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Elon Musk dropped by the Real Time with Bill Maher show recently for an interview with the host. Maher, who considers himself a liberal is an obvious fan of the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. The centerpiece of their conversation was their discussion regarding what Musk called the “woke mind virus” or what I prefer to call “cancel culture”. The term “woke” was, at one time, a more positive term referring to someone who was informed and sensitive to systemic injustices in our society. While I believe that is a good thing, I’ve never believed that cancel culture is a good thing.
While I do believe there are things a person can do or say that are truly unforgivable, the rise of Twitter and other social media platforms rapidly lowered the bar to the point in which people were losing their careers or being completely banished from society for relatively small breaches of propriety.
Maher praised Musk for taking on the biggest civilizational issues and problems in America. I don’t disagree with this entirely. Few would argue that sustainable energy is one of the largest challenges the world will need to solve, and Musk deserves tremendous credit for his achievements with Tesla. I admire the no-nonsense manner in which he makes his case for Tesla. Musk says he has no idea whether climate change is a scientific fact, but there is no doubt there is a finite amount of carbon-based energy in the world, so we have no choice but to eliminate our dependency on oil – and we might as well start now. Makes sense to me.
Musk also says he purchased Twitter because he believes that the “woke mind virus” is driving people to suicide and if we don’t deal with it, nothing else can get done. I don’t totally buy that, mostly because I believe issues like cancel culture are not the problem, but rather a symptom of a larger problem. I believe there is a problem that Musk or Maher don’t want to talk about – America’s wealth and money gaps.
Why do people fall for conspiracy theories or support socialist or populist agendas? Because they believe the game is rigged against them and no longer believe they have a fighting chance to succeed. The most dangerous person is one who thinks they have nothing to lose. Musk is worried about cancel culture and wants to control the platform in which it is proliferated. But he is avoiding the underlying problem.
It is not surprising that Musk, the second-wealthiest man in the world, avoids talking about wealth inequalities. Yet, if he truly wanted to take on the biggest challenge to our civilization, he would dedicate himself to solving economic inequality. Without that, nothing matters. Ray Dalio, the billionaire who founded Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, has been saying this for a while. Dalio says that the world order is about to change for the first time since 1945 when the United States emerged as the world’s only superpower. Dalio says that wealth and money gaps are the primary reason we live in the most politically divided era of our lifetime.
When someone purchases their first home, their priorities change. They temper their dispositions. They immediately become more concerned about the health and well-being of their neighborhood. That same concept can be extrapolated to the country. When people believe they have something worth preserving, worth caring for, they spend more time building and less time complaining on Twitter. Elon Musk should spend less time tweeting and more time masterminding with people like Ray Dalio.