I Hate Elon Musk So Much

When I was younger, living in the north of Scotland, we would have some pretty miserable winters. It would be dark at 3pm, wet and cold and windy. The one silver lining was that on clear nights, even when your fingers felt like they would fall off as you broke the ice in a water trough, you could see so many stars overhead. I could stand with my neck craned back and stare at them for hours.

This past winter, returned home for the first time, I wondered why there had not been another night like that. You could see the stars, sure, but they weren’t as bright as they were. There was no Milky Way. I wondered if there was something up with new streetlights installed in the village – maybe they were brighter.

Turns out there’s nowhere on earth that astronomers can view the stars without light pollution any more. Since 2019, SpaceX has launched more than 1000 Starlink communications satellites in order to create a global communications network. These satellites reflect light from space and increase the glow in the night sky – a glow that could reach up to 10%. SpaceX has permission to launch 12,000 more satellites, and is seeking permission to launch more. The launched satellites are already leaving debris in space.

If it had been anyone else, I might have let it go. Yeah, a global internet is going to benefit a lot of people and close the communications gap. Light pollution isn’t an unreasonable trade-off for that. But the fact that it’s Elon Musk…my blood boils.

I hate this man. I hate him with every fibre of my being. I hate him and his fandom of weird white atheist men. Everything he does is just another nail in the coffin of my loathing. He’s a dick and his ideas are stupid.

Musk is often venerated as the ideal self-made man: invented PayPal, sold it for a bucketload, vying with Jeff Bezos for richest man; a carefully cultivated image of a maverick, an innovator. Of course, it’s not true. His father was a wealthy businessman who owned a half-share in an emerald mine in apartheid South Africa, and loaned Elon the money he needed to start his first company.

His status as a visionary has done a lot to obscure the fact that this man is viciously, unbelievably stupid. A year ago, he insisted that COVID would not last long, and vocally criticised governments for locking down (“FREE AMERICA NOW!”). He proposed the Hyperloop as an alternative to high-speed trains, something that has never had a chance of working. He is determined to go to Mars and found some kind of dictatorship there purely to boost his own ego.

These layers of innovator and bumbling fool both exist to obscure his true nature as a complete fascist. In May last year, he ordered workers in the Tesla factory in California back to work despite stay-at-home rules. Between 2014 and 2017, the ambulance was called to the Tesla factory over 100 times for workers passing out. They earn far, far less than the average auto worker in the US. This is probably due to the fact that Musk is completely anti-union. Workers have been fired and forced to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from working; the US National Labor Relations Board found that Tesla had violated workers’ rights. Despite this, there is still no union at Tesla.

His proposal for the Hyperloop has been created purely to derail attempts to create more public transport in the US – a smart move for a man whose fortune comes from selling cars. He tweets shit like “take the red pill!” and that smart people need to breed more. We all know what he named his baby. He’s suggested that there be loans available for people to go to Mars that they could then work off (aka indentured servitude).

In conclusion: I hate Elon Musk so much. The satellite thing is the last straw.

Caitlin Flavell, Politics Editor