Elon Musk and the Value of Culture Warring
Put the Left on their heels by every means available
The biggest story over the past week has been Elon Musk’s ongoing effort to buy out Twitter and turn it private. One of his stated goals in doing so is to restore freedom of speech to all of Twitter’s users, even the ones who want to say things that would counter the Left’s Woke narrative memeplex. This has (obviously) generated a great deal of sound and fury from all sides, with those on the Right (who get censored) generally being enthusiastic while those on the Left (who like to be able to censor) are horrified.
They have good reason to be horrified, too. Musk’s potential buyout of Twitter represents much more than just a chink in the hithertofore almost complete control over public narrative crafting that the Left has enjoyed via mainstream media, culture creation, and social media. It also embodies the symbolic effect of successful pushback against the progressive monolith. Musk has done more to put the Left off its game than has the election of a thousand Republican politicians. If the responses from lefties at all levels over the past week are any indication, they are genuinely frightened in a way they haven’t been for a long time.
There are many in the Dissident Right and adjacent spaces who seem to view the culture war (and make no mistake that control over a major social media company is part of this war) with suspicion. They see it as a distraction from “purer” endeavours, ones which aren’t tainted with overtones of normie appeal. And from a purely political standpoint, it is true that electoral politics are pretty much useless. However, if appeal to the masses was completely irrelevant, The Powers That Be wouldn’t expend so much time, money, and energy creating propaganda to sway them. In the cultural arena, it turns out that there is a place for public opinion after all. So if you hope to accomplish anything in the cultural arena, if you want to influence the direction your nation is headed, you’re going to need numbers which means coordinating with Right-leaning normies. And since we know that culture is downstream from power, you need to wield this coordination in directions that will undercut left-wing power and enhance our own.
This is why Elon Musk’s “grave and terrible threat to democracy” is such a big deal. The important thing in all of this isn’t really free speech as some sort of absolutely ideal. Every society places some kinds of limits on personal expression that would threaten the stability or peace of the nation. Rather, what’s important here is the impediment that it would place in the Left’s ability to punish objectively right and true speech from people on the Right who are currently hindered in being able to counter objective false things that are contained in the left-wing narrative. This, in turn, would represent an objective loss of power on the part of the Left.
The Twitter saga is not the only place where the Left has faced seemingly successful pushback. At the level of state politics, there has been a broadening and coalescing rebellion against leftist social standards across a range of issues such as critical race theory, abortion, and the use of public schools and woke corporations to groom children into transgenderism (which suggests that electoral politics, at least at present, are not completely useless). States and state elected officials are discombobulating the Left in ways that establishment Republicans talking about taxes or regulations never have, or even could have had they been so inclined.
Incidentally, that ought to drive home the point that to see real changes, you have to be able to exercise power. Which means beating the enemy. And the states are a good place for that to take place because, despite the hopes and dreams of progressives everywhere, the states actually do possess a great deal of both soft and hard power that, though largely unexercised for the last 150 years, could allow them to destroy FedGov’s house of cards if they ever got serious about applying it.
Thus, far from backing off the culture war and playing nice with the Left (as many in the GOP establishment want), it is in the interest of the genuine Right to prosecute the culture war as widely and as vigourously as we possibly can. There are three specific reasons why I believe this would be the best strategy for us to continue to use.
First, it keeps the Left off-balance and reactive. It puts them on the defensive and in the position of having to respond to us rather than being able to take the initiative. This is an inversion from what we’ve seen for decades, where the Left pranced from one culture war victory to the next because they were always the ones setting the agenda. Gaining and keeping the initiative has been sorely lacking on the Right for a long time.
We’ve got the Left reacting to states banning CRT, states banning men from participating in women’s sports, states banning child gender transitioning, states even functionally banning abortion, which even one year ago would have been practically unthinkable. And they’ve really got their hackles up about (correctly) being referred to as “groomers” - a simple yet effective meme that resonates widely, even in bluish areas. When the Left is reacting to us, they’re less able to advance their own sociopolitical agenda and have to use time and energy suppressing the various insurrectionary fires being lit all over the country. Like it or not, the Right does not have the luxury of “live and let live.” As Auron MacIntyre observed,
The sort of boomeresque libertarian laziness is no longer an option for the Right, and in truth has been the chief source of the Right’s failures since the 1960s.
Second, this seizing of the initiative creates the appearance of momentum, of “winning.” This is the case even where it might still just be a perception and has not become effective reality yet. People love a winner, especially when that winner is beating those that the people hate (and don’t think for a second that most people in this country love, or even like, woke progressives). Even if they’re more symbolic that concrete, just a few high-profile wins can “rally the troops” and provide a shot in the arm to our side’s morale while demoralising the enemy. And as the Left becomes more desperate to counter this, they run the risk of doing tactically stupid things that may well undercut their own positions even further (see the Disney Corporation, for example).
Third, this in turn works to help the Right by increasing our own side’s social cohesion, something which the atomised, “rugged individualism” worshipping American Right sorely needs to build. As I’ve noted previously, the true faultline in this country is the widening rift between two very different White ethnies in this country (everyone else is a client of one or the other). Whichever side can build and maintain the greater asabbiyah will be the one that wins in the long run. And like it or not, hatred and anger are two of the best motivators for binding groups of people together to face off against other groups - that’s essentially the whole basis for what creates the metaethnic faultlines that Peter Turchin has observed to lead to ethnogenesis and the rise of nations to growth and power. Waking up Right leaning normies - redpilling them, so to speak - and getting them mad about what the Left is doing to them, to their kids, to their country, getting them to turn off the TV and put down Facebook long enough to start paying attention - that is going to require an intensification of our culture war efforts.
So yes, it is definitely in our best interests to open up every new front in the culture war that we possibly can. Keep the Left occupied everywhere. Become the insurgency that they cannot stamp out. Use the power that we do possess to lend institutional credibility to these efforts. Every attempt should be made to keep the initiative and press it even further. The Left is currently on their heels - if we play it right, we can put them on their rumps.
We're in the midst of a preference cascade. The regime must continuously expend vast resources, in the form of legacy propaganda organs, social media manipulation (algorithmic boosting, censorship, bots), doxxing, affirmative action, etc., in order to retain the illusion of popular legitimacy. This resource expenditure is not sustainable, for a number of reasons.
First, the collapsing economy raises costs.
Second, the effort reduces their own efficiency, e.g. by relying increasingly on low-talent minions who make stupid tactical decisions based on their low IQs, cultivated emotional incontinence, and enthusiastic belief in the mandatory bullshit.
Third, and maybe most importantly, the economic cost of propagandizing truth is minimal. Meme war is the Afghan insurgency to the regime's lavishly fiber funded Pentagon war machine. One meme made on Photoshop can take down an expensively curated media narrative in the same way a MANPAD can take out a far more expensive Apache.
And fourth, as the divide between reality and Official Reality widens into a Valles Marineris sized gulf, the expense of maintaining the Great Narrative balloons. Eventually that balloon has to pop.
Absolutely ridiculous and pathetic that some view Elon as Savior of America and free expression...
Btw, who is this Elon Musk? Richest man in the world? I have severe doubts.