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The Same Dark Road

Dan Blankenhorn offers a lesson from history for Elon Musk:

Henry Ford was the great manufacturing genius of the early 20th century.

In 1921, he was at the height of his fame, fortune, and power. He was hanging out with Thomas Edison. His every utterance was chronicled by an adoring media.

But things were about to take a turn. By the time he died in 1947, Ford had wrecked his historic reputation. General Motors under Alfred Sloan had bypassed the company. If schoolkids knew him at all, it was thanks to his coddling of Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War II. He was a fierce anti-semite.

Elon Musk is now at roughly the same age Ford was then. He, too, is at the height of his wealth, fame, and power. But there is a lot to be disquieted about.

A century apart, but a similar pattern emerging.

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