Photo by Chanan Bos | CleanTechnica

Op-Ed: Is It Time To End The Elon Musk Fanboi Era?

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The good readers and supporters of CleanTechnica support EVs, wind energy, solar power, batteries, and renewables technology, notwithstanding the several industry trolls who sometimes visit our comment section. We understand that the unquestionable primary leader for EVs in this period has been Elon Musk. To say that his contributions, along with his impressively talented team members, have simply “moved the needle” would be an understatement. Tesla has put EVs on the map. As a result, the planet now enjoys a functional and improving EV industry with 18% of global auto sales being electric vehicles, and we have a robust charging infrastructure that is being built out further by the week.

Elon’s unparalleled contributions will always be appreciated and respected here at CleanTechnica. In the early years of CleanTechnica, Tesla was the only game in town on the EV front. However, maybe the time has come to end all semblance of being Musk fanbois. Many of us were in the beginning, but as time has passed, and with the advent of his purchase of Twitter (now X), Elon has shown some new sides of himself, and they are not always pro-environment. For example, when Elon makes comments like he thinks environmentalists want communism, he’s passed the Rubicon.

Here’s Musk’s tweet in question:

Please note that Elon gave himself 71.2 million views on X/Twitter. In our capitalist world, since Elon bought the company, he’s allowed to instruct his software engineers to write any algorithm for views that he likes. However, when one viewer programs himself millions of times more views than other users, then that person’s influence is significantly increased over other users.

Here’s my reply tweet. (The meme is mine.)

Note that my reply has received, at least at the time of this writing, 16 hours after I posted it, 16 views. (In this instance, that’s 4,450,000 times more views for Musk’s tweet, relatively. To be fair, Musk’s tweet had 3 days of views, and mine has had only 16 hours of views.)

Looking at this more broadly, let us please consider leaving behind the widespread practice of idolatry for billionaires. Some have great achievements, which should be fully appreciated, and they should receive credit for their achievements as a leader of a team of many talented people. Some billionaires have wisdom, which should be appreciated, but sometimes they are either average Joes or less than average Joes on some topics, and that should be either noted accurately or simply ignored. Not everything a billionaire says or does is, or should be, news. Please consider the possibility that the best path to move environmentalism forward is to end the idolatry of billionaires.

There are many examples of billionaires influencing society in negative ways, so this is not an indictment of Musk, per se. Bill Gates, a legendary software pioneer and leader who popularized the GUI, and he and his software engineers are credited with developing much of modern computing as we know it, has gone on to acquire access to drug patents via his investments in large pharmaceutical firms, and speak extensively on health, which is outside of his realm of expertise. Gates’ obsession with patents has a long history with Microsoft, which is acquiring patents to block competitors from many coding projects. In the name of balance, it’s worth noting that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of $24B, has also funded projects to promote generic drugs.

Warren Buffet, one of the richest people on the planet at a current net worth of $139B, has done some dastardly deeds, and yet the media seem obsessed with his every word. After Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, bought Nevada Energy in 2013, he had the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUC) change the rules on net metering, which caused 2,000 solar workers to lose their jobs. Buffet’s net worth was $86B at that time. He was apparently not rich enough. To heck with workers’ jobs, and the climate crisis; Warren Buffet had money to make at any cost. More recently, his energy utility companies have come under fire for using ratepayers’ money to lobby to increase rates, and slow renewable energy requirements for utilities.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns MidAmerican Energy Company, NV Energy, and PacifiCorp, which owns both Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.

Utilities then turn around and greenwash their companies with propaganda that shows their firms promoting renewable energy. This propaganda is false, and they know it’s false.

America has developed into a land of lust for money, with money being the new church, and the media has anointed billionaires as its cherished and beatific disciples. The media can’t get enough of them. As Melissa McEwan recently pointed out on Twitter/X, “billionaire” isn’t a qualification. It’s the description of a person who is hoarding more resources than they could use in 100 lifetimes while other people are starving. It’s the name for a human dragon sleeping on its pile of rubies and gold.

I digress. Back to the story line, and speaking of Elon Musk, as he has taught about first principles, environmentalists might be well served to return to first principles. Should we not keep the focus on educating about, promoting, and building out renewable energy: solar, wind, geothermal, wave energy, and hydropower? In addition, to get to a fully sustainable world, perhaps we need to promote full electrification, including first and foremost in the transportation sector, and then in all buildings. All new construction should be completely electric, and old construction should be retrofitted with full electric without any natural gas delivery.

Here’s one example, a personal example, of how an environmental activist might stay focused on first principles. When Musk was considering buying Twitter, I was tweeting him asking him to start a new company that would build out wind and solar projects, and keep adding to the portfolio until we achieved 100% renewable energy globally. No one on the planet was better suited or positioned than Elon Musk to take on such a task. That company eventually would have made him tens of billions of dollars annually, and meanwhile it might have saved the planet from runaway high climate change temperatures.

Instead, Musk went down this ego-trip vanity purchase of Twitter. Then, years later, he used his platform to insult all environmentalists by calling us communists when the claim is false. The business project that I had suggested to him is fully a capitalist enterprise. Then, after insulting greens, he tipped the scale to give himself 71.2M views on his platform to super-promote his asinine assertion. That’s pretty crappy behavior in my book, but more importantly, it has a negative impact on environmentalism, which is counterproductive in these times of climate crisis.

That renewable energy company idea that I tweeted Musk about still needs to be started. I bought the domain, which I had intended to give to Elon in case he decided to move forward with the global renewable energy production firm. If he had liked the domain name, it would have been his to receive. Since he promptly and altogether otherwise ignored me, the domain is still available. As Eric Holder, former-President Obama’s Attorney General, who has formed a nonprofit called DemocraticRedistricting to address gerrymandering, is fond of saying, “There is no cavalry coming to save us.” It’s up to us. Anyone interested in taking up the mantle of this much-needed mission? We have a fairly good domain name as a start.

Your thoughts? As always, all constructive comments are welcome.

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Daryl Elliott

Proponent of solar, wind, EVs, veganism, democracy, and all things environmental and progressive. Writer. Editor. Active options, futures & stock trader. Go green.

Daryl Elliott has 33 posts and counting. See all posts by Daryl Elliott