We need to make a clear distinction between the types of immunities.
We’ve heard a lot, actually too much, about immunity lately. Seems like if it were granted to any politician who became a President, that’s the end of the American dream, freedom if you remember.
We’ve also heard a lot about another disrupter extraordinaire except this one has actually made things, like electric cars, boring machines and, not to forget the biggest one of all, space rockets.
To achieve what Musk has achieved is so far outside the ordinary that we have to adopt different benchmarks to measure the scale of the achievement and its impact on humanity. Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind. Einstein, except even he, for all his precocity never actually made something, not to deprecate his human impact too.
What’s that got to do with immunity? You might have seen the article in the Wall Street Journal recently about Musk’s’ allegedly heavy drug use. He’s denied it of course but in somewhat ambiguous fashion. So, something probably happened.
Like everyone else in the world, I’m checking out the current terrible state of the globe. Wars everywhere and new tools of mass and human civilization destruction emerging as we speak. Not to mention AI. The US still stands tall, but it is under pressure. Who knows when even the Land of the Free buckles too?
A third world war is inevitable. That war will be fought partly in space in ways that are difficult to even imagine. But fortunately, the US doesn’t have to depend on Russian rockets to get to the ISS and get defense weapons and facilities into space. That’s because SpaceX and the Falcon Heavies are there to do it for us. Where would we be if we didn’t have them?
Now my thought is that the miracles that Musk has wrought don’t come easy and only happen once in a couple of hundred years. I get it if the creator needs a bit of chemical assistance once in a while (or everyday for that matter).I would be inclined to tell Musk to get on with it and don’t worry too much about the worrywarts who would allow the Russians to take over because we deny a get-out-of-jail-free card to Elon Musk.
Musk’s value to the US just shone out yet again. The Peregrine space mission to the moon has already failed even though it was only barely off the ground when it happened. How do you get to make sure that doesn’t happen just as the Russians nuke us from space? Answer: You get a once in a century project leader who is so tough that failure is not an option. There’s not many of them around these days.
In straight terms I’m not a Musk fan. He would be the worst person ever to be your boss and I’m sure I wouldn’t want to work for him, probably because he would kill me from overwork and worse. But isn’t that what we need? Slave drivers to pull us out of ruts and to shore up our defenses against an unforgiving and cruel world. Who would you support in that case, me or Musk?
We’ve got two immunities here. One is for someone who wants power for its own sake who could then do terrible things with that awesome power. The other is for one who has already saved our butts. Call them the power and the survival immunities.
Power immunity gives someone the power to do anything with impunity, just because he’s got the vibes, and never actually done anything. Survival immunity is for people who have earned it, in a massive and existential way.
Personally, I don’t like any kind of legal or criminal immunities. But know the difference between them. We need to confer survival immunity on Musk and forget about the power immunity for anyone else.
We’ve slid into a world full of lawyers quibbling over constitutional niceties while Rome (well, Washington) burns. How do you even achieve amazing feats when you have a constitution that guarantees our freedoms but stops you from achieving them due to egal bureaucratese? It’s clearly not an easy call. But some people do it, Musk for one, Steve Jobs for another, painful though he was to work with too.
The US has osmosed into an ugly lawyer’s dreamland where everything is a legal issue and people who actually get something - of vast human importance – done are shunned or worse, if they cross one of those invisible red lines. If we are to make progress as a nation, we need to distinguish between the two immunities.
Let Musk, for all his sins, get on with it. And thank God we have someone like that around.
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