This is not exactly a post I wanted to write. I watched a general reaction to Tom Perkins, however, and felt a serious gap emerging in the news. I started to wonder who would respond with a detailed take-down of his letter.
Tom Perkins is obviously wrong to compare himself to Jews persecuted under Nazi rule. He obviously is wrong to characterize Kristallnacht as an event where a poor majority persecuted a prosperous minority. How can he be so misinformed? Then again, I have not seen anyone offering us specific details or explaining why his wrongs are so obvious.
Typical Mistake of the 1%?
Some have bothered to compare him to the many other rich Americans who depict their critics as Nazis.
Tom Perkins’ letter to the editor is not, as the enraged commentary around it implies, some isolated or anomalous incident. Rather, it is a fairly standard example of a pervasive system of propaganda attempting to paint the world’s wealthiest oligarchs as victims.
Perkins is trying to convince us his great power and influence has made him a victim of persecution. Odd.
Consider for a minute how Perkins explained the hundreds of millions he spent on a luxury yacht for himself.
“I could give you some technical reasons why it really has got to be big to work right,” he said. “But I just wanted the biggest boat.” He added: “Do I have an ego? Yes. Is it big? Yes.” […] Mr. Perkins says it didn’t cost $300 million, but he declined to give a number, beyond saying “I’m embarrased about how much it cost. There’s the homeless and charity and a lot of things you can do with that money that would improve the world.”
I read this as, “I could improve the world with my mountains of money. I am not. Instead I do what I want, when I want and how I want.” Does this sound like a victim to you? Perhaps this cartoon explains it best:
Chairs Must be Elephants Because Both Have Legs
Kristallnacht victims were NOT victims because they were a numeric minority.
Population size is a horribly inaccurate and misleading way to describe the Nazi tragedy. Perkins, nonetheless, tries to pretend that because Jews were 1% of the population and because he is one the richest 1% of America, therefore he must be like a Jew in Nazi Germany.
Perkins’ misrepresentation of Kristallnacht is not only obviously stupid, it actually turns out to be completely backwards. Victims of the Nazis were those who had no power to defend themselves; those who lacked representation and had no options.
The Nazis, however, were 1% of the population with immense power…
Abraham Lincoln once said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Perkins is in the driver seat with the amount of power he wields. He is the opposite of an un-emancipated and un-represented victim of a powerful and violent authority. He can go anywhere at any time.
Even if mobs wanted to harm him there are many ways he can have others stop those mobs on his behalf. He probably has a lot of insurance. You know who was prevented from collecting their insurance? Jews who had everything destroyed by Kristallnacht saw all of their insurance money stolen by the powerful Nazis who just destroyed everything.
Perhaps some basic review of events with clear analysis will convince him to stop comparing himself (in his powerful luxury position) to those violently attacked and actually denied the most basic human rights.
If Not Me, Then Who?
Not sure I am the person to take on this job. Some of my reason for not wanting to write this post is related to the risk of having to explain myself and my bias as well as perspectives. I realize personal details are the sort of thing people like to read about. It probably makes my story meaningful or more relevant than the average response.
Perkins revealed some personal details such as “some of my family are poor” and “some of my best friends are Jewish” to defend his ideas. I’ll try to avoid that annoyingly illogical kind of statement. Never mind his friends and family, his arguments are bogus. Same for me, I would rather the facts stand on their own, regardless of who I am or who I know.
Nonetheless, in terms of full disclosure and because I know people will ask anyway here are some key points.
My family also suffered directly, extensively and horribly under Nazi rule (also mentioned briefly before) despite having lived in Germany for nearly 500 years and being decorated in WWI as soldiers and working many, many generations as rural agrarians (anti-Semitic propaganda accused Jews of being too lazy to fight or work the land).
I have spent more than 30 years, including the time I spent earning a postgraduate history degree from LSE, studying details of my own family story as well as trying to make sense of the wider tragedy.
Through the years I have had access to many first-person accounts and original documents. Relatives told me in great detail about their life before, during and after Nazi rule. If you want to hear the horrible and harrowing experiences of 1930s life-and-death OPSEC, let me know. I have many, many stories heard directly from the people who experienced Nazi terror.
