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I Think Elon Musk Is Just... Dumb
A Grand Unified Theory Behind The Mayhem
How do the pieces all fit together? What is the method behind the madness? Questions like these have gripped the imaginations and minds of thousands of people since Elon Musk took over Twitter (after trying to run away from the deal).
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And I get it. He’s one of the most visible, well-known people in the world and he has billions and billions of dollars behind him. He has restyled himself as an anti-woke warrior, perfectly fine with firing the staff responsible for keeping Twitter working, even letting go of the team dealing with the trading of child pornography. There must be something at play here. Maybe he’s tanking the company on purpose, maybe he’s reshaping it into something bigger, darker, and more sinister. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Maybe Elon Musk is just dumb.
That has been my personal conclusion over the last few years watching him at work (and having one weird Twitter interaction with him and his rabid fanboys). I just think he’s dumb.
Saying that someone like Musk might be dumb isn’t really an assessment of book smarts. It’s quite possible that he knows the ins and outs of technologies like rocketry and auto manufacturing and running a social media enterprise, when it comes to the technical details of all those endeavors. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t also dumb.
This is a guy who lashed out when his asinine plan to help children trapped in a mine was derided as impractical by calling his critic a child molester. This is a guy who sent a car into space. A guy who picks dumb fights with senators who don’t march in lockstep with him. A guy who describes Apple’s long-held and widely reported policies regarding how they take a cut from app store sales as “secret.” A guy who insists tiny little tunnels are the solution to mass transit.
As I have said before, I am a devotee of Occam’s Razor. When given an array of answers, I am inclined to believe that the answer is the simplest one. And for me, the answer to all this is not that Musk is executing a 100-dimensional plan that mere mortals cannot comprehend, but that he is a big dumb fellow.
To be fair, this is also what I think about Donald Trump and so many other figures of profound influence over our lives.
For the entire time Trump held the White House, there were people who were convinced he was executing some sort of grand strategy, deploying his frequent Twitter tantrums and public outbursts as a distraction from his tireless execution of actions to further conservative goals.
But Trump’s actions, continuing to this day, were dumb. He is all about what is directly in front of him at any minute and the only plan is that there is no plan. It’s just a sequence of very dumb events.
This isn’t to say that dumb can’t hurt. Dumb can cause mass death, crash economies, and launch wars. Dumb is very powerful and destructive. Just because it’s dumb doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem.
We can drive ourselves crazy looking for a strategy that isn’t there, however. The endless pursuit for what it all means when you “really put it together” will make it necessary to take a pile of dumb acts and try to smooth them over into a coherent narrative that doesn’t exist.
History is filled with people doing dumb things that they didn’t think through. There are far more people in this situation than masterful supervillains or superheroes executing their cunning plans, to be honest.
Life is chaos, and our safety and sanity is far too frequently reliant on the whims of wrongminded, short term thinkers — dumb guys. It’s not a comforting thought, but it is usually the case and always has been.
Exclusive Kal-El Photo
Kal is not a morning dog and every day I have to drag him out of bed to do his morning business outside. I get a lot of looks like this early in the day, though to be fair once he spots a squirrel he gets a lot more pep in his step (read: he goes into murder mode)