Watch out for hungry bears! Why Elon Musk’s new town could run into trouble | Arwa Mahdawi

Say what you like about Elon Musk, but he certainly keeps himself busy. Most people would have their hands full running Twitter into the ground, fathering multiple children, publicly mocking former employees, testing brain chips in pigs, sucking up billions in government subsidies, building cars and trying to go to Mars. Musk, on the other hand, is juggling all that while also building a town in Texas to house his serfs and sycophants.

The new community is called Snailbrook (in reference to the mascot for Musk’s Boring Company) and, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal, Musk has described it as a “Texas utopia” where his employees can live and work.

Musk relocated to Texas from California in 2020 and slammed his former home as “the land of sort of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation”. Not content with Texas’s more lax regulations and lack of income tax, it seems suspiciously as if he’s trying to build his own town so he can have even more freedom to do whatever he likes (such as applying to dump millions of gallons of wastewater on its land near the Colorado River), without boring old government regulations slowing him down. Musk reportedly asked Steve Adler, who served as the mayor of Austin, Texas, until earlier this year, for assurances that his projects wouldn’t run into bureaucracy. “What he wanted from the city was speed,” Alder told the Wall Street Journal.

Musk isn’t the first libertarian to try to build his own regulation-free utopia. Heard of the Free Town Project? In the mid-2000s, a group of libertarian activists decided to turn a small New Hampshire town called Grafton into an Ayn Rand-inspired paradise. No rules, no regulations, just vibes. As Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling writes in his book about the experiment, hundreds of weirdos descended on Grafton and started stripping away all public services. Everything fell apart and hungry bears began invading the town. The libertarians started fighting each other, the bears and an angry llama called Hurricane. Long story short: the experiment was not a success.

Let’s see if Snailbrook fares any better. The good news for Musk is that Texas doesn’t have many bears.

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