Why the Left Should Praise Elon Musk, Not Bury Him

Jeff Siegel

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted December 4, 2023

Last week, during a somewhat intense conversation between Elon Musk and Andrew Sorkin, Musk made the following comment …

Tesla’s gotten to where it’s gotten with no advertising at all. Tesla has done more to help the environment than all other companies, combined. It would be fair to say, therefore, as the leader of the company, I’ve done more for the environment than any single human on earth.

What I care about is the reality of goodness, not the perception of it. And what I see all over the place is people who care about looking good, while doing evil. 

This really struck a nerve with me. 

I remember when Tesla first hit the scene with the Roadster, and all my left-leaning and environmentalist friends were cheering for Uncle Elon.  They loved him.  They loved that he was taking on the legacy carmakers with an environmentally-friendlier car – and actually winning.

But then something strange happened.

Tesla became wildly successful, and Musk became the richest person on earth.

Within an instant, he went from treehugger hero to evil billionaire.

His thoughts and words, which he so liberally shared on Twitter drew condemnation from the very people who loved him in the early days of Tesla.  Those thoughts and words also gained him fans on the right, who loved his unapologetic rants about COVID lockdowns and unions. Which, of course, made the far left hate him even more, and completely forget that he has, indeed, done more for the environment than anyone else in a very long time.

We know that because of electric cars, about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day are now being displaced.  Barely an accounting error, to be sure.  But by 2040, Bloomberg data show that oil consumption displaced by electric vehicles will rise to more than 20 barrels per day. 

To put that in perspective, in 2022, the U.S. consumed 19.1 million barrels of oil per day.

This is a very big deal, and Elon Musk should absolutely take credit for this. After all he’s the guy who launched the EV revolution in defiance of the old guard who criticized him for even attempting to bring highway capable electric vehicles to market.  They went after him hard.  Yet he still came out on top.

Today, we’re inching up to nearly 10% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. being electric.

By 2030, that number will hit 50%. 

Make no mistake: this NEVER would’ve happened without Musk.

Not to sound like an excitable fan boy, but these truth bombs must be dropped. And I’m grateful for Musk. 

I’m grateful for his creativity, his work ethic, and his defiance of status quo mediocrity. 

The world is a much better place because of Elon Musk.

So when he made those comments last week, I was floored.  He was saying something that I’ve been saying for years, and he did it in a justifiably unapologetic way.

If you’re a regular reader of these pages, you know I’ve long believed that entrepreneurs and free markets represent the solution to many of our environmental problems today.

While I criticize no one for taking part in peaceful protests against those who think it’s ok to treat the planet like a toilet, what Musk accomplished in just ten years in terms of weaning ourselves off the Big Oil teat has proved to be far more successful than 50 years of Greenpeace demonstrations and drum circles. 

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying I agree with everything Elon does or says.  But to deny what he has done in terms of protecting the planet because he’s rich or hangs out with guys like Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

I honestly don’t believe that there would even be an electric vehicle market today had it not been for Tesla.  The legacy carmakers were essentially forced to get EVs out into the marketplace because Tesla was quickly swiping market share from them.  

For them, it was simply a business decision.  For Musk, though, it was both a business decision and a philosophical one that drove him from the beginning.  And that begs the question, would the world be a better place if all CEOs and corporate behemoths embraced that mentality.  Thinking beyond just the next quarter’s earnings, and building something that matters, and will enrich society and investors for decades to come.

Something that changes the world.  

Something that will not only be just profitable enough to keep investors happy in the short-term, but something that will be insanely profitable over the long-haul.

The future of personal transportation will not be powered by oil.  It’ll be powered by electrons.  And the majority of those electrons will be produced primarily by renewable sources and energy storage. 

This isn’t just a good thing for environmentalists.  This is a good thing for the entire world.

This transition of our energy economy and transportation systems will ultimately result in a cleaner planet, a stronger and more efficient global energy infrastructure, and dozens of new opportunities for investors who are smart enough to embrace progress, instead of falling victim to it. 

Food for thought. 

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