One might imagine that the paragons of virtue who delight in explaining to us how to think right rejoice in the fact that the richest man on the planet is an African American. It’s not like this. On the contrary. Elon Musk (born in Pretoria) is relentlessly under fire from well-meaning attacks. Too rich, too powerful, too white, he accumulates defects that make him the enemy of fair thinking. And now he’s attacking the freedom to censor. What a nerve! One can imagine the consternation at 1355 Market Street, Twitter’s headquarters: very chic geeks, all millionaires, imbued with mainstream San Francisco thinking, lamenting that their ability to banish what they consider deviant from the web will disappear under the new era. owner.
Success, ambition, Elon Musk has the strengths we love to hate, including being smart, a little too smart. So is. We may have invented the electric car (Tesla), demoted NASA (SpaceX) creating reusable rockets, penetrated neural circuitry (Neuralink) and allowed Ukrainians to stay online despite the war (Starlink), everything before age 50 doesn’t stop people from despising him and give him lessons. It doesn’t stop right-wing clerks from discussing the good and bad of your decisions (the press in general) and low-income politicians from advising you, in particular, about the use of your money (Elisabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, U.S. Democratic Senator , in particular).
faith instead of reason
In the great battle that today opposes logic and morality, it is the latter that wins. At least in the ambient noise, she is the one we hear the most. Those who base their action on logic are seen as arrogant, freeloaders or, at best, opportunists of the system. While it is enough to come and lament the emotions in front of a camera in the name of who knows what more or less religious values, of the order of faith* to be elevated to the post of savior of the world (and thus join the alert pitchers and cyclists, these modern heroes.)
the real scandal
In the French presidential campaign that is drawing to a close, the phenomenon is illustrated in several ways. “The McKinsey case” in particular. His opponents thought they could destabilize the presidential candidate by accusing him of having used the American consultancy to support certain public services. They raised the issue of fiscal optimisation, but we felt that the main criticism concerned the use of brilliant skills ** based on logic and rationality that would obviously be lacking in certain public services *** . However, isn’t the scandal there? What good is expensive management if you have to resort to well-built brains when current affairs get a little more complicated than usual? Has any thought been given to putting employees whose consultants did the work on unpaid leave?
Arrogance, not intelligence
During the debate between the two rounds, we witnessed, as five years earlier, a very unequal struggle between intelligence on the one hand and (good?) feelings on the other… one to be polite. We watched, almost with pain, these lessons in elementary economics or even calculus that left the hapless candidate speechless, mute, incapable of the slightest articulate reaction when her opponent smacked her with a few unstoppable blows because they were simply logical. However, what did we see or hear after the debate? On the candidate’s side, a complaint ad nauseam, about your opponent’s “arrogance”. Not a word, after the time of reflection, about what she might have retorted in the moments of silence induced by her incompetence. Likewise in the media echo of the debate: hardly a word about the incompetence of one. Nothing about the other’s brilliant intelligence, but everything about their arrogance…
The Netflix law too
This contempt for intelligence and its main avatar, success, is also hidden in Switzerland’s desire to tax Netflix. Born from the genius of Reed Hastings, representative of vacuum cleaners tired of going from door to door, Netflix is an exceptional success that has allowed, in addition to streaming, the production of many masterpieces whose worst damage in the eyes of the nostalgic for the ” film author” is to have pleased a large audience. Given this, what is the reflection of those responsible for culture? Getting internships at Netflix to offer young aspiring filmmakers that allow them to discover cutting-edge practices on the ground? Dedicate a portion of SSR royalties to the purchase of Netflix subscriptions to facilitate taxpayers’ access to real quality entertainment? Of course not.
Keep the self-segregation
We prefer to tax. But in the name of what eccentric reasoning can we imagine for a moment that a country like Switzerland, which does not have a great natural disposition towards cinema, but which has others (for technological innovation, for direct democracy, for taxation which is a little less confiscatory than elsewhere, as the naturalization of Albanian players etc.)º art taxing Netflix? The idea obviously doesn’t exist. The objective is to finance the system of aids and subsidies that constitutes a small environment where interpersonality prevails, where people appear at festivals (in Switzerland, it is in Locarno) and where, above all, it is a matter of maintaining an auteur cinema that is ” produced to be financed, not to be seen”, as the young French producer and screenwriter Laurent Rochette **** puts it (“Paris is ours”, “1920”).
By refusing this new tax, because that’s what it’s all about when Netflix adapts its pricing and tightens its tolerance on sharing access, Switzerland will show intelligence. Stop being hated.
* We will consult with interest the work Racism Awakened: How a New Religion Betrayed Black America, by John McWhorter (2021). This professor of linguistics at Columbia University in New York demonstrates how Wokism erases logic in favor of a religious-type moral system that has the effect, in particular, of being harmful to those it claims to defend.
**Anyone who has worked with consultants knows that they are handpicked and hired based on their superior intellectual aptitude, preferably in the STEM field. There are a lot of engineers there, sometimes a little autistic, but capable of solving formidable problems without flinching, without respite, and above all, flawlessly.
*** Boris Johnson applied the same recipe entrusting vaccination management to a consultant. Successfully.
**** “It Happened Tomorrow” by Fréderic Taddeï in Europe1, April 24, 2022.