Last Friday, Harvard Business School (HBS) MBA and legendary venture capital investor Tom Perkins, of the partially eponymously named Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal that has caused quite a stir—likely bringing additional negative sentiment to the very group he was trying to defend—the 1%. In his letter, Perkins attempted to “call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany [and] its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’” Perkins directly links the perpetrators of Kristallnacht to a “descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism,” making a rather incredible leap in logic by likening progressive taxation of the wealthiest Americans to Jewish persecution and genocide under the Third Reich.
Kleiner Perkins has distanced itself from the remarks, Tweeting on Saturday: “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.” Slate also offered an apt retort, stating that Perkins’s letter “certainly proves you can get rich without being very thoughtful, perceptive, or intelligent.” History is not a subject typically emphasized in the MBA curriculum, but that does not explain how Perkins muddled through all those HBS case studies without at least retaining some critical thinking skills. That said, Perkins graduated from HBS in 1957, so we can safely assume that few classes were offered in media training in those days.