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Plutocrat Fears of the New Gilded Age

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Back in the Gilded Age, every strike, every worker movement, every bit of organizing was seen by the plutocrats as the coming of a revolution that would kill them all. See the response to the Tompkins Square unemployment marches, which the rich saw as the Paris Commune coming to America. Similarly, with every funeral, every note of music, every coming of the night, slave owners fretted about their human property rising up and killing them all, turning South Carolina into Haiti. That’s what I thought of when I read this letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal:

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?

Tom Perkins

Perkins is a cofounder of this venture capital firm.

I suppose we could take this as positive, that a few fast food workers demanding $15 are actually scaring the plutocracy. But I don’t see it that way. They are so secure in their position that they have the luxury of freaking out over each cent or right the poor demand from their betters.

….Our lovely plutocrat Mr. Perkins was once convicted of involuntary manslaughter in France for killing a man after running over another boat while yacht racing.

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