I Used to Respect Elon Musk
I originally started writing this at the beginning of September. Then I stopped, things happened (again) and now I'm touching it up, putting it out there and will be done with it.
I used to respect Elon Musk. But not any more. I mean, I don’t know him personally. I have in fact never spoken to him. I absolutely would if the opportunity presented itself. Yet, actions speak louder than words, to use a well-worn phrase.
Maybe it’s selection bias that allows for an opaque view backwards. Maybe he really has been this strange personality all this time. But money changes people. Very much money changes people very much. It often (always?) amplifies a persons’ worst qualities and instincts. I believe that’s what might be happening to Elon Musk. The only other explanation being, that he is and always has been a narcissistic, idiot asshat.
Look at how he’s pushing for right-wing libertarian ideas. Look at the saga of the Twitter deal he’s now attempting to walk away from. Look at how he’s not actually solving the deep issues at Tesla, especially those related to quality and autonomous driving. The latter one in particular is the behavior of a spoiled child, not a genius-level intellect. It’s entirely possible that this kind of conduct is considered normal among the American financial and industrial tycoons. That it’s how you strategize a takeover and try to push the purchase price down. That many other absurdly wealthy people are simply not as public, not as visible as Musk.
Whatever fuels all those unnecessary stunts, a major ingredient is monetary wealth – to an abject degree. I firmly believe no one should have that much money. Not one single person. Not a soul.
The problems he does attempt to solve, are the wrong ones. I’d say that if the continued survival of the human species is possible only if we leave this planet, we should expire here. This is expressly true since we can presume leaving would be the prerogative of the wealthy and well-connected anyway. We’re unlikely to have learned anything if we “get away with it”. However, that’s an entirely different argument.
He inserts himself into almost anything these days. He dispenses unsolicited advice and opinions by the metric ton and is seemingly oblivious to how annoyingly out of touch he is with, well, everyone. Including himself apparently. He has become a rich, spoiled child which is bored with his many pursuits and toys. A man-child, not unlike many before him, including the master himself, Donald Trump. He may not be as senselessly angry and stupid but is every bit as blind to and actively disinterested in the repercussions of his actions. Why care about anyone else if you believe you own the sandbox you sit in?
Maybe he has a gambling streak, like many of the successful tech billionaires. That to him, the thrill of the chase, the negotiation of a deal itself, doing the seemingly impossible, is more stimulating than actually doing anything meaningful. It’s an intoxicating power trip.
It’s what little boys do, who don’t know better, wo are full of themselves. Because they’re little boys. But how about responsible, grown-up men – a species, by the way, that appears to become rarer by the day? Well, they don’t.