Elon Musk Knows How to Fight the Federal Government

 

Regulators despise him. Stakeholders love him. Fans of space exploration laud him. And innovators—well, it depends on whether you see electric cars as an inevitable part of the future, or an irresponsible and impractical development.

Very few people are indifferent to the workings of Elon Musk.

The main reason I want to celebrate Elon Musk is that he isn’t afraid of anyone, at least not in the federal government. He has repeatedly pushed back on, insulted, ignored, and refused to comply with federal regulators. Some people would say that he can afford to be incorrigible with his remarkable ventures, wealth, and success. On the other hand, there are many corporate CEOs who have caved into regulators who mainly seem to want to flex their muscles, exert stifling control, and make life difficult for risk-takers.

Musk has scuffled with the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Security and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We could debate whether these agencies have had legitimate concerns, but Musk is making a critical point: you’d better have good reasons for slowing him down or he will stonewall, criticize or ignore requests.

*     *     *     *     *

Elon Musk sets an outstanding example for corporate America to stand up to totalitarian forces and not to cave into the federal government. He is an iconoclast; his politics are all over the place. But he is very clear on his overall mission: to break boundaries and push ahead with every bit of his being—and to hell with the powers-that-be.

As we watch corporations supposedly stand up for the American people, we choke at their duplicity, ignorance, and disingenuousness. They don’t even care for their shareholders anymore; their priorities are virtue signaling, and as long as the Left dictates their agenda, they will foolishly comply. As businessmen, these CEOs aren’t obligated to defend America, but they are naïve enough to believe that if they walk in lockstep with the Left, they will be safe from criticism and retribution.

They have no clue that when the Left has used and abused them, those CEOs will be chewed up and spit out.

*     *     *     *     *

Elon Musk is also sending a message to everyday Americans, those of us who live ordinary lives and might think we have no power to make a difference.

We are lying to ourselves.

Each of us has an obligation—to our country, our communities, our families, and friends—to protest the lies and misrepresentations of the Left. We must support each other in taking a stand, for speaking out and refusing to bow to the arrogant and deceitful Left. More and more we are realizing that the consequences we might face if we speak out are inconsequential, compared to what we have to lose as a people.

May we have just an ounce of the boldness that Elon Musk demonstrates every day, and speak out against tyranny and oppression.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Susan, I’m glad you wrote about Musk.  He’s my hero.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Susan, I’m glad you wrote about Musk. He’s my hero.

    I think of him often; we’re lucky enough to see the Space X launches from our kitchen window. I don’t think I’d want to be friends with him, but he’s certainly a man for our times. Thanks, Kent!

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: And innovators—well, it depends on whether you see electric cars as an inevitable part of the future, or an irresponsible and impractical development.

    Irresponsible? Nah, go for it.

    Impractical? Oh yes.

    Unless and until you start constructing nuclear power plants, because that is the only way you’ll get enough electricity.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    Irresponsible? Nah, go for it.

    I guess there is still the question of how safe driverless cars are. There’s one story where both people in the car were riding in the backseat . . .  ;-)

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    Irresponsible? Nah, go for it.

    I guess there is still the question of how safe driverless cars are. There’s one story where both people in the car were riding in the backseat . . . ;-)

    Electric doesn’t necessarily mean autonomous. That is not impossible, but the transition is likely to be messy.

    • #5
  6. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    I don’t know a lot about Musk, but I have seen a number of stories, interviews, and videos about him. He’s a very interesting man, and seems extremely smart. My sense is that, like a lot of very smart people, he overvalues (his, and other’s) raw intelligence. It’s not yet clear to me how much wisdom is directing that intelligence in his case. We need people like him pushing boundaries. We also need to keep an eye on people like him; very smart people can do a lot of damage very quickly.

    • #6
  7. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I like Musk, because he gets stuff done.   However, he is a creature of government.   Tesla makes all their profit from electric car and carbon credits.  Space-X makes money from govt.  StarLink will probably have a govt roll too.

