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Opinion

Elon Musk defends free speech, anti-DEI position in combative Don Lemon interview

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9 minute read

From LifeSiteNews

By Claire Chretien

Elon Musk and Don Lemon sparred over DEI, illegal immigration, and free speech in a new interview.

In an interview that aired on X, Elon Musk calmly explained to a seemingly befuddled Don Lemon the principle of free speech. Musk also spoke about the dangers of lowering standards in medical schools in the name of DEI, recently eating breakfast with former President Donald Trump, and the “woke mind virus.”

Musk was a guest on episode 1 of The Don Lemon Show, which aired on X (formerly Twitter). Around 30 minutes into the interview, Lemon pressed Musk on whether he has a responsibility to moderate “hate speech” on the platform. After a back-and-forth, Musk ultimately got to the heart of the matter when he articulated: “Freedom of speech only is relevant when people you don’t like say things you don’t like. Otherwise it has no meaning.”

Later in the interview, Musk emphasized that he “acquired X in order to preserve freedom of speech in America, the First Amendment. I’m gonna stick to that. And if that means making less money [from advertisers], so be it.”

‘Moderation is a propaganda word for censorship’

During their free speech exchange, Lemon showed Musk screenshots of several anti-semitic and racist tweets, saying, “These have been up there for a while.”

“Are they illegal?” Musk asked.

“They’re not illegal, but they’re hateful and they can lead to violence. As I just read to you, the shooters in all of these mass shootings attributed social media to radicalizing them,” Lemon retorted.

“So Don, you love censorship, is what you’re saying,” smirked Musk.

He went on to say, “Moderation is a propaganda word for censorship… Look, if something’s illegal, we’re going to take it down. If it’s not illegal, then we’re putting our thumb on the scale and we’re being censors” if X removes it.

Musk also emphasized that if something is on the platform, that doesn’t necessarily mean that X is promoting it or that anyone is seeing it, and said that since he’s taken over the company, the reach of content deemed “hateful” is actually down.

DEI and the ‘woke mind virus’

An antagonistic Lemon also brought up diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Musk had recently replied to a thread on X from the Daily Wire‘s Ben Shapiro about top medical schools abandoning “all sort[s] of metrics” for surgeons in the name of DEI.

“If the standards for passing medical exams and becoming a doctor, or especially something like a surgeon – if the standards are lowered, then the probability that the surgeon will make a mistake is higher. [If] they’re making mistakes in their exam, they may make mistakes with people and that may result in people dying,” Musk articulated.

“Okay, I understand that. But that’s a hypothetical. That doesn’t mean it’s happening,” said Lemon, to which Musk replied, “I didn’t say it was happening.”

Lemon brought up medicine’s historical mistreatment of minorities, and asked, “Most doctors now are white, and there are lots of mistakes in medicine, so you’re saying that – white doctors have – bad medical care? I’m trying to understand your logic here when it comes to DEI because there’s no actual evidence of what you’re saying.”

Concerning DEI in the airline industry, Lemon went on to ask Musk if he believes women and minority pilots are inherently less intelligent and skilled, to which the billionaire replied, “No, I’m just saying that we should not lower the standards for them.”

The exchange continued:

Lemon: “Why would they be lowering the standards?”

Musk: “I don’t know, why are they lowering the standards?”

Lemon: “Just so you know, five percent of pilots are female. Four percent are black. So you’re talking about this widespread takeover of minorities and women when that’s not actually true.”

Musk: “I’m not saying there’s a widespread takeover.”

Lemon: “Well you’re saying that the standards are being lowered because of certain people.”

Lemon, sounding incredulous, also asked Musk, “Do you not believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion?”

“I think we should be – treat people according to their skills and their integrity, and that’s it,” he responded.

He later elaborated, “Woke mind virus is when you stop caring about people’s skills and their integrity and you start focusing instead on gender and race and other things that are different from that… the woke mind virus is fundamentally racist, fundamentally sexist, and fundamentally evil.”

“Don Lemon versus Elon Musk is like watching a lightweight in the ring against Mike Tyson—and I mean Tyson in his prime. The lightweight is flat on his back, and what’s more, he’s so comatose he doesn’t even know he’s been knocked out,” conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza wrote on X.

Musk may endorse a candidate for president ‘in the final stretch,’ and if he does, ‘will explain exactly why’

Earlier during the interview, Musk shared that he’d recently been at a friend’s house for breakfast and Donald Trump came by.

“Let’s just say he did most of the talking,” said Musk, but Trump didn’t say anything “groundbreaking or new.”

