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The Need for Stronger Emotional Foundations to Embrace Freedom

La necesidad de una constitución emocional fuerte para abrazar la libertad - Elon Musk

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Don’t get bored just yet of all these Musk debates—this is nothing but the start.

Musk’s takeover of Twitter, because of its implications, is likely to be the business move of the decade, so it’s no surprise that the billionaire’s purchase generated so much spark. 

Tesla’s founder and CEO has a good share—pun (maybe) intended—of detractors, as one would expect when someone is that accomplished. Among them, there are those who use Musk’s most recent acquisition as a means to express their ill-founded spite for wealth. Not only does this group fall in the zero-sum fallacy, but also, they seem to ignore that the blue bird platform already belonged to a bunch of filthy rich people who, to make things even more dubious, cared little for democracy, such as Saudi Prince ​​Alwaleed bin Talal. 

However, Musk has another group of fierce opponents who argue that if the entrepreneur gets rid of all anti-hate speech regulations, minorities will be freedom’s main victims. This second bunch is interesting because they may have a point. “Getting rid of policies that restrict hate speech will likely affect women and minorities much more than it does white men like Mr. Musk,” writes Elizabeth Spiers for The New York Times.

Online harassment is the worst. We’ve all been there, we know what it feels like. Nevertheless, it is not up to censorship (whoever may implement it) to prevent it from happening. Rather, we, as adults (adults, I have said) must develop a stronger emotional constitution. We can’t be crying our hearts out simply because a complete stranger took a rant on us online.

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Further, it is imperative to educate on the topic, and this education should extend to every member of society —online, and in the material world.  We shouldn’t bully people, as such behavior is despicable; but we shouldn’t censor them either, particularly on the basis of mere disagreement. Disagreement is healthy, enriching, and intellectually challenging.

Lastly, and most importantly, there’s the issue of fake news. A so-called unfiltered Twitter—which, so far, is just speculation—might lead to the spread of misinformation. This will probably happen. Society has been exposed to bias and disinformation since the dawn of man. This, surely, is no excuse. These lines don’t intend to justify democracy-threatening lies. Yet, in an era when all mankind’s knowledge fits in our pocket, and double-checking is at hand reach, this shouldn’t have much impact. 

Or, as the last line of one of my favorite films attests, “not everybody gets corrupted. You have to have a little faith in people.”

This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on April 30, 2022. Subscribe for free here!

Pris Guinovart is a writer, editor and teacher. In 2014, she published her fiction book «The head of God» (Rumbo, Montevideo). She speaks six languages. Columnist since the age of 19, she has written for media in Latin America and the United States // Pris Guinovart es escritora, editora y docente. En 2014, publicó su libro de ficciones «La cabeza de Dios» (Rumbo, Montevideo). Habla seis idiomas. Columnista desde los 19 años, ha escrito para medios de America Latina y Estados Unidos

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