Over the weekend, billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins caused controversy when he said that the way activists and progressives in San Francisco are starting to treat the super rich reminds him of how the Nazis treated the Jews.
His comments were met with near-universal scorn.
However, famed venture capitalist Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, tells us that Perkins is a “brilliant” man, who has identified a real problem — “schadenfreude, something that continues to be a thorn in humanity’s side.”
“The bitter taste of envy brings us all down,” says Draper. Draper’s full quote is below.
Draper is a very successful venture capitalist, perhaps best known for his firm’s investments in Hotmail and Chinese search engine Baidu. Lately, he’s become an activist for better government in California.
Writing from the epicentre of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one per cent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one per cent, 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 per cent. 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?
This letter upset lots of people, including those who work at the venture capital firm that bears Perkins’s name, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
In a tweet, KPCB said: “Tom Perkins has not been involved in KPCB in years. We were shocked by his views expressed today in the WSJ and do not agree.”
After the news broke, we emailed Draper to draw his attention to Perkins’s comment and the subsequent fallout.
Here is what Draper said to us, in full:
On Tom Perkins, he is a brilliant man, and he is identifying schadenfreude, something that continues to be a thorn in humanity’s side. The bitter taste of envy brings us all down. I like to celebrate the wealth and success of great heroes like Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Larry Ellison. I think it makes us all better to strive to be better and brighter. … and I like a good bus. If our government focused on providing the kind of service to its constituents that Google provides its employees, I wouldn’t have to initiate SixCalifornias.info.
Draper is referring to his plan to split California into six states — states that he believes would be run by governments that are more responsive to the local needs of their citizens. We’re posting a video on that plan later today.
Draper came into the Business Insider news room a couple weeks ago, and we asked him about the backlash against Silicon Valley wealth. We asked him: Why do people hate Silicon Valley?
Here’s what he said:
Produced by Matt Johnston