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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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Business

New capital gains hike won’t work as claimed but will harm the economy

Published on

From the Fraser Institute

By Alex Whalen and Jake Fuss

Capital taxes are among the most economically-damaging forms of taxation precisely because they reduce the incentive to innovate and invest.

Amid a federal budget riddled with red ink and tax hikes, the Trudeau government has increased capital gains taxes. The move will be disastrous for Canada’s growth prospects and its already-lagging investment climate, and to make matters worse, research suggests it won’t work as planned.

Currently, individuals and businesses who sell a capital asset in Canada incur capital gains taxes at a 50 per cent inclusion rate, which means that 50 per cent of the gain in the asset’s value is subject to taxation at the individual or business’ marginal tax rate. The Trudeau government is raising this inclusion rate to 66.6 per cent for all businesses, trusts and individuals with capital gains over $250,000.

The problems with hiking capital gains taxes are numerous.

First, capital gains are taxed on a “realization” basis, which means the investor does not incur capital gains taxes until the asset is sold. According to empirical evidence, this creates a “lock-in” effect where investors have an incentive to keep their capital invested in a particular asset when they might otherwise sell.

For example, investors may delay selling capital assets because they anticipate a change in government and a reversal back to the previous inclusion rate. This means the Trudeau government is likely overestimating the potential revenue gains from its capital gains tax hike, given that individual investors will adjust the timing of their asset sales in response to the tax hike.

Second, the lock-in effect creates a drag on economic growth as it incentivises investors to hold off selling their assets when they otherwise might, preventing capital from being deployed to its most productive use and therefore reducing growth.

And Canada’s growth prospects and investment climate have both been in decline. Canada currently faces the lowest growth prospects among all OECD countries in terms of GDP per person. Further, between 2014 and 2021, business investment (adjusted for inflation) in Canada declined by $43.7 billion. Hiking taxes on capital will make both pressing issues worse.

Contrary to the government’s framing—that this move only affects the wealthy—lagging business investment and slow growth affect all Canadians through lower incomes and living standards. Capital taxes are among the most economically-damaging forms of taxation precisely because they reduce the incentive to innovate and invest. And while taxes on capital do raise revenue, the economic costs exceed the amount of tax collected.

Previous governments in Canada understood these facts. In the 2000 federal budget, then-finance minister Paul Martin said a “key factor contributing to the difficulty of raising capital by new start-ups is the fact that individuals who sell existing investments and reinvest in others must pay tax on any realized capital gains,” an explicit acknowledgement of the lock-in effect and costs of capital gains taxes. Further, that Liberal government reduced the capital gains inclusion rate, acknowledging the importance of a strong investment climate.

At a time when Canada badly needs to improve the incentives to invest, the Trudeau government’s 2024 budget has introduced a damaging tax hike. In delivering the budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said “Canada, a growing country, needs to make investments in our country and in Canadians right now.” Individuals and businesses across the country likely agree on the importance of investment. Hiking capital gains taxes will achieve the exact opposite effect.

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Economy

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Published on

From the Fraser Insitute

By Kenneth P. Green

Contrary to claims by many climate activists and politicians, extreme weather events—including forest fires, droughts, floods and hurricanes—are not increasing in frequency or intensity, finds a new study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Earth Day has become a time when extraordinary claims are made about extreme weather events, but before policymakers act on those extreme claims—often with harmful regulations—it’s important to study the actual evidence,” said Kenneth Green, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute and author of Extreme Weather and Climate Change.

The study finds that global temperatures have increased moderately since 1950 but there is no evidence that extreme weather events are on the rise, including:

• Drought: Data from the World Meteorological Organization Standardized Precipitation Index showed no statistically significant trends in drought duration or magnitude—with the exception of some small regions in Africa and South America—from 1900 to 2020.

• Flooding: Research in the Journal of Hydrology in 2017, analyzing 9,213 recording stations around the world, found there were more stations exhibiting significant decreasing trends (in flood risk) than increasing trends.

• Hurricanes: Research conducted for the World Meteorological Organization in 2019 (updated in 2023) found no long-term trends in hurricanes or major hurricanes recorded globally going back to 1980.

• Forest Fires: The Royal Society in London, in 2020, found that when considering the total area burned at the global level, there is no overall increase, but rather a decline over the last decades. In Canada, data from Canada’s Wildland Fire Information System show that the number of fires and the area burned in Canada have both been declining over the past 30 years.

“The evidence is clear—many of the claims that extreme weather events are increasing are simply not empirically true,” Green said.

“Before governments impose new regulations or enact new programs, they need to study the actual data and base their actions on facts, not unsubstantiated claims.”

  • Assertions are made claiming that weather extremes are increasing in frequency and severity, spurred on by humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Based on such assertions, governments are enacting ever more restrictive regulations on Canadian consumers of energy products, and especially Canada’s energy sector. These regulations impose significant costs on the Canadian economy, and can exert downward pressure on Canadian’s standard of living.
  • According to the UN IPCC, evidence does suggest that some types of extreme weather have become more extreme, particularly those relating to temperature trends.
  • However, many types of extreme weather show no signs of increasing and in some cases are decreasing. Drought has shown no clear increasing trend, nor has flooding. Hurricane intensity and number show no increasing trend. Globally, wildfires have shown no clear trend in increasing number or intensity, while in Canada, wildfires have actually been decreasing in number and areas consumed from the 1950s to the present.
  • While media and political activists assert that the evidence for increasing harms from increasing extreme weather is iron-clad, it is anything but. In fact, it is quite limited, and of low reliability. Claims about extreme weather should not be used as the basis for committing to long-term regulatory regimes that will hurt current Canadian standards of living, and leave future generations worse off.

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational
organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global
network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians,
their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the
effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the
Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research.
Visit www.fraserinstitute.org

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