What in the world: Comparing progressives to Nazis and free speech in the UK

  • 27 January 2014
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A protester draws "tax Wall Street" on a New York sidewalk using chalk during September 13, 2013, demonstrations
But did the Nazis have chalk artists?

A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

At the weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor by multibillionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins in which he contends that the Occupy Wall Street movement and other progressive causes critical of the "1%" are like World War II-era Nazis.

"This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking," he writes. "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?"

Although just a few paragraphs long, the letter has generated a significant response from the left, as some contend that the incident has larger symbolism.

Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall writes that while Mr Perkins's views are "extreme and preposterous", they reflect the feeling of many of the wealthiest Americans.

"The extremely wealthy are objectively far wealthier, far more politically powerful and find a far more indulgent political class than at any time in almost a century - at least," he writes. "And yet at the same time they palpably feel more isolated, abused and powerless than at any time over the same period and sense some genuine peril to the whole mix of privileges, power and wealth they hold."

The rich are detached from everyday Americans, writes the New York Times's Paul Krugman, and they haven't been able to move past President Obama's re-election in 2012.

"Normal people take it in stride; even if they're angry and bitter over political setbacks, they don't cry persecution, compare their critics to Nazis and insist that the world revolves around their hurt feelings," he writes. "But the rich are different from you and me."

Mr Perkins is not backing down, however. "In the Nazi area it was racial demonization, now it is class demonization," he writes in an email to Bloomberg News for a Monday article on the brewing controversy.

Global Warming

With science settled, a battle over market share - Bloomberg View's Barry Ritholtz writes that corporations are coming to grips with the reality of global warming and trying to figure out how to survive and profit from the changes.

Ukraine

The rise of the right wing - The battle between protesters and Ukrainian police is creating an opening for right-wing groups in Ukraine, writes Der Speigel's Benjamin Bidder, Christian Neef, Vladimir Pylyov and Matthias Schepp. The result could be civil war.

Guatemala

Stranded Orphans - The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady criticises Unicef for a policy that she says abandons Guatemelan children in orphanages instead of allowing them to be adopted by Americans.

United Kingdom

Free speech in peril - According to Tom Rogan in the National Review, the controversy over Liberal Democratic candidate Maajid Nawaz's tweeting of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad means "British people must decide what they value more: a society that protects free speech as a bedrock principle or a society in which free speech is further imprisoned by fear".

France

Politics, US style - First it was fast food, and now it's sex scandals. Louise Branson writes that France is becoming more and more like the US.

Tanzania

No job security for big-wigs - Amby Lusekelo writes in the Daily News that the high turnover in Tanzania's government is keeping power from going to the heads of the nation's leaders.

Israel

Scarlett Johansson v Oxfam - By becoming the public face of the Israeli company SodaStream, writes Tikkun's David Harris-Gersho, actress Scartlett Johansson has found herself embroiled in a controversy over Israeli settlements and the relief agency Oxfam.

BBC Monitoring's quote of the day

The Geneva II Syria peace conference: "The Syrian government delegation to Geneva II has not gone to the conference to hand over power to those who have been conspiring against the people for the past three years... The official delegation went to Geneva II to represent the aspirations of the Syrian people. The other side must realize that speaking in a US-Israeli-Saudi tone and threatening that terrorist crimes will continue will never achieve democracy or fulfil the interest of the people." - editorial in Tishrin (the official Syrian newspaper)

One more thing

The Chinese obsession with French wines - The Chinese are snapping up French wines and even French wineries, but that shouldn't be a concern, writes Bordeaux International Wine Institute graduate student Wilson T VornDick. The influx of Chinese money and the export of French winemaking expertise to China will help both countries. (the BBC's Celia Hatton offers an interesting look at the development of the Chinese wines from cough-syrup bad to actually pretty good.)

Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.