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 BlogviewPaul Gottfried Archive

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\"Dinesh DSouza speaking at CPAC 2012, UNEDITED. (6859827729)\" by Mark Taylor from Rockville - Uploaded by Gobonobo. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
It seems that the prolific and effusive America-apologist Dinesh D’Souza has succeeded big-time with a movie about America, which was taken from a book that proclaims the same theme. As a “conservative,” I’m supposed to swoon over this movie and the book that preceded it, predictably put out by the GOP publishing house Regnery. Both... Read More
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Having just finished a book on fascists and antifascists, I am now investigating the antifascist hysteria that has followed the elections for the European parliament last week. In those elections the “far right” Front National and its dynamic, attractive leader Marine Le Pen captured a quarter of the vote in France and helped limit the... Read More
Every now and then, I receive an online “epistola” from the National Humanities Institute, an organization that presents itself as “culturally conservative” and whose apparent lifetime director is Catholic University of America professor ,Professor Claes Ryn [Email him]. NHI, which seems to operate on a shoe string, occasionally puts out a journal,Humanitas. Not surprisingly, the... Read More
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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
Conservatism Inc. /Goldbergism 1—Rand Paul/ “Liberty Movement” 0
Jack Hunter a.k.a. The Southern Avenger bent the knee. He denounced his own career and his own beliefs, as reported by his own former editor. [Former editor of Rand Paul’s Neo-Confederate staffer talks about the Southern Avenger | Jack Hunter asked me to delete columns, By Chris Haire, Charleston City Paper, July 18, 2013] He... 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 have not read Thomas Sowell’s latest book Intellectuals and Race, a discussion of its contents in his April 23 column makes me less than eager to read it. For years I enjoyed reading Sowell’s commentaries, and his early research showing the economic progress of American blacks before the passage of federal antidiscrimination laws... 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
Listening to FOXnews on Sunday evening, January 6, I was impressed by the oceans of venom that greeted the nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. At 6:30 PM, the usually sober Brit Hume remarked for the umpteenth time that this "nominee was a strange choice" and one who was clearly unsuited for the... Read More
In a recent assault on the intellectual Left, Jonah Goldberg complained about “the dreck” that is circulating in our culture courtesy of anti-American Leftist historians. [The Stone Truth: Left-Wingers Are Boring, National Review, December 7, 2012] Jonah is especially exercised by Oliver Stone and his co-author, American University historian Peter Kuznick, who have published a... Read More
As a child during the 1950s in the factory city of Bridgeport, CT, I constructed a social hierarchy that corresponded to where I thought the town’s ethnic groups belonged. I doubt that I arrived at these rankings on my own. More likely, I absorbed them from my parents or schoolmates. My distinctions were remarkably detailed... 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
In a solemn 2010 convocation of well-heeled feminists in Long Beach, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared her hope for an all-female Supreme Court. Although in the bad old days there were only “nine men serving on the bench,” explained Ginsburg, now with the appointment of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, “we’re all over the bench”... 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
A detailed report in The New York Times tells about a hearing taking place in the Russian Parliament emphasizing alleged American human-rights violations. Among the featured abuses are the American practices of waterboarding suspected terrorists, historical abuse of minorities, and the mistreatment of Russian orphans or abandoned children adopted by American parents. It seems that... 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
They may not be racist, but voter ID laws undoubtedly boost Republicans.
The voter ID law recently enacted in Pennsylvania and which already operates in other states has occasioned considerable controversy. Although a majority of Americans polled favor the idea that would-be voters should be required to identify themselves with a license or with some other persuasive document, opposition persists. Allow me to express my considered view,... 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
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.