The rumor on social media that old super villain Bill Gates is buying up much of America’s farmland got me thinking about new super hero Elon Musk….*
Elon Musk is the current darling of the far right, with his recent purchase of Twitter for $44 billion and his stated commitment to restore ‘free speech’ to the social media platform that alienated millions by purging itself of such luminaries as Donald Trump and Alex Jones. His new social media backers are willing to forgive him all manner of sins—that he strongly supported Barack Obama for president or that he resigned in protest from former president Donald Trump’s executive advisory council after he took the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017 (with Musk tweeting “climate change is real”). The only thing these new cheerleaders care about now is that Musk has soured on progressives and will use Twitter to sock it to the ‘elites.
How long will the honeymoon last? If you’ve followed Musk’s mercurial temperament at all over the last decade or so, you know the honeymoon can’t last. Musk has a hairtrigger temper, and an even quicker lip, so you know there’s going to be an online spat that will quickly escalate and culminate in someone taking their marbles and going home. Since Musk now owns the playground, he won’t be the one leaving; even before taking over Twitter, his commitment to free speech has evaporated on occasions, such as when Obama’s former secretary of labor, Robert Reich, criticized Musk about Tesla’s labor practices, and Musk proceeded to block him as a follower on Twitter.
Rather than try to predict whether the honeymoon will last a few months or even a few years, I’ll deal with a more interesting question: Just what will undo the honeymoon? I suspect it will be a conspiracy theory about Musk put forth by the far right that takes hold. After all, Musk’s new super fans mostly live their lives from conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory. Here are my four most prominent possibilities:
-Musk is a puppet of the Chinese, and a secret proponent of their communist ways. The element of truth will come from the fact that Musk has negotiated for Tesla the distinction of being the only foreign company allowed complete ownership of a manufacturing facility in China. The facility has allowed Tesla to achieve a dominant position in the Chinese electric car market. But the New York Times is already speculating that Musk’s big investment in China could put it in a compromising position via Twitter.
-He’s a pedophile, ready to use Twitter to expand his child abuse network. His father after all, fathered a child with the stepdaughter he’d lived with since she was 3. I don’t care what the father does with his life, but the QAnon crowd is definitely going to keep that one in its collective back pocket for convenient conspiracy theory padding.
-He’s secretly aligned with Bill Gates, and together they’re buying all of America’s farmland. The rumor about Gates buying farm land is a live one in right-wing circles, but the recent news that Musk became pissy toward Gates after learning Gates has shorted Tesla stock puts more meat on that conspiracy bone for future manipulation.
-Musk is really a leader of space aliens trying to take over our planet. Of course, the reality here is that Musk has achieved spectacular success leading SpaceX, which now has plans to put a manned crew on Mars by 2029.
So take your pick. If you don’t like one of these, just wait till the current wave of Musk cheerleaders come up with some of their own. They always do. For many, the real goal of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the brutality and genocide that have followed are to root out American-sponsored chemical weapons labs in Ukraine. They now see any election loss as a conspiracy against them. Musk will have his hands very full trying to figure out how to keep them from running roughshod over his new “town square” vision and turning his new Twitter back into the Twitter of old we all loved to hate.
*About the report that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been buying much of America’s farmland, research by Snopes says the actual amount purchased is way less than 1% of all American farmland.