Tom Perkins of KPCB, Another Silicon Valley Jerk. Where Have We Gone So Wrong?

This weekend, the media and blogosphere have been ignited with reaction to the open letter to the Wall Street Journal by venture capitalist Tom Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the blowback from Atlantic Magazine writer Jordan Weissmann. The overwhelming reaction has been disbelief and outrage at Perkins comments.

I am so angry and sad to see this article and interview of legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Tom Perkins. It is further evidence to my earlier post on the “Silicon Valley Jerk Conundrum.”  Mr. Perkins and his firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, better known in the Valley as KPCB, have spawned some of the best and most famous companies in Silicon Valley. Former Intel colleagues, Jim Lally and John Doerr partnered there. Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems made his mark there, and is now the leading clean tech VC in the Valley. But Mr. Perkin’s public claim in his interview with the Wall Street Journal that there is a “war” on the rich, which is like the Nazi’s extermination of the Jews, is just too much for any decent thinking person.  Where has Silicon Valley gone so terribly wrong as to create a plutocrat like this?  As the writer says, “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.”

Read more: The Silicon Valley Jerk Conundrum

As a Silicon Valley veteran I am deeply ashamed of this man and his thinking.

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.
JAN 25 2014, 12:34 PM ET
Venture capitalist Tom Perkins (Reuters) of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

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.