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 BlogviewPaul Gottfried Archive

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The Old Right makes new alliances
The Spring 1986 issue of the Intercollegiate Review included a symposium on the state of conservatism. The seven participants, all of them self-identified Old Conservatives, expressed disapproval over the recent drift of the American intellectual Right. Amid complaints about the general spiritual decline of the modern era was the more specific criticism that the postwar... Read More
Tom Woods has provided a vivid picture of the ideological hysteria that has gripped Harvard University. In "Memories of Harvard" he elaborates on how that institution celebrates Angela Davis and other Stalinists while treating self-identified conservatives (even low-octane ones like Scoop Jackson-Democrat Harvey Mansfield) as outcasts. Allow me though to make one critical observation regarding... Read More
On all side of contemporary political debate, one key shibboleth is both widely conceded and little examined: that we now decisively have entered a post-liberal phase of American political life. This belief, like all ideological maxims, gets wide assent because of the interests it advances and the ways it serves to strategically narrow debate. But... Read More
Commenting on Fox News Network on Aug. 8 about the selection of Sen. Joseph Lieberman as Democratic vice-presidential candidate, self-described liberal activist Ellen Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Studies described the Connecticut lawmaker as "my very favorite rightist." The interviewer, Sean Hannity, smiled at this praise with obvious pleasure, for though an embattled Republican... Read More
On September 23, we are told about a sign of change that the New York Times obviously approves of. The editors of the Loeb Greek and Latin classics (published at Harvard) are now offering translations of ancient authors that do justice to their homoerotic interests. Though the account makes it appear that the new enlightened... Read More
Having considered Lew Rockwell's probing comments on the waning Buchanan campaign, it seems that one further point might be noted. In addition to all the other factors weighing against Buchanan's candidacy, he is now undergoing cooptation by another protectionist and pro-labor candidate, Ralph Nader. This observation seems self-evident even if William Safire also made it... Read More
In the New York Post (November 9) John Podhoretz offers thoughtful observations about the dwindling American conservative presence as reflected in this year's elections. There is no reasonable way, notes Podhoretz, to read the election returns in the presidential race or in many of the congressional races except as a net plus for the liberal... Read More
It is time to ask whether a Republican president would actually benefit the Right. By the Right I mean those who view with anxiety or displeasure the growth of a highly centralized American welfare state, which, among its other tasks, has been used to reform social attitudes. Whether one dislikes this development for constitutional or... Read More
Lovely Linda - RIP! by Scott McConnell Chavez: The End! by Scott McConnell Carol Iannone Rebukes Paleocon Schadenfreude Sam Francis Rebukes Iannone's Rebuke… While the movement conservative press has played up Linda Chavez's opposition to affirmative action as the reason for the expected congressional Democratic protests against her nomination as Secretary of Labor, there is... Read More
While the movement conservative press has played up her opposition to affirmative action as the reason for Democratic protests against Linda Chavez as Secretary of Labor, there is now a further reason to oppose her confirmation. This weekend the Washington Post revealed that Chavez had a Guatemalan illegal immigrant residing at her home in the... Read More
[Some readers took marked exception to Scott McConnell's suggestion that America's current immigration impasse is partly due to Jewish immigration enthusiasm. But hey, VDARE is an Equal Opportunity ethnic slurrer. Now it's the Protestants' turn.] A major reason Republicans continue to jabber about outreach, and are paralyzed in the face of America's developing immigration disaster,... Read More
A common criticism of multiculturalism is that it aims at "the disuniting of America." In his 1992 book by that title historian Arthur Schlesinger, who has also celebrated the liberal Democratic achievements of FDR and the Kennedy family, bemoans the descent of Americans into a collection of hyphenated minorities. Instead of upholding our shared political... Read More
See also: Paul Gottfried on America's National Question Problem: Decaying Protestantism Allow me to address the key points raised by those who commented on my remarks concerning the relation between liberal Protestantism and the politics of guilt. My critics observed that I had not stressed sufficiently the differences between Evangelicals and mainline Protestants. While liberal... Read More
Although it is always good to see attacks on feminism, the remarks against "radical feminists" published by Kenneth Minogue in the New Criterion raise more questions than they answer. Is there, for example, a clear historical and conceptual demarcation, as Minogue seems to think, between the recent unpleasant forms of feminism and the stages of... Read More
In the latest issue of National Review, the usually sound John Derbyshire goes off the deep end in defending a double standard for the US and China in the matter of surveillance operations (aka spying). According to Derbyshire, whose rhetoric is reproduced with tremulous flattery in WFB's otherwise predictably unreadable column of April 18, it... Read More
The neocons are at it again, riding the hobbyhorses of the pc Left by calling for government action against Nazi-sounding abuses of internet freedom. In the Murdoch-owned and neocon-controlled New York Post (April 25), several pages of photographs, featuring white-power rap-singers, and frenetic commentary about "rabid, racist filth that passes for melody" are used to... Read More
A key point that my polemic on the neocons and free speech failed to make is that the issues being discussed go back a long way. Already in the seventies the Straussian wing of the neocon persuasion was expressing the judgment that the First Amendment only serves to protect "good" speech. Walter Berns, of Georgetown... Read More
