The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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The task before me is explaining with appropriate distinctions and qualifications “What is right and what is left?” For those who wish to avoid the harangue of an activist, let me assure them that I do not equate “conservative” with Republican or with the viewing habits of FOX News devotees. Being a Republican and dutifully... Read More
As a college student I would buy copies of The New Yorker to sample the sparkling prose of James Thurber and S. J. Perelman and to appreciate the clever cartoons that graced each issue. Despite the magazine’s veering toward the trendy left thereafter, I could still find material in it worth reading well into the... Read More
In response to a speech by President Obama at Ohio State on May 5 criticizing those who warn about “tyranny,” there was a lively exchange last night by the Fox All-Stars about allowing the “state” to micromanage our lives. Kirsten Powers defended the Obama Administration’s interest in our well-being and the need for expanding this... Read More
Although I’ve been critical of my state's current governor, it’s usually been to twit him for not cutting budgets sufficiently. While Tom Corbett is spot on in wanting to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor monopoly, he should not be trying to feather the nests of other public employees by promising to pay off teachers with the proceeds... Read More
Some god-terms that issue from the media, and which I had the misfortune of hearing incessantly as an academic, make me wince as soon as they come out of someone’s mouth. Among these particularly obnoxious terms are "social justice," "fairness," and "sensitivity," all of which drip with righteousness and dishonesty. The term or concept that... Read More
In his latest column, New York Times house-conservative David Brooks is still euphoric about his learning experience at a National Review Institute conference that just ended. It seems that while at the conference David (if I may be familiar) mingled with two of his favorite thinkers, Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz. Like our New York... Read More
I’ve no idea how former Nebraska senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran Chuck Hagel became President Obama’s preferred nominee for the job of Secretary of Defense. But when I learned about Hagel’s prospects, I was delighted. A social conservative with a skeptical view of America’s mission to convert the rest of the world to our... Read More
Having spent over half my life in the professional company of academics, I can state with certainty that gender-neutral societies suck. Admittedly the university is not yet antiseptically free of gender references. It continues to offer the kind of BS known as “Women’s Studies,” a pseudo-discipline usually taught by creatures who bear less likeness to... Read More
After the recent electoral debacle, Republican journalists and neocon news pundits have been discussing the roads to recovery for their battered party. One path that I’m sure will never be taken is trying to win back the libertarian and/or traditionalist right, both of which Romney managed to piss off. The evangelical inhabitants of central and... Read More
Pace Dan McCarthy’s hope about the possible implications of a Romney victory, I think it may be time to hear counter-arguments. Although Dan is right that Romney holds no principles, and although the neocon form of aggressive liberal internationalism may not enjoy huge approval outside of Fox News junkies, this does not justify the belief... Read More
For once in a blue moon, I find myself agreeing with Dana Milbank of the Washington Post (October 18) when he observes that "conservatives are mum about Mitt’s moderation." Making allowances for Milbank’s ideologically colored view, when he says that in recent weeks the Republican presidential candidate "sprinted toward the center," this columnist is correct... Read More
What's the matter with wealthy, white Massachusetts?
As a European historian specializing in the 19th century, I’ve never been able to figure out what American journalists and politicians (not to mention academic sociologists) mean when they refer to “classes.” This term has two time-tested meanings. Either we’re talking about social groupings with legally recognized statuses which until the 19th century had certain... Read More
Today's parties are neither Jeffersonians nor Hamiltonians, but social democrats.
In what for me illustrates the use of confusing labels, George Will recently complained about attacks of "cognitive dissonance" in trying to understand our political terms. Although Americans identify overwhelmingly as “conservatives,” many of them vote differently from the way they describe themselves. They lean theoretically toward Thomas Jefferson, who advocated very limited government, but... Read More
George Will recently complained about the “cognitive dissonance” characteristic of our ideological self-descriptions. According to Will, “Twice as many Americans identify themselves as conservative as opposed to liberal,” but many of them vote differently from the way they describe themselves. They lean theoretically toward Thomas Jefferson, who advocated limited government, but they vote like disciples... Read More
Despite my usual agreement with Sam Goldman on historical questions, I beg to differ with him in his judgments about what kind of alliances European Jews should be making in view of the anti-Jewish sentiments that is now apparent among many Muslim immigrants. In my view, Jews would do best supporting those parties, typically on... Read More
A remarkable historian has died -- but does it matter that he was a Stalinist?
