Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover is an act of colonial hubris.

By David Beers, The African American Policy Forum

Elon Musk has always sought to be known as a colonizer of space—but in the wake of his pending $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter, he’ll perhaps be more aptly remembered as a conqueror of spaces.

This latest takeover reminds us that, beyond Musk’s pet comic book narrative of transporting earthlings to Mars, where we’ll have “a lot of jobs” and live under his rules, his success lies in identifying new territories to exploit, commandeering the necessary technology, and pouncing.

elon musk twitter account profile

We see this in his Boring Company, which aims to dig the tunnels beneath cities in order to catalyze subterranean metropolises served by “hyperloop” trains shooting through low-pressure tubes.

We see this in his Starlink effort to flood low-orbit space with 42,000 satellites in order to dominate broadband internet. Low orbit space is a mere 350 miles from the surface of Earth: It’s as if Musk eyed from Silicon Valley a vast reserve of lightly occupied real estate offshore of Los Angeles and sent his armada to grab it.

Even his best known project—the electric-car Tesla empire—was a leveraged mobilization of his PayPal fortune to create the aura of radical innovation, when the basic engineering behind the Tesla had already been established and government subsidies made it pay.

That is Elon Musk’s self-enriching brilliance—to see spaces ripe for colonization just above the clouds or right under our feet.

And now he has taken control of Twitter, that space where, for better or worse, our political possibilities are contested and, ultimately, manufactured.

The land, like Seward’s Alaska, was largely assumed to not be worth nearly the money Musk rustled up to pay for it, especially given that the heavily populated social media platform remains unprofitable. People scratching their heads at the billions Musk has apparently overpaid chalk it up to his adolescent nature demanding attention.

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