Before I get onto more solemn topics, here’s a news item that made me laugh last week. It was a video of the Irish Ambassador to Israel, Sonya McGuinness, eloquently telling an Israeli/Palestinian female peace rally in Jerusalem last year that she had lived in Belfast during the Troubles “and we spent every second night in bomb shelters”.

Published: 19 March 2024

I enjoyed some of the incredulous responses on X (which used to be known as Twitter), some featuring a photograph of an Anderson shelter made of corrugated iron used for protection against German bombers in World War II.

It is human nature to exaggerate the danger one experiences, but McGuinness took it too far and was soon found out.

For while social media helps spread lies, it also can facilitate correction.

It is of course misused by liars, frauds and the deluded and worse, but so was printing. And I wouldn’t uninvent that either.

I am a great fan of Elon Musk, who bought X for the excellent reason that he cares passionately about free speech. And because of this, suppressing truth is now harder.

The only tech billionaire I know much about whom I like and admire, he is in a different league (Tesla Motors, SpaceX and a whole lot else) from smart guys who struck lucky with one bright idea which they monetise remorselessly (e.g. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, Jeff Bezos and Amazon).

Musk is not just an engineer of genius, he thinks obsessively about how to use technology for the good of mankind.

He is endlessly laughed at — as geniuses are — for developing his idea that mankind is putting itself in such danger of annihilation that it should be colonising Mars.

In his spare time Musk is doing his bit to help reverse the looming depopulation of the planet by fathering eleven children, some of whom pop up in photographs riding on his shoulders.

He has thought long and critically about what AI means for the universe and how to make it a force for good, which is more than most technical wizards do.

Hence his spending a vast amount of money to acquire Twitter, which he thought “a government puppet” (which indeed the covering up for Joe Biden’s son Hunter proved), because he believes that the free exchange of knowledge and ideas is the only way we can survive.

Hence his intervention in the debate about the imminent and profoundly dangerous hate law in the Irish Republic which could be used by a ruthless government to close down criticism.

Musk has had months of vicious abuse for the changes he made, but they all help to make X a fabulous free-speech resource. It is no accident that so many of his opponents are trying to kill it off with advertising boycotts.

Fortunately, as he explained in a fabulous interview, he has no problem with being hated.

I’d suggest that anyone who worries for their children’s and grandchildren’s futures should get involved constructively with social media. It’s not all about exchanging cute photos.

I’ve just begun following on X how Musk connects with Professor Gad Saad, a clever, funny, deeply thoughtful guy whom I recommend you to sample.

Here’s Saad’s description of having a conversation with a pro-Palestinian with a closed mind.

“Noble Pro-Palestine People (NPPP): Nearly 34 million Gazans have been murdered including 32.33 million children.

Me: Your sources?

NPPP: Hamas Health Ministry.

Me: Are their data veridical?

NPPP: Absolutely because it is forbidden to lie in Islam.

Me: I see. Any thoughts about the October 7 massacre.

NPPP: It did not happen, and if it did there were fewer than 10 people harmed, most of which came at the hand of the IDF (killing its own people).

Me: But what about the hundreds of hours of taped massacres and rapes?

NPPP: Zionist false flag nonsense.

Me: So the Hamas data are unassailable but the live footage of the massacres on October 7 are fake?

NPPP: Yes. BTW, your line of questioning suggests that you are complicit in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian. Typical of a cockroach Jew, I mean Zionist.”

There are a lot of big lies out there which need challenging. Thanks for making it possible, Elon.

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