Many of us have supported Elon Musk in his fight to restore free speech protections to Twitter despite concerns over decisions like the use of polls to determine if individuals should be allowed back on the social media site. He has now subjected himself to the same poll judgment in asking if he should step down as CEO. After more than 17.5 million users voted, 57 percent said yes. Unless Musk was looking for an exit, it was a mistake. He handed his critics an easy opportunity to remove him.
For the left, Musk has been a nightmare because he cannot be bullied like most corporate executives. He is an eccentric billionaire who has refused to yield despite a full mobilization of the political, media, and business establishment. That could now change.
While many on the left spent weeks dismissing Twitter’s polls as unscientific, they are now demanding that Musk follow through and step down. Some 42.5% of users wanted him to say.
On Twitter Sunday, Musk seemed to say that he would follow the results but expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO. He said that the person “must like pain a lot” to run a company that “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy.” He further noted that “no one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
That is precisely why the left wants Musk out. As shown in companies like Disney, the left can muscle executives to take actions even against the interests of the company or shareholders. The left has strived to make such campaigns personal for executives, who often yield rather than risk being individually tagged and targeted.
That is why it was essential to remove Musk. The political and media establishments generally are unstoppable forces — but they met their first immovable object in Musk.
That immovable object has now taken a step to remove himself from the path of the establishment. One can hardly blame him, but, as Democratic members warned Facebook not to even consider following the path of Twitter, the prospect of Musk’s departure will strengthen the efforts to maintain censorship over social media.
It is hard to ask anyone to continue to stand against this alliance of political, media, and business forces. Musk has been made a persona non grata for seeking to reduce censorship on the site. He has put billions on the line for the free speech of others. One can certainly understand why he would want this cup to pass from his lips. However, if he stays the course, his work at Twitter could prove to be his greatest legacy in resisting the trend toward censorship and speech controls in social media.