Tom Perkins represents a number of people who have this annoying tendency to make references to historic events without bothering to know what it is they are actually talking about.
A person who is a stickler for perfect grammar or who calls themselves a feminist might be referred to as a "Nazi". If someone thinks of you as a tyrant might refer to you as "Adolf Hitler". If you are one of the tiny pool of Americans that controls most of the country's wealth, you might think of the people who question the blatantly lopsided socioeconomic situation as on the threshold of sending you to concentration camps.
....And you might just be bold or silly enough to voice such opinions in public.
Tom Perkins is not the first individual to say something questionable regarding the suffering of the Jewish people in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s (and beyond of course, but that's a separate matter).
Tom Perkins Became the Least Likable Man in America Last Night http://t.co/BKhHXZcx2l
— Kelly Bracha (@kellybracha) January 28, 2014
— Lucia Moses (@lmoses) January 28, 2014
What's unique about his comment is that it demonstrates a level of detachment from reality that is most remarkable. Not to mention a lack of appreciation for what sheer terror feels like.
Perkins should note no one is throwing rocks through the glass windows of the 1%. I doubt that an average American could get anywhere near the residents of where such individuals live, lest the police be informed.
There are no Star of David to be found on the expensive clothing of these individuals, forcibly distinguishing them from the good WASP citizens. Singling them out for abuse and violence that will go unpunished.
There are no trains taking them to concentration camps.
They have not been forcibly separated from their mothers, fathers, children and siblings. And they will not be butchered in the unspeakable manner as those who suffered and died during the Holocaust.
Hating someone for reaching a level of wealth that it is practically questionable as to how they amassed so much money is not the same as using power to exploit a need for a scapegoat, feed fear and hatred, and then create a climate where it is acceptable to murder millions of people.
At worst it's petty.
Still Tom Perkins and the willfully ignorant need not fear anything truly terrible. Because they have the wealth and the power that goes with it.
If anything, the masses have more to fear from those with wealth, privilege and the power that goes with it. Because that trifecta is what enabled the horrors of what was seen during WWII in Nazi-ruled Germany.
To throw a bone to Perkins and his ilk, if he wants to make references to historical events that would justify his fear without him looking foolish, he might want to back up a few centuries and make a reference to the French Revolution.
Dear Tom Perkins: People who live in $20 million glass houses shouldn't throw Kristallnachts.
— Barracks O'Bama (@P0TUS) January 28, 2014
Image via Bloomberg