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Elon Musk's grandfather, Joshua Haldeman, was a "radical conspiracy theorist," the Atlantic reports.
Haldeman was convicted in Canada for his involvement in a technocratic political movement.
The movement believed an authoritarian group of tech-savvy overlords could solve the world's problems.
Elon Musk's grandfather, the late Joshua Haldeman, spent his time ranting about minority groups he didn't like, speculating about a global conspiracy led by shadowy figures (read: Jewish people), and joining the cause of technocracy.
According to a deep dive from the Atlantic on the life of Haldeman, the Canadian chiropractor was a "radical conspiracy theorist" who spent the beginning of his career as part of a group known as "Technocracy Incorporated."
The movement had a bizarre set of principles: They believed that the world should be run by a totalitarian regime of engineers and scientists based in North America; that these tech overlords would solve all of society's problems; and that people only had to work 20 years before retiring.
The party, founded in the 1920s, gained popularity during the Great Depression and at one point had more than half a million members in California.
The organization also referred to people as numbers (apparently, Musk's grandfather was 10450-1) and sometimes added Xs to their names. Followers donned identical gray clothing and cars and greeted each other with special salutes, the Atlantic found. A newspaper cited by the magazine said the group gave off "the tone of an incipient Fascist movement."
Canada eventually banned the party after it opposed the country's involvement in World War II and considered it and its members a threat to national security. Haldeman was arrested and convicted for his participation, the Atlantic reported.
This kickstarted his involvement in other movements, including Canada's Social Credit Party, which espoused baseless conspiracy theories about Jewish people. The party came to be widely criticized for its blatant antisemitism. Haldeman, who became the SCP national chair, took it upon himself to defend the party's beliefs.
Haldeman, the Atlantic wrote, "maintained that the Social Credit Party was not antisemitic — while saying some rather antisemitic things, including the outrageous claim that Hitler had been installed as German führer by 'money … supplied by international financiers, many, but not all of them, Jewish.' He claimed that Jews created antisemitism to generate sympathy."
The party also used its platform to publish "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" a centuries-old fraudulent text detailing a meeting between Jewish leaders to establish world domination. Haldeman defended the publication in a letter because he felt he was witnessing the protocols "rapidly unfolding," the Atlantic reported.
Like grandfather, like grandson
Historians note Musk's ideas that technology can solve most of society's ills reflect some of the same technocratic beliefs his grandfather promoted. Musk previously said on Twitter, now called X, that Mars should have an established technocracy.
He has also named his three children with Grimes — X Æ A-Xii Musk, or X, Exa Dark Sideræl Musk, and Techno Mechanicus — although it isn't clear whether the names of his children had anything to do with the strange, number-filled nicknames Technocrats identified themselves with.
The Tesla CEO and billionaire has also recently been called out by the Anti-Defamation League for spreading antisemitic rhetoric, like blaming George Soros for the "destruction of Western civilization." Musk threatened to sue the ADL and, in his own defense, has called himself "pro-semite."
From antisemitism to apartheid
Following his political stint, Haldeman began passionately supporting the cause of apartheid and moved to South Africa. According to the Atlantic, he once wrote, "South Africa will become the leader of white civilization in the world."
Haldeman also railed against "anti-White forces" that would seek to displace his position. He continued writing in pro-apartheid South African newspapers, as well as in his self-published book, about international conspiracies of world domination from a group of elites, per the magazine.
Haldeman, Musk's maternal grandfather, was born in 1902 in the US before his family moved to Canada at a young age. He was also a chiropractor before his move to South Africa.
Haldeman married Wyn Haldeman, née Fletcher, who was a dance instructor. They had three children. Maye Musk, one of his daughters, is Musk's mother. He died in 1974 when Musk was still a toddler.
Representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
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