It’s time once again to celebrate something good going on the world, and to take a break from the incessant nattering nabobs of negativity (thank you, Spiro Agnew). For those who followed the last flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavor to its home in California, and who are mourning the close of that chapter in NASA’s mission, hearken and be of good cheer, for Elon Musk and his ilk hath wrought SpaceX.
You may not recognize the name Elon Musk, but you may have heard of a small internet company that he ran, called PayPal. Elon Musk is an American success story. He was born in South Africa, emigrated from there to Canada, and thence made his way to the United States. Not satisfied with a B.A. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania , he also earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from that University. His mission, he then stated, was to become involved in “the important problems that would most affect the future of humanity,” which, in his estimation, were “…the internet…clean energy…and space.”
To that end, he and his brother started a company to assist news organizations to publish their content online. Compaq later bought that company, and he moved on to the online payments business. He eventually sold the business that he built, PayPal, to eBay. It was time to move on once again.
In addition to being founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, Mr. Musk is also co-founder of Tesla Motors, which makes electric vehicles. He has also been head of product design for that company. I don’t know what he does in his spare time.
Anyway, back to our story.
On May 22, 2012, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which carried the Dragon C2 spacecraft. On May 31, 2012, Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station.
(Pause for cheers)
On July 16 of this year, SpaceX won its first launch mission from NASA, and on August 23, NASA announced that SpaceX is officially part of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. Its next launch date is set for October 7, 2012.
When I began writing this post, I had in mind only the idea to express my gratitude and awe at this man of many talents and his accomplishments. I knew that, in addition to SpaceX, Mr. Musk had been affiliated with PayPal and Tesla Motors. I wasn’t entirely sure in what capacity, so I looked him up on Wikipedia (the font of all information). As I scanned Mr. Musk’s Wikipedia page, as well as his SpaceX website, I still had in mind the capriciousness of a god who would endow one person with so much creativity and the ability to carry out monumental projects, but as I read further, I became more and more angry.
Not at Mr. Musk! Not likely. As it turns out, just this morning the news shows were carrying the smug mug of Mrs. Hillary Clinton smirking about how the rich around the world did nothing to better their countries. The import of her remarks was that governments are necessary to wrest the wealth from those who have it in order to pass it around as the governments see fit, since those evil wealthy people can’t be trusted to do the right thing for themselves.
Then I saw the Philanthropy section of the Wikipedia entry. There were the geeky entities to which a person such as Mr. Musk would naturally be drawn, the X Prize Foundation, the Space Foundation, the National Academies Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Planetary Society, and the Stanford Engineering Advisory Board. I guess I do know what he does in his spare time.
In addition, the tight-fisted and self-centered Mr. Musk established a multi-million dollar program to provide solar power systems for disaster areas, and installed the first one in Alabama (apparently without the kind of help that proved so useful to Solyndra). He has also joined the Giving Pledge, following the lead of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, to donate the majority of his property.
There’s more, but I don’t want him to blush. The big tent party that wants to include everyone thinks nothing of painting a person like this with a tar brush they wouldn’t apply to Muslims who burn our flag, or worse.
And, I’m sure, if asked, Mrs. Clinton would say that she didn’t mean him, or Mr. Gates, or Mr. Buffett, but those others who pay nothing back. Like Mr. Romney? No, she can’t mean him, because just last year he gave millions to charity. Does she then mean the despots of other countries? Oh, how brave, to state that people who are willing to kill their citizens are not willing to provide for their welfare.
I am sure that there are wealthy people who are intent upon hanging on to their money, just are there are poor people who choose not to dispense the milk of human kindness, though it cost them nothing. I do believe that it ill behooves our Secretary of State, the face of our nation to the world, to make such sweeping statements that are so blatantly untrue.
Shame on you, Mrs. Clinton!