After demanding governors “FREE AMERICA NOW” and declaring war on California officials for their clampdown on his Tesla factory, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk encouraged everyone on Sunday to “take the red pill,” prompting cheers from the right and moans from the left. Now, the SpaceX founder is calling for the end of “cancel culture” — and finding that a lot of people are with him, including, at least partly, former President Barack Obama.
“Take the red pill,” Musk tweeted Sunday. While the debate was still raging over Musk’s Matrix reference, he dropped another context-less, politically loaded comment on Tuesday. “Cancel Cancel Culture!” the billionaire wrote. “More fun, less shun!” he added in a follow-up post.
More fun, less shun!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 19, 2020
Like the “red pill” post, Musk’s “cancel culture” tweet inspired a flood of responses. Among them was a flashback to a similar comment made by “The One,” former President Obama, that made some headlines at the time. Musk has since responded succinctly to the flashback post.
In a speech to a young audience at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago in October last year, Obama offered his thoughts on “woke” culture’s puritanical attitude and reductive worldview.
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” he said. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and you know share certain things with you.”
“One danger I see among young people particularly on college campuses — Malia and I talk about this — I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough,” he continued. “Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right, or use the wrong verb then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, ‘Cuz man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out! Let me get on TV, watch my show, watch Grown-ish.’”
But, Obama concluded, “That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”
When a fan tweeted a clip of Obama’s comments to Musk, the likewise “woke”-critical entrepreneur replied, “True.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2020
Musk’s “political transformation” began in earnest in late April, when he began to publicly push back on overly restrictive social distancing mandates from governors and counties. In a series of tweets, Musk called on officials to “FREE AMERICA NOW.”
“Give people their freedom back!” Musk tweeted in response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No.” He also made a point of cheering Texas for being more aggressive than most states in its reopening plans.
The technology entrepreneur made the case in more complete terms during a Tesla earnings call in late April. “The expansion of shelter-in-place, or as we call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights, is, in my opinion, breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America and built this country. What the f***!” he said, as reported by The Verge. “If somebody wants to stay in the house that’s great. They should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do… this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their godd*mn freedom … Everything people have worked for all their lives is being destroyed in real time. I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry.”
Musk has also gone to war with Alameda County officials over reopening his factory, choosing to do so without their consent. But after the governor signaled that he might back Mush, county officials begrudgingly allowed him to continue to operate.
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