All-In on Fascism

Obama-era Elon wanted to save the planet. MAGA-era Elon wants to rule the whole white world.

All-In on Fascism

On 16 May 2022, two days after the racist hate crime that killed 10 Black people in Buffalo, NY, one month after Elon Musk launched his $44 billion bid to acquire Twitter—and just sixteen months after then-President Donald Trump had incited a violent and deadly insurrection at the US Capitol—Musk correctly identified the GOP as the party of "corporate evil and religious zealotry."

Nevertheless, Musk blithely told the hosts of the "All-In" podcast—four of his most "hyper-privileged" Silicon Valley buddies—that he was now fully embracing the party of corporate evil and religious zealotry because, in his mind, "unions" and "trial lawyers" were a far bigger problem.

For those not paying close attention, Musk's petty concerns about unions and trial lawyers may have seemed at odds with his reputation as a world-changing, space exploring, high-tech visionary.

But Musk wasn't joking.

Something had snapped in his brain since he stated in 2018 that climate change was "the biggest threat that humanity faces this century."

Some speculate that his trans daughter's 18 April 2022 petition to change her name and sever ties with him was what pushed him over the edge.

But whatever was happening inside his head, Musk soon proved he was absolutely serious about abandoning women, minorities, democracy, social responsibility—and the planet—in pursuit of a harsh new pro-fascist agenda.

The World's Richest White Supremacist

On 17 May 2022, one day after Musk's "All-In" appearance, President Biden went to Buffalo and said: "Now is the time for the people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy."

Musk chose to ignore that plea.

Instead, he doubled down on his "All-In" comments, formally announcing his "Dark MAGA" turn on Twitter on 18 May 2022.

In that tweet, the now-proud white supremacist claimed that the Democratic Party was no longer "the kindness party." Instead, he claimed it had become "the party of division & hate" (aka "unions" and "trial lawyers").

One month later, in June 2022, Samuel Alito authored the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

Not content with that earth-shattering ruling, Clarence Thomas added an opinion stressing his commitment to revisiting past SCOTUS decisions about the right to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), same-sex relationships (Lawrence v. Texas), and same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges).

If the Supreme Court's unrestrained religious zealotry concerned Musk even a little, he didn't let it show.

If anything, it only made him more determined to embrace anti-Semitism, promote hateful conspiracy theories, help Nazis and right-wing extremists monetize their content, protect any X users who chose to post "racist, sexist and homophobic content, or who send sexual material to another person," and generally be a dick while ramping up his attacks on Joe Biden, American workers, and the Democratic party in general.

Why? Because Apartheid Clyde is convinced that "communism" made his daughter trans and now he simply cannot abide anybody being woke.

In June 2023, Musk shocked many observers when he openly embraced the idea of a violent, democracy-ending coup. (And if you thought he was kidding, he just did it again.)

Musk has become so bonkers and bloodthirsty that on 20 March 2024, he announced on X: "This is a battle to the death with the anti-civilizational woke mind virus."

In case it's not obvious, the climate crisis (Musk's number one concern in 2018) is real. The "anti-civilizational woke mind virus" is something he made up.

The Loudest Voice on X

By the time Musk went batshit MAGA crazy in May 2022, his massive Twitter following had already surpassed 92 million. Today, two years later, Musk has established himself as X's Dear Leader, and his following has more than doubled, recently topping 185 million.

Tweet by @KellyScaletta

Musk is one of only 6 people with more than 100 million followers on X. And he's more than 50 million followers ahead of the less-active-tweeter Barack Obama (in 2nd place with 132 million). Five of the top 10 most-followed accounts on X are celebrities—soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, and singers Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. The only other political figures in the top 10 are Narendra Modi (7th with 98 million) and the currently inactive Donald Trump account (9th with 87 million).

I don't know how many of Musk's followers are fake (some estimates are as high as 50%). It's quite possible that millions of them are pornbots. But Musk makes sure his tweets continue to be relentlessly promoted on the site he owns and, like Trump before him, he knows how to use a steady stream of offensive and often childish tweets to generate fresh media coverage—and distract from more important reporting about him.

While many say Musk has failed in his leadership of X, he seems content to have turned it into the kind of abusive, far-right, incel-friendly, hate-speech-filled, fact-averse echo chamber that Parler and Gab always dreamed of being.

The "Free Speech Absolutist" Is Actually A Free Press Abolitionist.

From his earliest days as the Mayor of Tweet-town, Musk presented as a thin-skinned bully who censored journalists with abandon and childishly began using the poop emoji as Twitter's email auto-reply to all press inquiries.

He always was "Trumpy" in the tweets, but as he plays to his shrinking (user) base, he's getting even Trumpier in the way he attacks the free press.

