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By Joseph Casieri
Conservative America erupted with delight a few days ago when billionaire and business mogul Elon Musk purchased Twitter for a reported $44 billion. Advocates for free speech are beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of less censorship on their favorite social media platforms. And, yes, we may see accounts like @TheBabylonBee, and @realDonaldTrump back on the platform. In the short term, this will be good for the conservative agenda. People will be able to share stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop, and we may see some of the corruption that has been going on behind the senses at Twitter’s headquarters. The news cycle will soon be full of all that great information. There may even be a conservative awakening in the country, and the political pendulum may swing to the right in the midterm elections.
The Conservative Paradox of Elon Musk
Unfortunately, this is not what America was meant to be. The rich should have never been allowed to take the power of speech into their hands. We should not be celebrating the fact that the “Good Billionaire” is now going to let us have our freedom. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” This must now be understood that the rich are the givers of rights. If one rich man can give you your freedom then another can take it. We got a little more permission this week, but that is not the same thing as freedom. Freedom does not need permission.
America is in a dangerous place. While Mr. Musk may be a virtuous man, America was designed to not rely on the virtue of our leaders, but on the determination of our people. I never thought I’d see the day when conservative leaders would take such pleasure in the consolidation of power to a few wealthy men.
Lessons from History
History has shown us that empires rise and fall on the whims of unpredictable leaders. Ancient Rome saw its Golden Age under the reign of the wise leader, Caesar Augustus. He brought in a surplus of goods, fine art and the expansion of the empire. Life was good because the dictator was good. Rome, later, saw a great time of darkness under the psychotic actions of Emperor Nero. He, it is famously said, burned down half of Rome in a rage and proceeded to blame the Christians and punish them by the hundred by feeding them to lions in the Colosseum.
The modern world was supposed to have moved beyond this archaic dictatorship system and into an age of separation of powers. Perhaps it is the simplicity of it all that fills conservatives with this foolish elation. Power has moved from the hands of a bad man to the hands of a good man. That idea is easy to understand and gets people excited. But we, as true conservatives ought to think deeper. Make no mistake, we are merely in the eye of the storm that will take our freedom.
Conservatives, instead of dancing, consider the options for solving this problem while we have free speech to do so. The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has stated that: “The president has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives, he has long argued that tech platforms must be held accountable for the harms they cause. He’s been a strong supporter of fundamental reforms to achieve that goal including reforms to section 230, enacting anti-trust reforms.”
Enforce America’s Anti-Trust Laws
It is not lost on me that they are only saying this now because Elon Musk is in charge. Republican leaders have been calling to break up big corporations for a long time, but the liberals were against it because their ideological allies were running these platforms; well, not anymore! Suddenly, they want to end this terrible trend. Let them. Now is the time to find bipartisan support to enact our anti-trust laws.
Meta (Facebook), Amazon, and Twitter can be put in their place, finally! Ted Cruz once scored political points when he called out then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a 2020 Senate Hearing saying, “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear?” That point still stands today. The problem is not what Dorsey did with his power. The point is that no single person should have that power, regardless of who it is.
Conservative leaders in Congress cannot forget their principles in the light of this newfound power. Breaking up these oversized companies is still a good idea, even if we like the new owner.
Joseph Casieri is a representative with The Campus Leadership Project. He also worked as a Field Organizer for the Georgia Republican Party. Previously. While studying for a degree in Political Science, he interned as a researcher for the National Security and Foreign Policy Department of The Heritage Foundation.