Elon Musk is looking to take over Twitter, and everyone’s paying attention. Will his belief in free speech release the social media giant from its slavery to woke ideology? Will he be able to change Twitter’s censorious ways?
While Catholics might be heartened by such news, it’s hard not to be suspicious of Musk. The world’s wealthy elites aren’t usually friends of the Faith—consider Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Klaus Schwab and their anti-Catholic efforts to remake the world in their secularist image. But could Musk be different? Could he perhaps be like the Babylonian King Cyrus, a pagan helping God’s Chosen People return to the Promised Land?
Although South African by birth, Elon Musk is an American citizen, giving rise to a fun way for some conservatives to troll the Left: they say he’s the most successful African-American in the world. He’s led multiple well-known companies including Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX. His financial successes and quirky manner gained him a cult following, particularly among young people who wanted to follow his path to riches.
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The multi-billionaire’s politics are eclectic and hard to define. During the 2020 presidential election he supported rapper Kanye West’s longshot independent bid. Last year he moved from California to Texas, which could be seen as a political shift from a Blue State to a Red State, but was likely simply a business decision—by moving he was escaping California’s high taxes for Texas’s no state income tax.
Musk has advocated for the free market—not surprising considering his successful capitalistic career. He’s also criticized today’s woke culture: “At its heart wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people… a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.” And he’s opposed to the wealthy elite’s desire to control the world’s population, arguing that we should be having more kids rather than fewer (he has also said that with the additional population we could colonize Mars).
Musk does not appear to be very religious. He was baptized when he was young and attended Anglican Sunday School, but doesn’t consider himself a Christian. He’s not antagonistic to the faith, however, once stating, “I agree with the principles that Jesus advocated. There’s some great wisdom in the teachings of Jesus, and I agree with those teachings.”
Such tepid words of praise could of course be said by an agnostic or an atheist and clearly Musk doesn’t follow all Christ’s teachings. He’s thrice-divorced (twice to the same woman) and two of his eight children were with an unmarried partner. Further, five of his children were born via IVF, and another child was born through surrogacy—both practices considered gravely immoral by the Catholic Church. He seems to have little interest in charitable work; by one count he has given away less than 1% of his massive wealth.
Clearly Elon Musk isn’t a model Catholics should try to emulate in their own lives. But can we consider him an ally nonetheless?
When we look at the landscape for advancing and growing Catholicism in the world, we see both internal and external roadblocks. The internal roadblocks consist mostly of Church leaders more concerned about pleasing the world than pleasing Our Lord. Musk is no help there.
Perhaps the most serious external roadblock to Catholicism, I’d argue, is the growing Woke Axis that wants to prevent the proclamation of the more controversial truths of the Faith. This is where Musk can be an important ally for Catholics.
Although it’s easy to dismiss Twitter—and it can be a cesspool—Catholics should not underestimate its impact on our culture. The reality is that what occurs on social media, particularly on social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, shapes how many people think and view the world. So when certain views are excluded from those platforms, it matters.
Now some might think such censorship can be a positive thing. After all, if racist calls to eliminate the Black population are banned from social media, that’s good, right? However, what is now labeled as “dangerous” and “misinformation” is increasingly basic Catholic beliefs or even just statements of truth and reality.
For example, last month I was locked out of Twitter for the following tweet: “Just a reminder: Homosexual activity is a sin. Transgenderism is a mental illness. Abortion is murder.” Each of these statements are factually true, but Twitter deemed at least one of them (likely the transgender comment) as violating their rules against “hateful conduct.” It’s a common tactic: any truth that might offend the Woke mob is labeled “hate” and removed from discussion. However, since the time of Christ Catholic teaching has often been offensive to those in power.
While it would be easy to just shake the dust off our feet and permanently leave Twitter, that doesn’t solve the problem. Even though we might hope and wish that Twitter would just go away, we can’t forget the millions of people who get their news and shape their opinions based on what they read on social media. If certain views, such as the problems of transgenderism, are never seen, then it makes it highly likely that such warped ideas will become more prevalent and accepted. After all, that’s why Twitter censors those views in the first place!
The censorious regimes in effect at various social media platforms should matter to all Catholics, even those who themselves avoid those platforms. By censoring the truth, Twitter and Facebook and other Woke Axis entities create barriers in the minds of their users, making it harder for any Catholic to reach others with the Way, the Truth, and the Life. A young person who only hears the dominant narrative on social media when it comes to human sexuality is likely to think Catholic teaching in this regard is only held by a small number of dangerous extremists.
Here, then, is where Elon Musk can be a Cyrus. Although his lifestyle isn’t admirable, his actions could allow for a freer expression of Catholicism in the world. Musk has made it clear that he prefers less censorship and more free speech on social media. If he were successful in his Twitter takeover attempt, his leadership decisions could indirectly expose countless people to Catholic truths. He may not accept them himself, but he would allow them to spread.
As Catholics, we know the Truth is attractive. Although our sins can prevent us from accepting the Truth, sincere and open hearts are drawn to the Truth when they hear it. A more open free speech environment is beneficial to the Truth because the light of that Truth outshines the darkness of the world’s lies. This is why it’s so important to proclaim that Truth whenever and wherever we can—and it’s also why the enemies of the Truth work so hard to silence its spread. If Elon Musk can help us—even unwittingly—make the Truth more well known, then we Catholics should pray for his success.
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