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Is Elon Musk a Russian Spy?
How mutually contrarian beliefs provide openings for bad influence.
First off, it's important to address that people and groups who have traditionally gone after Elon Musk are seen by his followers as representing the antithesis of what Musk stands for on all fronts. Where Musk represents a rebellious risk-taker with the will to power, his opponents are the Nietzschean last men (or last people to be politically correct) that have neither his tenancy nor charisma.
When these opponents scrutinize Musk, the unfortunate partisan nature of our attention based ecosystem means they will go after both the legitimate issues he brings up as well as those worthy of derision. Such is increasingly the case for most famously controversial figures in addition to Musk like Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, and of course “thug life” Donald Trump who mark themselves as being against the “uniparty establishment” and many of its values.
The result of this contrarian split is that when there are legitimate criticisms of Musk’s decisions that pose an existential threat, they are brushed aside as yet another political smear by out-of-touch NPR listening elitists. This mindset is not exclusive to the Elon Musk fan club, however, as those who would prefer Rogan, Peterson, or Trump share the same contempt for elites they sense are not living up to their place in the social hierarchy.
And the most important of these existential threats concern Musks’ private conversations with Vladimir Putin, as disclosed by former Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, and further corroborated by an additional source to Ronan Farrow:
To the dismay of Pentagon officials, Musk volunteered that he had spoken with Putin personally. Another individual told me that Musk had made the same assertion in the weeks before he tweeted his pro-Russia peace plan, and had said that his consultations with the Kremlin were regular. (Musk later denied having spoken with Putin about Ukraine.) On the phone, Musk said that he was looking at his laptop and could see “the entire war unfolding” through a map of Starlink activity. “This was, like, three minutes before he said, ‘Well, I had this great conversation with Putin,’ ” the senior defense official told me. “And we were, like, ‘Oh, dear, this is not good.’ ”
It was very strange for me at first why Musk brought up an antiquated 2012 map of Ukraine in order to justify Russia annexing half the country, though the likeliest reason would have been this aforementioned contrarian group-think grasping at whatever it can to bring “peace in our times” in contrast to the “NPR establishment war hawks”.
But with these new revelations of how close to Putin he was, it makes far more sense that this map and all the pro-Kremlin talking points were allegedly fed to Musk through such aforementioned conversations.
While it cannot ultimately be proven what exactly transpired in these conversations so as to call Elon Musk a Russian spy, the potential for danger is far greater than most spies in history were able to cause. Not only is there control of one of the greatest disseminators of information in history through the former Twitter now X, but he has the same level of control with the Starlink satellite system which has been a crucial tool within the Ukrainian military’s infrastructure.
Already there have been cases where Starlink ceased to function after Ukrainian forces crossed through the front line, resulting in chaos from a lack of communications as well as an instance of having to retreat. In Farrow’s New Yorker article, American and Ukrainian officials told him “they believed that SpaceX had cut the connectivity via geofencing, cordoning off areas of access.”
It should be noted that there has not been the same repetition of this connectivity loss after Musk’s talks with the Pentagon last October and this June a deal has been struck between him and the Department of Defence. So far so good on the technological front, but Musk’s emphasis on “the best outcome” of compromising with Russia rather than sending more weaponry and equipment continues to resonate with those in opposition to the establishment.
There is also the threat that Musk can provide Putin with information about Starlink or other technological innovations. History shows much evidence that left wing high brow scientific intellectuals provided significant information to the Soviet Union during Stalin’s and this was not an issue of money but belief in doing the right thing for peace and their own country.
Destroying The Feedback Loop of Death
With the 2024 Presidential Election coming up, Ukraine is the dividing partisan line in the sand.
Given the current atmosphere of mutual contrarianism, it does not matter whether Elon Musk is a Russian spy in the traditional sense since whatever influence he gets from Putin has already been in circulation through the same people who have rightfully stood alongside Musk, Rogan, and the like against censorship.
When those occupying positions of influence censored or encouraged censorship during Covid, what reason is there for most people to trust them on the subject of Ukraine? It does not help that to the majority of people, Ukraine is as familiar to them as Chechnya was to Paulie Walnuts in “The Sopranos”.
All these Paulies of the United States that recognize a Tony Soprano outlaw energy within figures like Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, and Donald Trump help strengthen these outlaws’ already solidified stance on the Ukraine question from their righteous derision of the establishment in the form of liking, commenting, and reposting (RIP retweeting).
This is the attention economy feedback loop of death. It destroys any beneficial ideas from seeping through as the popularity of counter-cultural outlaws depends on signaling what the people desire more than what you want them to desire. Should Trump become President, it may also end up destroying more and more lives with a regrouped Russia expanding into Europe as a potentially Isolationist US looks away.
There is a similar kind of feedback loop going on within Russia which created this invasion in the first place, as Russian propaganda channels broadcasted false information of Ukraine’s willingness to be invaded primarily as a way to make Putin happy. As a result, Putin started to believe more and more in his own propaganda and the cycle was complete.
Like the other figures mentioned, Putin stands high above the noise of the attention economy, but unlike the others, his only redeeming qualities are the preservation of Amur Tigers and loyalty to his longtime oligarch friends. Unfortunately, the same Americans who know nothing about Ukraine and Russia think Putin turned Russia into a traditionalist paradise by comparison to the “Degenerate West”.
In reality, Russia is nothing more than a far more degenerate gangster paradise where those close to the government can get away with rape and murder, and whose armed forces in this “Special Military Operation” are dying from alcoholism. Its influence on the rest of the world along with that of China is something any sensible person can reject without having to praise our current leadership here in the US. Yet due to Putin being “the enemy of my enemy”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gets far more reviled when Ukraine receives 2.5 percent of U.S. defense spending.
The only way the anti establishment class can see the light on these kinds of issues is through the elevation of intelligent, talented, and charismatic personalities with some sense on this matter as well as the influence of those influential people open minded enough to listen.
But in terms of potential newcomers, nobody will pay attention to someone who is brilliant and forward-thinking but quiet enough about it to never get noticed. While on the other hand, those who are good at attracting attention are able to more successfully do so by already being a part of a social media bandwagon and all the rules of where to stand on each issue that come with it.
It is quite ironic that during a time of unprecedented access to information and people, most of the politically savvy ones with big audiences like Musk are pre-programmed in this way. But just as ironic is that those who recognize how dire this problem is due to the war have not used this same access to speak with those with enough influence who are willing to listen.
Well, the exception is Break The Rules of course, where thought leaders with influence are brought together for this exact purpose. Cheers!