A response by David Horowitz to David B. Mazel of North Adams State College in Colorado, who has investigated "conservative academic intolerance," may raise even more questions than Mazel's research. Bothered by Horowitz's recent demonstration that major universities are so politically correct that they would not put into student newspapers a paid advertisement for an... Read More
The remarks published on this website about David Horowitz aroused considerable comment, and it may be appropriate to respond to two of the recurrent censures that kept turning up on my email. Some readers felt that I was too harsh on a figure who has gone well beyond the neoconservatives, with whom he is generally... Read More
National Review Online humorist Jonah Goldberg has mysteriously emerged as an Establishment "Conservative" commissar, mainly concerned with purging the pesky (and distinctly unimpressed)paleolibertarians). Here Paul Gottfried ponders the broader significance of Goldbergism for immigration reform and the National Question. More by Paul Gottfried: The Enemy Of Multiculturalism Is Not Necessarily Our Friend… America's National Question... Read More
As someone who in a few months will be approaching his sixtieth birthday and has written entire volumes on conservative movements, I find it amusing to be described in a note sent by National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg to one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, as a "paleoconservative nativist." Save for the application... Read More
Reading the exchange between Harry Jaffa and Joe Sobran and the incisive commentary by David Gordon brought home the specifically Straussian silliness of Jaffa's portrait of Lincoln. Aside from the constitutional questions raised in this debate, there is a persistent methodological problem with Jaffa's argument, which should raise the hackles of a serious historian. Why,... Read More
Goldbergism – The Lowest (Terminal) Stage of Conservatism, by Paul Gottfried A by-now common comparison that began to be made in the eighties is between the fate of the pre-World War Two Right and that of the current paleos. For neocons and the conservative establishment they have taken over, it is comforting to think that... Read More
Having elicited numerous responses to my latest comments on this website, and particularly from self-described libertarians, it may be appropriate to list the main objections and then, to address them. There was only one passage in my remarks dealing with Third World immigration. But respondents criticized my views on this subject—which they associate with Peter... Read More
"Be sure Norman and Midge are on your side!" was the sage advice that I received from an Israeli columnist at the Washington Times when I went to work in 1987 as senior editor at a sister publication The World and I. The friend (recently deceased) who furnished the advice was correct, as shown by... Read More
*All Used Up
Things are happening in Italy. I've just seen published a commentaryby longtime leftwing activist Ida Magli, published in the Milanese daily Il Giornale, that seeks to address a "phenomenon" that Italian intellectuals and journalists have tried to ignore. Magli begins: the real concrete fact that every body occupies space. A territory possesses a determined area.... Read More
[VDARE note: And now for something completely different…or, given the current global (excuse us) crusade against terrorism, perhaps not so different. Immigration reformers are often accused of being crypto-Nazis. As part of our campaign to rehabilitate the theory and practice of the nation-state, we here discuss an unknown thinker who actually was (albeit apparently unconvincingly)... Read More
In recent weeks leftist colleagues have accused me of being a fast ally of Paul Wolfowitz, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer. I've also been told that "rightwingers like you" are trying to dump Secretary-of-State Colin Powell and to replace him with a Zionist hawk. (Someone who should know better, Robert Novak, attributed this position to... Read More
Having received cartloads of responses to "The Dilemma of the Right," it may be useful to expound further on the views therein expressed. My attempt to underscore the marginalization of the genuine Right by bringing up the now respectable conservative movement's picture of Israel was not a veiled attack on Israel's right to exist. I... Read More
A commentary published by Daniel McCarthy on this website (January 7) made the perceptive point that what is now officially viewed as "conservatism" bears no resemblance to the historical right in the US or anywhere else. This bogus Right is not only in no way conservative, but has little connection to the nineteenth and early... Read More
What may seem an utterly baffling mystery is the thinking of Martin Peretz and of other neocons who are presently pulling out all stops to attack Christianity. At least some of this group wish to have their cake and to eat it at the same time: to incite American Christians against a Muslim danger to... Read More
Having now read Jonah Goldberg's latest venture into political philosophy ("Pat Buchanan Meets Al Sharpton" – occasioned by Buchanan's new book Death of the West), I remain astonished by how little he knows, even by comparison to my upper-level students. What he says about Joseph-Marie le Comte de Maistre is not only silly but is... Read More
Having received multiple responses to a controversial opinion about the Goldhagen-Peretz connection, allow me to offer these rejoinders to my critics. Contrary to the statements of one reader, I did not express any categorical rejection of taking military action against demonstrated terrorists. What I pointed out in my comments are the different positions that advocates... Read More
An Old Wife's Tale by Midge Decter New York: HarperCollins; 256pp., $26.00 An Old Wife's Tale is one of the least offensive but also one of the least instructive books I've ever tried to read. Neither its colloquial style, which resembles nothing so much as the chatter of elderly Jewish women taking the sun in... Read More
The publication of Pat Buchanan's latest book The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) has allowed some long-standing ideological divisions to surface. While much of the Old Right, together with black conservatives Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, heaped praise on Buchanan's work, liberal and neoconservative journalists have attacked Buchanan for his... Read More
