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Your Benevolent Capitalists


One of my most hated features of American culture is the fawning love for particular capitalists that began in the late 19th century and continues to the present. Whether Carnegie or Ford, Gates or Jobs or Zuckerberg, people hang on to the words of these rich people, even when they don’t know what they are talking about. Let’s remember that The Art of the Deal was a best seller. That fact that Trump wrote none of it, even if he actually knows how to write, is irrelevant. People want to eat up whatever the latest heroic capitalist has to say. The sheer fact that Gates and Zuckerberg are rich means that they can set huge parts of our health and education policies. This is completely nuts. And yet, they are rarely challenged and the idea that rich people should set much of our policy is almost never challenged.

In the last few years, this role has been taken up by Elon Musk. Oh, do the techbros love Musk. And so do tons of liberals and even some leftists. He claims to be a socialist! He claims to want to fight climate change! He’ll say on Twitter he will fix Flint’s water system, what a great guy! And hey, even if his idiotic submarine stunt to rescue the soccer team in a Thai cave was rejected with the contempt it deserved, doesn’t it show his heart is in the right place!

So of course Elon Musk is actually a significant funder of keeping Republican control over the House.

Now reports indicate that Musk was one of the top donors for a Republican PAC named Protect the House.

Filings show that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $33,900 to the PAC, which is dedicated to keeping Republicans in control of Congress. The PAC raised over $8 million in quarter two, according to filings compiled by ProPublica.

The top donors of the PAC include Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate, and Robert McNair, the owner of the NFL’s Houston Texans. Although Adelson and McNair’s contributions far outweighed Musk’s — Adelson and McNair each gave $371,500 respectively, while Musk gave $33,900 — Musk was one of the top 50 donors of the PAC.

Musk himself has acknowledged the harm President Donald Trump and his party has done to the environment. Shortly after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement, Musk announced that he would quit two of the White House’s business advisory councils.

“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk said on Twitter at the time.

One year later, the tech entrepreneur has taken active measures to help the Republican Party maintain Congress. The reports on Musk’s political contributions is just another data point marking Musk’s nonsense.

The other latest example was Musk’s voluntary involvement in the Thailand cave rescue. He insisted that a mini-sub invented by Space X could assist in the mission and even flew out to Thailand to share the contraption. In the end, the rescue team did not use the submarine because it was “not practical with our mission,” according to one of the Thai leaders.

There’s not that much to parse here. Elon Musk is a rich guy with a huge ego who probably isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is. He’s going to support politics that reflect other rich people’s interests. He’s going to think he can change the world and not understand when the world’s lessers ignore him. The fact that he has received fawning press for years only reinforces this. To expect consistency from him would be to actually believe he’s as smart as he thinks he is.

In conclusion, Elon Musk is just another rich asshole. Ignore him. Quit looking up to him or any other capitalist.

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