Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has come out in favor of reducing restrictions on freedoms and businesses, sparking a fierce debate on Twitter. Some lauded him and others chastised him for putting profits ahead of people’s safety.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder called on Wednesday for the US to lift the lockdown, tweeting “FREE AMERICA NOW” and “Give people their freedom back!”
FREE AMERICA NOW
He also attached links to a Wall Street Journal article suggesting lockdowns were ineffective and to another praising Texas for announcing more businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday.
The billionaire has been known as a vocal critic of the “panic” around the novel coronavirus, having previously branded the behavior “dumb” and keeping his Tesla car factory in California running despite local shelter-in-place laws.
But his new string of tweets has managed to quickly divide opinions online. While some praised Musk for his commitment to liberty, others accused him of being reckless and of placing profits over people.
There were those who accused Musk of being “drunk with power.” Even his supporters, like one named Sylvia Kane, told the polymath to “get some sleep”.
What science are you following, EM? Clearly you know something the doctors and scientists don’t
Others chastised the SpaceX tycoon for seemingly choosing to ignore scientific evidence, with critics like actor Bill Moseley wondering “what science” Musk was now following, and sports presenter Dave Zirin saying that “wanting your workers to die for you while you stay in your compound isn’t exactly courage.”
However, there was no shortage of commenters praising Musk for his commitment to liberty, with President Donald Trump supporter Melissa A. responding to the tweet by saying “the scariest thing about this pandemic” was “seeing Americans bow down” to “corrupt politicians who promise them safety.” Musk clearly approved of this take by replying: “True.”
A conservative media host Joey Saladino was quick to claim that “When the smartest man in the world is saying this, it is time to FREE AMERICA!”
Musk’s “FREE AMERICA” comments appear to echo Trump’s sentiments about the lockdown, after the president took to Twitter last week urging several US states to “LIBERATE” themselves.
Last month, Musk committed to providing California with 1,000 ventilators. However there seems to have been some confusion over whether or not Musk’s aid has actually arrived. The Sacramento Bee reported on April 14 that no hospitals in the state had received any ventilators promised by the billionaire.
Musk vociferously denied that accusation, after it was picked up by CNN, saying that Tesla had delivered hundreds of ventilators.
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