Why Elon Musk Is The Donald Trump Of Tech
At some point, there has to be a stage of wealth that reduces the value of things entirely. When you’re a billionaire, there’s really nowhere to go. There’s nothing to strive for. Yes, you can live an opulent life, but it’s likely that luxury begins to lose its meaning as the scarcity that propels its value is reduced, if not completely diminished.
So what do you do?
You run for President of The United States or fucking buy Twitter.
When we think about addiction, we often picture drug addicts or alcoholics slumped over in chairs or huddled in urban slums like the Tenderloin, but we don’t really associate addiction with wealth. The ultra wealthy have to have some kind of addiction to acquisition. They need to acquire more and more, and when there’s nothing else to materially acquire, they strive for attention and adoration.
Donald Trump held campaign rallies without any purpose even after he won. During the worst of the Pandemic, Trump still insisted on holding large scale rallies at the detriment of his own supporters. Why? Because it’s likely the only thing that made him feel anything. Seeing his sycophants endlessly cheer him on was more valuable to him than the duties of the Presidency.
Elon Musk is no different.
Running Tesla and being among the world’s richest men isn’t something that excites Elon anymore. He needs people to like him. He doesn’t want money, he wants love.
When Trump ran for President, he played on America’s mounting racial anxieties. White Americans are fearful that they’re going to lose their status to minorities groups. This is most pronounced in middle America which has been most affected by America’s deindustrialization. Many Americans don’t understand that minorities didn’t take their jobs. Their jobs were given away by extremely rich people because people in other countries had less labor protections, making them more exploitable. Trump did nothing to change that.
When Elon Musk announced he was going to buy Twitter, he said he was doing it to end social media censorship. Musk, like Trump, couldn’t just admit that he was doing something for the sake of vanity, he had to make himself the face of a movement. People had to look at him as a leader, or the goal was valueless.
Trump didn’t fundamentally change anything for the people in Middle America. They’re just as poor as they were before. And Elon isn’t fundamentally changing anything in regards to social media censorship. He’s weaponizing it to censor people he doesn’t like. He’s also coming up with new ways to charge people for using the platform and even selling couches and other random shit at Twitter HQ.
All of it is sad, attention seeking bullshit. If Elon wanted to buy Twitter simply to add to his portfolio of businesses, that wouldn’t do anything for him. He’s already a fucking billionaire. His quality of life would be unchanged. He bought it because it’s a never ending source of attention. Twitter, similar to the White House, is the ultimate bully pulpit. And Trump, just like Elon, primarily used Twitter to be controversial and get attention.
If you want to defeat Elon Musk or Trump, you have to ignore them.
Billionaires in the social media age are like Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT. The more you feed into them, the more powerful they become.
And we need to stop empowering them.