Back in the day, Alex Jones invented a startling tale. It starred shadowy government agents, who consumed DMT in order to commune with the creatures that lived in machines. “We’re in trouble, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “The clockwork elves, I shouldn’t even get into it. Whether it’s real or not, the globalists think it is, and the elves are telling them, ‘Come on. Join us. Plug in.’”
There’s something reminiscent of Jones in the way that President Trump talks. They share a tendency toward interminable ramble, punctuated by regular descents into madness. Trump has the less inventive brain by far; he speaks not of elves but of more mundane conspiracies, waged by journalists and liberals. But who knows. Maybe Jones is on to something. Maybe the elves are real. Maybe they’re talking to Trump, who has plugged into the interface, and will not plug back out.
“There’s nothing I’d rather do than get rid of my Twitter account,” Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday. But he keeps it because the news is fake and so he must soldier on, a true martyr for posters’ rights. He would even shut down Twitter itself, if he could. But “I’d have to go through a legal process,” he observed, which is true, and an understatement. The president cannot unilaterally shut down a private company. It’s typical Trump, this blend of delusion and paranoid spite, on display to defend his latest executive order.
That order, which is almost certainly unenforceable, would revise liability standards for tech companies like Twitter. “The order also may channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission, which would be encouraged to probe whether tech companies’ content-moderation policies are in keeping with their pledges of neutrality,” the Washington Post reported.
The president is angry at Twitter because it flagged two of his tweets as possible sources of misinformation. He’d claimed that mail-in voting was “substantially fraudulent,” and attacked California in particular because the state has allowed vote-by-mail during the pandemic. Trump was in fact making things up, as he often does when he does not like the facts at his disposal. The press conference and the executive order are both attempts to sustain a pretend-world to obscure the real one, where conservatives do not experience viewpoint discrimination and a more accessible democratic process would likely put fewer Republicans in office.
Sometimes Trump’s fantasies are amusing. On Thursday, as he defended the view that convinced Twitter to slap his tweets with a warning label, he branched out into new and interesting ground. Where did he get the idea, for example, that the children of California raid mailboxes, hunting for ballots to steal?
Does he think they get paid? Who hires them? Where do the children come from? Is this like the knockout game, but for elections? Perhaps he will elaborate on the Twitter account he would love to delete but cannot, and then Twitter will label the tweets again, and everything will start over. The snake will devour its tail along with the rest of us. Only the elves will remain.