Tucker Carlson: Elon Musk restoring free speech to Twitter would be a threat to the people in charge

Tucker: Censorship now defines America’s public conversation

Fox News host examines why authorities are afraid of free speech on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

It’s a good day in America, maybe a rare, good day. We’re going to celebrate no matter what. Here’s the context for why it’s good—censorship. Censorship is essentially the hallmark of neoliberalism. Have you noticed that? Our leaders seem to spend a lot more time trying to control what we say and think than trying to improve our country and that means that anyone who orders the wrong words, even accidentally, gets fired or banned or ostracized or even charged with a crime. We’ve seen that, too. We don’t need to give you more examples of it. They are literally everywhere.  

If you live here, you’re deeply familiar with it, but censorship now defines America’s public conversation. We spend an awful lot of time complaining about that on the show. We probably don’t spend enough time asking, what is this all about? Why are the authorities suddenly so intent on controlling our words? Why are they so afraid of free speech? This is a new thing and the answer is pretty simple. It’s an act of self-preservation.  

If voters were allowed to think for themselves, the entire system would teeter and possibly collapse. Sound like an overstatement? OK. Consider the ideas of the people in power used to justify their power and the rule over you. Here are some of their slogans, not one of which you’re allowed to disagree with. 

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Elon Musk, Founder and Chief Engineer of SpaceX, attends the Satellite 2020 Conference in Washington, DC, United States on March 9, 2020. 
( Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Here they go: “America is a racist country.” “White supremacy is our biggest threat.” “January 6th was a coup.” “Ukraine is a vitally important ally.” “Gender is a social construct.” “Climate change is an existential crisis.” “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” And so on. 

These phrases are so common now that you might not even think about them anymore. You hear Biden or Pelosi repeat them for the fifth time in a single day and you just start to go numb, but take a break from the numbness, pause and think about it.  

Consider each of these slogans on its merit. Are the words actually true? Do they correspond to reality? Observed reality? No, they don’t. None of them do. In fact, they’re ridiculous. They’re laughable and that would be very obvious to all of us if we were allowed to think about it, but we’re not allowed to think about it. Effectively, all rational scrutiny of the regime’s claims have been banned with the help of so-called news organizations. Our social media platforms, which once promised to give every American a voice, now function like the North Korean State News Agency. They’re organs of propaganda. This crept up on us and it caught a lot of people by surprise, particularly conservatives.  

Conservatives were taught from a very young age to support big business because big business was a bulwark against government overreach and that made sense and it was true for quite a while, but very few imagine what it would look like if big business harnessed monopoly power and then joined that power with government power to strip us of our constitutional rights. 

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Elon Musk walks from the the justice center in Wilmington, Del., Monday, July 12, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Again, this happened incrementally, but now it’s here. So these aren’t really free market companies. They resemble repressive governments. They’re too big. They’re too powerful for you to do anything about. You can’t resist. So, if you want to talk in public in 2022, you have to submit to their censorship. It’s depressing. It doesn’t seem like there’s a solution. That’s what America looked like when we woke up this morning, but thankfully and it’s very nice to be able to say this on a Monday, things are changing and they appear to be changing fast.  

Elon Musk, who’s the head of Tesla and SpaceX, famously a billionaire, just announced he has bought an almost 10% stake in Twitter. That makes him the largest shareholder of Twitter. So why does this matter? Well, because Twitter matters, whether you want it to or not. Twitter is hardly the largest social media platform, but Twitter sets the tone for all news coverage, for all information.  

Twitter is where a professional class goes to learn which opinions are acceptable and which are forbidden and the effect is obvious to everybody. If our public conversation suddenly seems stilted and one-sided, it is because in part Twitter itself is so stilted and so one-sided. Anyone who dares express a heterodox opinion, even if it’s true, gets banned. We found that out last week the hard way.  

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So, whatever you think or think you think of Elon Musk, he certainly understands that. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square,” he wrote recently, “failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.” That is true. Twitter shares surged nearly 30% on the news of Elon Musk’s purchase, so for him, it turned out to be a pretty good buy, but it’s hard to imagine that Musk bought Twitter shares for the investment. He’s already the world’s richest man. He does not need the money.  

Could this be the first move in a hostile takeover of Twitter that transforms Twitter into a platform for free speech? Seems that way. Elon Musk is not an Orthodox conservative, but he sees the people in power with devastating clarity. A few months ago, he described wokeness, that is to say, the ideology at the heart of Twitter’s business operations, as “one of the greatest threats to modern civilization.” 

