Elon’s wealth is driven by Tesla but sadly he is using the autopilot system. Anyway it’s $125.33 now
— Ed Zitron (@edzitron) December 22, 2022
I always enjoy Ed Zitron’s (free!) Substack posts, but how can anyone resist a screed that includes sections on Zucknarök and Elondämmerung?
When someone is suppressed, restrained or otherwise pushed into a corner, the aggressor tends to assume unlimited power. The feeling of isolation and power imbalance gives the oppressor a form of momentum – as long as they can control the rules of the system, they are unstoppable, able to bend and crack someone to their will, even as onlookers attempt to intervene.
This kind of loathsome creature — call them an aggressor, a bully, a narcissist, it’s up to you — thrives on belief, and seems so poisonous because they appear to be able to get away with anything. The pain they cause and the obviousness of their malice is obvious to anyone operating outside of the system, but it’s very difficult to break in and even harder to break out.
These people, however, always make two mistakes: they believe their system is transferrable, and never attribute anything they’re doing to luck. Nothing is by accident. Their successes are a result of fairly-won victories or fairly-won swindles against lesser creatures. People that weren’t smart enough to see them coming, or just collateral damage for their empire.
Sam Bankman-Fried, Elon Musk, Changpeng Zhao, Do Kwon, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg and every ruinous cretin that I’ve written about in the last year has the same pattern – a laundry list of excuses that never involves true regard for another human being, a higher purpose that justifies their contempt for others as a necessary evil, and an ever-growing sense of outrage that they would be criticized. They have survived for a long time on work-adjacent success and superficial charm, because they’ve all found the right ways to get what they want.
And in every case, their failures are stemming from their unwillingness to cash out, to stop and take stock and say “I have it pretty good.” They are ever-greedy, ever-hungry, ever-empty souls that get worse as you learn more. They will never be happy, a burden they outsource to anybody unfortunate enough to stay too close.
That’s why it feels so incredibly satisfying to see them lose…
You Cannot Outrun Gravity
Every single executive I have criticized in the last year has shown the remarkable belief that they are not subject to the rules of reality that you and I face. This is in part because they’ve been able to escape abiding by said rules through unimaginable wealth and the power that it grants you, but also because such greed may be impossible to acquire without hubris.
They always believe that they alone are worthy. They never have a backup plan, because they have always prided themselves on “being good when the going gets tough.”
Yet they will always be deeply vulnerable to their own failures. They will always make mistakes, because they don’t believe they’ve ever made one. And when they start losing, they lack the capability to stop the world from falling down around them, because that starts at a point of introspection they’ve never had to reach…