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Elon Musk and the Narcissism/Radicalization Maelstrom

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Elon Musk is seen at the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by NDZ/Star Max/GC Images)
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November 25, 2022 1:16 p.m.

It’s a fascinating thing to watch far-right radicalization unfold in real time. I’ve been watching the Elon Musk and Twitter drama with a mix of fascination and awe. He bought Twitter as part of his romance with the “free speech”/anti-“cancel culture” right and Donald Trump. Just what set him off on that path has never been adequately or convincingly explained, though there are a number of very plausible and not-mutually exclusive theories. Over the last four weeks Musk’s attachment to this crowd and that ideology have been constantly apparent. He gave an early and even for him startling taste of this when he tweeted out a rank gay-bashing conspiracy theory about the QAnon dead-ender’s hammer attack on Paul Pelosi days before the November 8th election. The process has only accelerated and intensified over the subsequent four weeks.

As he virtually high-fives supporters on Twitter he’s moved on from “free speech” and ending bans on people like Donald Trump to a much more explicit insistence that old Twitter management ran the site with the express purpose of elevating the left over the right. So just two days ago, for instance, he wrote: “Far left San Francisco/Berkeley views have been propagated to the world via Twitter. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone watching closely. Twitter is moving rapidly to establish an even playing field. No more thumb on the scale!”

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