“I may in the final stretch endorse a candidate… if I do decide to endorse a candidate, I will explain exactly why,” Musk told Lemon, noting he’s “leaning away from Biden” but “I’ve made no secret of that.”

Lemon’s new show was originally slated to be an X production, but Musk ultimately canceled the deal, although the show is still posted on the platform. Lemon had asked for “a free Tesla Cybertruck, a $5 million upfront payment on top of an $8 million salary, an equity stake in the multibillion-dollar company, and the right to approve any changes in X policy as it relates to news content,” the New York Post reported.

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Addictions

Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

Published on

News release from Break The Needle

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics have said all along: safer supply diversion is happening at alarming levels

Last spring, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions claimed critics’ concerns about “safer supply” diversion — the illegal selling and trading of taxpayer-funded addictive drugs — were based on lies.

“For Pierre Poilievre to state untrue information about safer supply, and try to create barriers to accessing harm reduction services that are saving lives amid this ongoing crisis, is incredibly irresponsible and dehumanizing to people who use drugs,” read a statement by then-minister Carolyn Bennett’s office.

Fast forward a year, and it’s clear which side was telling the truth.

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics said all along: diversion of pharmaceutically supplied opioids to the streets is happening at alarming levels. London is home to Canada’s longest-running safer supply program, which dates back to 2016 and was significantly expanded in 2020.

The London Police Service released data that shows a staggering 3,000 per cent increase in the seizure of hydromorphone tablets — the opioid predominantly given out by safer supply programs — over the last five years. In 2019, London police seized just under 1,000 tablets. By 2020, that number had tripled. In 2023, they seized 30,000 hydromorphone tablets.

For context, hydromorphone is as potent as heroin and just two or three of these pills, if snorted, can cause an overdose in an inexperienced opioid user.

Earlier this month, the city’s deputy police chief, Paul Bastien, told CBC’s London Morning, “We recognize the value that safe supply plays as part of that harm reduction piece, but diversion is an important issue that is affecting community safety. I won’t say that everyone’s doing it, but some of the tablets from safe supply are being diverted for that purpose.”

“Criminal groups are fairly adept at exploiting policy changes that are well intended. But unforeseen consequences sometimes arise and this appears to be, at least in part, one of them,” he continued.

A reasonable person may assume that, given this alarming new evidence, proponents of safer supply would change their tune about widespread diversion being “fake news.” Unfortunately, they haven’t.

Some activists are now claiming on social media that London’s spike in hydromorphone seizures was not caused by safer supply, but rather by a high-profile theft of 245,000 hydromorphone tablets from an Ontario pharmacy. Yet the spike in seizures began years before this theft and, according to multiple addiction physicians, the street price of hydromorphone collapsed in the city well before 2023, suggesting an earlier influx of diverted supply.

However, these mental contortions aren’t surprising. As more and more evidence of widespread diversion emerged over the past year, accusations of disinformation and misinformation haven’t stopped –– they have simply evolved. The narrative changed from “Diversion doesn’t exist” to “Fine, it exists, but only on a small scale” to, now, “Fine, diversion exists at scale, but imagine the alternative?”

This is the angle already emerging in British Columbia, where the province’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, authored a damning report that acknowledges the regularity and harms of safer supply diversion, yet still concludes safer supply is “ethically defensible” and advocates for its expansion.

Like many safer supply activists, Henry often argues diversion isn’t a significant concern because most opioid deaths are caused by fentanyl.

While it’s true that most opioid deaths are attributable to fentanyl, hydromorphone is still incredibly dangerous. When diverted into the black market, it creates new addictions, often among young people, which culminate in fentanyl use.

Moreover, data indicate hydromorphone is implicated in an increasing share of drug-related deaths in young people in B.C. In 2019, there were no reported deaths involving hydromorphone. By 2022, that number jumped to 22 per cent. Similarly, a recent report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario found the number of youth in the province who self-reported using prescription opioids for “non-medical” reasons jumped 71 per cent between 2021 and 2023.

Still, safer supply activists continue to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that widespread diversion isn’t happening.

In 2017, Collins Dictionary declared “fake news” the word of the year. Since then, the term –– along with sister terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” –– have taken on a disturbing new life.

While fake news, misinformation and disinformation are very real democratic threats, some politicians and activists realized they could delegitimize opponents’ arguments and unflattering media stories by simply proclaiming them fake. Now, we’re in the dizzyingly ironic position of real news, and real facts, being dismissed as misinfo and disinfo by self-declared guardians of the truth.

