If the left applied their standards honestly, Elon Musk would be the environmental hero of the 21st century. Tesla, which he founded, has sold 4.5 million electric vehicles, more than any other company in the world.
Instead, Musk has become the left’s greatest enemy because he dared to take courageous action to preserve the foundation of American democracy: freedom of speech.
Ever since Musk acquired Twitter in April 2022, the left has launched wave after wave of reckless assaults on him and the renamed X Corp. The propaganda machine of the left has published dozens of articles, all negative, to discredit Musk and the company he bought for $43 billion. These attacks successfully dissuaded many companies from advertising on “X.”
Fortunately, Musk has the money and the will to transform Twitter — a cesspool of censorship — into “X,” a platform that upholds free speech. The company has survived under him for over 18 months.
But the left did not give up. On Nov. 16, Media Matters for America published a report accusing X of placing advertisers’ posts alongside neo-Nazi and white nationalist posts.
However, according to X, “Media Matters manipulated algorithms on the platform to create images of advertisers’ paid posts next to racist, incendiary content” in order to “drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp.”
In response to the Media Matters report — and to Musk’s politically incorrect post regarding Jews, for which he apologized two weeks later — many major advertisers including Apple, Disney, IBM, NBCUniversal/Comcast either stopped or temporarily halted advertising on X. The left came inches away from totally destroying X, the only major social media platform in America free of censorship.
At the recent DealBook Summit hosted by The New York Times, Musk rightly blasted the radical left for caring “about looking good while doing evil.” The advertisers who cut ties with X care far too much about “looking good” while they help the radical left “do evil” by destroying free speech in America.
As a survivor of communist China’s Cultural Revolution, I’d like to warn the leaders of American corporations: China learned disastrous lessons from destroying freedom of speech, and America cannot afford to repeat its mistake.
In 1957, dictator Chairman Mao launched the Anti-Rightist Campaign in China to silence opposition. Anyone who spoke up against the radical communist agenda was labeled as a “Rightist.” The communists then sent them to concentration camps in the countryside to endure hard labor and “re-education.” Within two years, over 500,000 Chinese intellectuals’ careers and families were destroyed.
After totally eliminating the opposition, Chairman Mao launched the disastrous Great Leap Forward, which forced peasants to give up their individual land and form People’s Communes. To show their loyalty to the Communist Party, leaders of the communes exaggerated their grain production from around a few hundred pounds per mu (one-sixth of an acre) to over 10,000 pounds per mu. As a result, high-level communist officials set the quotas for the communes to turn in grain based on the exaggerated output. After turning in the quotas, no food was left to feed the peasants.
Because of the lack of free speech, no one was able to tell the truth and take corrective action. The Great Leap Forward resulted in over 30 million Chinese people starving to death, making it the biggest humanitarian crisis in history.
Some may argue that what the left mandates is just a “benign” censorship that will root out “disinformation.” But the truth of the matter is, anyone who has the power of censoring “disinformation” may abuse it and cause tremendous damage to society.
In modern China, it was the communist government’s censorship of Dr. Li Wenliang’s “disinformation” that covered up Covid-19 for a few critical weeks. Had his “disinformation” had not been censored, millions of lives might have been saved.
In America, it was Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story (falsely smeared as “Russian disinformation”) that deprived American voters of the right to adequately learn about their presidential candidates. If the Hunter Biden scandal had not been covered up, America might not have elected Joe Biden and would have been spared the high inflation, high crime rates and flood of illegal immigrants that his policies produced.
Historical lessons tell us that “looking good” does not guarantee “doing good.” Safeguarding freedom of speech and allowing different ideas to clash and compete is the only way to avoid “doing evil” and repeating disasters such as the Great Leap Forward.
Yukong Mike Zhao is the president of Asian American Coalition for Education. In his book, Critical Race Theory and Woke Culture: America’s Dangerous Repeat of China’s Cultural Revolution, he warned of the dire consequences of limiting freedom of speech in America.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.