If there’s one person who has been gripping headlines for all the wrong reasons since the beginning of 2022, it’s the world’s ex-richest man Elon Musk. Since his $44 billion acquisition of microblogging app Twitter, the business magnate has been mired in controversy—be it promoting QAnon to his 121 million followers, mocking pronouns on the platform he now owns, or literally squatting in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters without paying rent.
Although the conversation has been on the down-low ever since the Tesla CEO took over Twitter, it was bumped onto everyone’s timeline on 13 December following @Investments_CEO’s tweet that read: “If Elon Musk ran for president would you vote for him? 🤔”
Amassing over 73,000 likes, the post quickly evolved into an assembly point for his fanboys. “He gets my vote as long as he continues to make decisions based on knowledge, wisdom, and understanding with high regard for the truth and respect for others. He’s the man for the job,” a user replied. “@elonmusk will get my support and vote should he decide to run for any public office; especially the Office of President,” another wrote.
The thread quickly branched into independent tweets as supporters claimed that Musk’s advocacy for free speech essentially made him “worthy” as a potential White House candidate. At the same time, others debated that the billionaire has a “greater purpose” in life rather than kicking “bad guys out of the system.”
Now, it’s worth noting that Musk’s position on the US political spectrum accelerated just months before his Twitter takeover. Back in September 2021, the magnate claimed he preferred to “stay out of politics” while admitting that he believes the government “should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness.”
On the eve of the 2016 election, Musk said he is not a supporter of Donald Trump… before joining the former president’s business advisory council in 2017. Come August 2019, he then threw his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, given his bid for universal basic income. After denying having voted for Trump in 2020, the billionaire tweeted: “In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican.”
In May 2022, he added: “Given unprovoked attacks by leading Democrats against me & a very cold shoulder to Tesla & SpaceX, I intend to vote Republican in November.” In August, he then proceeded to identify as a centrist who supports “the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party!”
Close to the 2022 midterms, Musk once again implored his army of Twitter followers to vote for a Republican Congress. “Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” he wrote on Twitter. Fast forward to December, it turns out that the CEO didn’t even cast his vote in the said midterms.
Musk’s status as a self-declared “free speech absolutist” has also been called into question in the recent past. In March 2022, a former Tesla employee—who was fired for posting a video that was critical of the company’s controversial autopilot—pointed out that Musk “is a free speech absolutist… unless it involves safety concerns.” It was also revealed that the CEO was known to engage in “yelling matches” with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) while on calls about Tesla’s autopilot feature.
As of December, Musk suspended ElonJet, a bot account created by university student Jack Sweeney that tracked his private flight. And given the billionaire’s stance on the backlash he received during his appearance at Dave Chappelle’s show in San Francisco, it’s safe to say that nobody told Musk booing is free speech too.
Back to Musk’s White House supporters, I really hate to burst your bubble but your “GOAT god” isn’t exactly eligible to become a US President in the first place.
According to Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution, “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Given the fact that Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, the clause in question makes him constitutionally unfit for the presidency.
Although numerous users have pointed this out in their replies on Twitter, it hasn’t stopped Musk fanboys from declaring their support or fantasising about all the problematic ways they could get him into Office.
“Just identify as a natural born American. Apparently, if you identify as something, people have to accept it,” one tweeted. “He can’t run for president but he can run for Prime Minister of Canada and yes, I would vote for him,” a second claimed, while others heralded him as a future cult leader on Mars. Considering that Musk doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering his promises, maybe you guys should just stick to worshipping the $600,000 monument of the billionaire riding a rocket as a goat.
In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed his grand scheme of establishing a human settlement on Mars by the 2060s. “This is not about everyone moving to Mars, this is about becoming multiplanetary,” he said at the International Astronautical Congress held in Mexico at the time—adding how the colonisation could essentially “minimise existential risk” while having a “tremendous sense of adventure.”
Fast forwarding to January 2020, the ‘Technoking of Tesla’ updated his targets to put one million people on the red planet by 2050. Over the past few years, however, one of Musk’s biggest concerns is what his Mars mission aims to tackle: existential risk. In this case, premature existential risk triggered by population collapse. Simply put, what if there won’t be one million people available to inhabit Mars in the first place?
“Population collapse is a much bigger problem than people realise and that’s just for Earth,” the space billionaire tweeted last year—highlighting how Mars requires a great number of people to make colonisation possible since the population of the planet is obviously zero. “Humans are the custodians of other life on Earth. Let us bring life to Mars!” he urged.
Shortly after, Musk acknowledged how global fertility rates (the average number of children that would be born to a woman in her lifetime) are decreasing. To put it in his words: “Due to lack of banging, civilization might ended with a whimper! Adult diaper sales growth is much higher than baby diaper sales growth.”
Inching towards late 2021, among the climate of the disastrous overturn of Roe v. Wade in Texas, the Technoking failed to read the room again by stating “I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birthrate and the rapidly declining birthrate. And yet, so many people—including smart people—think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control.” At the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit, he also added: “Please look at the numbers, if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble. Mark my words.”
So, is ‘women having more babies’ truly the ultimate solution for the concerns raised by Musk? “One thing it’s really important to realise is that population is actually irrelevant to solving the climate crisis,” sustainability scientist Kimberly Nicholas said in an interview with Vox. “And the reason for that is that we only have the next few years to solve the climate crisis reasonably well.” That being said, however, climate anxieties are definitely influencing people’s decisions of having children in the era of climate change. And have been for decades.
In 2019, the United Nations (UN) projected that the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years—from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050. According to the organisation’s World Population Prospects, the global population could skyrocket close to the end of the current century, at a level of nearly 11 billion. The UN also added how growth rates vary greatly across regions despite the world’s population continuing to increase.
“The new population projections indicate that nine countries will make up more than half the projected growth of the global population between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America (in descending order of the expected increase),” the report read. “Around 2027, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.”
In the latest series of tweets, however, Musk claimed that “UN projections are utter nonsense.” As proof, he urged his followers to multiply last year’s births by life expectancy. “Given [the] downward trend in birth rate, that is best case unless reversed,” he added. The thread also continued with him stating “If there aren’t enough people for Earth, then there definitely won’t be enough for Mars 😕”
Father of seven, Musk isn’t exactly a hypocrite—we’ll give him that. In fact, the space billionaire believes he’s “trying to set a good example” in saving Earth from its population doom caused by the “lack of banging.” Nevertheless, Musk believes his dream of building Muskville and humanity eventually becoming multiplanetary seems to be drifting out of reach. Until then, the Technoking advises to bang or be ready for Earth to end with a bang. Sorry, “whimper.”