90 Miles From Tyranny : Elon Musk's Act of Civil Disobedience Pays Off, as California Health Officials Back Down

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Elon Musk's Act of Civil Disobedience Pays Off, as California Health Officials Back Down

Musk won back a measure of freedom by peacefully asserting his rights. Will others follow his lead?

Yesterday evening, Alameda County health officials backed down in their conflict with Elon Musk, reversing their shutdown order and granting provisional approval for Tesla's Fremont, California plant to reopen.

Musk had already reopened the plant for business in defiance of the lockdown order, tweeting on Monday:
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
As Ars Technica reports, Alameda County Health Department officials reported coming to terms with Tesla:
In a series of tweets, they said they had reviewed Tesla's reopening plans and "held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans.

"We have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week," another Tuesday evening tweet said.

No law enforcement official seems prepared to punish Musk for his initial defiance of county health orders. The Associated Press reports that the sheriff of Alameda County directed questions about the issue to the Fremont police department. Fremont police said they would act at the direction of county health officials.

​As I wrote yesterday, Musk's decision qualified as economic civil disobedience in the deeply American tradition of Henry David Thoreau:
[Musk] is disobeying an unjust law. And he is resisting non-violently. He is not seizing government buildings. He is just asserting his right to open Tesla’s private property to willing employees, and to pay them to produce cars to sell to willing buyers. And he expressly offered himself up for arrest should the government decide to invade private property and cage him for...

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1 comment:

WDS said...

Musk is to be commended for opening the plant but his "threat" to leave California was as real as
celebrities threatening to leave the USA if Trump was elected. You remember how that went, right?