The Elon Musk Fallacy — Part 2

Extremist Wealth Unbound

I know how this caged bird sings
I know how this caged bird sings — Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

But anybody halfway intelligent and doesn’t want to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the media should put a little more effort into speaking and writing than Elon Musk. The media should be about more than just manipulating people into halves, or extremist halves, 10% percent on one side and 10% on the other with the rest of the country wedged in between.

Especially since those sides don’t exist.

It should be about discussing the “half-nots”, or Have-Nots, the lowest economic class of Americans, and solving their problems. In fact, if that were to happen it would be an unequal argument. Since the Haves represent 10% or less we could say, the Have-Nots represent probably 50 to 60% of America people. These are people living on the edge of poverty, in debt, behind on bills, underwater in monthly payments to their mortgages or apartments, or just flat out homeless and on the streets because housing prices have gotten too high in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Tent cities are popping up in greater numbers, even if not as prevalent as the media lets on. And those 10 cities with the greatest number of tents and homeless are not the other side of a two-side equation. They are the bottom wrong that the media ignores.

It’s more than the Media though: Congress people. Maxine Waters explicitly said that she knows more about homelessness than anyone in Congress. Ture, but it is very little. She told a large group of homeless people waiting in line to get a ticket for housing to stop waiting, vouchers were not coming today, and they should “Go home.” Specifically: “I want everybody to Go Home.” The vast insensitivity of her response was absolutely extraordinary given the fact that she’s the only one to know anything about the homeless situation or seems to be doing anything in Congress about it.

It’s hard to fall on the other side of homelessness. And that’s where all the senators fall along with the rich entitled living in mansions. That’s the constituency they talk to: the lobbyists, the contractors, the defense industry moguls, the IT industry owners, the stock market tycoons, the Wall Street brokers. I have a brother who believes only Bernie Sanders is not beholden to the Wall Street. That might be true. His idea was Bernie or nothing. So, he didn’t vote for anything when it wasn’t Bernie in the final elections. He has his rights. And maybe he is right. But that makes it one senator against 99. We know for certain that people like Chuck Schumer is beholden to Wall Street as well as Hillary Clinton and the other previous senators, uninspired candidates for president.

In politics and as in anything, dividing a topic up in two is a simplistic rhetorical reflex. It’s the first thing college freshman do: compare and contrast. It even goes back to the high school level and before. Middle school children might not be able to divide comparisons and contrastings of information into dialectical structure. They might even not really know what the word dialectical means. But they can sure feel it.

It means the advancement of an argument based on putting one side against another. The other side is typically the strawman. It’s very unfortunate to live in America with only two sides, Democrat and Republican, or Red and Blue if you like the Crayola labeling for extra-simplicity. Parliamentarian societies fare better at least in the multiplicity of ideas and ideologies come election time. Despotic governments like China and Russia fare worse, of course, because there is only one side. Dialectical reasoning won’t advance authoritarian society in a Marxist-type pull and push of economic infrastructure of class when it doesn’t recognize different classes.

I really advise people to stop saying there’s two sides. Just present things in a more contrasted and less simplistic way when writing and when presenting in the media. Don’t show yourself as somebody who just polished off a nice high school essay and got an A+ on it. But that is just a pipe dream. Beating down the strawman is our national media pastime.

I could be conspiratorial and say that’s how they want us to think. Black-and-white; left-and-right; poor-and-rich. But none of these things are true. Black people are not the opposite of white people. The value systems of simplistic oppositional word pairs are true. Individual blacks are contrastively different among class or region than each other, and then white, and whites are in America too are markedly different from other whites in values, accent, beliefs, etc. And that’s only scratching the surface understanding of what the easily accessible truth to most thinkers and writers when we gaze upon our country to go under these argument-framing word pairs.

I could also argue that whites have various value systems of different cities, states, and that has more of an influence over who a perceived ethnicity. Although of course I’m wrong on one basic premise. Skin color and perceived racial mental categorization do influence one’s psyche to. They do. I can only believe it when a black person writes or says that they feel more racial animus every day that white people in America. That’s true. I might feel a little sometimes as a white person, but it can’t possibly be “balanced” at all with the racial degradation and abuse black American descendants of slaves feel, given the facts American hhistory.

