In case you had any doubts about how far out of control the ego of Tesla’s Elon Musk has grown, he has now made it clear that it doesn’t matter to him how many workers die as long as he can keep sales of his cars going strong.
While major businesses around the world – many far bigger, more profitable, and more useful to human life – have closed down in hopes of stemming the spread of a very deadly disease, Musk stubbornly insisted that the rules don’t apply to him.
On May 11, he restarted production at the firm’s car plant in northern California, defying a local shelter-in-place order.
He acknowledged in a tweet that the opening goes against the rules, writing “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
Alameda County officials told the firm it is violating public health orders and that they hope further enforcement measures won’t be needed to induce compliance. The factory had been closed in March after the county’s sheriff threatened that action would be taken against Tesla. The county does not consider the car maker to be an essential business eligible for full reopening as the pandemic barrels onward.
As if it weren’t outrageous enough that Tesla saw fit to sue the county that was blocking its car plant from reopening, Musk actually had the audacity to call the local health officer, “unelected & ignorant.” His comments refer to Alameda County Interim Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan, an infectious diseases expert and professor with a master’s in public health and more than 21 years of experience.
He also threatened to move his company’s headquarters away from California. Some of the places he identified as potential replacements included Texas and Nevada. Several states have reportedly been trying to convince the CEO to move there, with Texas Governor Greg Abbot saying in an interview that he had already spoken to Musk about the possibility and that he showed genuine interest in moving there. Colorado’s Governor, Jared Polis, has also appealed to the eccentric CEO by citing his state’s low taxes and pro-LGBT and immigration stances, to which Musk replied that he thinks their policies “make a lot of sense.”
After filing the lawsuit against Alameda County, he tweeted “I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.”
“Medically irrational behavior”? With more than 83,000 Americans dying and 1.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., the most rational thing in this situation is to exercise an abundance of caution, even if it means there will be economic consequences.
Why would so many countries around the world be instituting shutdowns despite the severe economic consequences if this was “irrational”? It’s hard to say what makes Musk think he is more qualified than medical experts to decide the best way forward in this unprecedented crisis, other than his own inflated sense of self-importance.
That makes about as much sense as what’s been going on in his personal life. Earlier this month, his partner, Claire Boucher, a musician who performs using the name “Grimes,” gave birth to a child who they named with a series of symbols in keeping with its designation as what they’re calling a “gender-neutral” baby despite being a biological boy.
It’s hard not to wonder why a person who recently became a father again seems to care so little about the lives of his workers and those who come into contact with them. Profits are important to every business, of course, but they can’t come at the price of public health.
Sources for this article include: