John Paul Jones – Father of the American Navy – famously declared, in response to a surrender demand from the British empire’s frigate Serapis, “I have not yet begun to fight!” That was 1779. Rolling into 2023, Elon Musk – new captain of the USS Twitter – slammed “corporate journalism” and the “legacy media” empire, saying “We have only just begun…”
In other words, after releasing Twitter records revealing breathtaking corporate hypocrisy, dishonesty, duplicity, political chicanery, potentially illegal election interference, and suppression of Biden family improprieties in 2020 – he is indicating, he has not yet begun to fight, may have cannons of new revelations being readied for release.
Not only is the “legacy media” in his line of fire, but so is leadership and former leadership of the FBI, perhaps other government leaders who were masquerading as non-partisan actors. Whether any of this produces indictable offenses is secondary, but interesting. Certainly, the new Congress will be turning rocks for months – in and out of government.
What this set of revelations really does is start to restore confidence in the probity – the rightness and right to – free speech. Musk is saying, “Hey, the Constitution matters, and free speech is not just a phrase, it must be a fact.” What his actions do, in practical terms, is empower average Americans again – to speak their mind, especially their conservative convictions, without fear.
In a sense, Captain Musk represents the “unchilling” of speech, sinking of the empire’s false narrative that unfree speech was free, that conservative ideas are unwelcome, that activism was truth, that suppression was not happening. He has blown that fiction out of the water.
In legal and political terms, he has corroborated what many Americans felt, which is that their views were not just marginalized, but intentionally cancelled, ignored, delegitimized – because they were conservative, did not buy-into the “woke” agenda, and did not support the left.
Interestingly, Musk is not just a new, freedom-loving captain for Twitter, he is an emblem. He is a clarion call back to the fight for free speech, not just on Twitter, not even just on social media and in the mainstream media, but in town squares of all sorts, work to schools.
The meaning of this shot across the bow – is bigger. This is not just a shot across the bow of “corporate journalism” (which pretends leftwing politics justify blocking speech) or “legacy media” (dying by market revolt), but something else. This is a shot into the bow of those who believe free speech – and all the other Constitutional rights – do not count, can be redefined.
Musk’s actions – in line with the best tradition of Americans demanding accountability – suggest that 2023 will be a year defined by wave on wave of accountability, investigations driven by parents, businesspeople, free marketeers, average Americans, private attorneys general, rippling lawsuits, state level petitions, and congressional oversight hearings.
Americans put up with a lot, but when their rights are disrespected, or worse, deliberately denigrated, defined out of existence, stripped by government colluding with big money – they get angry. They rise up to seek accountability, seeks reversal of injustices, and put things right.
Admittedly, even with faith in speech, the Constitution, power of common sense and a just God, things take time. But courage begets courage, truth inspires truth, and those called out for dishonesty begin to retreat.
Already, the “legacy media” cringe when Musk links them to the Democrat Party, public corruption, and indifference to the ideals which have long kept this nation self-correcting. They cower when he boldly asks, “Why is corporate journalism rushing to defend the state instead of the people?”
Yes, there is something foundational in what Musk is doing, something reminiscent of John Paul Jones, and it is catchy. Expect more brave souls to stand up, and more dishonest ones to be outed, identified, and linked to actions they took, actions that cannot be denied and that come with consequences. Musk is a modern crusader for truth, freedom, and where it leads. He seems to like the role, and why not – so did our Founding Fathers. Those who live to give truth wing sleep well at night.
John Paul Jones was not just the “Father of the American Navy,” a risk taker for principle, and maverick among mavericks, he made risk taking popular, powerful, and productive. Beyond declaring – after his ship was badly damaged – that he had “not yet begun to fight” the empire’s frigate Serapis, he did fight, did win, and overtook the Serapis.
He also left us with several other poignant reminders to have faith in the possible, People, and invisible Hand of Providence. He wrote: “If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.” Faith – in liberty, persistence, natural rights, and God – won in his day. If we give our beliefs ballast, they will in ours. “We have only just begun…”
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.