A few months ago, when everyone was having a cow over Elon Musk buying Twitter — and that’s what we call it, Twitter — I didn’t say a lot. I figured as long as it kept functioning, that was good, and we would see.
Also, I didn’t want to write anything about Elon Musk, in part because I think he enjoys having people write about him.
But in recent days, prompted by a gradual awakening I see out there among major media, I’ve been reading and hearing more about Starlink… and about other things. I had just mentioned that again, in an Open Thread on Thursday, when I saw more on the same subject, and tweeted this:
Something has to be done about this situation. Such critical resources should not be in the hands of one person. It’s wrong, and it’s dangerous… https://t.co/OcDDmHVvl9
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) September 8, 2023
This is no longer about some social medium I enjoy but we can all live without, or absurdly expensive electric cars, or even (more seriously) our nation’s increasing dependence upon Space X. This is about national security. It is about whether Vladimir Putin will succeed in crushing a neighboring country into nonexistence, or be stopped by the collective efforts of NATO, the United States, and the brave people of Ukraine.
And that cannot be allowed to hang on the flighty moods of one demonstrably unstable man, who likes to buddy up to Putin, and is entangled with the oppressive Chinese regime.
But what, you ask, are we to do? The guy OWNS most of the satellites in space, so our hands are tied, right? No. Sometimes a nation realizes that there are more important considerations than private ownership of … land, railroads, oil, coal mines, satellites, or whatever.
I point to the trust-busting steps taken by Theodore Roosevelt and others in response to the ill effects of J.P. Morgan and others (such as Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad) owning too many things of critical national importance.
I don’t want to kick off another big ideological argument about wealth between the social democrats and the Ayn Randians. I’m a pragmatist. I’m a guy who has no problem with the “billionayuhs” Bernie likes to rant about. In a free country, some people will always have more money than other people.
Aside from that, J.P. Morgan did a lot for this country, and the world. In the First World War, he kept the Allies afloat until this country could shake off its usual habitual isolationism.
But sometimes, a trust just needs bustin’. Seriously, folks — Teddy Roosevelt got along fine with J.P. Morgan much of the time. T.R. was no Marxist. He was a rich guy, who was comfortable with other rich guys. But when a different course was needed for the sake of the nation, he went that way.
This world isn’t about following absolute, ideological precepts. (Or, as I like to say, ones and zeroes.) It’s about looking at a situation, and deciding what would make it better. And this situation isn’t about an immature man wanting to call Twitter something other than what it is. Lives are at stake. Something needs to be done.