Master Land reports that for Elon Musk he is:
…..just trying to think about the future and not be sad.
Thinking about the future is crucial and Imperial Energy never stops thinking about the future.
Elon Musk, as we recently wrote, is one of our key influences:
Our chief influences for this political system, beyond the Grand Master himself and his key influences – De Jouvenel, James Burnham, Hans Herman Hoppe, Friederich List, Gaetano Mosca and Thomas Carlyle – is statesmen like Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander Hamilton, Augusto Pinochet, Lee Kuan Yew, Vladimir Putin and now Donald Trump (who, rather ironically, was first a real estate entrepreneur; science fiction authors such as Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle with the following works such as this, this and this being the most notable; neoreactionaries such as, in particular, Reactionary Future, but also Foesti, Handle and Nick Land; libertarian and legal philosophers such as David Friedman, Douglas Husak, Thomas Sowell and American Supreme Court Judge Anton Scalia; military strategists and political theorists and such as Edward N. Luttwak, Martin Van Creveld, Christopher Coker and William S. Lind; the fictional characters Russell “Stringer” Bell and Michael Corleone; political theorists, philosophers, thinkers and authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche; C. Wright Mills, Hans Morgenthau, Samuel Huntington, Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Charles Tilly, Lee Harris, Ian Fletcher, John Gray, Donella H. Meadows; Theodore Dalrymple and Jack Donovan; the bloggers Undiscovered Jew and Richard Fernandez and finally entrepreneurs and Executives like Erik Prince, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Jack Welch.
So how does Elon Musk Think?
At the 35.30 mark, from the video that Master Land linked to, Master Musk was asked why space travel and not, say, more wells for thirsty Africans?
His answer was that:
“I look at the future from the standpoint of the probabilities. It is like a branching stream of probabilities, and there are actions that we can take that affect those probabilities or that accelerate one thing and slow down another thing and that introduce something new to the probability stream. Sustainable energy will happen no matter what; if there was not Tesla… it would have to happen out of necessity it is tautological, it is a necessity. If you do not have sustainable energy you have unsustainable energy and eventually you will run out and the laws of economics will drive civilisation towards sustainable energy, inevitably. The fundamental value of Tesla is that it will accelerate the advent of sustainable energy faster than it would otherwise occur….. If it accelerated sustainable energy by more than decade that would be good..….. Then there is becoming a multi-planet species and space-faring civilisation this is not inevitable. This is a very important point to make. The sustainable energy future is largely inevitable but becoming a space flying species is definitely not inevitable.” (Some editorial changes there, but the essential meaning is the same.)
(Look at the qualifiers and logical connectives he uses: probability; inevitable; tautological; necessity; if; good, accelerate.)
1: Master Musk’s general focus is on the “future” not the past and only instrumentally with the present. Secondly, he understands that there are many possible futures. However, not all possible futures have the exact same probability – what he calls “probability streams.”
2: From this general premise or prior or background assumption, he then moves onto a particular “probability stream” – sustainable energy. Master Musk claims that sustainable energy will happen with or without him. His evidence for this claim is a set of factual economic assumptions: resources, prices, and supply and demand. His assumption is that if sustainable energy X is cheaper than current energy source Y (which he assumes will run out) then, all things being equal, X will triumph over Y.
(Master Musk is pretty confident with this claim. However, it should be said that the claim about energy is neither a logical or physical necessity or a “tautology“. At most, it is a practical necessity given many other background assumptions. What assumptions? Assumptions like there will actually be a demand for energy, or that there will not, say, be a concerted effort by special interests to prevent sustainable energy or that the technology that allows sustainable energy will exist and can be utilised in ways that make it cost effective or even that such sources of energy such as oil will not run out. Nevertheless, these assumptions are less probable than the assumption that sustainable energy will not be needed or not cost effective, so he seems to be rational in his judgement here.)
3: Given the first two assumptions or premises, he then reasons that other men like him can also come to the same conclusion. Thus, there exists both risks and rewards. One risk is getting beaten in the race to develop sustainable energy. So, he wants to capitalise on this opportunity – he wants to monopolise this field or become the dominant player.
4: However, the reason Master Musk wants to capitalise on this opportunity is for instrumental reasons (we assume). Why? We presume that he wishes to use the wealth generated from sustainable energy to finance his space mission.
