless moments in history when right-wing dipshits have stoked moral panics rooted in cultural revanchism and risible claims of conspiracy in order to consolidate power and influence for their own curdled ends. The challenge and obligation of citizenship in a democracy involves, in part, remaining alert to the various strains of demagoguery that are circulating at any given period of time, accurately assessing the relative threats that they pose to democratic principles, and taking notice when prominent voices seem intent on deflecting your attention from mountains while warning endlessly about molehills.

American democracy has indeed taken a bit of a beating over the past few years, but the most violent blows have been landed by the Trumpist right and its opportunistic enablers. While neither Taibbi nor Weiss is blind to the threats that Trumpism has posed to democracy, their recent output sure does make it seem as if the predominant crisis facing America today is one of creeping illiberalism and ideological uniformity in tech, media, and the Democratic Party. Though Taibbi and Weiss do not self-classify as conservatives, the drum that they’ve been banging for a few years now is functionally indistinguishable from the one that the American right wing has been banging for as long as I’ve been alive—a concordance that matters intensely when attempting to parse the import of the Twitter Files.



Israel Cannot Lie About Or Escape It's Conspicuous Kinetic Vulnerability

nakedcapitalism |   Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s missile attack over the last weekend, despite many reports of US and its allies ...