Musk's central 80%

Musk cavalier exegesis part 2

The Musk Twitter vision is as follows. Free speech and voice ("power to the people") for the central 80% of people who aren't harming others. The existence of a general speech regulation system is unnecessary. A focused approach to getting rid of fake or harmful accounts is sufficient.

A general speech regulation system is at risk of becoming the equivalent of the Ministry of Truth in 1984. If several great powers did adopt the general regulation system approach, then we'd also have something similar to the geopolitics of 1984. The geopolitics of 1984 is three great power blocs locked in perpetual warfare on their imperial margins. Their oppressed citizenries are excluded from any kind of cooperative exchange with citizens from other blocks. Orwell imagined a definitive Hell on Earth.

Beyond the opposition between expansion and contraction, the world of 1984 provides a second approximation of the systemic risk that Musk seeks to control. Even though this dystopia lacks modern computation and communication technology, it captures our peril of making the world utterly hostile to the flourishing of humankind.

So, according to Musk's vision, no general speech regulation system is required. The definition of harmful behaviour then doesn't require anything beyond certain universal intuitions and conventions. These intuitions and conventions pertain to topics such as child safety, personal safety, and Hitler. Things 80% of people would agree on today. Or so Musk believes. There is also no need to publish a complete list of such intuitions and conventions. Twitter participants are mostly presumed to have a sense of these boundaries. If such a list of boundaries did exist, it would ideally only expand slowly, if at all, on the basis of new cases on which the central 80% are in intuitive agreement.

One immediate consequence of this position is that it goes against all those forces who've made it their business to educate on and promote compliance with behavioural norms founded on new ideas of what constitutes harmful behaviour. Enter the "woke mind virus."

The woke idea of harmful behaviour is the precise contrary of Musk's vision of focused speech regulation, because woke morality requires expanding the sphere of what constitutes harmful behaviour. Example: not using the right new pronouns is harmful behaviour under woke morality. Regardless of what one thinks of this notion, it is a fact that it contains a rather new understanding of harmful behaviour. I don't have time to look up other cases, but the list is long and growing, and growing faster judging by Google Trends.

There is a natural match between the fast growing woke mind virus and any system that has given up on growth, and has started to view the people, the central 80%, as something that needs to be cannibalised. I use this term because it conveys how the institutions of the system preserve their rigid layers of hierarchy by preying on the rest of the system. Power is a transfer of risk, and in times of contraction, more risk is transferred from the centres of power to the peripheries of power.

But of course, this isn't how such systems present the situation to us. Both the woke agenda and the existing Western speech regulation systems nominally operate under the higher, or supralocal idea of Inclusiveness. The expansion of the definition of harmful behaviour nominally serves the purpose of enabling more protection for the victims of until now hidden forms of harm.

Thus Musk appears as a categorical enemy of the woke mind virus, and for the moment, as a potential enemy of existing Western speech regulation systems. The relationship is reciprocal in the first case:

This conflict between Musk and he woke mind virus sharpens our approximation of the systemic risk that Musk seeks to control. The woke mind virus is viewed by Musk as a causal factor that drives the world towards something similar to 1984, where humankind is locked in permanent economic contraction and total geopolitical stasis.

There is also a highly personal aspect to the Muskian crusade against the woke mind virus, in that this virus already turned one of his children against him. In the past, Musk has already dealt with a personal crisis by finding a higher purpose to fight for. It is known that his quest for Mars arose from a near death experience while on vacation. So it seems to be the case again now with the woke mind virus.

The current phase of this conflict is driven by the so-called "Twitter Files." By providing access to internal documents to a group of select journalists, Musk has launched an offensive that seems to primarily target the woke viral vector that is contemporary journalism. In response, establishment journalists have mostly ignored or downplayed the Twitter Files or published hit pieces that seek to portray Musk as an out of touch lunatic. Musk then suspended journalists who were publishing his flight information in real-time, only to reinstate their accounts following a popular vote.

Publishing real-time localisation or otherwise providing personal information about an enemy target on the Internet is what is called a doxx. Doxxing targets is an extension of one of the core functions of journalism. It is not something new when journalists are given license to publish information that is harmful or has the potential to be harmful to the enemies of their masters. In fact, this has always been one of the core functions of journalism. Of course, when the masters in question are we, the people, this seems like a good arrangement.

It remains to be seen what other subsystems will react in a more or less hostile manner to Musk's anti-woke crusade. Journalists are far from being the only group whose recent acts of influence on the regulation of speech was revealed by the Twitter Files. But they are one of its central nodes, through which the agendas of oligarchic subsystems exert influence, on topics that often extend seemingly far beyond the woke agenda itself. Considering that these topics include health and war, it would be excessive to categorise every new false opinion or lie as a manifestation of the woke mind virus. All we know is that these opinions all mysteriously appear on the agenda of establishment journalists. In the language of sovereign systems, Musk has decided to challenge a certain monopoly on the framing of systemic risk.

Assuming Musk remains in good health, the next step in this conflict should be decided by the coalitions that will emerge around or against Musk. So the question arises: what would be the optimal supralocal idea for an 80%er movement?