Two Reflections on The U.S. Today

Nature’s balance.– The United States of America: a nation founded by modernity’s noblest and most philosophically inclined statesmen, and peopled by history’s rarest melting pot of intrepid individualists willing to throw all security to the wind and gamble their lives on their own sweat and ingenuity. Today, a nation ruled by mentally disabled thugs, and peopled by the most cowardly collection of safety-obsessed infants, pleasure-driven amoralists, and mutually hateful primitive tribesmen the planet has ever known.

The wheel of necessity? The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away? The inevitable trajectory of the modern democratic idea. As you prefer.

Elon Musk, who has the most obvious vested interests in preserving the current global politico-economic status quo — and in playing to his country’s Trump-obsessed, Putin-admiring alt-right — has yet again displayed his ersatz diplomatic acumen by bravely expressing his deep-seated fear of every elitist’s worst-case scenario, namely instability.

Replying to a tweet reporting on new U.S. military aid for Ukraine, Musk attempts to throw cold water on the reporter’s enthusiasm.

“How does this end? Not wishful thinking. I mean in reality.” So challenges the ersatz diplomat, who several months ago suggested as a “peace plan” that Russia’s newly annexed territories, along with Crimea — which he claimed always belonged to Russia anyway, until “Khrushchev’s mistake” — ought to be handed over to Putin and guaranteed permanent access to resources after UN-supervised local referenda, and Ukraine forced (by whom?) to declare itself perpetually neutral, which would entail permanently surrendering its national self-determination, i.e., its sovereignty.

In 1775, a small band of colonists rebelled against the British crown, seeking their independence. Britain was by far the greater military power, and had in fact held legitimate claim on its North American colonies for many generations. Had there been an Elon Musk floating around on marijuana smoke at that time, with a public outlet for blowing his every nonsensical musing to the universe, he would no doubt have said regarding the revolutionary leaders and their followers, i.e., the American founders, “How does this end? Not wishful thinking. I mean in reality.”

In June 1944, with much of Europe occupied by Nazi Germany, the U.S., Canada, and Britain set about planning and staging the largest, and possibly the riskiest, amphibious attack in history, in a one-shot attempt to turn the tide of the war decisively in the West’s favor. Had the attack failed, which it certainly could have, there is no doubt the ultimate outcome of the war would have been completely different. Even if Germany had finally been defeated, it would likely have been at the hands of the Soviet Union, thus leading to a wide Soviet occupation of Western Europe after the war, with the major Western powers either disarmed or demoralized. Had there been an Elon Musk at that time — imagine Neville Chamberlain on dope, and with only financial rather than national interests motivating his willful blindness — he would surely have said, in an open letter to General Eisenhower and the U.S. Government, “How does this end? Not wishful thinking. I mean in reality.”

Elon Musk speaks with the voice of the status quo, which is to say the voice of pragmatism over principle, comfort over courage, and, as always with the status quo types, stability and surrender over responsibility and risk. It’s only other people’s lives, other people’s freedom, other people’s hopes, after all, so what difference does it make to him? There is money to be made, so let’s cut a deal — “an amazing deal,” as Musk’s biggest political beneficiary of the moment would say — and get back to the good old days. And if this new version of the good old days happens to feel quite different to a few million of the people so “stabilized,” well, that’s a small price to pay for making Elon Musk feel confident in his profit potential for 2024, isn’t it?

You may also like...