Despite claiming that he wants to restore X's much-(Musk?)-tarnished reputation as a real-time news destination, he is ramping up his attacks on journalism in general and Reuters in particular. (Reuters being the company that has produced dozens of exclusives about Musk and his companies in the past few months, highlighting workplace injuries at SpaceX, safety concerns with his Neuralink brain implants, suppression of customer complaints at his exploding car company, and much more.)

Reuters also just reported that Musk is being sued for insider trading. It's alleged he cashed out $7.5 billion of Tesla shares to fund his Twitter purchase while privy to "potentially disappointing production and delivery numbers" that crashed the Tesla stock price soon after. The illegal sale meant Musk "improperly benefited" from $3 billion in insider profits.

In an example of his broader attacks on "mainstream journalism," Musk amplified a video by comedian @damienslash that generated fewer than 40,000 views in its original post. Musk's post sharing the video has been seen more than 26 million times. Musk routinely brags about the business challenges facing traditional news sites, often celebrating the reduced web traffic they are generating in the X era.

As Musk creates and pilfers content for his personal feed, he also maintains close relationships with several accounts—most notably "Doge Designer." These Musk-adjacent accounts reliably serve up content and memes tailor-made for his retweets and quote tweets. (It's anybody's guess how many "content creators" he keeps on the payroll or how many burner accounts he uses.)

Keep in mind that Musk is personally worth about $200 billion. His targets—even when they are companies that employ thousands of people and inform millions of news consumers—are usually worth far less.

For example, The New York Times Company has a market cap of $8 billion. And Reuters News, which represents about 10% of the revenue of the conglomerate Thomson Reuters, is a smallish part of a company with a total market cap of less than $80 billion.

Other targets are far smaller—and for them the damage caused by a Musk attack can be devastating. Musk launched a baseless SLAPP lawsuit against Media Matters for America after it reported that X was placing advertisements next to antisemitic and white nationalist content. That organization was recently forced to lay off at least a dozen staffers.

Saudi Arabia Is Backing Musk's Assault on the Free Press

During his Twitter acquisition, Musk welcomed the Khashoggi-killing-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as his second-largest outside investor.

According to PEN America, Saudi Arabia ranks third in the world when it comes to imprisoning writers and is known for: "Extensive surveillance, vague charges, and draconian sentencing of writers for their speech."

Musk's Saudi investors also enjoy "special access to confidential company information" and Musk's complicit silence even as they sentence Twitter users to death.

The Saudis are apparently happy with how Musk treats them. They have rewarded him with a new investment in the Series B funding round for Musk's xAI, which just raised $6 billion at a $24 billion valuation. Axios calls it "one of the largest venture capital funding rounds of all time."

The Saudi-friendly VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is also an xAI backer (As long-time readers may recall, the firm's courting of Saudi Arabia was also the final straw that made me quit Substack last year. While I'm happy I made the move to the non-profit Ghost platform, it has made growing this newsletter more of a slog, so I will pause here for some special offer buttons...).

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Musk's dream for xAI's Grok is that it will be an "anti-woke" chatbot that, like Trump, is not afraid to use the N-word. So far, though, it's not working.

Meanwhile, Musk is merrily stealing and exploiting the work of professional journalists in the news-bastardizing version of Grok on X.

He's also, so far unsuccessfully, trying to make it funny.

Silicon Valley's Ominous Shift Toward "Ethnic Cleansing"

Musk isn't the only wealthy tech bro going "All-In" on fascism.

On June 6, his podcast-hosting VC buddies David Sacks (who "wallows in familiar tech-world grievances" on the podcast and plays Elon's "mini-me" on X) and Chamath Palihapitiya will cohost a $500,000-per-couple San Francisco fundraiser for convicted felon Donald J. Trump in San Francisco.

As Gil Duran wrote for Framelab recently, it's part of a trend in which:

Some prominent tech zillionaires are shifting dramatically toward far-right, authoritarian politics... determined to use their immense wealth to undermine democracy.

Duran also wrote recently for New Republic about tech baron Balaji Srinivasan's dream of purging San Francisco of "Blues" (Democrats). The city would then be run by "Grays" (tech bros who would bribe the police to doing their bidding) while still welcoming "Reds" (Republicans).

As Duran writes, "there is a ton of fascist-chic cosplay involved," noting that Srinivasan has "compared his color-coded apartheid system to the Bloods vs. Crips gang rivalry."

Read here:

Bashing San Francisco and exaggerating its problems, including crime, is a particular hobby of Musk and others in Silicon Valley, including "All-In" host Jason Calacanis.

In his eagerness to denigrate the city, Musk famously shared a far-right conspiracy theory about the violent hammer attack on Paul Pelosi and also posted incendiary fake news about the tragic murder of tech executive Bob Lee.

