- Steve Sailer: Some people don't criticize billionaires out of fear of anti-Semitism.
- Critics of Steve: Only a crazy, conspiracy theorist Jew-hater racist sexist like you would say that.
- WSJ: animosity towards top 1% is driven by anti-Semitism.
Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process.
By RUTH R. WISSE
Feb. 3, 2014 7:37 p.m. ET
Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them? In a letter to this newspaper, the noted venture capitalist Tom Perkins called attention to certain parallels, as he saw them, between Nazi Germany's war against the Jews and American progressives' war on the "one percent." For comparing two such historically disparate societies, Mr. Perkins was promptly and heatedly denounced.
Would Kleiner Perkins' Perkins' attempt to play the Kristallnacht Kard have gone over better if he weren't a Norwegian-American? He seems to think so, and quickly argued that his late Jewish partner Eugene Kleiner would have agreed with him and he was motivated by white knight feelings toward his ex-wife Danielle Steele in her battle with San Francisco's bureaucracy.
But is there something to be said for his comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity's most successful and least understood political movement. ...
The parallel that Tom Perkins drew in his letter was especially irksome to his respondents on the left, many of whom are supporters of President Obama's sallies against Wall Street and the "one percent." These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today's leading historian of anti-Semitism. His "From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel" (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today's anti-Israel movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
... My point is broader: Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process. Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively—against rather than for—enjoys an inherent advantage in politics, mobilizing unappeasable energies that never have to default on their announced goal of cleansing the body politic of its alleged poisons.
In this respect, one might think of anti-Semitism as the purest and most murderous example of an enduring political archetype: the negative campaign. That campaign has its international as well as its domestic front. Modern anti-Zionism, itself a patented invention of Soviet Communism and now the lingua franca of the international left, uses Israel just as anti-Semitism uses Jews, directing grievance and blame and eliminationist zeal against an entire collectivity that has flourished on the world scene thanks to the blessings of freedom and opportunity.
Herein lies a deeper structural connection. On the global front today, the much larger and more obvious beneficiary of those same blessings is the democratic capitalist system of the United States, and the ultimate target of the ultimate negative campaign is the American people. Anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of such a campaign will find much food for thought in Mr. Perkins's parallel.
Ms. Wisse, a [actually, The Martin Peretz] professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of "Jews and Power" (Schocken, 2007) and "No Joke: Making Jewish Humor" (Princeton, 2013).
Dr. Wisse was one of Larry Summers' few outspoken defenders at Harvard after his 2005 "gaffe" about women mathematicians.