Categorization might happen within the South at a far different and detailed level than simple black-and-white issues that “flatten” people into racial stereotypes. There are “good” whites in the South trying to be “non-racist.” But if a black Southern in particular told me they experience racial hatred through stares and words every day from whites, and that atmosphere of violent repression still lingers like a dirty smog over them from the hundreds of years of lynching, beating and slavery, I would easily believe them. Not all white people would, of course. But there simply is no smog cloud over whites from hundreds of years of that. There is no balance.

The same can be upheld for rich and poor. Black and whites when combined into class though have an uneven representation of percentage of people in the country. Blacks are not evenly funded for schooling, given the “great” northern ghettos of black schools that are run down and impoverished by decades of deliberate neglect created by white taxation laws at the federal and state level.

But that unbalanced funding issue aside, the Rich far outnumbered by the collective poor and lower middle class. The top 1 percent of the American, The Super Rich, controls wealth equivalent to roughly 15 times what the bottom 50 percent own. That’s not balance whatsoever.

If class voting by worth instead of race ever happened, would it mean the rich would lose all control over the Senate and lobbyists would be sent packing? The government would be forced to look at issues in terms of inequality of wealth distribution and favoritism distribution. Tax laws which are mainly written, 85%, by tax advocates in the private sector located literally across the street from Congress. The Super Rich 1 percent in other words rent out the only non-federally owned building adjacent to the Capitol Building. Their corporate tax lawyers within write over 85% of tax law, in comparison to 0 Percent of the bottom 50 percent. They then hand the new tax break codes directly to congressmen or congressional aides to shove into bills at the last minute before passage. That means in a 1000-page bill, 885 pages are tax codes and break written directly by corporate lawyers. Not the poor, not the people. Unless of course you count corporations as individuals, like the Supreme Court now does.

There is no other side. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a corporate lawyer. The poor and Middle class don’t shove things into the tax codes in order to get big ‘invisible’ breaks and subsidizations when we build massive carbon capture facilities like Exxon mobile does.

There are no two sides when you’re not being represented.

The vast majority get little attention. That’s why even the fabled middle class and upper middle class mortgage tax deduction was phased out, followed by the child credit phase-out that Biden just let expire and didn’t “fight for” or “fight to keep.” Trump taketh, and Biden phaseth out.

The 10% at one extreme, the homeless, do not get the same attention as the 10% at “the other side “of the extreme, that is the rich, who live in mansions. Psychological division by media experts is a deception of the worst kind. It creates argumentative thinking as seen even by intelligent writers like those across Medium or in the op-ed section of any newspaper.

The one independent podcast journalist I began with from Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam, is brainwashed into subservient attitudes of simplistic division when introducing his episode on moral choices. In other words, he is “forced” of not being intellectual but only appearing so. Well, sort of.

OK, so I’m deceiving you a bit. He is a bit cleverer than to fall into a simple trap without exploring the grey area. The actual question he posed was more rational and appropriate after I listened to the rest of show and is remarkably similar to the one I posted previously in Part 1. The question he constructed was to frame the struggle within a person: Which is more important: honesty or loyalty? At the small dinner party, he was describing where he encountered this issue, the instance was based on Edward Snowden a justified whistleblower or a traitor? Even here, the framing, although justified, is still dialectically oppositional. (It’s still a great episode: When Doing Right Feels Wrong?)

Elon Musk is the go-to person for people to quote and read about when they want to look smart. His wealth masks over cheap slogans that he can tweet out that are vastly untrue under the scrutiny of any real person with intellectual training and some of the fields that he preaches in like free speech. But to the busy average person, it sounds OK.

His ideas though presented in tweets have a huge influence of the stock price of the large percent he just bought, and the percent he wants to buy. Most don’t look at this economic incentive, believing perhaps he amassed great wealth constantly over the last twenty years because of altruism and care of society. But his free speech is quite profitable.

We might think there are two sides to free speech by the way he frames the argument. But the one side, hate speech, is not something we should give a voice to without a warning label, like a dead blue bird below the message with an arrow in its eye. Incitement to violence is not covered by free speech. That 10 percent is a far-right wing of liars, bigots, supremacists, the violent who gather in militias and construct a lynching podium in front of the Capitol in a threat to hang all democracy.

What’s the other side to that?

Part 1 of The Elon Musk Fallacy



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Bren Kelly

Bren Kelly


Engaged in new Ideas and old Inequalities, putting the system back into systemic, born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, still seeking injustices.