Sutherland: The Socialism of Fools

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 4.01.02 PMA Silicon Valley billionaire got himself in considerable hot water a few weeks ago…

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!

 Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 4.01.31 PM 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).

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

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.

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 4.00.53 PM

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.”

Mr. & Mrs. Swig

Mr. & Mrs. Swig

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.

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 4.12.40 PMWhich 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.

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28 Responses to Sutherland: The Socialism of Fools

  1. Stomper says:

    Interesting article by Harry Enten regarding a Pew survey.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/oct/02/jewish-americans-vote-democratic

    • Stomper says:

      hmmm, that didn’t work. Guess you’ll have to google it. It offers an opionion why Jews vote democratic.

    • John Altevogt says:

      The Jewish community has traditionally been aligned with those who at least give lip service to the poor and downtrodden, a position that had drastic consequences in both Russia and germany, and now in this country.

      I am continually stunned at the anti-Semitism of the left, denouncing Israel and embracing Muslim terrorists whose values are an anathema to their stated values. Not only has this been evident throughout the Occupy movement, but also among Black radicals.

      But that pales to insignificance the other elements of the leftist agenda that point glaringly to its totalitarian mentality. One need only examine the totalitarian speech patterns of the politically correct crowd and the lawlessness of the current regime in using the IRS, DHS and even the Park Service to impose authoritarian goals and silence opponents and then compare those behaviors to any of the academic oeuvre that examined the social life of the Third Reich, or Stalin’s Soviet Union.

      The fact that we have had institutional barricades to the worst of these totalitarian schemes has not stopped the left from attacking those institutional protections at every opportunity, nor should it give us any solace that they will continue to protect us when we’re on appointment away an the Supreme Court from having a totalitarian majority.

      • John Altevogt says:

        And where oh where is my copy editor when I need them.

      • Stomper says:

        John, by the positioning of your comment it looks as though you are replying to me specifically as opposed to posting a separate thought in response to Dwight’s piece. With that in mind, I assume you were able to access the article (sorry my link didn’t work but is was easily found by searching for Harry Enten and why Jews vote democratic) and had a chance to read it. Did you find it credible? Generally I agreed with it but there were a few statistics that surprised even me. One was that a higher percentage of Americans in general believe God gave Israel to the Jews than do America Jews themselves. A second was that almost 3/4 of American Jews believe that Muslims are discriminated against in this country whereas less than half of Americans in general believe that. Another point made in the article, one that was aimed directly at Republicans, was that American Jews tend to be very suspicious of non-Jews telling them why they should be voting for conservatives and not liberals/Democrats based on how their “values” line up better or because of how Israel is treated by the Left. As noted in the article , issues relating to Israel are way down the list of what drives the vote of American Jews. Not saying that this is what you and Dwight are doing here but that smell is in the air. Those are my thoughts with regards to your first two paragraphs.

        We have already established through previous postings by Dwight that we are just about polar opposites regarding our political perspectives in general so I won’t even begin to address your last two paragraphs. Suffice it to say that I believe you are way over the top. I’m assuming that you use the word Leftist” as a synonym for Democrat.

        As always John. while I rarely agree, I do enjoy reading your comments. And certainly no need to apologize for the lack of editing. I’m often embarassed when I go back and reread my postings.

        • John Altevogt says:

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/02/jewish-americans-vote-democratic

          Hopefully that link will work.

          I agree with your post and also with the Enten piece. There is nothing in his analysis I would disagree with. Indeed, Israel has various Facebook pages and most are oriented towards evangelical Christians, not American Jews.

          As for being over the top, I think it’s common to think of most totalitarian regimes as they were as a fait accompli and so if someone hasn’t killed 6 million Jews, or 20 million Russians, they feel the comparisons are flawed.

          But there are many components in the process of creating and maintaining totalitarian regimes that can inform us regarding practices in our own society. For instance Jan Gross has a chapter in Donald Black’s reader on social control which contains a note on totalitarian speech patterns that one simply cannot read objectively and not compare it to the current rage for political correctness in this country. Nor can one read the literature on Socialist Realism during Stalin’s regime and not compare it to the methodology used by many liberal American journalists. Professor Bergerson of UMKC’s History Department has written an excellent book on the social lives of everyday Germans during the Third Reich which mentions how something as trivial as the Nazi greeting was used to identify regime opponents.

          I spent much of my academic career trying to figure out who, exactly one could expect to become the “good Nazi” and was disappointed to discover that the answer is all of us, and so, no, I don’t think I’m being too pessimistic. One could have hoped that we would learned from the Hoocaust, but everyday events in this country and around the world convinces me that we haven’t.

          I enjoy reading your well informed and civil comments also. You must come and join Dwight and I for lunch sometime.

          • Stomper says:

            Thanks for the lunch invite, John. Can I bring my close personal friend, Rachel Maddow? Without some backup, I’d fear for my life?

            🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          Stomper- I’m not saying anyone who is a liberal Democrat should change their political outlook because of the things I said in the post. I just think we have to be careful before we adopt a mass movement to get political mileage out of it. Don’t believe me, just read a post by a Huffington post writer named Natalie Rothschild(no relation!) about her experiences after she wrote unfavorably about Occupy. I’ve had lectures for years from liberal friends how Republicans should shun the Religious Right. I’ve spoken out publicly against some of their more bone-headed moves.But you guys are not just accepting their(OWS’s) support ,you’re endorsing their goals and vehemently denying the evidence before your very eyes of some of their more distasteful beliefs.

          • Stomper says:

            Thanks Dwight. I don’t dispute what you say about some in the OWS movement displaying anti-semitic tendencies. I jump in mainly because, as you know, I am a “tribesman” and when I see the pictures with posters highlighting “Jews”, “Jewish” etc. it gets my attention. I certainly do not claim to speak for all Jews and any out there reading this, hopefully will jump in with their thoughts. I guess my issue, and I touched on it somewhat in my earlier comment, is that some GOP Gentiles seem to think that because, supposedly all Jews are rich and therefore part of the 1%, they should be vote republican. Because some on the left appear to take sides against what might be best for Israel, all American Jews should vote republican because republicans swear total allegiance to Israel. Again, as mentioned in the article, GOP Gentiles are not doing the GOP any favors as far as trying to attract Jewish votes when they try to tell Jews that Jewish “values” better align with the GOP as opposed to the democrats. or that the GOP is better for Israel than are the democrats.

            On your other point. speaking as a “leftist”, please don’t speak out against the bone-headed moves of the “Religious Right”. We leftists, enjoy watching your party fight among themselves. We love it when the hard-core conservatives show up in the primaries and select the tea party candidate over the moderate republican, only to lose the general election because the independent voters who would otherwise vote GOP, can’t stomach people like Akin in Missouri or Mourdock in Indiana. 🙂

            Another provocative piece Dwight. Keep up the great work.

  2. expat says:

    It must have been terrible for Dr. Frankenstein to create a monster that turned on him. Personally I feel nothing but schadenfreude in this case and care nothing for Israel or AIPAC.

    • expat says:

      The original version of this article had Dwight talking about ‘my tribe’, not ‘your tribe’. Admitting one has a tribe would be the first step in admitting that what is good for one’s tribe might not be good for the tribes of others, and therefore a valid target of criticism.

      • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

        I changed it because using the first person throughout the last paragraph was confusing. I tried using “one’s” tribes but it sounded awkward. Your point is well taken,everyone is guilty of”tribalism”,especially in troubled times when there is safety in numbers and the comfort and security of the familiar. That doesn’t mean we can abandon our capacity for objectivity or fairness. The reason that I ended as I did was that I anticipated the kind of “How dare you criticitize any one on my side of the political divide?” that my last post got(and is still getting ten days after it went up!).

  3. hot harley says:

    sorry old guys…but as much as it hurts….and as much as you wnt to
    deny it..
    THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT WAS THE FIRST GROUPS TO BRING OUT THE
    FACTS OF INEQUALITY AND NOW ITS BOOMING.

    Read the polls suther and the rest of you old guys. People are seeing the
    light.
    Now…theres not a graph or a comment that doesn’t pertain to what
    the occupy movement brought out in public.
    Polls show that thegreat majority of americans want higher minimum
    wages…dems and repubs…because the corpos have used the federal
    tax payer to subsidixze their low wage jobs and lack of benefits.
    We pay for those companies to pay such low wages…
    the occupy movement started by telling us that the corps were
    getting all the advangtages of the law with their filthy campaign
    dollars and hidden contributions.
    The occupy movement wanted fairness in the nation. They banged on
    drums to make America realize that 98% of the public was getting the
    shaft.
    I believe the occupy movement did a terrible job in putting their message
    out. But their encampments…their peaceful protests….that once were
    hated by americans has now seeped into the American conscious
    that essentially their message was right…and polls show this everyday.
    Jews have almost always voted for democrats….why? because as
    a jew I and others realized there’s something greater than ourselves.
    Our families and our ancestors were subjected to the most brutal
    discrimination ever seen. So they marched for the legal rights in
    the civil rights movement…defended the innocent….and found that
    the dems most fit what we wanted for America.
    We’d seen what hate can do….and now that the repubs have declared
    war on every minority…everyone struggling for a fair chance…
    and unle ss you walked in the shoes you will never realize
    what its like…especially a trust fund kid like souther.
    Occupy may not have lasted…but americans are realizing the message
    they promoted is where we are headed.
    They did a terrible job in communicating it…but as we’ve seen
    in the last 2 years….many of the issues they brought to the
    front are now taking hold and majorities of americans
    are realizing that some of the ideas they pushed are coming
    forward and being seriously dicussed.
    What they told us back in the occupy period…what they
    talked about…is now debated and talked about and discussed
    on every major cable and network program..
    they were ahead of their time and the message may not have
    been promoted in the best light…but occupy for all their
    faults have made americans take note of what has been
    done to our country and what needs to be fixed so we
    as a nation can prosper.
    thanks
    your friend
    Harley

    • the dude says:

      I agree, people can say the same bad things about Snowden too but we are having discussions now about how much the NSA and government are actually spying on Uhmurcuns.