I also hitch-hiked my way through Germany and listened carefully to stories of strangers. I have met face-to-face with survivors in America, Germany, Czech Republic, England, Israel, France, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. And when I say survivors I mean from all sides of the conflict.
A lot of what I studied also has happened more recently. Unlike Perkins’ speculation about a rise of present-day Nazism, I have spoken with actual neo-Nazis. I ended up trapped one frigid winter night in an old unheated train car with drunken Bulgarians, for example, as they jovially discussed the importance to the world economy of killing Jews — removing the Jew-tax, as they called it.
In the 1990s my house was trashed by neo-Nazi groups who drew swastikas, left scrawled notes with death threats and tried to light everything on fire (stupidly and unsuccessfully). And even very recently in San Francisco a neighbor told me she was adopted by a neo-Nazi family in Sacramento that had sent her to the city to make money to support their “operations” after several members ended up in jail.
Perhaps I’m prone to looking into shadows of risk more than others, or perhaps shadows cast over all of us naturally and I just choose to stick around and understand instead of heading for the light immediately. Curiosity is dangerous yet insightful. Either way, I have accumulated a significant amount of first-hand stories as well as my own experiences with Nazis in the past and the present.
So that’s me. Hopefully the points below stand on their own, but now you know more about who is making them.
Here We Go
As I said earlier, I had hoped a debunking of Tom Perkins’ idiotic letter should already have been done somewhere by someone. I have not seen it. Rather than just say “what an fool” or “how dare he” I want to see some historic accuracy showing how he invoked Kristallnacht incorrectly.
I will take his letter step-by-step, although not necessarily in order, to write my response.
Error 1: Kristallnacht was unthinkable, and progressives are like Nazis
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
Who believes Kristallnacht unthinkable in 1930? That is completely false. Not only was this type of event thought of prior to 1930, it was publicly discussed and described for at least 40 years prior in government and even taught to children in a song/poem released in 1923.
Can we call today’s “progressive” radicalism a descendant of Nazi violence? Completely backwards. Progressives then, like today, were pushing for change and more representation. Conservative radicals are more likely a descendant of Kristallnacht; taking action to halt change and to force exclusion.
Consider that short periods of success by the Progressive party in Germany, along with Social Democrats, meant a Kristallnacht-like event was delayed. Progressive gains in government actually may have delayed Kristallnacht by 15 years (e.g. Hitler was jailed in 1923).
Of course the Nazis tried to appropriate terms like “progressive” for themselves to win support in their rise to power but today it is obvious their words were never to be taken at face value and require further research before believing.
And finally, why does Perkins call out 1930? It’s a strange and unexplained year. I am not sure how this year was chosen for his letter. Perhaps he thinks everything in Germany was rainbows and unicorns for Jews before 1930?
Germany’s Dangerous Drift
Here’s what I would offer you instead as a more accurate depiction of actual events. Take a look at this simple timeline of a “very dangerous drift” in Germany and see if you would agree that Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930 or that today’s Progressive radicals could in some way descend from it:
- 1890, Antisemitische Volkspartei calls for “repeal of Jewish emancipation” and “placing Jews under alien legislation”; runs a successful campaign called “Liberate yourself from the Jewish middlemen!”
- 1892, Conservative party tries to emulate the AV campaign success and demands “Christian authority” in government and schools: “We fight the multifarious and obtrusive Jewish influence that decomposes our people’s life”
- 1894, Bund der Landwirte, led by a few big landowners, declares itself “opponent of Jewry, which has become altogether too mighty in our country and has acquired a decisive say in the press, in trade, and on the exchanges”
- 1895, Bund der Landwirte advocates boycotting Jewish stores, banning relations between Germans and Jews and the expulsion of all Jews from Germany
- 1895, Reichstag anti-Semitic speech calls upon Germany to “exterminate those beasts of prey”
- 1900, “tens of thousands of anti-Semitic pamphlets are sent free to all officials of the state and members of the upper ten thousand” (elites who run the government)
- 1911, Germany tries to maintain influence in Morocco. Negotiations fail with France sending stock market down 30% in one day and aligning France with UK against German expansionism
- 1912, Progressive and Social Democrat parties win a majority of Reichstag seats, reducing Political anti-Semitism
- 1914, WWI starts, Jews included in calls of nationalism and “brotherhood”
- 1916, WWI loss imminent, anti-Semitic propaganda explodes. Jews blamed for war loss
- 1918, WWI lost, Versailles treaty and proclamation of a German republic
- 1918, Far-right Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP), successor to Bund der Landwirte, founded with intent to destroy the republic
- 1920, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Nazi Party) issues 25-point program defining “Volk” as German blood – no Jew can be a citizen of Germany
- 1920, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sells 120,000 copies translated into German
- 1920, A commonplace political slogan is Deutschland erwache, Juda verrecke! (Wake up Germany, Exterminate Jews!)