The announcement that a majority of Spanish bishops are urging the pope to canonize Queen Isabella I has brought forth bellowing objections from the usual sources, namely, leftwing victimologists who are appalled that they have not been asked to endorse such decisions. A man identified as the secretary general of the Spanish Jewish Federation, Carlos... Read More
Stephen Yates's touching story about a North Carolina history teacher Jack Perdue, who was professionally ruined and "murdered by the media" for lecturing in a junior college about North Carolina's "second war of independence," brought to mind a problem that paleo educators are now increasingly facing. What there is of a conservative movement, which by... Read More
Now that Taki has said it, perhaps it should be said again. The Western world could not have done worse, and might have done better, if the Central Powers had triumphed in World War One. The suspicion that I had really meant that when in some articles in the 1970s I had blamed both sides... Read More
Despite his stated hatred for Joseph de Maistre, who advocated papal supremacy both to settle political differences and to avoid European revolutionary disorder, Jonah Goldberg has been gradually claiming his own equivalent of infallible authority. In this respect he has followed the venerable lead not only of political theorists, but also, more directly, of that... Read More
With what purports to be historical erudition, National Review editor Richard Lowry (NRO April 9) jerry-builds a "telling historical analogy," between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Spanish Civil War. Although "imperfect," this analogy is nonetheless described as "telling," and Lowry rushes to talk about those who have already made it, namely, New York Times columnist... Read More
Having received a note from an inquiring graduate student, Mitch, who is "banging out a Master's thesis," and cannot comprehend why I have insisted that Straussians and paleos are irreconcilably divided, I wish to offer the following friendly clarification. At the very least my explanation may be help to relieve the "cognitive dissonance" that Mitch... Read More
Although frank and open discussion of Zionist issues in a Jewish or any other circle is a good thing, it is not clear that Orthodox Jews show the strong, consistent opposition to Jewish nationalism that Sheldon Richman ascribes to them. According to the at least partly anecdotal tradition to which Sheldon appeals, one that is... Read More
Having taught for many years a course in US government, I was always struck by the kind of triumphalist textbooks used to teach the material. The standard text when I began teaching the course, by Theodor Lowi and Benjamin Ginsburg, one that is still being periodically updated by their graduate assistants, celebrates in more than... Read More
A few kind readers sent notes to me about their experiences in teaching high school and college courses in US Government; and it may be useful to offer the following collective response. I was not suggesting that my students could not recognize "American democracy" in the way their textbooks depicted it. To whatever extent they... Read More
Looking at this year's surprising and in some cases surprised recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it seems fair to divide them into three categories: well-considered objects of deference, such as Nancy Reagan, tenor Placido Domingo, medical humanitarian D.A. Henderson, and management theorist Peter Drucker; excuses for meaningless ideological gestures, namely Irving Kristol; and... Read More
The snide commentary by Franklin Foer in The New Republic (July 22, 2002) on The American Conservative magazine, scheduled for launch in September, disappointed me deeply. Foer – certainly better read than the average neocon who, in the graphic phrase of Sam Francis, has "the IQ of a sea scallop" - interviewed me over the... Read More
Having just seen the latest exercise in neocon academic grandstanding, a widely publicized letter to "German colleagues" by defenders of the US war against terror, I am driven ineluctably to the following observation. Although the reasoning offered by the Red-Green coalition government in Germany for not contributing to a US attack on Iraq is both... Read More
While Jonah Goldberg, braving Redneck America, was steering a rented car all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Washington, D.C., the resourceful Rich Lowry set out to keep the ideology of Goldbergismalive in the popular imagination. As his recent syndicated column ["War on Iraq actually fills liberal goals," LA Daily News, September 3, 2002] amply... Read More
At the urging of Lew Rockwell, I am offering these afterthoughts about my newest book Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, which the University of Missouri Press began distributing earlier this month. While thematically related to two other books, one published by Princeton two and a half years ago and the other still in the... Read More
Editor Washington Times To the editor: The worlds Herb Greer and I inhabit are apparently so different that we see nothing the same way, including the numeration in my last book, which he over-counts by more than a hundred pages. In my world, the federal government, and its state administration extensions, require the creation and... Read More
Paul Gottfried
About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried (b. 1941) has been one of America's leading intellectual historians and paleoconservative thinkers for over 40 years, and is the author of many books, including Conservatism in America (2007), The Strange Death of Marxism (2005), After Liberalism (1999), Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt (2002), and Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America (2012) . A critic of the neoconservative movement, he has warned against the growing lack of distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties and the rise of the managerial state. He has been acquainted with many of the leading American political figures of recent decades, including Richard Nixon and Patrick Buchanan. He is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient.