The breathless hand-wringing by leftists over Elon Musk’s deal to purchase Twitter and take it private resulted in the rebirth of a term rarely used in American politics — “oligarch.” But with the seizure of wealthy Russian’s yachts and other business holdings bringing the description into vogue, it is low-hanging fruit for Democrats and their media partners to smear Musk with.
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) expressed his “alarm” at Musk’s deal for Twitter. The senator cautioned “it’s always a concern when an oligarch may be owning the town square” and called for oversight on how it’s managed.
Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton, bemoaned that billionaires have “unprecedented control” over banking, food, health care, and now information. Reich predictably added “this is what oligarchy looks like.”
Jeff Bezos owns Amazon and The Washington Post. Does he qualify as an oligarch? Mark Zuckerberg? George Soros?
In an essay posted on Salon, Dr. Nolan Higdon of Cal State East Bay targets the oligarchs of the “Second Gilded Age” — namely Musk. Higdon worries that media being consolidated into a few wealthy hands is detrimental to “an abundance of diverse views” and “free-flowing information.”
Are we missing something, or isn’t the reason the left is having a collective hissy fit simply that Musk will do exactly what Higdon feels is being stifled? Musk has been crystal clear about wanting “diverse views” and “free-flowing information” on Twitter, something the platform increasingly shunned in recent years.
Controversial activist Shaun King wandered from the “oligarch” tag when he referred to Musk as “a son of Apartheid” who was “raised by a White nationalist.”
Sen. Ed Markey also broke new ground this week in his breathless criticism of the purchase of Twitter by a billionaire with “dangerous influence.” Markey went on to declare that the wealthy cannot be trusted and called for “algorithmic justice.” Huh?
It has been said that free speech exists to protect unpopular speech, since popular speech needs no protection. During the decades of upheaval of cultural norms beginning in the 1960s, conservatives were admonished to simply look the other way if they were offended by the new normal. That shoe is now firmly on the other foot.