- 1921, 2/3 of votes in Berlin student elections go to anti-Semitic candidates (warning sign for general elections 4-8 years later)
- 1923, French occupation of the Ruhr. Similar to 1911, economic crisis results with rampant inflation. Reich government gives anti-tax and “end of passive resistance” speech against France. 800,000 votes go to the Nazi Party
- 1924, Economic and political stability return. Nazi Party loses followers. Hitler consolidates power to elite group – uses the lull in crisis and follower loss to exert power over all the other anti-republic parties through “legal revolution”.
- 1928, Hitler formally makes all large and loosely affiliated far-right groups report directly to him, controlled by strict command structure with armed and violent enforcement guard. Total Nazi party membership is only 1 million (1% of Germany)
- 1929, Stock market crash, Nazis campaign for control of the crisis by stoking fear of a Communist take-over. Rapid growth of anti-Semitic acts and propaganda
- 1930, German political system heated by radical groups trying to split votes; intellectual communism versus ultra-nationalism. 6.5 million vote for Nazi Party, which had promised an impossibly integrated and idyllic Volk (nationalist) community based on small-business rights and lowered taxes to vastly different and heterogeneous groups
- 1932, End of the republic, the last free vote. Despite heavy propaganda and violent threats still only 14 million vote (37%) for Nazi Party
- 1933, Dictatorial emergency power taken by Hitler. Nazi Party promises made to voters from 1928-1933 are are reneged
- 1934, Hitler purges the Army to eliminate chance of armed resistance and legalizes violent control by an elite few over the many with a brief new law “…attacks are justifiable acts of self-defense by the state”
- 1938, Kristallnacht, 1,000 places of public worship completely destroyed (in Vienna alone more than 90 Synagogues were burned; later taken over for redevelopment by wealthy investors to be private apartments)
Hopefully it is clear why Perkins is not only wrong about the facts, he is backwards in his analysis of victimization.
The anti-Semitic mob violence of Kristallnacht in 1938 was not about a minority. The Jews could have been majority in number and still victimized. The risk of mob violence by Nazis went up over time but even more important was the fact that Jews lost all ability to defend or have rights to protect themselves.
Defense became non-existent as their identities were deleted (emancipation was revoked even for decorated war veterans and successful farmers) and replaced with one word: Jude. What they lacked was power to defend themselves; Perkins has no right to claim in 2014 as 1% of the wealthiest Americans he is being denied authority, denied identity, or denied the right to defend himself.
Violence against Jews easily was thinkable in 1898, yet Perkins is trying to claim no-one thought about repression of Jews in 1930?
What perhaps was not thinkable in 1930 was that a dictatorship and loss of representation, transfer of so much power to so very few, would happen so quickly.
Error 2: Nazis murdering Jews without accountability is a parallel to Americans criticizing the 1% wealthiest
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.”
Here’s a shocking fact. Who also was a 1% in 1930? The Nazis. Achieving more than 6 million votes in the 1930 election was a political coup given how small they were prior. Despite being a 1% minority however, they actively influenced all state and local governments and were on a path to transfer 100% of national power to 1% of the population 3 years later (when Hitler took dictatorial power).
Given widespread Nazi mob violence against Jews was thinkable in 1930, was anyone leaving prior to 1938? Actually, yes! About 50% of the German Jewish population, hundreds of thousands, left the country from 1928 to 1938.
