By Luc Olinga
Billionaire entrepreneur describes himself as a freedom fundamentalist.
Freedom is a word that comes up a lot with Elon Musk.
The billionaire has almost made it the cornerstone of his actions and initiatives.
It is in the name of free speech, which is a derivative from freedom, that he said he acquired for $44 billion the social network Twitter, which he defines as the town square of our time.
"Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?" he asked last March.
A few days later he started buying Twitter shares and made a takeover offer in the process.
'Will Own No House'
It is also in the name of free speech that the serial entrepreneur decreed a general armistice on Twitter by reactivating most of the accounts banned by Twitter 1.0, including that of former President Donald Trump for violation of the internal policy against xenophobia, violence, racism, anti-Semitism and the spread of disinformation.
In addition, freedom is at the center of his ambition to colonize the planet Mars.
"When you start the 1st Mars colony @elonmusk what documents would you recommend using to establish a governing system? U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights? Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Humanist Manifesto? Atlas Shrugged? Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto?" publisher Michael Shermer asked him in June 2018.
"Direct democracy by the people," the billionaire responded. "Laws must be short, as there is trickery in length. Automatic expiration of rules to prevent death by bureaucracy. Any rule can be removed by 40% of people to overcome inertia. Freedom."
The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) - Get Free Report and SpaceX also justified his decision in 2020 to sell all his physical assets in the name of freedom.
"I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house," Must tweeted on May 1, 2020.
He added a few hours later: "Freedom."
The billionaire therefore believes that freedom is the alpha and the omega. It must guide our actions as well as those of elected officials and those who govern us.
It is therefore no surprise that he has just affirmed that in the name of freedom humans should be able to die whenever they wish.
This comment risks creating a lot of controversy because it also touches on the subject of suicide and euthanasia, which is considered illegal in several countries around the world.
Euthanasia also provokes an ethical debate among experts.
'When You Are Sure That You Want To'
It all started with a Twitter thread with podcaster Lex Fridman complaining about seeing good things come to an abrupt end.
"I hate that every awesome thing comes to an end," Fridman wrote on Jan. 20. "I wish it would last forever."
Musk doesn't seem to agree. For example, he considers that being eternal is one of the two worst curses.
"Two of the worst possible curses: you will live forever (and) you can have anything you want," the serial entrepreneur commented.
This comment sparked tweets about rights and death. It was in this context that a Twitter user asked Musk directly if humans had to choose when to die. Musk's response was clear. It draws on his approach to freedom.
"Do you think humans should be able to choose when they die?" physician and entrepreneur Peter H. Diamandis asked the billionaire.
"Absolutely," the tech tycoon responded. "Freedom means freedom to die when you are sure that you want to."
Unsurprisingly, the comment caused strong reactions on Twitter. If some users saw Musk's position as asserting individual freedoms, other users in the name of religion strongly disagreed.
"The fact that our country doesn’t allow sick and dying people to choose to end their life with dignity is a shame. No one should have to suffer through end stages of cancer any other disease for no reason," said one Twitter user.
"We can't play God," said another user.
But other users wondered about the "sure" mentioned by Musk.
"What does “sure” mean?" asked one Twitter user.
"I second you, but on a second thought, how can one be sure that yes it’s the right time to?" added another user.
"How can you be sure?" said another user.
Musk's position revives the debate on various issues related to individual rights and death. There is of course the question of suicide, that of assisted suicide and finally the great debate on euthanasia.
Euthanasia for humans is illegal in the majority of the states in the U.S. As of June 2021, the only jurisdictions that allow this procedure are Oregon, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Washington, Maine, Colorado, New Jersey, California, and Vermont, according to Cornell Law School.