Venture Capitalist Says "War" on the Rich Is Like Nazi Germany's War on the Jews

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Tom Perkins makes the worst historical analogy you will read for a long, long time. 
Venture capitalist Tom Perkins (Reuters)

Tom Perkins is known is a founder of one of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms,  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is not, however, a very adept historian. 

In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, he suggests that progressives protesting income inequality are today's equivalent of Nazi's persecuting Jews.
 

Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?

Kristallnacht was a rash of anti-Jewish riots that swept Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland in 1938, in which ordinary Germans, with Nazi support, destroyed Jewish shops and burned synagogues. As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum notes in its online encyclopedia: 

As the pogrom spread, units of the SS and Gestapo (Secret State Police), following Heydrich's instructions, arrested up to 30,000 Jewish males, and transferred most of them from local prisons to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and other concentration camps. Significantly, Kristallnacht marks the first instance in which the Nazi regime incarcerated Jews on a massive scale simply on the basis of their ethnicity. 

This is the reductio ad absurdum of a rich-guy's persecution complex. The Jews were a minority. The rich are a minority. Therefore, criticizing the rich is akin to committing genocide against the Jews. QED.

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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