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

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

A common assumption is that there are only two ways to bring about political change: ballots or bullets, voting or violence, democracy or revolution.

But, as Musk has demonstrated, there is a third way: civil disobedience. By peacefully defying a tyrannical order, Musk nullified and abolished it. As a result, Tesla employees are now free to earn a living for themselves and their families by producing cars for Tesla customers.

It’s true that Musk had a better chance at succeeding than an ordinary person, owing to his celebrity, clout, and wealth. But, as I pointed out, ordinary people are successfully engaging in civil disobedience—especially against the COVID lockdown regime—every day, whether they call it that or not, and it has an impact.

And now that Musk has set a high-profile precedent for economic civil disobedience, ordinary business owners and workers may become more emboldened to peacefully stand up for their right to earn a living and to live like free people.

By submitting to governmental “cower-at-home” dictates, we are surrendering our freedoms and our prosperity. It is long past time to stop cowering.

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About The Author

Dan Sanchez

FEE's mission is to inspire, educate, and connect future leaders with the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society. These principles include: individual liberty, free-market economics, entrepreneurship, private property, high moral character, and limited government. Visit

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