    • #7
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Elon Musk bears a certain resembled to D D Harriman, the protagonist of Heinlein’s 1950 first-trip-to-the-moon story:

    The Man Who Sold the Moon.

    • #8
  9. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Be More Musk, not Be Less White.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Freeven (View Comment):

    I don’t know a lot about Musk, but I have seen a number of stories, interviews, and videos about him. He’s a very interesting man, and seems extremely smart. My sense is that, like a lot of very smart people, he overvalues (his, and other’s) raw intelligence. It’s not yet clear to me how much wisdom is directing that intelligence in his case. We need people like him pushing boundaries. We also need to keep an eye on people like him; very smart people can do a lot of damage very quickly.

    I agree with all your points, @freeven! Pushing boundaries, yes; out of control activities, no.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    I like Musk, because he gets stuff done. However, he is a creature of government. Tesla makes all their profit from electric car and carbon credits. Space-X makes money from govt. StarLink will probably have a govt roll too.

    You are correct–yet they don’t seem to be able to rein him in. Isn’t that intriguing?

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Great post, Susan. We need more independent people like Musk.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Great post, Susan. We need more independent people like Musk.

    Thanks, @jimmcconnell! I just wonder if the other corporate yahoos will notice what he’s doing! Or will they just keep following the (Marxist) Party line? I’m not hopeful. I wish Musk would call them all out. 

    • #13
  14. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    I like Musk, because he gets stuff done. However, he is a creature of government. Tesla makes all their profit from electric car and carbon credits. Space-X makes money from govt. StarLink will probably have a govt roll too.

    You are correct–yet they don’t seem to be able to rein him in. Isn’t that intriguing?

    Yes, I sincerely believe Musk is not one man fighting, or changing, or moving within the system.  He’s not a rugged individualist.

    How did Musk maneuver so much interest and backing in such wildly speculative companies? Was the world long waiting for these neuralink, electric cars, trips to Mars, and more government-funded communications satellites and no one was stepping up? And what has he actually produced, at least what has he produced that has sold to make him a “centibillionaire”. He has put a fair amount of satellites into orbit (at government expense), as he has also sent a few men into space (also at government expense), has sold a lot of cars that run red lights and “go brick” (largely subsidized by the government), and sold a bunch of photoelectric panels that catch fire (iirc) (that were subsidized by the government) but besides investing in start-up internet companies, what has he done? It looks like he is running the world’s best funded R&D company.

    And he makes his money by the government subsidizing everything he’s ever built and sold. Who in the world is sponsoring him – talking him up and supporting him – behind the scenes?  It’s odd that his projects dovetail so well with Green New Deal government interests.

    Maybe he’s so unafraid of scuffling with the government is that he is the government.

    • #14
  15. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Susan Quinn:

    Elon, is that a rocket, or are you just happy to see us.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    I like Musk, because he gets stuff done. However, he is a creature of government. Tesla makes all their profit from electric car and carbon credits. Space-X makes money from govt. StarLink will probably have a govt roll too.

    You are correct–yet they don’t seem to be able to rein him in. Isn’t that intriguing?

    Yes, I sincerely believe Musk is not one man fighting, or changing, or moving within the system. He’s not a rugged individualist.

    How did Musk maneuver so much interest and backing in such wildly speculative companies? Was the world long waiting for these neuralink, electric cars, trips to Mars, and more government-funded communications satellites and no one was stepping up? And what has he actually produced, at least what has he produced that has sold to make him a “centibillionaire”. He has put a fair amount of satellites into orbit (at government expense), as he has also sent a few men into space (also at government expense), has sold a lot of cars that run red lights and “go brick” (largely subsidized by the government), and sold a bunch of photoelectric panels that catch fire (iirc) (that were subsidized by the government) but besides investing in start-up internet companies, what has he done? It looks like he is running the world’s best funded R&D company.

    And he makes his money by the government subsidizing everything he’s ever built and sold. Who in the world is sponsoring him – talking him up and supporting him – behind the scenes? It’s odd that his projects dovetail so well with Green New Deal government interests.

