Elon Musk is a man on a mission. His primary mission appears to be twofold: “Mars and cars.” Musk has other secondary missions. He’s interested in bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. Undoubtedly, he has other intellectual and cultural interests. I’m reluctant to add to his very full agenda. But Musk has one more important mission to fulfill, which might be his most important of all.
Before I get to this mission, let me review some of Musk’s recent comments, which represent a new willingness on his part to speak out about politics. Previously, Musk had said he prefers to stay out of politics. He refused to be drawn into a debate over the Texas abortion law. Yet Musk seems to recognize the importance of politics, especially as it pertains to economic issues.
In a recent conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Musk forthrightly condemned the Biden administration’s so-called Build Back Better bill. While the left terms this an infrastructure bill, most of the allocations have nothing to do with infrastructure. Basically, this is a mammoth spending bill aimed at fulfilling the left’s ideological priorities, such as a Green New Deal, and also at subsidizing constituencies whose political support the Democrats want to lock in prior to the midterm and 2024 presidential elections.
“Honestly, I would just can this whole bill. Don’t pass it,” Musk said. “I would just delete it. Delete.” Musk went on to condemn the Biden administration’s “insane” levels of spending, absurdly out of line with the federal government’s incoming revenues, and he also flayed the left’s enthusiasm for shifting resources from billionaire entrepreneurs to the public purse.
“It does not make sense,” Musk said, “to take the job of capital allocation away from people who have demonstrated great skill … and give it to an entity that has demonstrated very poor skill.” Musk proceeded to make an insightful observation about government itself. “Government is simply the biggest corporation,” he said, “with the monopoly on violence and where you have no recourse.”
He gets it. And Musk’s interests also have a wider compass, as is clear from his remarks on birth rates in the West. Musk noted that many smart people think there are too many people in the world, while in reality “it’s completely the opposite. … If people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble.” Musk wryly added that he himself is a father of six in order to set a good example.
I’m with Musk on all of this. And yet I’m a little frustrated to see Musk contenting himself with occasional pungent tweets and periodic quips in interviews when his country needs him and he could be doing so much more. Consider, by contrast, the aggressive political entrepreneurship of George Soros. Soros is active on behalf of the left worldwide, and he has donated $32 billion to his Open Society Foundations, of which about half has already been distributed, representing nearly two thirds of his entire fortune.
Soros wants to change the world, and he’s doing it. Musk is also changing the world, through his entrepreneurial ventures, through his space program, but he’s not doing the thing that he most needs to do right now. Let’s remember that Musk has vastly greater resources than Soros. Musk is the richest man in the world, leaving even Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the dust. At this writing, his net worth is estimated at around $300 billion. That’s 300,000,000,000.
I want Musk to consider becoming the anti-Soros. Even that is putting it too negatively. What I mean is that Musk needs to do more to get into the fight over saving capitalism and saving America. Both are under siege right now from the Biden administration and the left. The Democrats have gone full socialist, and if they had their way they would irreversibly destroy free markets and, in the process, the country itself. Elon Musk can help to save it.
Musk’s failure so far to do so is not a failure confined to him: It’s a failure that describes the entrepreneurial class itself. Entrepreneurs are a very focused breed. Joseph Schumpeter, in his classic work “The Entrepreneur,” describes these men (and most of them are men) zooming in laser-like on their novel projects, isolating themselves from the rest of society, seeking to convert their imagination into reality and to build something truly new.
In the process, however, entrepreneurs reveal their blind spot. Their blind spot is that they can’t see that the success of their own efforts doesn’t just depend on them or their own business. It also depends on the infrastructure of markets and opportunity that makes their success possible. To illustrate my point, let’s consider what would have happened to Musk’s creative genius had he migrated not to America but, say, to Sri Lanka or Afghanistan.
In that case, I’m quite sure, Elon Musk would not have become Elon Musk. I’m quite sure Musk knows this, and he’s deeply grateful for the opportunities that America has given him. And normally America offers these to immigrants like Musk and me without asking anything in return. Today, however, American exceptionalism is deeply imperiled, which is why immigrants like me are fighting as hard as we can to protect it.
There’s so much we need to do. Musk doesn’t need to figure out what; I’ve already got it figured out. We need a news network, not merely a cable news network but a lifestyle network, like CBS or ABC. We need an online university with a dream-team of the best scholars in the world that would offer a world-class education for a fraction of what it costs today to go to an elite college. We need a new, censorship-free alternative to Facebook and a new search engine that would break Google’s monopoly.
There’s more. And Musk can do some of this, or all of it, without putting a serious dent in his portfolio. In sum, it would cost him very little, and it would help society a great deal. So this is an open invitation to Elon Musk to contact me. I’ll give him my blueprint on what needs to be done. I’ll even get it done. He doesn’t need to quit his jobs and become, as he recently mused, an “influencer.” All he has to do is to invest in the project to save America. It’s Elon Musk’s turn to join the fight.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.