The Wall Street Journal, which combines some of the world's finest news reporting with an opinion section run by C. Montgomery Burns, continues to steadily whip a dead horse by the name of "Progressives Are Like Hitler."
To recap the Very Recent History of the Wall Street Journal's engagement with the "Class War Is Like the Holocaust" meme, a brief recap:
1. On January 24, the WSJ publishes a letter to the editor from wealthy venture capitalist Tom Perkins in which Perkins bleats, "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.'"
2. The sane portions of America have a good laugh at this crazy old coot. (He is not targeted for genocide, however.)
3. The WSJ's opinion section editors, upset with the scorn heaped upon this offensively out-of-touch zillionaire, run their own editorial in support of Perkins, using his lunatic rants as a jumping off point for their own set of complaints about the mythical tyranny of The Left. "Maybe the critics are afraid that Mr. Perkins is onto something about the left's political method," they suggested. Maybe!
4.That was not enough of this topic. The discourse must continue! Today, the WSJ publishes an op-ed by Harvard professor of "Yiddish and comparative literature" Ruth Wisse, in which she argues that—surprise—Tom Perkins really was onto something with his "Occupy Wall Street Is Like the Brownshirts" screed.
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. It was Marx who said, "The bill of exchange is the Jew's actual god," putting a Jewish face on capitalism and accusing both Judaism and capitalism of converting man and nature into "alienable and saleable objects."
Herein lies one structural connection between a politics of blame directed specifically at Jews and a politics of grievance directed against "the rich." The ranks of those harping on "unfairly" high earners include figures in American political life at all levels who have been entrusted with the care of our open society; in channeling blame for today's deep-rooted and seemingly intractable problems toward the beneficiaries of that society's competitive freedoms, they are playing with fire.
In case you didn't get that argument, it went: People who thought that Tom Perkins' letter was not reasonable—>Obama supporters—> leftists—>socialists—>Karl Marx—>anti-Semitic Communists—>anyone "channeling blame" towards the rich for today's problems.
Of course. Why would anyone blame the people who own all the wealth and control all the resources and guide our political and economic systems for things that happen in our society? That's just not fair.
Harvard graduates are invited to jump in and explain the merits of Prof. Wisse's arguments in the comment section below. The rest of you, go back to Germany.