If you’re a subscriber to the largest and most popular philosophy channel on the Internet, then you may have heard Stefan Molyneux rebut those who express disapproval of the three tech tzars, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson going to space this past summer on the heft of their own enormous wealth.
The complaint is not novel by any stretch, but it is more relevant now than ever. It goes something like this. Billions suffer in poverty worldwide, therefore it is undignified, insensitive, immature (add pejoratives as you like) for anyone to spend exorbitant amounts of money when a small portion of that money could bring so much relief to so many.
It’s not an unreasonable complaint. Molyneux argues that the poor will always be with us. He says that the greatest and most valuable innovations come from the unusually wealthy and the unusually creative who bring new possibilities to the fore. He argues that the resentment of their greatness is unproductive and unseemly. Under ordinary circumstances, we would likely agree with Molyneux. But this time it’s different.
It’s different for one reason; COVID famines which contributed to the wealth of these three men in unprecedented measure — especially Bezos.
While these tech tycoons rushed into space in an exaggerated version of an ego-powered 4th of July celebration, untold hundreds of millions all over the world died of hunger due to COVID lockdowns. Keep in mind that they did not die or suffer because of COVID. They died and suffered because of lockdowns, which killed far more than the virus itself, and has created new depths of global poverty not seen in decades.
So, on the common basis of this complaint alone, we could say it was in poor taste for Bezos to pierce the sky in a penis-shaped spaceship while hundreds of millions more than usual had nothing to eat. But in addition to that stylistic slap in the face of humanity, these three men have enjoyed the greatest ever returns on their investments because of COVID restrictions — greater than at any other time — and Bezos benefited the most by far.
As small and medium-sized businesses all over the world were shuttered by nefariously malformed restrictions, all of the money they would have earned went into the pockets of Bezos and major brands like Wal-Mart. This has been the single greatest transfer of wealth from those of modest means to those of extravagant means in history by far. There is no comparison.
And so, under ordinary circumstances, it would have been merely obnoxious for Bezos to fly his penis ship to the edge of the void – but under these circumstances, it was an enormous “f-you” to billions of sick, hungry, dying, dead, and suffering people all over the world whose suffering he benefited from directly.
It was ugly. It was cruel, stupid, and childish – and Jeff Bezos looked like a jelly-brained buffoon in that unearned and ill-fitting cowboy hat. No matter what the history books say, his legacy will be one of moral and spiritual putrescence.