The death of Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm at the age of 95 two days ago set me down memory lane. The one time I met this illustrious historian was when Gene Genovese (who predeceased Hobsbawm by just a few days) introduced him to me at a meeting of the American Historical Association in Boston in... Read More
Joseph Sobran: The National Review Years. (Vienna, Virginia: FGF Books, 2012.) Recently I received the galleys for the anthologized essays and book reviews by the late, great Joe Sobran (1946-2010). The anthology pieces come out of the period when Joe was working at National Review, a relation that started in 1972 and allegedly ended because... Read More
The justly renowned social historian Eugene D. Genovese died yesterday at the age of 82 in Atlanta. His death followed several years of dealing with a worsening cardiac ailment and with a jolting loss in 2007 from which he never recovered. This was the death of his beloved wife Elizabeth (Betsey), who was his frequent... Read More
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GOP efforts to suppress the Constitution Party have a postwar German parallel.
Lately I’ve been gathering information that has made me dislike the GOP more than ever. The Constitution Party (CP), which is a small-government, avowedly pro-Christian, and immigration restrictionist party that came into existence in 1992, is being kept off the ballot in the presidential election in many states thanks to costly Republican efforts. Republican operatives... Read More
In a recent column Cal Thomas states the obvious when he observes "Democrats and their friends in the big media protect their own when accused of outrageous acts." Thomas contrasts the way the media has savaged the Republican Party, including Mitt Romney, for a stupid remark by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin about women being... Read More
Sometimes seemingly insignificant events dramatically affect the course of human history. The failure of a struggling young artist named Adolf Hitler to pass a drawing test at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907 changed world history decisively. Instead of becoming a certified representational artist with modest artistic skills, Hitler pursued a destructive career... Read More
The Wisconsin congressman is, if anything, too timid.
Listening to Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers give her (and the Democratic Party leadership’s) reaction to the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate the other day, I thought my ears had suddenly failed. Powers began to rail against Romney’s “dangerous” ideological choice; she assured the TV-viewers that this “is exactly what President... Read More
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Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got people’s juices going when he announced in the Senate "the word is out." Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had not been paying his taxes for at least a decade; and to show this was the case, various Democratic dignitaries, including Nancy Pelosi, suggested that Reid was divulging... Read More
I won’t beat around the bush. I’ve known Russell Jacoby[Email him] now a septuagenarian fixture at UCLA, for about twenty-five years. Both of us served on the editorial board of Telos magazine and were present at some of the same board meetings. Jacoby always struck me as a lightweight, in contrast to most of the... Read More
Last week the NCAA saddled Penn State with penalties that may mean the university’s end as a leading football competitor. Paterno’s name came up in the proceedings as someone who contributed to the outrage. Despite his recent death of lung cancer, his humiliation continues. His name has already been expunged from as many things on... Read More
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Never in my life have I encountered a politician who does a better imitation of a mannequin than Mitt Romney, particularly when called on to address social issues. Does this presidential candidate have an “opinion,” for example, on recent attempts to run the food chain Chick-Fil-A out of large municipalities because its president, Dan Cathy,... Read More
Fast-food franchise Chick-fil-A, known for its juicy chicken sandwich, has come under attack. Franchise head Dan Cathy made public statements in support of traditional marriage and has philanthropic connections to such alleged hate groups as Focus on the Family and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Although Cathy and his staff have affirmed their determination “to... Read More
Recently I commented on a blunder by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who suddenly wimped out after having proposed cutting 20 to 30 percent out of the state’s allocation for “higher education.” Corbett had a chance to do good by making our state universities cough up more of their own funding. In constant dollars, our state... Read More
In an eloquent address before the Council of Conservative Citizens, my friend John Derbyshire undertakes a difficult task: he wishes to make us more appreciate of what he calls “Mainstream Conservatism,”VDARE.com calls “Conservatism, Inc.” and I call “the Alternative Left” John lists for our benefit certain “bullet points” specifically “mistrust of government power,” “respect for... Read More
On July 11 Mitt Romney addressed an NAACP conference in Houston, and the GOP media oozed admiration for his presumed courage and outreach. Although Romney is not likely to get more than five percent of the black vote, our smiling warrior was still trying to court black leaders. Romney’s presence in the enemy’s lair was... Read More
Students once led monk-like lives. Now they party at taxpayers' expense.
I belong to a generation that still values what is now indiscriminately referred to as "higher education." What that once meant was going to a four-year college, if one’s high-school grades showed promise, and in return for about $700 each semester spending the next four years immersed in books. Back then we studied traditional disciplines,... Read More
The latest bestseller by German economist Thilo Sarrazin, a former member of the Bundesbank executive board, is a rambling critique of the eurozone. His book Deutschland braucht den Euro nicht (Germany does not need the euro) tells you everything you might want to know about why the eurozone is collapsing. The countries that formed the... Read More
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Rabbi Elmer Berger's long struggle against the Zionist movement
An antiwar libertarian and a principled critic of Jewish nationalism, Jack Ross seems the ideal author to have undertaken a biography of Elmer Berger (1908-1996), the Reform rabbi who pursued a rearguard action against the Zionist movement for more than 50 years. An increasingly marginalized figure after the birth of the Jewish state in 1948,... Read More
As the president lurches left, Romney struggles to rally the right.
