Economics/Class Relations

Oligarchs After Liberalism

By Matthew Walther, The American Conservative

Elon Musk’s attempt to purchase Twitter is probably doomed to failure regardless of how much money he is able to raise against his shares in Tesla. But the jubilation with which his attempted takeover has been greeted by conservatives, especially those who consider themselves part of the inchoately defined “postliberal” continuum, is worth considering regardless of whether Musk and his $265 billion bring about what would almost certainly be a mass exodus from the already declining social media platform.

Asking Musk to make Twitter more hospitable toward conservatives (by changing its terms of service, say, or simply adjusting the means by which they are enforced) is precisely the sort of seemingly outmoded tactic that many exponents of a new non-fusionist conservatism otherwise reject out of hand. Since at the least the 1970s, conservatives have been demanding a seat at the table, only to discover that most conservatives ultimately conform to the ideological standards imposed by the mainstream institutions that offer them platforms, or, at best, retreat to a kind of “referee mode” whereby they offer (sometimes useful) descriptive accounts of the right and its aspirations without staking out any substantive first-order commitments themselves. For these reasons, a plea for representation, one that involves an appeal to old-fashioned liberal attitudes about the marketplace of ideas, will strike many observers of the so-called New Right as an obvious blind alley.


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