Does San Francisco’s backlash against its wealthy tech workers bear any resemblance to Nazi Germany? Influential rich guy Tom Perkins thinks so! In a letter to The Wall Street Journal titled “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?” published on Saturday, Perkins, a billionaire who founded venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, writes, “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.’”
After citing the Occupy movement, San Franciscans’ anger over Google buses and rising real-estate prices, and the San Francisco Chronicle’s “libelous and cruel attacks” on his his ex-wife, romance author Danielle Steel, as evidence of “a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent,” Perkins (who once wrotes some sexy fiction of his own) concludes, “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?” Comparing the brick thrown at a shuttle during an anti-gentrification protest to the 1938 coordinated destruction of thousands of Jewish homes and businesses that marked the beginning of the Holocaust is not only a particularly stupid example of Godwin’s Law — it also appears to be Perkins’s actual opinion.
Update: The company Perkins founded has responded to his letter on Twitter:
Also, people have started to point out that Perkins was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing a man with his yacht, which makes him look even more like a cartoon version of an evil rich person. Unfortunately, he is real.