He did so by equating the growing campaign against the wealthy “1%” in the Bay area to the Nazi campaign of anti-semitism in pre-WWII Germany. Thomas Perkins, a founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, even mentioned “Kristallnacht” as a metaphor for the unthinkable that might occur again (this time at the hands of “progressives”).
The reference is to the “Night of (broken) Glass” in 1938 when the Nazis unleashed violence against Jews and Jewish owned businesses throughout Germany. Perkins’ critics, who were to be found in even such presumably business friendly places as Bloomberg News, jeered that since none of the 1% had been killed or their property attacked, this was a ridiculous comparison and a stunningly inappropriate analogy.
Repudiated by his own firm and virtually everyone (except the Wall Street Journal, which had published his offending-very short-letter), Perkins was forced to apologize!
I thought of all this when I was in the showroom of a very successful Johnson County manufacturing business. Started by Jewish refugees, the company has grown and thrived over the three generations since the patriarch and his wife came here from Germany. Their pictures hang on the showroom wall, as do handsome black and white photographs of the family’s former department store in Munich. A “carriage trade” establishment which they lost when they fled for their lives,it resembled nothing so much as the stylish downtown stores I remember from my youth in Kansas City; e.g. Woolf Brothers, Adlers, Harzfelds, Mindlins (also Jewish-owned, coincidentally).
I found myself asking whether this family property was stolen from them because they were rich or because they were Jewish. You could say “both,” but I’ll say the pretext used on Kristallnacht was that it was because they were Jewish, but the real reason was that they had created a valuable asset that someone wanted to take from them, i.e., because they were rich.
It occurred to me that if you incite hatred of the rich, you’ll inevitably stir up anti-semitism because many rich people are Jewish. This is why Karl Marx called anti-semitism the “socialism of fools,” i.e., it is wrong to confine your hatred to Jews, you needed to hate all capitalists, all the bourgeoisie to fully comprehend the class struggle in his view.
Perkins was incorrect in one respect. Nazi-style anti-semitism is not simply analogous to the Occupy Wall Street, Down with the 1%, End Income Inequality trope that “progressives” are on. It is the inevitable result of that fixation.
Consider two pieces of evidence.
The first is a story from the New York Times on February 1, about the nasty divorce of two wealthy scions of New York real estate dynasties, Kent Swig and Elizabeth Macklowe Swig. The tittering caption is “With Fortune Falling, a 1 Percent Divorce.”
Behind its mean spirited delight in this couple’s problems, which are discussed in painful detail, is an obvious motive. See how the mighty are brought low! (Schadenfreude, delight at the suffering of others, in other words.)
Yet in its trashing of two unfortunate members of the 1% it never occurs to the editors of The Times that some moron from the outer boroughs (or out here in fly-over country) might draw the wrong conclusion from the article, i.e., that Kent and Elizabeth are not spoiled and obnoxious because they’re rich but because they’re Jewish! If your name is Sulzberger, that should give you pause.
Which brings me to my second point. I’ve found the following pictures online, taken from the Occupy Wall Street website. There is a wealth of other material, including video at rallies in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which also reflects the anti-semitic nature of this vanguard of the movement to end income inequality. A friend of mine explained it. People revert to tribalism in difficult times.
If your tribe is part of the Left,however,you will stick to that side, no matter how glaringly pathological and self-destructive that choice, which is why I fully expect to be attacked for pointing out these glaring flaws in the “progressive” position by those most threatened by this dark underside.