‘Hardcore’: The Mars of Elon Musk

Not long after acquiring Twitter for $44 billion in October, Elon Musk — who is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla’s own name “Technoking” — sent an ultimatum to Twitter employees, giving them two options. The first was to commit to being “extremely hardcore” and working “long hours at high intensity”. The second was stopping.

Musk had already laid off about half of Twitter’s workforce — as anyone with just $44 billion to spare to buy a social media platform is clearly pinching pennies.

And so it is that my editors forced me to go back on my promise never to write about Elon Musk again. But hey, this is capitalism, and we’re all hardcore.

On the surface, writing about Musk should be like shooting a fish in a barrel. The 51-year-old US-based South African live tweets about his bowel movements, makes penis jokes, gets out on anti-black racism and builds not-so-self-driving electric cars that crash into parked emergency vehicles. Sadly, this particular fish is the richest person in the world, exercising disproportionate control over terrestrial things like the stock market and Donald Trump’s Twitter presence and now determined to make humanity a “space-faring civilization” as well – city we like it or not.

As Musk told Time magazine, which shamelessly crowned him “Person of the Year” in 2021, “the next really big thing is to build a self-sufficient city on Mars and bring Earth’s animals and creatures there.” bring”. According to Time’s obsequious article, Musk predicted he would colonize Mars within five years. Eventually, rocketships would deliver 100 people at a time to the Red Planet and then travel back to Earth, powered by Made-in-Mars fuel.

Of course, it is not very reassuring that the man leading the conquest of space is the same man who once tried to bribe a college student for $5,000 to Twitter account tracking Musk’s private jet using publicly available data. When the bribe didn’t work, Musk resorted to blocking the teen.

But if Musk’s cosmic experiment succeeds, what exactly might a Muskian Martian landscape look like? Even discounting logistical things like breathing, it’s safe to assume that the environment would be fairly, er, hardcore.

For one thing, workers’ rights probably wouldn’t exist. Musk has already blissfully violated earthly labor laws, threatened workers seeking to pursue union membership, spied on and bombarded employees with accusations that his behavior encourages sexual harassment and racism in the workplace. And he reopened one of his plants in California in May 2020 despite local coronavirus pandemic restrictions, leading to hundreds of COVID-19 cases.

Taxes probably wouldn’t exist on Mars under Musk either — at least for multigazillionaires like him, who have traditionally been averse to contributing even the tiniest portion of their wealth to US government taxes ostensibly collected for the public good . Of course, Musk and his companies have never hesitated to receive billions of dollars in government grants and government contracts.

As for the make-up of the self-sufficient Martian city, the 2021 “Person of the Year” explains that it will be “sort of like a futuristic Noah’s Ark” – but with more than two of each animal because “it’s kind of weird if there are only two.” In 2020, he estimated that “a million tons” of vitamin C would be needed to make human life sustainable on Mars, where a system of “direct democracy” and self-government would also be implemented.

Never mind that Musk’s conception of “democracy” is actually what Musk himself thinks should happen in any given situation – just as his self-identification as a “freedom of speech” absolutist pretty much means that Musk and only Musk can absolutely say whatever he wants .

To be sure, “freedom of speech” hardly applies to the anti-fascist journalists and activists who are currently being removed from Twitter to more efficiently allow far-right delusions to take flight and circle the digital world. Meanwhile, for an example of Muskian “democracy,” take his reinstatement of Trump’s banned Twitter account, revealed after a 24-hour “poll” of Musk’s Twitter followers.

A narrow majority of respondents voted in favor of Trump’s return, prompting Musk to tweet, “The people have spoken… Vox Populi, Vox Dei” — a Latin phrase meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God.

One guess who plays “God” in the equation (hint: it’s not Trump).

But what would anyone end up doing on Mars, other than make fuel for Musk’s rockets and ingest massive amounts of vitamin C? Time magazine informs us that Musk envisions a future where all labor will be done by robots and goods and services will be abundant: “There’s actually enough for everyone,” he says. ‘There isn’t necessarily someone in charge of you.’”

No doubt there were plenty of Twitter employees who wanted such a settlement in mid-November, when boss Musk sent his “hardcore” threat. It remains to be seen how a human race that is rapidly killing itself and the earth with capitalism will spontaneously find itself faced with a plethora of resources and worker robots to boot – or how you will enjoy having to work “long hours at high intensity” not going to have to work at all.

And who knows what “enough for everyone” means, coming from someone whose net worth has reached nearly $300 billion. What will the eight billion people who are not Musk have to accept as “abundant”?

In other words, the details of the Muskian fantasy need some ironing out.

But ultimately, the futuristic colonization of Mars envisioned by Musk would simply involve launching everything wrong with Earth into space. After all, expansion is the name of the game in capitalism – and where better place than the universe to expand astronomically?

Musk goes to Mars because it’s tabula rasa: a place where laws, taxes and other nasty phenomena don’t stand in the way of megalomaniac, narcissistic tyranny. Obscene earthly riches just won’t cut it; Musk shoots for the stars – or to become CEO of Mars.

But since everyone’s favorite “Technoking” is working to expand his intergalactic resume, it seems that ultimately he just wants to be the god of the cosmos. And when Musk’s wet dream comes true, you can be sure that nothing will ever be sober again.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of Al Jazeera.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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