Despite a few years of progress and signs of tolerance in government (shift during short periods immediately following the foreign policy and economic crises of 1911 and 1923) the run up to 1930 was a terrible time for Jews.
I have a poster of the Hitler Jugend from January 1929 that says “Sturm! Sturm! Läutet die Glocken von Turm zu Turm“, which was a Nazi propaganda poem (from 1923) that advocated extreme violence against Jews (as well as anyone else who believed in a republic democracy or representative government).
In other words, a poem from 1923 was taught to German youth with a call for a Kristallnacht-like event. Note the specific words of this line:
Läutet, daß blutig die Seile sich röten,
Rings lauter Brennen und Martern und Töten
(Ringing, until ropes run red with blood,
Ring louder with burning, torture and murder)
Do not forget that teachers had been directed since 1892 by far-right parties in government to have a “Christian Authority” preside over school to ensure proper lessons, which by the 1920s meant anti-Semitic ones.
By the 1930s the schools shifted from some general far-right anti-republic lessons to a decidedly pro-Nazi agenda. Here is an actual sampling of books compiled by a 1934 German teacher’s association as a guide for the core of school libraries:
- Grades 1-4: Hitler as No One Knows Him
- Grades 5-7: The Hitler Book of the German Youth
- Grades 5-7: Steel Cross on the Ruhr
- Grades 5-7: Youth Gathered About Hitler
Grades 8 and above are even worse titles.
I would therefore like to return for a moment to the question of people thinking about a Kristallnacht in 1930:
When the market crashed and the economy tumbled in 1929 the Nazi party actually was well-financed, violent and extremely powerful as small splinter group leading an entire anti-republic movement. The 1% in power in 1930 had been on a path to seize control for many years before the 1929 market crash. 1930 was arguably the third major attempt to put violent anti-Semitic Germans in control of the country; following attempts that failed to capitalize on economic disasters in 1911 and 1923.
The third attempt was so successful that by 1933 Hitler’s SA and SS were regularly invading apartments, offices and stores of Jews, arresting Jewish professionals, physically torturing them and then forcing everyone to sign lies that they had been treated well.
How could Nazis get away with this surge in violence after 1929? Again, the issue was related to disproportionate power held in very few hands. It also was related to the ability to avoid responsibility and block interference with actions.
Hitler argued his small Nazi Party was just a dispatch system, a meta-organization that helped direct the larger numbers in violent mobs to their destination. I leave it to you to figure out who often uses this type of logic today.
Since Nazis were a powerful minority oppressing many segments of the general public, including Jews, I really hope Perkins issues an apology. I hope he sees himself not as a numeric minority, but rather in terms of his amassed power, influence and his ease of avoiding accountability.
Who can build a boat of any size, for any reason, in any way, shape or form that he sees fit and for any cost? A German Jew in 1930, let alone 1938, would have no such opportunity. Perkins already has proven he has no obstacles, not even guilt.
Majority and Minority
The German republic was dissolved under Nazi rule using a premise of protection from Communists/Democrats/Foreigners/Jews. Yet the Nazi Party still held less than 40% of votes.
Technically we can say Hitler led a minority party to forcefully take over control of an entire country. Deception and force was needed precisely because he knew true representative majority was impossible. Hitler hated representation and wanted to do whatever he wanted without having to answer for it. He played upon false fear and false victimization to consolidate more power than normally the Nazis could have achieved — dictatorship is, by definition, a numeric minority holding majority power.
A 1933 boycott gives another interesting example of how Perkins is backwards in his view. It shows how far-right anti-Semitic campaigns of the 1920 were a reality of daily life in the early 1930s, yet still did not reflect a majority view:
Hitler claimed Germany was a victim of Jewish economic aggression and so in 1933 called for a boycott of all Jewish businesses. The plan failed to interest a German majority, as the American consul in Leipzig noted: “In fairness to the German people, it must be said that the boycott was unpopular with the working classes and with the educated sections of the middle classes”.
This surely had an impact on Nazi strategy; lack of voluntary control over remaining large segments of the population meant forced violent control by the 1% was necessary to get the majority to follow their orders.
