The billionaire entrepreneur is one of the strongest critics of the new progressive ideologies often championed by Gen Z.
Elon Musk has never hidden his aversion to new progressive ideologies.
He even made them his favorite fight, thus inviting himself into culture war like never before.
Few CEOs have been so involved in the conflict between traditional values and change. In recent years, a large number of companies have taken a stand on many hot issues such as racism, abortion, guns and LGBTQ equality.
This involvement has often been dictated by their desire to respond to issues important to new generations of consumers, in particular Gen Z.
Two important points of the new progressive ideologies — ESG and pronouns — have been divisive and have been the subject of a big pushback from conservatives for several months. Musk has emerged as the face of this counterattack. He believes that ESGs and pronouns are expressions of wokeism that lead to cancel culture, in other words to intolerance and the dictatorship of thought.
ESG stands for environmental, social and corporate governance, while “pronouns” points to the gender identity debate. It means people have to stop assuming that gender is binary and to accept that everyone has the right to decide how they want to be referred to: he/his/him, she/hers/her or they/theirs/them.
“I am neither conventionally right nor left, but I agree with your point,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Nov. 25. “The woke mind virus has thoroughly penetrated entertainment and is pushing civilization towards suicide.”
“There needs to be a counter-narrative.”
Two days later he said that “ESG is the devil.”
For him, there is no doubt that these markers of progressive ideology are being pushed by young liberals. He recently commented on a 2019 video clip of former President Barack Obama criticizing the prevalence of “call-out culture” and “wokeness” during an interview about youth activism at the Obama Foundation summit.
“I do get a sense sometimes now among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, there is this sense sometimes of: ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’” Obama said. “‘And that’s enough.’”
“Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb,” he continued, “then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, cause, ‘Man, you see how woke I was, I called you out.’”
Then Obama pretended to sit back and press the remote to turn on a television.
“That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”
Musk agrees: “Wise words from President Obama,” the billionaire commented on Dec. 14.
‘Young People Are Works in Progress’
It all started with a thread launched by the famous author and cartoonist Scott Adams who advocates ignoring anything people say under 25 because they are not mature. Adams does not say what brought him to this radical advice.
“I think a good standard for social behavior is to ignore anything a person said before age 25,” Adams wrote on Twitter on Jan. 13. “Young people are works in progress. We usually improve.”
He then said “(I’m ignoring the details of the story that triggered this tweet.).”
Musk more than agrees and even offers to go further by suggesting to simply ignore anything people under 30 say.
Musk’s post drew many comments from like-minded Twitter users. Some commentators believe that in the same vein it would be wise to change the voting age from 18 to 30.
“Then let’s raise the voting age,” commented creator Dennis Michael Lynch.
“Increase voting age to 30,” quipped one Twitter user.
But other users pointed out to Musk that he might not be here if we had ignored what he said or did when he was under 30.
“How different would your life be if people ignored you between 20-30 years old?” asked one Twitter user.
“How did it make you feel when people ignored or discounted what you said before age 30?” one user tweeted at the billionaire.