Elon Musk, Australian Politicians, and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP

In the wake of knife attacks in Sydney, Australian lawmakers seem to be on a rampage to destroy whatever rights they can in the country. We've already touched on their knife-control proposals


Yet it seems that officials also want X, formerly Twitter, to take down the video of an attack in a Sydney church. That attack wasn't a fatal one, thankfully, but officials still want it taken down, claiming that it may inspire new attacks.

X owner Elon Musk has vowed that the platform would respect free speech and that means he's keeping the video up.

That led to a bit of back and forth between Musk and an Australian senator.

Elon Musk said an Australian senator should be jailed and suggested the country's gun laws were meant to stop resistance against its "fascist government", escalating his battle over a court order to remove video posts of a bishop being stabbed.

After Australia's federal court told Musk's platform X to temporarily stop showing video of a knife attack on an Assyrian bishop during a church service in Sydney a week earlier, Musk accused the country's leaders of trying to censor the internet, prompting an outpouring of condemnation from lawmakers.

One senator, Jacqui Lambie, deleted her X account on Tuesday to protest publication of the footage and called for other politicians to do the same, saying Musk had "no social conscience or conscience whatsoever". She added Musk should be jailed.

When an unnamed X user posted overnight that it was Lambie who "should be in jail for censoring free speech on X", Musk replied to his 181 million followers, "Absolutely. She is an enemy of the people of Australia".


Musk widened his attacks on Australia, including promoting a post from an unnamed but verified X user which said the country "disarmed all of their citizens in 1996 so that they cannot resist their fascist government", a reference to a gun buy-back and registration scheme after the country's worst mass shooting.


Now, that last bit probably has more than a smidge of hyperbole. 

I don't think that Australia passed all that gun control specifically so people couldn't resist their "fascist government." I think that was just a pleasant bonus.

Had that been the drive, far more aggressive totalitarian policies would have followed and done so much sooner.

Yet there's also some truth to it as well, namely in that whether it was the goal or not, the truth is that people really can't resist a government that is leaning more and more toward totalitarianism.

In this case, they're telling Musk that X must take down a video they don't want people to watch. Well, I've seen it. I'm pretty sure there's no harm in it. It's not like it shows the would-be stabber circumventing extensive security measures like he's Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movies. All you can see is what you'd read about, and print has inspired many a copycat attack as it is.

But the truth is that Australian officials are trying to exert control over what people see and say, something that they'd be less inclined to do with an armed populace. 

As the government keeps taking these dictatorial steps, the people who oppose them have fewer and fewer options for resistance. That means fewer reasons for them not to take more dictatorial steps.


Musk isn't perfect on free speech despite his claims, but I respect his efforts here and I get why he reposted someone challenging the anti-gun efforts there.

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