So a minority group wielded a disproportionate amount of power to their actual size. Given Perkins’ position I feel that I have to emphasize this and make it abundantly clear. Simplifying Nazi politics down to a minority/majority headcount is ridiculous; historic examples completely backfire on Perkins when you look at facts.
The 1% today have far more in common with 1930 anti-republic far-right radicals claiming themselves victims than they do with the actual 1938 victims — people stripped of their citizenship and who saw their public and free places of worship burned to the ground.
Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht
Error 3: Hate for the 1% is because of success and it is rising
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 percent.
Perkins is trying to use the old line “don’t hate me because I’m successful”.
Counter-point: I just read a story in the SF Chronicle the other day with very nice things to say about Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, and all the great things he’s doing for the city. Rich, yes, successful, yes. Demonized, no. He’s well-liked and the papers give him lots of positive statements. My guess is that success is not demonized when it is linked to community involvement and concern for others. This is a complex problem, of course, but Perkins claiming to be a victim and hated because he is successful…well, that’s not why people hate Perkins.
It looks to me more like being an unapologetic egomaniac has a lot more to do with why people are demonized in the news.
Error 4: Google buses are just about successful workers going to work at successful companies
There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them.
I wonder if Perkins has ever ridden public transportation in SF. My point to Perkins here is just that regulatory protections are weakened by Google’s private buses; it is like the long-standing debate regarding rights in a mall versus streets. Free speech, for example. Gone. Privacy protections. Gone.
Waiting at a public bus-stop and having a Google bus roll-up and deny access to the public is not exactly a happy moment. Perhaps Perkins can’t relate because he is never denied anything he wants or needs?
The bigger issue is why Google refused to invest in a system that everyone can use and instead built a competing one to pull riders away and reduce investment. Why reduce ridership on public transportation, reduce contributions, and instead build a tightly-controlled private system? Perhaps like GM pushing buses onto Los Angeles and killing trolleys, it’s about the money that can be made once power and control over transportation options is amassed by an elite few who can’t be voted out?
Take the train to Mountain-view sometime and look at the transportation options. There are private buses from Apple, Microsoft, Google…waiting to take riders to offices only a few miles from each other. It’s monumentally stupid that tech companies can’t figure out how to build a public system than they contribute into and that is managed with representative governance. Why is only Cisco able to see this and use public-private partnerships to build lasting infrastructure?
Google initiatives are like someone building the Cliff House. Cisco initiatives are like someone building Golden Gate Park. When you can’t get to Golden Gate Park because someone builds Cliff Houses on it that deny you access…that’s where the outrage comes from.
Error 5: Real-estate prices are just about successful workers buying what they want
We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay.
Whoa, there. Even techno geeks can’t pay now.
The outrage is not just about rising real-estate prices. It’s about urbanization, transparency and distant unaccountable investors setting local agendas; it’s about power. Actually it gets quite confusing. Look at the polls on these issues and we have the lowest turnout in years. Recent documentation shows “those who did vote tended towards self-interest; ‘no’ votes on Proposition C were significantly higher by percentage in neighborhoods near the project site and with desirable views”.
Perhaps what is happening is that wealthy investors are trying to manipulate the real-estate market for personal gains. Anyone ever look into, for example, how banks could buy foreclosed properties at $300k, put them “on the market” yet immediately de-list them and then put them on the market for real at $1.2m a few weeks later? My guess is manipulating inventory is happening, selling at a loss to themselves and then at a profit to the street. There have been a whole lot of fishy behaviors that indicate a few very powerful people will push through loopholes for unsavory and unapologetic results. This manipulation and opaqueness is what tends to generate outrage.
Here’s an interesting example: a Florida developer raises millions to build a huge condo building and also to soak up all housing inventory in areas around a SF project to reprice everything at a level that will give x% profit in 2 years for the entire investment. Thus all properties within walking distance to a new development project suddenly go off market and jump from $900k asking to $1.3m paid by agents of an all-cash buyer. Then, surprise, units in the development are listed at a “market determined” $1.3m.
