By Luo Tianhao
Luo Tianhao：Could Elon Musk become the God-Emperor of the U.S.?
The reactivation of the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has sent the share prices of the social medial platform into the stratosphere.
Recently, Elon Musk completed the $44 billion deal to own Twitter, announcing to reinstate Trump’s account, nearly two years after being permanently banned by the platform for inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.
The reactivation of Trump’s account realized Musk’s ideal of “absolute freedom of speech.” In Musk’s mind, “Twitter serves as the de facto public town square,” and as such, it should be a place where people are able to speak their minds.
Musk has a large following on Twitter, likes to tweet recklessly, and had used the “fan effect” to grow his wealth, possessing the ability to make Bitcoin go up and down wildly. The acquisition of Twitter would eliminate the worry of his own account being banned. Trump is also a top influencer on various social media platforms.
If Musk had acquired Twitter for business purposes only, perhaps, it would not have been terrible.
But, over time, there will be another possibility: Perhaps a new kind of ginormous enterprise will be born. A new super monster featuring capital + information + technology would come back to bite the society, and a new form of absolutism would be established.
The shadow of a new super monster looms.
(1) How to see the people’s hearts?
特朗普回归，引起粉丝狂热，他们合成了一个视频，特朗普在推特上缓缓敲下一句：Your favorite president is back!
“It’s coming……” the fans said excitedly, along with an edited video that showed Trump returning to Twitter with a tweet that read: “Your favorite president is back!” as Musk looked on.
Musk has been widely considered as the No. 1 fan of Trump.
Musk and Trump hold similar views on questioning of vaccine safety and efficacy, discrimination against women, and many other areas.
So, who is Christ on the stage and who is God behind the scene in the relationship between the two?
Musk once said, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
But that was just before he had Twitter.
Once he masters this most powerful social media platform in the world, does he become the person who controls the freedom of speech and expression?
Will the future fate of Trump, who has gained widespread public support on Twitter, be manipulated in the hands of Musk?
Twitter has become a powerful public tool for shaping public opinion and shifting hearts and minds of the people.
With a sharp weapon in your hand, you will be able to kill anyone.
Where will Musk go from here?
emperor’s fatherf ？overlord？
The concern about the super monster featuring capital + information + technology is not an empty one.
The power of this monster has been increasingly demonstrated in the global political struggles in recent years.
In the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, it has become an amplifier of public opinion and an accelerator of political mobilization.
No matter how powerful a politician is, he or she has to use the power of social media platforms and media giants to communicate his or her ideas and administrative programs and to win votes.
In the midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats have engaged in extensive battles in areas such as gun control, immigration, inflation, and abortion, each using the media platforms to win supporters.
Rolling torrent, the clear and the muddy mixed, is hard to resist.
The monster can’t be started without the support of capital.
The Democrats launched nearly 70,000 TV ads in one fell swoop to promote abortion rights, and ran them in traditional Republican voting blocs like New Mexico and Florida to gain the support of the people there, spending a whopping $30 million or more to do so.
The Republicans, for their part, has focused on attacking President Joe Biden through the public discontent over inflation. Numerous TV ads were also ran for this purpose, costing over $40 million.
The operation of using the media to control public opinion has also been common in China.
It is said that those who win the people’s hearts win the country. The key is, how to see the people’s hearts?
When Yuan Shikai was torn between imperialism and republicanism, his eldest son had used the power he controlled to launch a fake Shuntian Times with daily news of pro-Yuan’s claim to the throne. The power-hungry Yuan Shikai made up his mind to claim the title of emperor, but died of melancholy in the midst of national opposition in only 83 days.
Is the public opinion created by media power a real one, or an illusory bubble?
Does a politician in the midst of it have the ability to discern? Or, does he or she indulge in it and take advantage of the situation?
The invisible hand that creates public opinion is as terrifying as its power.
(2) Stifling the alliance of capital with information and technology
The U.S. represents the pinnacle of the capitalist system.
Relative to the age of absolutism, modern civilization is a transcendence.
However, as the times progressed, capital, technology and information jointly formed a new form of absolutism.
In the U.S., while public power is constrained and checked, recent decades have witnessed the beginning of a monstrous era of capital dominance. Capital became too much of a king. The U.S. has overindulged the capitalist elite and designed the system in such a way that it is extremely favorable to capital’s profits and insufficiently respects labor. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement was once triggered. The rise of Trump is, in a sense, a reaction against capital as king.
