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Among the most wrong-headed observations of recent times is the jarring misstatement in a tweet by the Johannesburg bureau chief of The New York Times, John Eligon, that “Elon Musk grew up in a South Africa that saw the dangers of unchecked speech”.  

The tweet was about an article on potential Twitter owner Musk, co-written by Eligon and Lynsey Chutel, and was self-evidently meant to cast doubt on Musk’s free-speech credentials. I cannot vouch for the Tesla tsar’s intellectual instincts, but I can say with unqualified certainty that Musk — like the rest of us born before 1994 — grew up in a country fundamentally defined by the dangers of checked speech...

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