Why do they hate Elon Musk? The head of Tesla and SpaceX should be a progressive hero.
Leftists lecture us about “climate change” and why we need a Green New Deal. One group, Extinction Rebellion, warns of “mass extinction” unless there is revolution. The Guardian says some parents regret having children because of “climate change.”
Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla should thrill progressives who worry about the planet. President Obama toured SpaceX HQ with Mr. Musk, and he’s hardly a conservative. Mr. Musk endorsed Democrat Andrew Yang in the 2020 presidential campaign and supports a Universal Basic Income. Republicans don’t hate him, either. Democrats and Republicans supporthim at about equal rates, which is rare in a partisan age.
Elon Musk appeared in the movies Iron Man 2 and Machete Kills as a smart, socially conscious CEO who was saving the world. He represented the ascendant “creative class” — the pragmatic, progressive, environmentally friendly elite who think globally and aren’t held back by old-fashioned nationalism. Elon Musk is even an immigrant. He’s the most successful African-American in the world. It’s especially impressive because he doesn’t get affirmative action (he’s from South Africa).
However, many were outraged learn that he is going to host Saturday Night Live.
Perhaps they were among the people who shorted the stock and lost $38 billion in 2020. Why is this worth writing about?
First, it reflects what progressives think about the 2016 election and what they think must be done to make sure nothing like it happens again. They think without strict media gatekeeping, dangerous forces could emerge. Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live during the 2016 campaign. He also appeared on The Tonight Show. Many people blamed his victory on programs that “normalized” a man who should have been banned from the airwaves. When People put then-President Elect Trump on the cover, Vulture said:
It was merely an escalation of an impulse that had been decried months earlier, when NBC’s The Tonight Show welcomed Trump . . . . Nearly a year ago, that same network’s Saturday Night Live booked Trump as a host, essentially letting him affix his name to the show as if it were another hotel or bankrupt casino.
Who determines what is “normal?” If I told you five years ago that the President of the United States would use support for “transgender children” as an applause line in an address to Congress, you would have laughed. So what’s “normal?” It’s what’s allowed on TV. If you prevent discussion of certain things, you prevent certain thoughts. That is why progressives drove Trump supporters and even Donald Trump himself from social media.
Why do leftists say it is “reckless” or “dangerous” let Elon Musk host a comedy show? I suspect they think that if Donald Trump had not appeared on SNL or on television, he would not have become president. This fear drives the tireless compulsion to deplatform, definance, or outright ban speech. Instead of finding the correct policies by debating them, they protect the “correct” policies by preventing debate.
Even if he is not conservative, Elon Musk expresses an independent opinion occasionally on things such as COVID-19. This makes him — to use the word so many on Twitter use — “dangerous.” It’s the same justification for the daily campaigns to kick Tucker Carlson off the air. The repression leftists require shows how weak their positions are. If there were free speech, we would win.
What makes Elon Musk “dangerous?” Historically, progressivism is about “problem-solving.” A managerial elite uses state power to end poverty, war, and racial disparities. During the George W. Bush years, many leftists called themselves the “reality-based community.” “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens became heroes for the Party of Science. Engineers like Elon Musk would stop climate change with new technology.
Progressives thought the same thing about race. Bad policies and prejudice caused inequality. Education would “solve” racism. Freedom of speech would break old habits.
However, over the last few years, American progressivism became more like a religion, unleashing what we call “Woke Culture.” Yesterday’s heroes are today’s villains. In 2018, Vox said Sam Harris was part of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” a movement close to the Alt Right. Christopher Hitchens did his career a huge favor by dying, because he would certainly be “canceled” today.
The meaning of “science” seems to have changed. Rather than a process discovering truth through experiment, it seems to be unproven (and unproveable) assertions that must be taken on faith. Thus, Richard Dawkins, once Oxford’s “Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science,” now finds himself stripped of the title “humanist of the year,” which he got from the American Humanist Association 25 years ago. The AHA said he was “using the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups” when he wrote such things as “Is trans woman a woman?” Dr. Dawkins apologized and distanced himself from “Republican bigots” but it did him no good. He’s a brave crusader against God, but he can’t stand up to a Twitter mob.
Race realists know all about the accusation of “using the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups.” Years after we learned that the egalitarian “scientist” Stephen Jay Gould used fake data to “disprove” racial science in The Mismeasure of Man, we still hear countless references to “racist pseudoscience.” Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe in the unfalsifiable doctrine of “white privilege.” Rather than trying to solve racial disparities in intelligence and academic achievement, some schools are abolishing advanced classes. “The Party of Science” now requires stupidity and ignorance.
As for “racism,” it can’t be cured, since all whites are racist no matter what we do. Even if whites were gone, the battle would rage on between mixed-race people and non-whites. Thus, “anti-racism” is now not like a religion; it is a religion. It has a cult of saints, a devil figure, and claims of miracles and supernatural occurrences. George Floyd rivals Jesus even within the Roman Catholic Church.
Elon Musk is a man who wants to solve problems. His girlfriend, the musician known as Grimes, defends his occasional offensiveness, noting that his life is about “making travel/house power etc. sustainable and green.” However, the new progressives are not the flawed but optimistic technocrats of the Kennedy administration, or even the Obama administration. They are believers championing a faith. The problems they oppose not only can’t be solved but aren’t supposed to be solved. Ending racism would end an entire industry just as ending the doctrine of sin would end the clergy.