However, the institutional environment in the U.S. did not change much after the Occupy Wall Street movement. The rich and the poor were severely divided, and the class infighting was progressively more intense. The overindulgence of capital finally gave birth to the super monster of the times.
The forces of capital, information and media, gradually independent of politics, have become the new power, eroding and oppressing the society.
Philosophically speaking, it is the property right that has eroded faith.
More than two hundred years after the founding of the country, the U.S. has gradually formed vested interests as well.
The paradox is that in a democratic society, public power cannot be inherited directly, but capital can be inherited. Thus, as long as a family is good at business, it can have wealth and influence behind it for a long time. Under this model, the power of capital gradually grows into a force that can influence public power.
In the political contest, Twitter has surprisingly developed to the point where it can block the account of the incumbent President Trump.
Now, Musk is only in his early 50s. As long as he lives longer, he could witness 10 U.S. presidencies, while Twitter is still under his control.
It is not enough to tame the power.
Restraining political power but not capital is a major reason why the U.S. is gradually moving toward power and social imbalance.
The most important mission for the U.S. in the future is to restrain capital and prevent the creation of the alliance of capital with technology and information.
(3) China faces a tougher situation than the U.S.:
Taming both power and capital
China needs to restrict both power and capital.
The alliance between capital and power is extremely harmful to the society.
The most corrupt areas are those where power and capital congregate. Real estate and finance have been the severely afflicted areas. For every corrupt official who falls, a number of businessmen backing him or her will also fall. And similarly, the shadow of power can be seen in the fall of every business tycoon.
The rise of capital in politics is more of a transgression.
In Asia, Korean chaebols’ interference in national politics has been cracked down on in recent decades. Even the former president of the Hyundai Group committed suicide, and the leaders of Samsung, Lotte and other large companies were also arrested. Thailand’s former wealthiest businessman, too, has been restricted in politics.
Capital’s extensive control over society is far more complex than political influence.
In the past two decades, the three major groups of finance, Internet and real estate have risen and gradually mutated. The capital forces that once helped the rise of industry have gradually turned against the real economy because of the lack of regulation and checks and balances; Ant Group, whose original intention was to help youth and inspire innovation, has transformed into a “blood-sucking leech”; real estate, with the mission of creating a better life, has morphed into a sharp tool to stifle youth ambition and vitality.
Some believe that capital should not be restricted before locking power into the cage of regulations, which is short-sighted.
The blocking of Trump’s account by Twitter has caused alarm in China. While vigorously fighting corruption, it also began to restrict capital.
Since late 2020, China has been advocating “the prevention of disorderly expansion of capital,” implying deep meaning.
Ant Group’s IPO was called off, and Didi was investigated, aiming at curbing the challenges of new giants to the society.
Lakeside University was renamed, and capital inflows were restricted in media and information industries, as well as ideological and cultural fields.
The global chaos of class division and the division between the rich and the poor are the result of the disconnect among the three major logics of truth, power and people’s hearts.
The logic of truth transcends individual will.
Capital and power are materialized forces that win with more strengths.
The people’s hearts are based on the equality of individual values.
Today, capital and power and other “materialized” forces not only ignore the truth, but also dare to trample on people’s hearts.
The market is not omnipotent, and capital must have boundaries. If we let capital go too far, social chaos will arise.
The proletariat of the world never unite.
The propertied class of the world has long been united globally.
The Brexit, the French Yellow vest movement, the populist surge in the U.S., and the rise of global isolationism. While these movements appear to be counter-globalization, the essence is a reorganization of classes in each country, and the excessive greed of capital has caused a global rethinking. All countries are dissatisfied with the flight of capital from abroad after plundering their own countries and are demanding that the door be closed. Vested interests are to be curbed and reforms are to be conducted.
China’s future reforms are composed of three aspects.
One is to follow the system of truth and synchronize political, economic, social, cultural and ecological construction, which is also essentially reverence for the “Divine Principle.”
The second is to tame power and capital, facilitating power and capital to serve the people, not override them.
The two keys: Locking power into the cage and confining capital to the market.
The third is to adjust the class structure, suppress the tycoons, and establish the dominance of the common people.
Obeying to the inevitable revealed truths.
Respecting the natural people’s will.
Taming the materialized capital and power.
For the safety and longevity of capital, the taming of capital is also a kind of protection.
A river from an underground stream has to follow a proper course, so as to keep its momentum while avoiding breaching embankments.