ELON MUSK: It is a prevalent mind virus and arguably one of the biggest threats to modern civilization. So, do we want a humorless, a society that is simply rife with condemnation and hate basically? At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary and hateful. It basically gives mean people a reason, it gives them a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.  

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When was the last time you heard a crisper and more precise definition than that? “Wokeness gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.” Not a lot of CEOs talk this way, in fact, none. They’re not allowed. The fact that a CEO who does talk this way may take over one of the most important communications platforms in the United States is cause for celebration, real celebration.  

Censors are powerful, but it turns out they may not be all powerful. So, what happens next? Let’s be very clear, this is not a business transaction. It’s much bigger than that. Elon Musk is a massive threat to the way things are. So, by definition, it will not be long before they are calling him a racist. You can mark your calendar, Tonight, there are Democratic operatives studying everything Elon Musk has ever said in public. They’re preparing one of the nastiest campaigns of character assassination in memory. They have no choice but to do this. 

Restoring free speech to Twitter is the greatest possible threat to the people in charge. They have to control the information. If they don’t, they fall. So, you’re going to be hearing a lot about Elon Musk in coming days, and all of it will be negative. At some point, they’re going to unearth this clip from the Babylon Bee’s podcast back in December. They’ll tell you this is some kind of fascist talk or dangerous ethno-nationalism. We’ll let you judge for yourself.  

ELON MUSK: There are not enough people. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are not enough people and I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birth rate…and yet so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers. If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.  

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OK, so the first tip that what you just heard is forbidden, is that it’s real. He’s not talking about something ephemeral. He’s not talking about the Academy Awards. He’s talking about perpetuating the species, something that has inherent meaning that we ought to be thinking about, but that by design will not. “Have more children,” he said. That’s one of the things you’re no longer allowed to say in public.  

Now, Musk himself has already ignored that order. He’s got eight kids. The problem with people with eight kids is they’re hard to control. Why? Because they’re apt to love their own kids more than the corporation they work for or more than the government they live under. 

So neoliberal leaders hate the idea of big families in the same way they hate the idea of religious faith because both are a challenge to their power. That’s one of many reasons they despise Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, whose pro-family policies are the most comprehensive in the world. Because of those policies, we went to see Orbán last summer and here’s how he described to us what he’s doing in Hungary.  

VIKTOR ORBAN: What is going on here is building up a society which is very successful economically, politically, culturally, even in demography we have some success, family policy. So, what you can see here could be described as a success story, but the fundamentals of this success are totally different than it is reached and drawn and created by many other Western countries. So, the Western liberals cannot accept that inside the western civilization, there is a conservative national alternative, which is more successful at everyday life, at the level of the then the liberal ones. 

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A world leader who reads books and talks like it. So, he’s essentially arguing that Hungary is hated by the leaders of other countries because the contrast is so stark. Hungary is conservative. Let’s be clear what we mean by conservative. Hungary is conservative in pretty much exactly the same way the United States was conservative in 1998, not old-fashioned, repressive, conservative, whatever that is, but just sort of normal people conservative–the conservative you remember very well before the lunatics took over.  

So, Hungary has stayed that course thanks to the man you just saw and as a result, it has turned out to be much more successful, by which we mean much more stable and much happier than most of the liberal countries that surround it. That’s true and that’s why they hate Viktor Orbán so much. He is a living rebuke to their ideas. And yet, and this is our second piece of good news tonight, Viktor Orbán was reelected yesterday for the fourth time in an electoral landslide.  

In his speech, Orbán described the victory as a win for sensible nationalism, which it certainly is, as well as a rebuke to “the left at home, the international left, the Brussels bureaucrats, the Soros Empire, with all of its money, the international mainstream media and in the end, even the president of Ukraine.” We should tell you all of those forces and people bitterly opposed Viktor Orbán’s reelection and you can see why. He does the one thing you’re never allowed to do. Orbán says the obvious things out loud. Last summer, for example, he told us that in order to protect families, you first have to secure your national borders. 

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Viktor Orbán waves after his annual state of the nation speech in Varkert Bazaar conference hall of Budapest, Hungary, Feb. 12, 2022.
(AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi, File)

VIKTOR ORBAN:  If somebody, without getting any permission on behalf of the Hungarian state, cross your border, you have to defend your country and to say, “guys stop” and if you would like to cross or you would like to come, there’s a legal procedure. We have to do it, but you can’t cross, you know, without any kind of limitation and permission and any contribution and control of the Hungarian state. It’s dangerous. You have to defend your people against any danger  

TUCKER CARLSON: And you think you have a right to do that?  