    Maybe he’s so unafraid of scuffling with the government is that he is the government.

    Or maybe not that he is, but since he’s actually doing things they want, they don’t feel any great need to crush him for his insolence.

    • #16
  17. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Musk is interesting, and the rentseeker of rentseekers.  How many Telsa’s would people buy if there were no clean energy tax credits, fleet mileage dictates or green energy mandates?  Talk about “regressive” tax incentives.  Imagine if a politician said, “Hey, let’s subsidize cars for rich people?”  Oh, wait, they did.  And why?  For Global Climate Change of course, second behind “Diversity” as a reason to spend quanititaively eased $.    And SpaceX?  It is really a privatization of NASA.  His other ventures are equally ambitious, and reliant on rentseeking.  His biggest win was Paypal.  He made $100 million when it was sold to eBay.  That was his first big win.  As for his current ventures, one makes money (Tesla was profitable for the first time in 2020; the other companies are private and not assumed to be profitable.)

    Musk is something.  Clever for sure.  

     

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):
    Musk is something.  Clever for sure.  

    Indeed. But I don’t want to lose sight of his rebellion against government regulation. To me, that is critical. 

    • #18
  19. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Well, someone at Space-X knows what they’re doing.  A night recovery and they made it look like a walk in the park.  At least we no longer have to rely on the Russians:

    https://nypost.com/2021/05/02/spacex-returns-4-astronauts-to-earth-in-rare-night-splashdown/

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Well, someone at Space-X knows what they’re doing. A night recovery and they made it look like a walk in the park. At least we no longer have to rely on the Russians:

    https://nypost.com/2021/05/02/spacex-returns-4-astronauts-to-earth-in-rare-night-splashdown/

     

     

    • #20
  21. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Elon, is that a rocket, or are you just happy to see us.

    Ah, one in every crowd…

    • #21
  22. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Elon, is that a rocket, or are you just happy to see us.

    Ah, one in every crowd…

     

    From last night’s Memes thread:

     

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Did you see SNL is providing “safe spaces” for those performers who don’t want to do the show with Musk as the host?  You’d think he was John Galt . . .

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stad (View Comment):

    Did you see SNL is providing “safe spaces” for those performers who don’t want to do the show with Musk as the host? You’d think he was John Galt . . .

    Hey… maybe he IS!

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Stad (View Comment):

    Did you see SNL is providing “safe spaces” for those performers who don’t want to do the show with Musk as the host? You’d think he was John Galt . . .

    How about safe spaces for audience members that prefer humor in their comedy?

    • #25
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Did you see SNL is providing “safe spaces” for those performers who don’t want to do the show with Musk as the host? You’d think he was John Galt . . .

    How about safe spaces for audience members that prefer humor in their comedy?

    That’s probably called “staying home.”

    Or if you mean people at home, that would be “watching old Mad TV shows instead.”

    • #26
  27. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Great post, Susan. We need more independent people like Musk.

    Thanks, @ jimmcconnell! I just wonder if the other corporate yahoos will notice what he’s doing! Or will they just keep following the (Marxist) Party line? I’m not hopeful. I wish Musk would call them all out.

    I think (hope) he’s too focused on his own goals to worry about the corporatists’ opinions.

    • #27
  28. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    kedavis (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Elon, is that a rocket, or are you just happy to see us.

    Ah, one in every crowd…

     

    From last night’s Memes thread:

     

    There’s one in every crowd,

    For crying out loud,

    Why was it always turning out to be me?

    • #28
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: And innovators—well, it depends on whether you see electric cars as an inevitable part of the future, or an irresponsible and impractical development.

    Irresponsible? Nah, go for it.

    Impractical? Oh yes.

    Unless and until you start constructing nuclear power plants, because that is the only way you’ll get enough electricity.

    That’s just it; developing these things? Yes. Subsidizing them? NO. 

    • #29
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Be More Musk, not Be Less White.

    “Hey, babe, check me out; I’m musk-y!” 

    • #30