May 10, 2022

Elon Musk and Donald Trump have a lot in common — wealthy entrepreneurs who actually get thing things done. Personal picadilloes aside, both are successful businessmen who work for a living, innovate, and actually create well-paying jobs in the private sector for many folks up and down the economic spectrum. Both are also outliers; marching to a different political drummer, as cliché wisdom would have it.

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Unfortunately, out in California and inside the Beltway; candor, change, and innovation can be dangerous.  

Ironically, Musk and Trump are joined also by what they are not. Neither is a professional politician, nor deep state apparatchik, nor academic, nor media mandarin; that is until recently. Seems both Donald and Elon have jumped into the dot.com/social network/media scrum motivated by self-defense. Trump has financed and created Truth Social and Musk has bought Twitter. Heretofore, Twitter was a kind of global, albeit curated, town square.

To understand outsiders like Musk and Trump today, we should be clear about their opponents; those insiders, groomers, and gatekeepers who create, manipulate, and propagate convenient facts and dot.com trash talk.  

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For the most part; Trump’s – and now Musk’s — critics are the liberal nomenklatura, bipartisan urban apparatchiks employed at the academy or at some level of government or working for some government contractor. This public sector is allied with a large liberal electronic and print media; embedded in urban one-party cultures, mostly coastal municipal archipelagos, with notable landlocked allies like Minneapolis, Portland, and Atlanta.

Government, the academy, and related contractors are the largest employee demographic in the nation today. In short, Gotham America is a permanent political majority. Surely San Francisco and Washington, D.C. are America’s ideological bookends, both with now monolithic one-party (D) monocultures.

As Colin Powell liked to put it, urban America is also “where the votes are.”

Some journalistic luminaries, Glenn Greenwald for example, now argue that national conversation and narrative have been hijacked by a more select elite; a corrupt deep state, an unholy alliance between the Intelligence Community, Big Tech, and so-called “social” media moguls. Motives for Big Data collection cum manipulation clearly vary with gatekeeper. Federal censors are driven by partisan bias, draped in national security. Commercial dot.com deceit and secrecy are driven by bipartisan greed.

Clearly government and industry have reached a real, if not transparent, accommodation where privacy and transparency are exchanged for a laissez faire commercial regulatory regime. Greenwald and CIA/NSA veteran Edward Snowden argue that collusion between Intelligence Community agencies and Big Tech is no longer a conspiracy theory. Big brother is an everyday fact, a voyeur monitoring every American household that possesses a linked computer, cell phone, or laptop.

Calling U.S. intelligence operatives or analysts “spies” today is quaint, if not romantic fiction that minimizes domestic corruption, deceit, and influence pedaling. There’s nothing charming or patriotic about the Clapper/Brennan/Comey partisan sedition of 2016 or the ongoing obsession with Trump that still energizes liberal prosecutors and neocons critics alike.