VIKTOR ORBAN:  Of course, that’s got from the it’s coming from the God, the nature so all arguments with us because this is our country, this is our population, this is our history, this is our language. So we have to do that. Of course, if you are in trouble and there is nobody closer to you than the Hungarians, you have to be helpful, but you can’t say simply that, “OK, it’s a nice country. I would like to come here and to live here because it’s a nicer life.” This is not a human right to come here. No way, because it’s our land. It’s a nation. It’s a community, families, historic tradition, language.  

“Families, history, tradition, language.” Find five people who are against those things. People who are against those things are people who hate the idea of countries, who would like to eliminate all distinctions between countries because that would make them more powerful, but take three steps back. So you just watched the guy who runs a nation of 10 million people in Central Europe and he’s got a slightly different, not a radically different, but a slightly different way of doing things. Why is it so threatening that he’s running a country that looks like America in 1998? Why are they so mad about that? Because it’s a challenge to their monopoly.  

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They’re mad at him for the same reason very soon they will be every bit as mad at Elon Musk. He’s challenging their monopoly and their monopoly power is the only advantage they have. If there’s competition in the marketplace, they lose because their products are terrible. So immediately, you won’t be surprised to learn this, our media set out to slander Viktor Orbán. Must stop Orbán in the name of democracy, a guy who just got elected!  

CNN today reported that, “Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s authoritarian leader and key Putin ally, calls Zelenskyy an ‘opponent’ after winning reelection.” They don’t know, known of that’s true, by the way, expect the last line, but they don’t even explain. It’s just prima fascia. He’s terrible. He criticized someone you’re not allowed to criticize. So, he’s a Putin stooge.  

A couple of questions here: No one in Hungary is pro-Russian, by the way. Almost all Hungarian energy comes from Russia. So, probably best not to pick a fight with Russia, which is much bigger than Hungary, much bigger than Hungary, multiples of the size of Hungary, but in what sense is he a Putin stooge?  

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In this Tuesday, June 15, 2021 file photo Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán attends the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Hungary and Portugal at the Ferenc Puskas stadium in Budapest, Hungary. 
(AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh, Pool, File)

Orbán was one of the very first leaders in Europe to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Oh, that wasn’t in the CNN piece. By the way, how is it that an authoritarian just won a landslide in a nationwide election? Why is Viktor Orbán an authoritarian, a proto fascist and not just an unusually popular prime minister elected for the fourth time? So to answer that question, Orbán’s critics have to make stuff up.  

EU officials, for example, are reportedly upset that—and this is the greatest ever—that “Mr. Orbán has used his majority in parliament to rewrite election laws, redraw voting districts and permit mail-in ballots without identity verification.” 

So Orbán, so it turns out if you’re authoritarian, you might let people vote by mail and that cannot be allowed in Hungary. He’s an authoritarian for doing that. Unbelievable. Now, Jason Stanley, a confirmed non genius, who apparently teaches at Yale University, offered this assessment, which is equally hilarious. Savor this. “Hungary shows that if you control the education system, the media and the courts, you can rule forever, enriching your family and friends.” 

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Really? What’s interesting is that media in Hungary are far less controlled by one party than they are in the United States. There’s much more diversity of view allowed in Hungary than in the United States, much more. Just count the publications, their partisan affiliation and you will see it’s much more diverse in Hungary. So there’s not a lot of self-awareness on display ever on the left, particularly not today on the subject of Viktor Orbán.  

A senior correspondent at Vox offered this assessment on Twitter, “For the whole country to be dumbed down by propaganda, it’s crazy. They literally brainwash people in the countryside. They just repeat the state media stock lies. There are only a handful of independent media outlets, and they are hard to find.” 

It’s just too great. They’re always talking about themselves. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Silicon Valley CEOs openly admit they suppress any speech the Democratic Party doesn’t want to hear. Here’s, for example, Twitter’s new CEO.   

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PARAG AGRAWAL: Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do to work about this is to focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed. One of the changes today that we see is speech is easy on the internet. Most people can speak where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.  

Oh, so that’s how it works. So, you show up in our country as an adult, become wildly successful, take over one of the most important institutions in American life, the nexus through which all of our ideas flow, and then you announce without shame that you couldn’t care less about our Constitution and you seek to strip us of our constitutional rights and you don’t seem embarrassed as you say that. What are we watching here? We’re watching someone who has an unassailable monopoly. That’s what people with monopolies talk. They don’t care what you think because they have a monopoly. Here’s the good news and that’s why we’re celebrating tonight. That monopoly is ending.  

This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the April 4, 2022 edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

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