The other day the Wall Street Journal saw fit to post a now infamous screed by a Silicon Valley billionaire, Tom Perkins, who compared progressive political speech to Kristallnacht, the night of religious violence that led to the death of 91 Jews and paved the way politically for the Nazi Reich and the Holocaust. At Huffington Post, Richard (RJ) Eskow noted that in his rant, Mr, Perkins made some curious efforts to attack the San Fransisco Chronicle in defense of his ex-wife, “bodice ripper” author Danielle Steele. He apparently objected to some criticism that was made about a hedge, specifically this hedge:
Now granted that is one humongous hedge. however, the objection that was made by the Chronicle was that it was obstructing the view of a historic landmark building that just happens to be the residence of Ms. Steele. There was no disparaging comments about her in the article which is barely a paragraph long but according to Mr. Perkins view it was “libelous and cruel attacks” at the orders of those damned lefties of Occupy Wall Street. He later admitted that the hedge issue sparked his poutrage. The fact that this triggered a spurious rant that the 1% are being attacked and tantamount to one of histories worst events casts serious some doubt about Mr. Perkins’ perspective. Just how did someone who is control of billions get this stupid? Too much rarefied air of places like Davos?
I agree with Mr, Eskow who wrote:
Even as global financial leaders fret over inequality at Davos, Tom Perkins is using extremist rhetoric to shut down such talk among his social inferiors. After an ugly screed, inspired in part by a gardening dispute, one hesitates to imagine what Perkins has in mind for more progressive-minded one-percenters like those at Davos and Kleiner Perkins — a Night of the Long Pruning Shears, perhaps?
Perkins may not like to hear it, but rising wealth inequality is shattering our society, as San Francisco’s plight so amply demonstrates. There is no room left for middle-class life in a society dominated by excessive wealth. Perkins may choose to become outraged over trivial as well as serious offenses, but he’s in the process of losing the one treasure which money can’t guarantee yet: the respect of others.
Problem is, I don’t think Mr. Perkins cares if we respect him. We don’t occupy his world.