Here comes that Musky Scent again

Elon Musk revealed as one of the largest donors for a House Republican PAC:

Filings show that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $38,900 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. [...]

"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. [...] One of the rescue leaders, Vern Unsworth, ridiculed Musk in a video interview released on Friday.

"It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like... It wouldn't have made it the first fifty meters in the cave. It was just a PR stunt," the rescuer said. "He can stick his submarine where it hurts." [...]

Musk's feud with the cave rescuers resembles the Twitter debate he engaged in after proclaiming he was a socialist. Musk trolled some socialists by explaining his view of socialism, which remarkably sounded a lot like capitalism. [...] for him to refer to himself as a socialist appears to be another troll attempt from one of Twitter's most persistent trolls. (Musk just last week tried to say that "billionaire" has become a derogatory term.)

Musk's donations to the GOP may have catapulted him to all-world troll status.

I know a lot of you temporarily-embarrassed millionaires think he's super cool because, like, wow, rockets, but seriously, fuck this guy.

More trolling, or just cluelessness? He stirs up the fanboys by naming his products after ships from Iain M. Banks, but it's too bad that he fundamentally misunderstood those books:

JR: Many critics and reviewers have claimed that the Culture represents the American Libertarian ideal. Given that this is clearly not the case, how do you characterise the politics of the Culture?

IB: Really? I had no idea. Obviously I haven't read the output of the relevant critics and reviewers. Let's be clear: unless I have profoundly misunderstood its position, I pretty much despise American Libertarianism. Have these people seriously looked at the problems of the world and thought, 'Hmm, what we need here is a bit more selfishness'?... I beg to differ. This is not say that Libertarianism can't represent a progressive force, in the right circumstances, and I don't doubt there will be significant areas where I would agree with Libertarianism. But, really; which bit of not having private property, and the absence of money in the Culture novels, have these people missed? The Culture is hippy commies with hyper-weapons and a deep distrust of both Marketolatry and Greedism. One rests one's case.

It could be that Musk does believe that a post-scarcity society would be awesome -- but there's a really good reason for that. As a billionaire, he already lives in a post-scarcity society. It's just one that admits vanishingly few people as its citizens.

@cstross: Attn @elonmusk -- I knew Iain and I'm pretty sure he'd have trenchant and unkind things to say about your stance on unions, workplace sexual/racial harassment, and socialism in general.

@Richard_Kadrey: Any gazillionaire who calls himself a Banks-inspired utopian anarchist is just a Libertarian who jerks off to Wired.

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12 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    “Just a libertarian who jerks off to Wired,” QOTY.

  2. Liz Jones says:

    Enjoyed your commentary here.

  3. Nick Lamb says:

    As a billionaire, he already lives in a post-scarcity society. It's just one that admits vanishingly few people as its citizens.

    Of course the Culture makes its little excuses too and we see glimpses of that throughout. Take "Surface Detail": Lededje is (until her death) a slave. The Culture frowns on the practice of keeping slaves, but its larger diplomatic goals mean an individual from the Culture easily capable of freeing her, alone, and at no practical risk to themselves, chooses to instead show off their awesome power and give her a patronising little present (which is also a plot necessity and one Banks has invoked before)

    The murder of her owner (and rapist) Joiler Veppers is in some way closure for Lededje, but with that the Culture's core goals in the Enablement are complete, its actions deniable. The spotlight moves on, others like Lededje (but less finely adorned and not central to our story) will be left to rot apparently - on a planet which has just had its most powerful man (aforesaid Veppers) assassinated by forces unknown, probably not the safest place in which to be a de facto non-person.

    Now, unlike Joss Whedon I think Banks does this sort of thing entirely on purpose. You don't write something like "Whit" without being capable of attributing to your protagonist more complicated motivations than simple heroism. But it is kind of sad that we've got a generation of people who think the Culture represents our highest mindest goals...

    Actual utopian SF settings exist, it's just a bit harder to write the sort of pulpy stuff Banks openly admits is why he started writing SF for publication. Greg Egan's Amalgam setting has everybody who has ever left their "home system" living peacefully together in a sprawling galaxy-sized society where it's very rude to even ask someone what sort of replicator molecule their physically embodied ancestors had. It's just a bit harder to figure out how to write stories in this setting because motivating conflict is harder to come by.

    • jwz says:

      Absolutely. I'm not actually a big fan of the Culture books -- I find that most post-scarcity Singulatarian space opera tends toward 19th century "outer court drama" and "comedy of manners" crap, because what other problems do monarchs have except "someone was once rude to me", and that's just kind of boring. His protagonists, like in Player of Games particularly, were these effectively-immortal ruff-collar douchebags with no consequences for their actions either way. Like, why am I reading about this guy? He's terrible. I hate him. But most of his plots were on the rough edges of the Culture, not on the inside. Special Circumstances is where the drama is. Everyone else is just getting high, and that's not a story.

      • Richard says:

        effectively-immortal ruff-collar douchebags

        All art constantly aspires towards The Condition of Muzak.

      • ennui says:

        and the later Culture books are basically long set-ups for his omnipotent-AI drones to pulp various meatbags. if you enjoy computer gods wreaking vengeance it's the ultimate in deus ex technica, which i think is the appeal to people like Musk and the cardinal sin of most scifi.

        what i find more unsettling is the certainty that Musk has also read Bank's compatriot Ken MacLeod, whose best books feature a billionaire establishing a libertarian paradise on Mars using virtual slaves which, when I read the books, seemed only slightly less plausible than his writing of people in the future still listening to scottish folk music... in space. and then I wake up in 2018 and find people, young people, still getting into shitty folk music and well....

        As a billionaire, he already lives in a post-scarcity society.

        especially with respect to his hair...

        • ennui says:

          (MacLeod's 'Star Fraction' books on the surface appear to be Trots in Spaaaaaaace, but then you learn that, in the future, socialism has been perfected by the North Koreans as a synthesis of Ayn Rand, Hobbes, and Marx, based on absolute selfishness... which seems like it must be a parody or a joke but I can't figure it out. And, MacLeods later books are all about how Tony Blair wants to stop him from smoking and other US-libertarian blather so, who knows what it means when a scifi writer claims anything about their politics)

  4. Cat Mara says:

    The Culture? Bless your heart, Elon honey, you're not even building the Geseptian-Fardesile Cultural Federacy.

    • John says:

      I'd say that, at best, he's aspiring to the Sichultian Enablement. We'll know for sure if his next piece of arm candy is sporting elaborate full-body tattoos.

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