He’s so villainous, sometimes he openly admits his villainy!
Elon Musk has wielded a virtual monopoly on how we think about the future, but will his visions really deliver better lives for most people in our society? For all the tech industry’s talk of “disruption,” keeping us all trapped in cars for decades into the future by equipping them with batteries or upgraded computers doesn’t feel like much of a revolution.
A much more sustainable alternative to mass ownership of electric vehicles is to get people out of cars altogether—that entails making serious investments to create more reliable public transit networks, building out cycling infrastructure so people can safely ride a bike, and revitalizing the rail network after decades of underinvestment. But Musk has continually tried to stand in the way of such alternatives.
He has a history of floating false solutions to the drawbacks of our over-reliance on cars that stifle efforts to give people other options. The Boring Company was supposed to solve traffic, not be the Las Vegas amusement ride it is now. As I’ve written in my book, Musk admitted to his biographer Ashlee Vance that Hyperloop was all about trying to get legislators to cancel plans for high-speed rail in California—even though he had no plans to build it.
Several years ago, Musk said that public transit was “a pain in the ass” where you were surrounded by strangers, including possible serial killers, to justify his opposition. But the futures sold to us by Musk and many others in Silicon Valley didn’t just suit their personal preferences. They were designed to meet business needs, and were the cause of just as many problems as they claimed to solve—if not more.
Monologuing is such a bad habit for villains to get into — they spill all the beans.
So yeah, the Hyperloop was an obviously absurd scheme that was never going to reduce traffic congestion, so it’s useful that he revealed his actual motivations, which was to kill mass transit, which actually does work for his previously stated goal. His “serial killer” rationale is also silly — like Ted Bundy was knocking women unconscious and flagging down a bus to carry them to the murder site, or the Green River Killer was picking up prostitutes on the King County Metro.
Now I’m wondering, though, what is his ulterior motive for colonizing Mars? We know it isn’t going to work, and we know it’s not to save humanity, so what’s going on in his selfish little brain to drive him to hire people to build SpaceX?