Elon Musk gets the political spectrum so wrong, but so right – unintentionally

Well, it seems like Elon Musk is set to become our new Twitter overlord. This is a terrible idea, for many reasons which will probably be the subject of my next post.

He seems to have become the new hope for the online Right. The one who will restore balance to free speech in the Twitterverse. How exactly giving one oligarch total control over an entire social media platform is a win for “free speech” is beyond me though.

It is always fascinating to see right-wingers get the political spectrum wrong in so many ways. There is actually one sense in which this meme is correct, just not in the way Elon meant. First, let’s see what he got wrong.

“Woke progressives” aren’t the radical Left.

First is the idea that “woke progressives” have sprinted so far to the left that they are unrecognizable from 10 years ago. As someone who has been on the far left for a long time, I just wish this was the case.

In terms of ideological positions, much of the center-left (whom Elon and his right-wing followers seem to think of as the “woke left”) not a whole lot has changed. The two biggest changes I can think of are more support for transgender rights and racial justice.

You could maybe argue medicare for all in the USA or tuition-free college, but that’s always been a standard position on the global center-left. So not exactly radical left.

The other point to note is that, even if we were to concede that mainstream liberals have moved to the left to some degree, you also have to mention the increasing numbers of the far-right in the last 10 years.

Do the rise of Trump, Le Pen, Maxime Bernier, Victor Orban, et al count for nothing? January 6th? All the anti-vaccine protests?

How Elon got this meme right

Elon did get one thing right with this meme, albeit in an unintended fashion.

If you exist in a society that has progressed on issues of social justice, and you don’t update your beliefs accordingly, you will inevitably shift to the right without changing any beliefs.

That is the very core of conservatism: to conserve traditional practices and ideologies.

It’s almost as though those who relate to Elon’s meme were always conservative, whether they knew it or not (Never mind not understanding how the political spectrum works). They are just telling on themselves.


Josh K

Josh is the main author of Northern Currents. Josh is an electrician of 10 years and has been interested in radical politics for even longer. Follow me on Twitter at @josh_nc.

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