Tesla’s man goes out a full-fledged cronyist.
Last week, after President Trump’s historic decision to back out of the Paris Climate Accords, effectively keeping his promise to put America First, dissent flew from the usual corners with nauseating frequency.
However, one critic might have surprised a few observers, given his previous dogged insistence on being close to President Trump. That person was Elon Musk, who tweeted: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
To this outburst I, and I suspect most Trump supporters who know even a shred about Musk’s cronyist business approach, have just this to say: Good riddance to bad rubbish. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Elon. We’re glad to have the White House lighter by one swamp monster.
As it happens, the timing could not be more fortuitous, as Musk’s particular brand of swamp monstrosity could’ve been very optically awkward for the administration. While Musk portrays himself as a visionary figure à la Nikola Tesla (even going so far as to name his famous company for the father of alternating current himself), arguably the only thing that the company Tesla has in common with the famous inventor is that it works anyone who bears its name to death. Just last month, a report by the Guardian revealed that one Tesla factory was visited by ambulances 100 times in the past three years just to deal with stress-related medical incidents, with hundreds more visits occurring because of injuries and other medical issues. If allegations like this turn out to bear weight, it would be more accurate to rename Tesla something like “Dark Satanic Mills, Inc.”
Even if Tesla were profitable, these kinds of practices would obviously be cause for concern for the government, particularly a government that made a point of stopping the mistreatment of American workers. Musk’s defense is that the company isn’t profitable, and so they have to work their workers like dogs to avoid losing too much money. Workers obviously dispute this, claiming instead that Musk is simply a ruthless taskmaster. But even if Musk’s were true, then given his aforementioned habit of taking corporate welfare, this means that Tesla is the worst of both worlds when it comes to capitalism and socialism: all the hard work of capitalism without the profit, and all the inefficiency of socialism without the leisure.
Speaking of inefficiency, let’s talk about the products Tesla actually makes with these supposed draconian labor practices. Surely, if those were as visionary and brilliantly conceived as Musk and his defenders make them out to be, there would be some cause to justify the otherwise skeevy conditions involved in making them. Unfortunately, the most innovative elements of Tesla cars may be the least functional. At least, that’s if you believe a class action lawsuit filed against Tesla by three buyers who, after paying $5,000 more than the already substantial list prices on Tesla vehicles for so-called “Enhanced Autopilot” software, claimed that the software made their vehicles inoperable. In addition, even the tech favorable blog Wired had to admit that despite their professions to be environmentally friendly, even functional Tesla vehicles aren’t as green as they appear. In other words, these are a fashionable but not particularly groundbreaking brand of luxury car. This is hardly justification for continuing to subsidize their production or for the White House to take their CEO into confidence.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that on top of everything else, Musk is a tremendous hypocrite. While he publicly makes deferential noises toward the sham cause of “equal pay” based on the made-up wage gap statistic by radical feminists like a good Lefty tech leader, the reality of Musk’s actual business practices is anything but egalitarian. Indeed, when one of his former female employees filed suit against Tesla for sexual harassment and unequal pay, Musk’s company fired the woman in a blatant act of retaliation. Granted, such lawsuits can often be meritless, but when you have a CEO publicly genuflecting the hysterical “Listen and Believe” feminist Left, it’s kind of hard to feel sympathy when one of his employees actually uses the favorite tactics of that movement against him.
Musk is welcome, of course, to change his mind and join his sometime mentor Peter Thiel in opposing social justice, if he likes. Opportunistic as it would look after stories like this, it would at least do some good. But don’t hold your breath. Like most of today’s tech CEOs, Musk is happy to talk out of both sides of his mouth and would not possibly give up the progressive sheen that Silicon Valley so irrationally values in its leaders. He’s perfectly entitled to turn his back on an administration that was willing, even in the teeth of his company’s problems, to work with him. But having done so, it is high time the Trump administration acknowledged those problems and firmly turned its back on him as well.
Photo: Elon Musk with President Obama at Cape Canaveral in 2010 (Wikimedia Commons)