  4. hot harley says:

    souther…read the polls about peopleattitudes about the nation and
    income inequality….read them….they show that people are finally
    realizing whats been done to everyone.
    The president had to use executive order to get minimum wage
    for gov. contractors raised? uh…so that those workers can
    get a decent wage (I thought it needed to be higher)…and have
    money to recirculate in the economy…remember souther those
    people aren’t putting money in 401k’s or offshore…they’re
    buing food/clothe/paying rent///putting the money right back
    into the economy!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. hot harley says:

    shame on you souther….you used a pic of a sign reading hitlers bankers
    -wallstreet…thinking you could use that in a negative way. Well had you
    done your history work instead of trying to shove falsehoods down our
    throats you would have found this….

    The major role of American tycoons and Wall
    Street financiers in the rise of Hitlerism was thus
    totally swept under the carpet for many years. It is
    now totally forgotten -or it has even never been
    known by the public- but the main reason behind

    General De Gaulle’s dislike of the Americans was not their arrogance and their
    imperialism but the hypocrisy of a nation that forgot after 1945 her responsibility in the rise
    of Adolf Hitler, her contemptuous ignorance of France’s concerns in the 30s and her
    willingness to forgo Germany’s debts vis à vis the victors of WW1 by lending to Hitler
    billions of dollars to pay for Germany’s reconstruction and war debts to France.

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      I agree it could be taken that way. I think it was a not so subtle reference to “The International Banking Conspiracy” a.k.a. the Rothschilds,who wing nuts of all persuasions assign the blame to for everything from Bolshevism,to Fascism,to narcotics trafficking, to Justin Bieber.If you’re a follower of Lyndon LaRouche you give cameo roles to the Queen of England and British intelligence ! You’ve got to give those Wall Street bankers credit,though,– 50,000 people lost their jobs at Lehman,–25,000 at Bear,Stearns,to say nothing of all the rest of us who lost most of their savings in the stock market collapse. Yeah,we really figured out that one alright.

      • the dude says:

        “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!”
        Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  6. the dude says:

    Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Charles Lindbergh.

  7. Goose13 says:

    Listen Dems/Rep are all the same. What Bush started, Obama is keeping them going. NSA did it under both. What I don’t understand, and someone please explain, is that Obama is not really warm to Israel, why are Jewish people so warm to Obama?

    • Stomper says:

      Read the article by Harry Enten. John Altevogt posted the correct link above.. American Jews don’t agree with your sentiment that Obama is not warm to Israel.

      • John Altevogt says:

        I understand that in Israel Obama is not thought well of, but I have no hard data to back that up.

        I have had the pleasure of working with several Jewish Republicans and I don’t think any were sitting around waiting for an invitation to the country club, more likely, like evangelicals, they opposed the Democrats out of a fear of the growing authoritarianism they perceived there and their opposition to the absence of moral and spiritual values they also perceived.

        • Stomper says:

          John, I think you are correct for the most part with regards the O man’s cred in the Promised Land. They are surrounded by countries that want them gone so their perspective and priorities are quite distinguishable from their cousins in America. Also Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM, is a charasmatic conservative who really isn’t tight with Obama. The real bottom line however, regardless of any perceived differences between how the different parties, leaders, groups, whatever, in America seem to treat Israel, or Jews, no matter which party is in the White House, Israel will remain as solid and treasured ally. Our support for them isn’t going anywhere and they bring a lot to the table for the U.S. For one, they have a military that can kick some regional ass in a matter of minutes.

    • Stomper says:

      Also forgot to add, but the article notes, issues relating to Israel are way down the list of what drives the American Jewish vote. Non Jews just assume that, but incorrectly.

  8. balbonis moleskine says:

    The 1% will be lucky over the next 30 years if they don’t end up with their necks underneath the dirty unwashed non-slip shoes of the toiling classes.

    Having real wages flat since 1972, little to no benefits, GOP standing in the way of healthcare reform, and a lack of opportunity can do that to generations.

    Today a rookie Engineer (5 years of school) or a rookie Lawyer (8 years of school) make as much in Real dollars in KC as a Line Worker or Electrician did a generation ago.

    When new money can’t get ahead, things get pretty uncomfortable for old money when you look at history.

  9. Stomper says:

    Amen, Balbonis and Dude !!

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