5: Master Musk draws a distinction between sustainable energy which is for him a certainty or a highly probable future (“inevitable”) and space colonisation which is only a possibility. Master Musk reasons that the economic and political incentives driving sustainable energy do not apply for space colonisation. This is something that need not happen or may not happen but for Master Musk, it must happen.
6: Why must, for Master Musk, space colonisation happen? Beyond reasons of ego (or excitement), the reason, we presume, that Master Musk is attempting space colonisation is for the good of the human race itself.
Humans are like the proverbial eggs in one basket, and if earth suffered an existential catastrophe, then the future of the human race will be in doubt, along with all the possibilities human existence offers. So, space colonisation uses the same reasoning as investing: diversify your portfolio. (No doubt, Master Musk considers human extinction to be a bad thing (“depressing”), so here is a value premise operating in the background.)
Imperial Energy also reasons in ways similar to Master Musk (unfortunately we do not have billions to realise our schemes – we believe we could make tremendous progress given only a measly 1 million dollars, however).
We consider possible political and social futures, attach “probability streams” on certain futures by first analysing current facts; then, understanding those facts by understanding the systematic causal reasons for these facts and then come up with probable futures given the facts and the assumptions. Our goal is to understand what USG will do, what USG will need and what could be done with USG if, as we do, you value the following principles:
Master Musk can work to realise his vision because he and his company operate in a relatively peaceful environment (absence of organised violent enemies trying to destroy him). He and his company have physical and financial security from bandits, terrorists and kleptocratic governments. Master Musk’s peace and security is, furthermore, formalised into legal protections (rule of law, contracts, rights etc). Thus, Master Musk has the political and personal liberty to pursue his vision.
Yet, as Master Musk would probably admit, these four conditions are not as stable as they could be and they are degrading; furthermore, the trends that currently exist will also probably mean that they will continue to deteriorate – possibly exponentially. Thus, without liberty, law, security and peace men like Master Musk would have no chance to pursue their vision.
Master Musk is a true “overman” and his vision – his “project” – is truly masterful.
However, unlike Nietzsche, who seemed only concerned with “masters”, our project takes into account as many people as possible. All men, and all human societies, require order as a necessary condition. Even a state which desires war, and the ability to cause disorder abroad, requires a fundamental political and social order in order to project disorder.
More mundanely, some men wish only for stability – for themselves and their families. Again, the question for us is what political system is the best in order to accomplish these diverse and contradictory goals (the goals of the state and the goals of the individual).
For us, as for the Grand Master, the state should be extremely small, extremely powerful and extremely efficient. The state’s functions, for us, are nothing more than taxes (or rents) law, order and war.
Indeed, for us, the state need not even directly involve itself with these things; as the Grand Master himself said, as we discussed here, in reply to George Weinberg:
“Say, if your government is contracting out national security and the administration of justice, and doesn’t get involved in charity or enforcing personal morality, what is the state actually doing? Is it just sort of a general contractor?”
This question exhibits a high degree of enlightenment, I feel.
The sine qua non of the state is the monopoly right to govern a territory. In my view this is exactly identical to any property right which confers a monopoly of use.
The difference is only that the state’s right exists in a world of anarchy, in which all law must be self-enforcing. I don’t really agree with Leeson that self-enforcing law can scale to a city of a million people, but on a planet of hundreds or thousands of states I think it can.
“The state” is just whatever organization owns this right. The details of whether it insources or outsources some function – whether it buys it or administratively controls it – is as irrelevant as asking whether your condo complex does its own landscaping.
The only exception to this principle is the provision of security, in which the owners must have effective practical control over the security forces. As I’ve said before, cryptographic security is of enormous assistance in the solution of this ancient problem.”
Napoleon said that while there are many things that many good generals see, he saw only one thing: “crush the enemy’s army.” For us, we see many things, but focus on one thing: capturing and controlling the state. We said earlier:
For the STEEL-cam the way out is to accelerate certain trends within the current regime – something we will have more to say about in the coming weeks.
Moral decay, tooth decay and urban decay are secondary and rather trivial problems, compared to the great and essential task of capturing and re-structuring the state. This goal is the goal, because a properly functioning state is the necessary condition for the realisation of any other value whether personal, moral, spiritual or whatever other value you have.