Richard Branson took the first ride to space today in the spaceship he dreamed up, designed and built – over decades. It’s a phenomenal achievement for a private individual, and it celebrates human ingenuity, perseverance, drive and creativity.
In the early morning, at 3:00am, Musk showed up at Branson’s house to wish him well. Branson tweeted this.
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021
As I read the responses, I was astonished that there were quite a few adversarial ones. I posted a few here with my own comments.
Red talks about the “age of extreme greed” presumably accusing Branson, attributing his success to greed. There is so much wrong with this tweet.
- Who decides what is pointless as a task to spend one’s time on. I wonder what hobbies Red has that are less pointless.
- Branson is a private citizen who opened a record store in England when he was a young man. He called it Virgin Records, and eventually built an airline and now a space tourism company – from scratch. I wonder what Red has accomplished in his life that we can all read about?
- I wonder what infrastructure systems are failing, and how fixing those is somehow Branson’s responsibility?
Then I saw Natasha’s post below:
She is worried about the destruction of the world, and questions Branson and Musk about what they contributed to the world. Well, Musk probably has made more changes to our current world than almost anyone, perhaps except Steve Jobs. He has built a car company from scratch, and forced every major automaker in the world to start producing electric vehicles. Then he started a rocket company and revolutionized how America sends humans into space, and in the process saved billions of taxpayer funds by drastically reducing costs. Musk came to Canada with a single suitcase in the early 1990ies and one of his first jobs was shoveling out a sewer line, standing knee-deep in shit. In 1995, he arrived in California, got enrolled at Stanford and then dropped out to start a software company. I wonder what Natasha’s credentials are, what she has done to save the world, and how it compares to the records of Branson and Musk.
Hmm, private citizens can spend their money on whatever they want to spend it on. I wonder what Neo’s fantasies are and what he spends his money on that is so lofty.
Scientific innovation is not a waste of money, it’s usually a seed to greater things. These guys are not billionaires because they are greedy, or were born rich, they are billionaires because they spent their entire lives coming up with new ideas and then materializing them, and getting back up after every setback and failure (and rocket explosion) and starting over again. Musk has earned fortunes through the companies he has started and almost lost them again every time, starting the next ones. But he has persisted.
Why have we never heard of Rolf Oehen and his revolutionary desalination plants that he has invented and built. And I might ask, how many trees has Rolf planted? Surely not 100 million.
Has he planted any trees?
Then there is Greenspaceguy! He blankly states that billionaires don’t pay income tax? Really? How does he know? Does he listen to Bernie Sanders, perhaps?
The irony is that Branson isn’t even a U.S. citizen. He’s British. I certainly don’t know what income taxes he pays, but he wouldn’t owe the U.S. government trillions.
And no, billionaires are not created by not paying taxes. I know plenty of poor people who don’t pay taxes, but they are not becoming billionaires. You become rich by building stuff that millions of people want to buy and spend their money on. Then, after you make a lot of money, you get to start paying taxes on it. The money doesn’t come from nothing. It comes from human ingenuity, perseverance, drive and creativity.
I think I need to stop right here and enjoy Branson’s “overnight success” that he has worked his entire life on.