Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins might have just written the most insulting and insensitive article of all time, and the Wall Street Journal actually published it. Set aside your breakfasts, folks, because this might literally be difficult to stomach.
In a Jan. 24 op-ed titled “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?” Mr. Perkins—cofounder and “partner emeritus” at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers—suggests that the “progressive war” on America’s “rich” is pretty much the same thing as the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in Hitler’s Germany.
Mr. Perkins deserves to bear the full brunt of the fury his letter has caused, so we’re not going to do him the favor of nicely summarizing it here. Read every word—go wild. Here’s the entire text of the blood-boiling thing:
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?
Being an incredibly wealthy white man—and working in the one of the world’s most booming industries, no less—is basically the easiest thing on the planet. You may as well have a gosh darn privilege tree growing in your twenty-acre backyard, next to the grotto and the badminton courts.
Is Mr. Perkins aware there are people who suffer the ramifications of racism, sexism and actual classism every day?
Or that during the Second World War, six million innocent Jews, for no reason besides their ethnicity, were horrifically murdered?
If an “outraged public reaction” to your Google bus and your expensive California real estate is the worst thing you’ve ever had to endure, then newsflash: YOU’VE LIVED A PRETTY FANTASTIC LIFE, SIR. CHILL.
If it makes you feel any better, this isn’t the first time Mr. Perkins has published something extremely embarrassing. In 2008, he came out with a dumb book called Sex and the Single Zillionaire, an incapably written story about a wealthy New York widower who goes on a Bachelor-style dating show. Amazon reviewers submitted comments like “trash book all the way,” and “Perkins must have gotten this published as a favor.”
But getting back to the matter at hand, it’s shocking that the Journal feels Mr. Perkins’s heartless words carry weight, and also that a man with these beliefs has such a powerful hand in our nation’s technological development. We certainly hope other Silicon Vally VCs are far less callous and imbecilic than this unfortunate example.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified Mr. Perkins as a billionaire. In fact, he is only a multi-millionaire. Feel bad for him.