A recent syndicated column by Peggy Noonan makes useful observations, together with one rather questionable point. Noonan blithely assumes that while the president has “fully absorbed the general assumptions and sympathies of the political left,” his opponent Mitt Romney reflects “the general attitudes, assumptions and sympathies of the political right.” Noonan may be seeing something... Read More
New York Mayor Bloomberg has recommended that a 16-ounce limit be placed on the size of soft drinks sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, and arenas. This seemed necessary because of an epidemic of obesity in his municipality, where over 50% of the residents are now judged to be overweight. I’m not sure what... Read More
A broad-minded reactionary takes libertarians to task for abusing the term.
Having been at work on a book dealing with changing definitions of the “F word,” meaning in this case not the one-time obscenity but the ultimate evil in the world of political correctness, I find my comments on the subject have caused considerable irritation. Although I once assumed that only the conventional left was fixated... Read More
Although the adjective “fascist,” as George Orwell pointed out during and right after World War II, was a slur applied to “those we don’t like,” the indiscriminate use of the “F” word seems more common now than it was in 1945. Political correctness drives this revival, although the association of fascism with absolute evil was... Read More
Jonah Goldberg in his new collection of meditations, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas and Andrew Ferguson in his latest Weekly Standard opinion piece “The New Phrenology” complain how the other side gets nasty when depicting its well-meaning opponents. This bothers our “conservative” apologists, since they yearn for all... Read More
Having seen Samuel Goldman’s thoughtful response to Kenneth McIntyre’s sizzling review of my book, I think that I might introduce myself as the author of the still rarely read volume that Professor McIntyre discusses in his essay. By now I am used to the admission that most critics of the review use to introduce their... Read More
Between Obama's left-wing agenda at home at Romney's neoconservative foreign policy, the right hardly has a choice.
As the November election approaches, I find myself faced with a dilemma. I would like to vote for the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as the better of two distasteful choices, but would have to hesitate at this point. It’s not that I’d be tempted to vote for Obama, although I can well understand the... Read More
The Italian political theorist and longtime socialist journalist Carlo Galli recently published a short volume called Perché ancora destra-sinistra (roughly translated, “Why is there still right and left?”). Galli’s definitions show scant evidence of semantic evenhandedness. He seems to identify with a perfumed definition of the left as the good guys “favoring equality and freedom... Read More
What may be a declining force in American political life is the Tea Party movement, which in 2010 played a critical role in winning congressional seats and governorships for the economically conservative wing of the GOP. Since then, national support for this loosely organized movement has fallen precipitously. Between March 2010 and April 2011, according... Read More
I watched a Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate bring an evangelical crowd to their feet three years ago by announcing that “Owning a gun is a human right.” I mumbled to myself: “So is protection from body odor.” It’s not that I’m against people owning guns, but there are multiple reasons to defend such practices without... Read More
The recent pillorying of John Derbyshire and Bob Weissberg after being accused
The recent pillorying of John Derbyshire and Bob Weissberg after being accused of making tactless remarks about race recalled a question that’s been bothering me for decades. Why should we think that race is the only untouchable subject or the only issue that, to use George Will’s misleading phrase, we as a society agreed to... Read More
Unlike Rich Lowry’s predictably PC response to John Derbyshire’s controversial article on what parents should tell their kids about race, I was less than “appalled” by it. John’s judgments are not entirely mine, and unlike my good friend I probably would stop (and I hope my grown-up children would stop) for a black person stranded... Read More
Being recently stuck for many hours in an exceedingly narrow space on a plane headed from London to DC, I was desperate enough to grab that garish British tabloid the Daily Mail when the stewardess offered it to me. On page four, I noticed a column by a renowned critic of Third World immigration, Melanie... Read More
Steve Sailer raised an interesting question in his latest blog about the durability of NR as desirable publication for “conservative” readers. According to Steve, the magazine has been visibly deteriorating for some time. Indeed having WFB as its founder and first editor and Rich Lowry as its third editor tells much about this publication’s downward... Read More
Ever since I dared criticize the Obama administration and its partisans, I’ve been getting less than friendly email messages. Supposedly I work slavishly for the GOP and spend every waking hour listening to Rush Limbaugh or trying to imitate his verbal outbursts. For the record, I’ve been attacking the GOP at the national level ever... Read More
A question that may have occurred to those who have read my bookLeo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America is whether Strauss and his followers have influenced the view of immigration taken by what now passes for the “conservative movement.” We have to address this question indirectly since, to my knowledge, neither Strauss nor... Read More
Despite high unemployment and soaring gas prices, it seems the Obama administration may survive the November election. This is due not only to Republican infighting but also to the support given to liberal Democrats in the media, educational establishment, and entertainment industry. But even these factors may not tell everything. Perhaps more importantly, Obama 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.