This is the exact problem journalists and concerned medical professionals continue to face when raising the alarm on so-called “safer supply.” Despite the abundance of solid reporting, emerging data, whistleblower warnings and first-hand accounts of widespread diversion, harm reduction activists and their allies in government don’t just recklessly dismiss the problem, they weaponize the language of fake news to discredit a reality they don’t like.

Communities across Canada, and addicts themselves, deserve better.

A guest post by
Sabrina Maddeaux
Bold opinions and analysis of the political and economic issues that matter.
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Health

UK report debunks claim that halting puberty blockers increases suicide in gender-confused youth

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Jonathon Van Maren

For more than a decade, the transgender movement has used a potent lie to blackmail desperate parents and feckless politicians into accepting their agenda: that if gender-confused children are not provided with sex changes – “gender-affirming care” – they will be at a high risk for suicide. Parent after parent heard the simple, deceitful question, posed to them by trans activist medical professionals: “Would you rather have a dead daughter, or a live son?” 

Yet another review highlights that this claim is completely baseless. As the BBC reported on July 20: “There is no evidence of a large rise in suicides in young patients attending a gender identity clinic in London, an independent review has found.” 

The report, titled “Review of suicides and gender dysphoria at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust: independent report,” was published by the U.K. government on July 19. Professor Louis Appleby was tasked by Health Secretary Wes Streeting to examine the evidence after LGBT activists claimed that suicide rates were spiking due to restrictions on puberty blockers, which were first implemented in 2020. The review concluded: 

  1. The data do not support the claim that there has been a large rise in suicide in young gender dysphoria patients at the Tavistock. 
  1. The way that this issue has been discussed on social media has been insensitive, distressing and dangerous, and goes against guidance on safe reporting of suicide. 
  1. The claims that have been placed in the public domain do not meet basic standards for statistical evidence. 
  1. There is a need to move away from the perception that puberty-blocking drugs are the main marker of non-judgemental acceptance in this area of health care. 
  2. We need to ensure high quality data in which everyone has confidence, as the basis of improved safety for this at risk group of young people. 

This review is devastating to virtually every single claim trans activists have been making – and Appleby even notes, in point two of his summary, that trans activists themselves are posing a real danger to gender-confused children with their irresponsible lies about suicidality. Suicide, as we have long known, is a social contagion – and trans activists are explicitly encouraging gender-confused children to claim suicidal ideation in order to acquire puberty blockers.  

As the BBC reported: “The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was vital that public discussion around the issue was handled responsibly.” It is difficult to read that statement as anything but a direct rebuke of trans activists. Appleby, a professor of psychiatry and experienced suicide researcher from the University of Manchester, warned that trans activist rhetoric could actually lead to adolescents copycatting that behavior. “One risk is that young people and their families will be terrified by predictions of suicide as inevitable without puberty blockers – some of the responses on social media show this,” he said. As the BBC noted: 

In response to [trans activist] claims, the new health secretary launched an independent review led by Prof Appleby which analysed data from NHS England on suicides of patients at the Tavistock clinic, based on an audit at the trust.

Covering the period between 2018-19 and 2023-24, he found there were 12 suicides – five in the three years leading up to 2020-21 and seven in the three years afterwards.

‘This is essentially no difference,’ Prof Appleby says in his report, ‘taking account of expected fluctuations in small numbers, and would not reach statistical significance.’

He adds: ‘In the under 18s specifically, there were 3 suicides before and 3 after 2020-21.’

The Good Law Project, run by executive director Jo Maugham, is currently challenging the puberty blocker ban – and predictably, Maugham expressed his disagreement with the review, saying that he had “profound difficulties” with it. It likely will make little difference. In the U.K., the transgender narrative is in tatters – and leaders still parroting these debunked lines should take note. 

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Jonathon’s writings have been translated into more than six languages and in addition to LifeSiteNews, has been published in the National PostNational ReviewFirst Things, The Federalist, The American Conservative, The Stream, the Jewish Independent, the Hamilton SpectatorReformed Perspective Magazine, and LifeNews, among others. He is a contributing editor to The European Conservative.

His insights have been featured on CTV, Global News, and the CBC, as well as over twenty radio stations. He regularly speaks on a variety of social issues at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

He is the author of The Culture WarSeeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of AbortionPatriots: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Pro-Life MovementPrairie Lion: The Life and Times of Ted Byfield, and co-author of A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide with Blaise Alleyne.

Jonathon serves as the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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