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The Right Is Winning America’s Culture War

El mundo, por fin, está cambiando, El American

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The rise of the #MeToo movement sparked a cultural revolution that began as a legitimate cause but devolved into persecution, censorship, and revisionism. What was initially a pertinent wake-up call to Hollywood’s complicity with sexual predators gradually faded. A case in point was the episode of comedian Aziz Ansari, when hordes of outraged girls tried to cancel him. What had happened? Ansari simply had a bad date with a girl. Fortunately, at the time, the hordes failed to cancel the comedian.

Parallel to #MeToo, progressive elites began to evaluate the rest of society’s behavior and limit what they believed to be harmful. From Hollywood, the pursuit migrated to political debate, education, and the rest of the culture. And from the U.S., revanchism spread around the world.

Arguably, the spirit of #MeToo merged with the demands of Black Lives Matter (which had emerged in 2014, after the death of Michael Brown) and consolidated under the umbrella of wokeism. The purpose, now, was to be literally awake, alert to any behavior that for one group is objectionable and harmful. And that group, naturally, is the elites.

The woke movement (attentive to issues of racism, social inequality, sexual identity, discrimination, etc.) began to take over every cultural product, turning absolutely everything there is to consume into a political statement. For a while—and boosted by the political debate and Donald Trump’s polarizing character—the phenomenon was embraced by a large part of society. However, this is definitely changing.

A few months ago, at a public school in Loudoun County, Virginia, a young man taking advantage of pro-trans policies molested a girl in a women’s restroom. The district school board, to protect its pro-trans policies, covered up for the boy. This got out and anger erupted.

The Netflix release of the movie Cuties, in which a group of girls dances sexually, also generated widespread outrage. The audience did not like that a 13-year-old girl appeared on screen twerking in shorts. The contrast between the elites and the people is palpable on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, where Cuties has a 16% approval rating, but 88% from critics.

Tapping into the almost unstoppable force of woke culture, actor Jussie Smollett lied to police about an alleged homophobic and racist attack in Chicago. In January 2019, Smollett claimed that two white, pro-Trump men had beaten and insulted him for being black and gay. It all turned out to be a lie and Smollett was convicted of six counts of disorderly conduct.

In another case of the rampant woke culture, a professor at the State University of New York pretended to “normalize” pedophilia, after saying that it is “not obvious” that it is wrong for an adult to want to have sex with a girl. Also, in 2014, The New York Times tried to explain in a column how pedophilia should not be treated as a crime but as a “disorder.”

We have #DefundThePolice, for several months a slogan of the American left, which ended up being a drag on the Democratic Party. To Black Lives Matter tearing down statues all over America, like the one of Abraham Lincoln—who, in fact, abolished slavery. Or CNN saying “mostly peaceful protest” while numerous buildings went up in flames during their broadcast.

There are too many instances where it was obvious to everyone that woke culture had gotten out of control. And the backlash was imminent.

This April 25, Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, bought Twitter for nearly $44 billion, after a days-long arm wrestling match with the company’s board. The purchase of Twitter is not economically motivated, but ideologically motivated. Musk has made it very clear that his purpose is to turn Twitter into a space where free speech prevails. He is critical of the ideological censorship of Big Tech—which has as victims personalities such as President Trump, James O’Keefe, Alex Jones, Michael Flynn, and Mike Lindell.

Musk’s purchase of Twitter cannot be dismissed as a simple financial move. The platform still represents the main space for discussion in the world. It is undoubtedly the platform where the most influential positions circulate, where the world’s most powerful people participate and where public opinion lives.

Elon Musk has been a strong critic of woke culture. In fact, recently, in the face of a drop in Netflix subscribers, he tweeted, “The woke mind virus has made Netflix unwatchable.” In response to that tweet, one user wrote, “The woke virus is the biggest threat to civilization,” to which Musk responded, “Yes.”

It is likely that one of the episodes that prompted Elon Musk to buy Twitter was the censorship of the conservative satirical page The Babylon Bee. After the platform suspended The Babylon Bee for a joke about Rachel Levine, the trans Deputy Secretary of Health, the satirical site’s CEO, Seth Dillon, said Musk had contacted him and told him that, to solve the censorship issue, “maybe I’d have to buy Twitter.” That happened on April 5. Twenty days later, he did.

The issue of freedom of speech has been at the forefront of Musk’s every step for several months now. He insists that his main purpose with the purchase of Twitter is to turn the platform into a true space where different positions on different topics can be found. This April 25, just as the purchase was confirmed, Musk tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

And it’s clear that freedom is at the center of the debate when one hears reactions to the Twitter purchase, such as that of CNN anchor Brian Stelter: “If you’re invited to a place where there are no rules, where there’s full freedom, do you really want to go to that party?” Today you read thousands of comments from upset people on Twitter, threatening to shut down their accounts. They’re not worried about being censored or locked out of the platform. They are worried, instead, that those who, for them, should be censored will return to the platform. It’s really about contempt and fear of free speech.

That the richest person in the world, with the intention of influencing the political debate, is against woke culture, is a completely decisive factor and a game-changer. There is no doubt that Elon Musk is someone that everyone would like to have on their side, because of his leverage.

Netflix’s subscribers fall and the company plummets. CNN+, CNN’s multi-million dollar effort to enter the streaming market, fails just three weeks after its launch. Disney loses its tax-privileged status in Florida after it became involved in political and ideological discussions. Twitter is no longer in the hands of a progressive board, which until now had censored without limit.

The world, at last, is changing. People have had enough of wokeism, intolerance, and the lack of freedom in debate. The euphoria generated by Elon Musk’s move reflects what society aspires to. Trump’s return to the platform is trending. Everyone wants to debate. That is the point. That all positions can meet, freely, and the marketplace of ideas expands. Today, Musk is the person who is achieving that. We may have reached a point of no return.

Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.

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