Society / September 8, 2023

How the owner of Tesla and Space X endedupbeing a state within a state.

An effigy of Elon Musk is seen on the screen of a mobile device with the X logo in the background.
(Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto through AP)

On October 7, 2022, as Elon Musk was on the cusp of acquiring Twitter, he was cheered on by Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Speaking on CNBC, Greenblatt enthused that “Elon Musk is an remarkable businessowner and amazing innovator. He is the Henry Ford of our time.” This surprising appreciation teetered on the fine line separating unintended paradox from absurdity.

The ADL is seemingly an company that battles anti-Semitism and allied types of bigotry. While it’s real that Ford and Musk are both giants in the field of car production, Ford was a well-known anti-Semite who promoted the created Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a main text of contemporary Jew-hatred. In 1937, the Nazi program saluted Ford’s services as a fellow tourist of fascism by granting him the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Beyond his bigotry, Ford was infamous for hiring thugs as strikebreakers. Ford was a timeless case of a plutocrat whose desire for power makes him an opponent of democracy. It appears unusual that the head of the ADL would usage Ford of all individuals as an prototype of a genius innovator.

Greenblatt’s remark was a oversight, however, as it turned out, likewise inadvertently real. It’s significantly obvious that Musk, by some procedures the wealthiest male in the world, is endingupbeing the Henry Ford of our time. But this is real in methods that must be comprehended as a condemnation, not appreciation. Under Musk’s control, Twitter (which he hasactually relabelled X, a letter he fetishes and likewise offered as a name to one of his kids) hasactually endedupbeing a hothouse where all sorts of bigotries thrive—very much consistingof anti-Semitism. This led to a direct clash with the ADL.

On Tuesday, Rolling Stone reported that last week

ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt had a conference with X CEO Linda Yaccarino to goover the frequency of hate speech on the platform. This kicked off a trending hashtag project, #BanTheADL, asserted on the groundless concept that the company has suppressed totallyfree speech on X (and needto forthatreason have their account eliminated). But the tag, promoted by understood antisemites and white supremacists, created a variety of despiteful material. When Musk showed responsive to the motion and chimed in to declare that “ADL has attempted extremely hard to strangle X/Twitter,” he did so in reply to Keith Woods, an antisemitic YouTuber associated with infamous racists Richard Spencer and Nick Fuentes.

The tweets by Woods and others under the hashtag #BanTheADL, which got Musk’s imprimatur, were a harmful stew of anti-Jewish smears.

The anti-Semitism inspired by #BanTheADL is so bad that it nearly forces a defense of the ADL— a deeply dodgy company that is completely material to whitewash all kinds of bigotry as long as the criminals are helpful of Israel. The ADL typically integrates critiques of genuine anti-Semitism with unwarranted allegations of anti-Semitism to smear pro-Palestinian advocacy. But nevertheless suspicious the ADL may be, it doesn’t shouldhave the anti-Semitic attacks of individuals like Keith Woods, now enhanced by a male of stupendous wealth.

Beyond promoting anti-Semitism, Musk is following in Ford’s steps in presuming that the guidelines of democracy use just to lower mortals. Musk is as anti-union as Ford was. As Ronan Farrow recorded in a current New Yorker profile, Musk’s method operandi is to breach security guidelines and attempt the federalgovernment to hold him responsible. Because of his severe wealth and the federalgovernment’s dependence on his markets (which takepleasurein supremacy in fields like electrical automobile manufacture and the rocket launches required, for example, to resupply the International Space Station and put satellites utilized by the Pentagon in orbit), he typically gets his method.

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Farrow reports:

Officials who have worked at OSHA and at an comparable California firm informed me that Musk’s impact, and his mindset about policy, had made their tasks tough. The Biden Administration, which is urgently attempting to minimize dependence on fossil fuels, has concluded that it requires to work with Musk, since of his dominant position in the electric-car market. And Musk’s individual wealth overshadows the whole budgetplan of OSHA, which is charged with tracking the conditions in his offices.

Musk is now so effective he has his own foreign policy. On Thursday, CNN, pointingout Walter Isaacson’s upcoming bio of Musk, reported, “Elon Musk privately bought his engineers to turn off his business’s Starlink satellite interactions network near the Crimean coast last year to interrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian marine fleet.” This event hasactually been understood about consideringthat it occurred last October. The brand-new info is that it occurred under Musk’s individual command and that he declares he spoke to Russian authorities priorto making the choice. (Musk may likewise haveactually been affected by some of the conservative voices he likes to engage with on Twitter, who called for the Starlink cancellation of service).

Musk might or might not be ideal in his view that the United States must push for settlements with Russia. That’s an argument lotsof who disagree with his politics likewise argue for, as I myself have. But, in a democracy, Musk must not be able to set the limitations of military policy on his perso