The Wall Street Journal editorial board attempted a really lame defense of Tom Perkins’ letter to them that claimed that progressives are the “descendants” of the Nazis who launched their murderous campaign on Kristallnacht. They chalk it up to lack of subtlety:
But he wasn’t limited to 186 words. It was a letter to the editor, he could have written as many words as he wanted. He chose the words he chose not because of space limitations but because that’s what he wanted to say. And now he is rightly being hammered for saying something offensive and moronic. And the idea that the criticism he has rightly garnered proves his point? Well that’s even more idiotic.
Five days on, the commentariat continues to drop anvils on Tom Perkins, who may have written the most-read letter to the editor in the history of The Wall Street Journal. The irony is that the vituperation is making our friend’s point about liberal intolerance—maybe better than he did.
“I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent,” wrote the legendary venture capitalist and a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mr. Perkins called it “a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
That comparison was unfortunate, albeit provocative. It’s not always easy to be subtle in 186 words, as Mr. Perkins learned, though a useful rule of thumb is not to liken anything to Nazi Germany unless it happens to be the Stalinist Soviet Union. Amid the ongoing media furor and an ungallant rebuke from Kleiner Perkins, Mr. Perkins has apologized for the comparison, without repudiating his larger argument.
While claiming to be outraged at the Nazi reference, the critics seem more incensed that Mr. Perkins dared to question the politics of economic class warfare. The boys at Bloomberg View—we read them since no one else does—devoted an entire editorial to inequality and Mr. Perkins’s “unhinged Nazi rant.”
When did the Wall Street Journal become Breitbart? Oh yeah, when Rupert Murdoch bought it.