This leads to the most important reason why this petty SNL controversy matters. It highlights the most important issue in history. Are we meant to solve problems or to complain? Do we strive upward or accept decline? Elon Musk stands for the former; progressives stand for the latter.
Consider this from Bernie Sanders.
This isn’t new. Ralph Abernathy called the space program an “inhuman effort” because there were poor blacks to feed. He hectored the NASA administrator about this the very day of the Apollo 11 launch.
Elon Musk says he is “accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars.”
Bernie Sanders wants higher taxes to end hunger, homelessness, and bad health care, and says inequality threatens “our democracy.” We must choose: greatness or equality.
Senator Sanders thinks it’s wrong to explore space if there are poor people in America. Christ said the poor will always be with us, but “our democracy” will apparently show He was wrong. Thus far, all we have for trying is failure. Countless billions later, America is still full of poor blacks even as we import another permanent underclass from Latin America. Schools in black cities like Baltimore produce students that can’t do simple arithmetic. And where are these hungry blacks? More than a third of them are obese.
Do high taxes benefit the poor? Head Start has no effect on racial gaps. The recent COVID-19 stimulus check sent a paltry $1,400 check to compensate for months of shutdowns and rising crime. If the government had divided the $1.9 trillion among 330 million Americans, we would have all got more than $5,700. Of course, this would keep Democrats from splashing money to their friends.
However, let’s assume Senator Sanders is right. Let’s assume that money taken from the rich would be efficiently given to the poor. Let’s assume education programs would help them. Let’s even assume that government medicine would be better than the system we have now. Would we then back Senator Sanders?
No. The purpose of life is to build something greater than ourselves. A Christian might lead a life of service, but for the glory of God. A patriot dies for his country and people. Parents sacrifice for children. Artists feed the soul. Even athletes encourage us to be stronger and better. The true Right is the pursuit of greatness.
In this sense, Marxists were more authentically “right-wing” than many Republicans. Marxists thought outdated theories were holding back human potential, and Marx wrote that money “distorted” real value. “I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women,” he said in 1844. Capitalism alienated workers. In The German Ideology, he wrote that under communism, a man could “hunt in the morning, rear cattle in the afternoon, criticize after dinner.” Communism would free people and make them better.
The first country to launch a satellite or put a man in space was the USSR. Khrushchev believed that the USSR would outperform the USA economically. He got it wrong because Communism didn’t work, but the goal was noble. It was to build something better, not just make everyone equal.
The “New Left” of the late 1960s, heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School, was different. Instead of collective achievements, it promotes victimhood. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say “victim culture” is central to our society. Competing claims of victimhood dominate the media. Non-whites and people who aren’t heterosexual men often claim to be victims, even when they are some of the most powerful people on the planet.
White America could do great things if it were not saddled with this moral and demographic albatross. “Our” leaders, including Senator Sanders, (representing the second-whitest state in the Union) want to import more dependents. At best, they are misguided. More likely, they are counting on new migrants to vote for them. Either way, importing a permanent underclass means the senator’s supposed goal of fighting inequality is unattainable. Judging from where he lives, I suspect he knows it.
By 2100, half the world’s population will be black due to high birth rates and misguided foreign aid that disgusts even many Africans. Policy-makers almost never talk about this except for Bill Gates, who thinks that turning Africans into Asians is only a matter of finding the right “formula.”
There’s nothing moral or noble about piling up dependents while the Western Civilization that sustain them declines. As resources shrink and the black population grows, the result will be war, famine, and mass death. It will be even worse if the environmentalists are right about “climate change.” Reducing African population growth might deprive progressives of the pleasure of ending Western Civilization, but it would mean a better future for actual Africans.
Of course, by actual Africans, I exclude Elon Musk, but I wonder if living in South Africa shaped his thinking. Mr. Musk himself says, “America is the land of opportunity,” something many people born here no longer say. However, America truly is the New World for someone who has seen the horrors of the Rainbow Nation.
Neill Blomkamp is another South African expatriate. His terrifying 2013 vision of the future, Elysium, was partially inspired by his view of the present. Barring technological miracles, he predicts “a Malthusian catastrophe,” but he lacks the moral imagination or courage to give us an alternative. We are doomed.
Elon Musk does offer an alternative. He explained that “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” is necessary because at some point, there will be an “extinction event.” This could be self-inflicted, like a nuclear war. The path we’re on may not lead to literal extinction, but unless there is radical change, it will lead to the end of any higher form of civilization.
Sadly, no one talks about these major issues, but you can glimpse them through these tiny battles in the culture wars. The fact that an eccentric billionaire with multiplanetary aspirations is “dangerous” to our petty tyrants makes him interesting. I’m sure he’s no white advocate, but at least he understands that there has to be some form of escape from a system that chokes off accomplishment.
I’m guessing Elon Musk is a sci-fi fan. In the science-fiction Dune series, a wise God-Emperor sets in motion a plan not to control mankind, but deliberately to scatter it. The point is to make sure no one can ever impose one order on all humanity. Freedom and chaos — through dispersion — is the safer choice.
If we’re under a system so conformist that an unconventional businessman’s appearance on a comedy show is a moral crisis, that alone justifies nuking the whole thing — though I prefer political action. Unlike our Twitter scolds, I don’t think things are worth thinking, reading, writing, or doing unless they are dangerous. Besides, if something this small scares them this much, perhaps our victory on Earth and in this country is closer than we think.