Well, not in so many words. But if you’re going to have a meltdown over Tom Perkins, the co-founder of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers, asking if a “Progressive Kristallnacht [is] Coming?”, then by implication, you’re also condemning the Godwin-violating headline of Al Gore’s 1989 New York Times op-ed, titled “An Ecological Kristallnacht.” Gore’s column posited that such a catastrophe was “an immediate and grave danger” that could only be thwarted if we all “quickly and profoundly change the course of our civilization.” His then-recent history as a pro-life centrist Democrat in the 1980s was immediately forgotten, and his reputation as an environmentalist genius — the Goracle! — was immediately born. Three years later, he would be Bill Clinton’s vice-president. More recently, he signaled that this phase of his career had been concluded and that radical environmentalism itself was now passé, by selling out to big oil.
In contrast, Matthew Yglesias’ response yesterday to Perkins’ similar rhetoric regarding a possible denouement to the left’s rapidly-escalating class hatred is brusque: “Tom Kleiner is nuts,” he writes in the metatag and URL of his blog at Slate. Yglesias adds that “it certainly proves that you can get rich without being very thoughtful, perceptive, or intelligent.”
Given that Yglesias was (is?) a self-admitted member of the JournoList, it seems rather short-sighted to tut-tut Perkins’ warning that he perceives “a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent,” when the JournoList, the self-described “non-official campaign” to elect Obama, hosted its own rising tide of hatred and calls for violence, as Jonathan Strong noted in the Daily Caller back in 2010, when he printed a 2008 email from Spencer Ackerman to his fellow members of that leftwing email list, then of the Washington Independent, now with the London Guardian:
I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.
And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.
Ackerman meant this “rhetorically,” but organized violence often begins as rhetoric before advancing to a more literal state. In a typically more thoughtful reply to Perkins’ rhetoric, Neo-Neocon writes, “It is the fate of Cassandra to prophecy and not be believed”:
The hard left just pretends not to believe; the liberals for the most part are naive about what the hard left is capable of, and what the liberal role is in the drama.
Does this mean Kristallnacht and then the camps are coming? I happen to think what’s happening today will take a different form, a form it is already showing: continuing legal persecution and rhetorical demonization of those who dare to question the liberal line, minus the death camps and the rest. But I also believe that, if killing people ends up being necessary for some reason, the hard left here would have absolutely no hesitation in doing so. I just think, as I’ve written before, that this movement in the US has the earmarks of Chavez more than Hitler or Stalin. That could change.
In the meantime, perhaps Yglesias is just kidding when he attacks Perkins. As with many utterances by the MSM, who can say?
Incidentally, the notion of Occupy Wall Street as a historically brutal leftwing German dictatorship? I just can’t see it myself.