- Elon Musk’s strange tweets continued, with the CEO tweeting, “Take the red pill” on Sunday.
- “Taking the red pill” is a common Internet trope about an individual shifting his political views to the right.
- Musk used Twitter to attack what he sees as excessive government action to keep businesses shut down as the coronavirus pandemic and foreclosure orders continue.
- Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.
Elon Musk’s streak of strange tweets continued, with Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeting “Take the red pill” to his 34 million followers on Sunday.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2020
At its most basic level, the tweet refers to a scene from the 1999 film “The Matrix”, in which the character Morpheus tells the protagonist Neo that he lived in a computer simulation and has the choice of taking a red or blue pill. “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe everything you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit goes. (It should be noted that Musk seems to believe there is a good chance that we are living in a computer simulation.)
But taking the red pill, or the “red pill,” is much more commonly used on the Internet to denote a right-wing political awakening. It is often used in forums dedicated to subjects such as Donald Trump or “human rights” organizations.
It gained popularity thanks to a subreddit called TheRedPill, which is openly misogynistic. Writing about 2013, Business Insider described the views of the subreddits:
Welcome to The Red Pill, an Internet community on Reddit based on the general belief that women have it better than men. Red Pill is not a dating advice bulletin, but rather a forum for people – mostly men – exploring an ideology that revolves almost exclusively around gender. Those who “swallow the pill” argue that it is Men not women, who have been deprived of their social rights. Feminism is considered a prejudicial ideology and Red Pillers does not hesitate to cite examples which reinforce its arguments, some going so far as to assert that society is downright anti-masculine.
The tweet comes as Musk, who tweeted that he is “overtly moderate”, has taken on an increasingly anti-regulatory tone as the coronavirus forced the closure of its Fremont plant. He called the residence orders “fascist” and said on Monday that he was reopening his factory in Fremont and was ready to be arrested for doing so.
Already conservative voices welcome the tweet as a sign that Musk, who tweeted that he was supporting Democratic candidate Andrew Yang in 2019, is joining him. Ivanka Trump quickly retweeted Musk’s tweet herself, responding, “Caught! “
—Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 17, 2020