Meanwhile, Calacanis led the successful recall effort against San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, an effort that distorted the city's crime problems by seizing on "viral videos of brazen incidents of shoplifting and smash-and-grab robberies, which were amplified by conservative media."

For all their focus on the "problems" facing San Francisco, it's worth noting that the area's tech titans, entrepreneurs and VC "geniuses" offer only simplistic, not holistic solutions.

These dudes would be happy to "fix San Francisco" by simply relocating the unhoused to make them someone else's concern, bribing and militarizing the police to protect rich white people, and getting back to their plans for colonizing Mars.

You can hear more about Balaji Srinivasan’s plan to implement “tech Zionism” in San Francisco and the threat posed by Silicon Valley's growing opposition to democracy as host Paris Marx interviews Gil Duran in this recent episode of the Tech Won't Save Us podcast.

In a nutshell: Silicon Valley's fascist fringe has no interest in doing the boring work of actually fixing the notable American city whose workers helped make them rich.

As a more general observation: When "money is free" and interest rates are 0%, these smug, backslapping tech bros celebrate themselves as "builders" and "disruptors" who "move fast and break things." But as soon as interest rates hit 3-4%, their genius evaporates —as does their willingness to pitch in and help fix the things they broke.

In fact, they become less about saving the world and more about buying up all the available land and stockpiling their doomsday bunkers.

Musk's Personal Project 2025

Elon Musk claims he arrived in America with $2,000 and has in a little more than three decades seen his wealth grow to $200 billion.

He should, of course, be thanking Obama and Biden for the loans and policies that made it possible. But like many egocentric CEOs, he's an ungrateful bastard.

Musk gives President Obama a tour of SpaceX’s facilities at Cape Canaveral in 2010.
Musk gives President Obama a tour of SpaceX’s facilities at Cape Canaveral in 2010.

In middle age, Musk's personal politics may be influenced by his (anti-woke) apartheid upbringing, Silicon Valley groupthink, and his zillionaire's desire to avoid ever paying his fair share.

Some of his major wish list items — more babies! less government regulation! weaker unions! lower taxes! — will be addressed by the Christo-Fascist plan known as Project 2025.

But Musk knows that 2024 may be America's last attempt at a democratic election. So he's also looking ahead. To 2029. And 2045. And beyond.

He believes that in the next five years AI will transform the world in ways that will reshape the global economy, transform the military, propel aerospace innovation, and make a mission to Mars more possible.

Musk knows xAI needs to quickly make up a lot of ground on leading AI companies such as OpenAI, Anthropic, Mistral, Google, Meta, and others.

Musk does have one advantage: He's already good buddies with all the authoritarians, dictators and criminals that Trump admires.

Now he just has to mend his relationship with Trump himself.

Going All-In on Trump

From active fundraising to social media misinformation to face-to-face meetings, Elon Musk is doing every thing he can to schmooze Trump and integrate the "Musk Industrial Complex" into the convicted felon's potential dictatorship.

So far, it's working. As Reuters writes:

Donald Trump is considering tapping billionaire Elon Musk as a policy adviser if the Republican presidential candidate reclaims the White House in November's election... The two have discussed ways for Musk, who runs the social media platform X as well as SpaceX and Tesla to have "formal input and influence" over economic and border security policies.

Musk celebrated Trump's criminal conviction by announcing that X will be hosting a Town Hall event featuring the Republican leader at a date yet to be announced.

It's a big change from 2017, when Musk quit two of Trump's business advisory panels after Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement. As Musk tweeted at the time: "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."

But that was before Musk's wealth skyrocketed during the pandemic and his daughter turned trans. Now he's cozying up to global dictators and buttering up America's would-be Fuhrer, despite knowing that Trump is willing to sacrifice the planet to Big Oil in exchange for 1/200th of Musk's personal wealth.

Musk's companies are already doing big business with the US government. If Trump wins in November, Musk is positioning himself to have an outsized influence on crucial decisions about the way AI will impact the future, including regulation and safety, fairness and bias issues, national security, infrastructure buildout, and more.

Trump is seeking a second term as President to exact "revenge" and "retribution" against real and perceived enemies, big and small. Musk is leading a "battle to the death with the anti-civilizational woke mind virus." And he's already on record stating that AI will eliminate the need for all jobs. By the time the next President leaves office (or doesn't) in 2029, the US economy—and its future trajectory—may look decidedly different than it does today.

The idea that Musk and Trump—two racist, misogynistic, mentally unstable, rich white dudes—will be putting their heads together to make crucial decisions about how AI development should align with societal goals and the needs and interests of a multiracial democracy should terrify us all.

In 2021, Biden, allegedly called Rupert Murdoch "the most dangerous man in the world."

In 2024, if anyone in the media and business world is deserving of that title, it's Elon Musk.

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