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New Yorker writer Jill Lepore added herself to the list of media critics who oppose Tesla CEO Elon Musk buying Twitter.
On Monday, Lepore appeared as a guest on NPR’s “Consider This” podcast where the topic followed Musk’s recent offer to purchase the Twitter company for $43 billion. She previously described this behavior as a form of “Muskism” which she described as a similar form of colonialism.
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“I think of Muskism and its vision for colonizing Mars as dating from the age of imperialism when British imperialists were colonizing countries around the world and science fiction writers like HG Wells were indicting British imperialism by telling stories about space colonies and how wrong that would be to take other people’s land and enslave the people there,” Lepore said. “And for Musk, somehow you can resurrect those stories and sort of justify colonization. So Muskism always has within in it this extreme capitalism, almost a kind of ironic twist.”
Lepore went into detail about Musk’s love for science fiction, claiming that his perspective of utopia is actually rooted in dystopian fiction.
“But what they wouldn’t see is that their origins in science fiction is actually origins in dystopian fiction. So what a lot of people like Musk and others celebrate as their great futurism is, for one thing, has tremendously originated in the past. And for another, what they celebrate as often utopian has origins in dystopia,” Lepore said.
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Although the podcast acknowledged that Musk has shown nuanced political perspectives such as leaving White House councils following President Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, Lepore doubted Musk’s true intentions for purchasing Twitter.
“What he would say or has said is that he need to take over Twitter to save civilization, but where’s the evidence that Musk has ever been interested in democratic discourse? He routinely trolls people online. He’s had an often adversarial relationship with the free press . He doesn’t think that someone as wealthy as he is should have to pay taxes,” Lepore explained.
“There’s just really not a whole lot of evidence that his big priority has been healthy democratic society,” she added.
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Later on, Lepore described Musk’s behavior as a form of “extreme capitalism” that despises any government interference.
“It’s kind of an unchecked capitalism that insists that the government has no role in the regulation of economic activity at the practical level. At the cultural level, it really is engaged with selling the public on the idea of futurism as a way to impose economic conditions that come from the very deep past,” Lepore said.