Even techno geeks have no chance in a market where home prices increase 40% over 3 months. When investors inject $300k-400k over asking price, buying a house is an outrageous experience. Realtors I have spoken with say they do not meet anymore with people actually buying the properties because the buyers do not even come to look at the properties before they buy them. Representatives of wealthy elite Chinese, Brazilian, Russian and Saudi investors are looking for assets to acquire for a 2-year profit. Without outrage and push-back, they will push SF in whatever direction suits a singular objective of short-term returns on investment rather than what would make it worth living here longer.
Error 6: No one should be allowed to criticize Perkins’ ex-wife because she is very famous and the local homeless and mentally ill have been given a lot of her money
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.
What does he mean “our” celebrity? In terms of himself and his family? Does anyone else agree Steel is “our” number-one? More popular than someone like Steve Jobs? Or Bruce Lee? Clint Eastwood? Or even Benioff or Ellison? Perkins must realize his ex-wife isn’t number-one to the general public because he actually prefaces her name with the author.
When a celebrity is number one, they come without preface: Bruce Lee.
And “snob” can’t really be a source of his outrage. Who in their right mind conflates bring called “snob” to 150 years of anti-Semitism in Germany, or to Nazis attacking, torturing and killing Jews? There must be something else. Terrible example on Perkins’ part.
Errors Upon Errors
Perkins follow-up explanation “I don’t regret the message” also is bad.
“Jews were only one percent of German population, yet Hitler was able to demonize the Jews.”
Yet? Is it hard to demonize something that is only 1%? That is logically and historically wrong. Hitler found it easy to demonize the Jews and it had nothing to do with their numbers. He also demonized Communists, Socialists, Gays, Catholics…he demonized basically anyone of any size population. And the more power he consolidated into his tiny elite fascist cabal, the more he could demonize with impunity.
Furthermore, look at towns like Krakow, Poland or Miskolc, Hungary where Jews were demonized, yet they were 30% of the population.
“It’s absurd to demonize the rich for doing what the rich do and getting richer by creating opportunities for others.”
Because that is ALL that the rich do with their money, create opportunities? The rich never get richer by reducing opportunities for others? This is really just sad. Perkins does not seem to realize that “doing what the rich do” part actually includes doing some very unsavory things to others. Creating opportunities for others is not what people are demonizing. Again, look at the Benioff example.
I also offer you for consideration that when the Nazis originally laid out their plans for concentration camps they described them as making Germans richer by creating opportunities for others. Too extreme an example? It is a fact. Perkins’ argument parallels Nazi propaganda. It is not enough for anyone, rich or poor, to give only platitudes about creating opportunities and expect to avoid criticism.
“I think the solution is less interference, lower taxes, let the rich do what the rich do.”
Do you know who else talked about a “solution” with less interference and lower taxes? I already have pointed out that the Nazis often lied and made false promises. They manipulated people. With that in mind, however, I have to point out their platform clearly stated in the 1930 Volkisher Beobachter (Nazi party newspaper) they hated taxes: “Those who speak of new taxes should first free the administration of those parasites…. The National Socialist movement will, through its victory, seek to guarantee the utmost protection for the individual German even in economic matters…any further tax increase represents a small-scale criminal act.”
Here is an example of what Perkins must really mean by doing what the rich do: show indignation even when convicted for manslaughter. “I was arrested and tried in a foreign court in a language you don’t understand, by judges indifferent – or worse – to justice, represented by an inappropriate lawyer with the negative outcome preordained.”
Perkins killed an innocent man and then portrayed himself as victim? Killing someone innocent shows HE was indifferent to justice. Sailing his yacht in foreign waters meant HE was the one speaking a language that could not be understood.
If he did not want to be tried for murder, perhaps he should not have killed someone innocent? And if he did not want to be tried in French court, perhaps he should not have killed someone in France?
Does Perkins realize how similar his arguments sound to the propaganda used on the path to a German dictatorship? Less interference is exactly the wrong advice if anyone wants to stop the accumulation of power by a dangerous elite that refuses responsibility for harmful actions and plays victim while in a position of power. Perkins asks for less interference. It is a fundamental question of trust.
Perkins need to think hard about why so many people let Hitler do whatever he wanted to do, and whether they should have done something else.