What We Know About Elon Musk's Political Views

Elon Musk is nothing if not multi-faceted, contrary and self-serving. So, it's little surprise that his political views fit the same mold. Discovering the truth about Musk, what goes on below the showman surface, is as elusive as life on Mars remains, despite the Space X titan's mission to conquer the Red Planet.

For example, Musk's Twitter takeover provides a master class in flip-flopping. Per Vox, Musk attempted several times to renege on his purchase of the social media platform, which he's now rebranded "X." He agreed to join the board of directors, then very publicly resigned, then became sole director. Musk went back and forth on prime membership and blue account verification charges. He introduced, then promptly withdrew grey check marks. He embarked on a mass staff firing, attempted to hire people back again, and backtracked on remote working policies. He championed free speech and welcomed the era of "comedy" until he became the punchline of too many jokes. Musk ummed and ahhed regarding content moderation and hate speech, insisting a "council" would be established before reinstating previously banned accounts but then brought back Donald Trump regardless.

Overall, the corporate purchase was an exhausting, public trainwreck. The documentary "Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover" examines social media's role in shaping modern politics. As the sole director of X, Musk wields immense power, something The Guardian notes is "in the context of his status, extremely dangerous." So, how worried should we be? What do we know about Musk's political views?

Ever the contrarian

If the world had a penny for every time Elon Musk has been controversial, there'd be an end to global starvation. The billionaire loves to troll and thrives on causing contention and outrage, playing fast and loose with the truth. "Elon didn't just exaggerate; he made it up," a former work colleague told The Guardian, which brings to mind another controversial, self-aggrandizing, and bombastic billionaire: Donald Trump. And when it comes to politics, the two share a lot of commonalities.

In April 2020, Musk ranted against COVID-19 lockdown measures, claiming they were fascist and unconstitutional. "I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights," Musk told Tesla investors (via NPR). He played down the effects of the virus and persistently called for lockdown to be lifted. "Free America now," Musk posted.

"I am neither conventionally right nor left," Musk posted on X in November 2022. "The woke mind virus has thoroughly penetrated entertainment and is pushing civilization toward suicide. There needs to be a counter-narrative." With that in mind, Musk has vowed he won't be voting for Biden in 2024, although he's publicly hedging his bets on Trump. "I haven't endorsed anyone for president," Musk told Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Summit in New York. He said he was interested in Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, praising him for his libertarian stance. "I would not vote for Biden," Musk said. "I'm not saying I'd vote for Trump," he quickly counteracted.

It's Elon's world

Elon Musk's political ideologies are ripped straight out of the Tea Party's book of choice, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." Per Cliffs Notes, the novel introduces the philosophy of "objectivism," which dictates that "reason, not faith or emotionalism, is man's sole means of gaining knowledge." It's an ode to libertarianism, with its central hero, John Galt, ultimately burning down the world — by way of waking up the woke in a 60-page speech — when he doesn't get his way.

It's a stance Musk clearly identifies with. He admitted to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Summit in New York that if the ongoing X advertising ban amplifies and continues, it will spell the end of the social media platform. Per TruthOut, the ban could cost up to $75 million in revenue. Still, Musk refuses to apologize for amplifying anti-Semitic posts and propagating hate speech, preferring instead to see X die. And when it does, he won't take any responsibility for its downfall.

"The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we'll document it in great detail," Musk charged. "If somebody's going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f**k yourself. Go. F**k. Yourself. Is that clear?" He ranted. Musk explained that it's up to X's readers to discover if the content is fake; meanwhile, "You compose it, I'll post it," he said, laughing. "Just because it came out of my mouth does not mean it's true."