The daily view: Jan 6th, Trump, Musk vs. Twitter

Except this is not what happened. After election night, the Trump campaign availed itself of all legal options to contest the results, similar to Al Gore, who also did not immediately concede. This was in vain, and on Jan 6th some of Trump’s most loyal supporters convened in protest at the U.S. Capitol, as the results were being certified. Some of these protestors illegally entered the Capitol. There is scant or no evidence that Trump personally instigated or encouraged either the protests or the entry into the Capitol. Trump himself rejected violence and called for order:

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. At noon Trump consequently vacated the White House without incident. The peaceful transfer of power had been upheld, just like the past 45 times. It’s not like he refused to leave, triggering a constitutional crisis, as some in the media were predicting would happen. Rather, Trump’s refusal to immediately concede somehow implied that he was trying to steal the election or subvert democracy. Rather it was the opposite: he was trying to ensure that the process was as fair and transparent as possible.

Musk opposed the lockdowns and thought people were overreacting to Covid, which he was right. The lockdowns were useless. China is still has Covid despite having the most strict of lockdowns in the world. Same for Germany and Italy. Notice how Taleb’s targets (Musk, Trump, etc.) are all much richer, more popular, more successful, etc. It shows how envy shapes people’s opinions/politics as much as tribalism does.

True, freedom of association does apply to Apple, but let’s not pretend that a $2 trillion company which wields massive gatekeeping and duopoly power (along with Google) with its app store, is the same as a person. Elon is right that Apple’s huge 35% cut on app sales does seem excessive, not to mention its tendency to censor/remove apps for arbitrary or ideologically-motivated reasons. Yes, that’s its right, but at the same time, it would be ideal if there was more choice instead of having to pay the 35% ‘Apple tax’.

Regarding Musk vs. Twitter again, some were predicting that Musk would be constrained by competing power interests. I predicted the opposite: that Musk would come in like a wrecking ball, and the left would be powerless to stop him. So far I was correct, such as unilaterally unbanning popular but controversial accounts such as Nick Fuentes and Trump, by banning antifa accounts, and overturning Twitter’s trust and safety team and no longer punishing Covid misinformation. There is nothing liberal elites or the media can do but try to convince advertisers to boycott. [However, by dramatically cutting headcount, Elon has been able to negate some of this potential revenue loss, plus Twitter has enough capital reserves to last a long time.] The ADL cannot do anything, nor can the SPLC, but issue stern warnings about racism, yet they cannot legally make Musk do anything.

This relates to my earlier point about how ‘the right’ tends to overestimate the power of liberal elites, and we’re finally seeing how little power most of them actually have. Rather than ruthlessness, it’s more like apathy or indifference punctuated by performative outrage, but otherwise not much happens. Billionaire liberal elites had 6 months to put up a counteroffer to buy Twitter, but declined. Musk didn’t even want the site, but was forced to buy it after exhausting all his legal options. They, the left, knew the consequences of what Elon’s ownership would entail (such as Trump being unbanned, and loss of control of a major organ of propaganda just in time for the 2024 election), but presumably decided it was not a big enough threat to act. It was judges, police, and federal agents who prosecuted and arrested quarantine violators and Jan. 6 protestors. This shows that it’s middle-class bureaucrats and civil servants who actually impart the most power, not coastal elites, academics, or media types.