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Conservative Movement

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Looking at a French nationalist website Boulevard Voltaire this morning, I notice a repetition of the conventional American media account of what occurred in Charlottesville on Saturday. The news commentary explained that a white racist had run down and killed with a vehicle a thirty-two-year-old “anti-racist” demonstrator, Heather Heyer, while injuring other anti-racists who were... Read More
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Although I generally agree with the Latin adage “de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est,” sometimes the death of someone leads one to reflect on the gushing eulogies that are showered on the deceased. The recent premature passing at the age of sixty-five of Peter Lawler, a professor of political studies at Berry College in... Read More
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The most recent of incident of Cultural Marxist commissars refusing to admit that dissidents are to be treated as fellow citizens is the crazed female professor who accosted the NPI’s Richard Spencer while he was exercising at a Alexandria gym. She, recognizing him from coverage of the election campaign, started haranguing him and calling him... Read More
By Sage Ross - Flickr page of Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 2.0
Sometimes the Outreach Becomes Intolerable
Lately I’ve been watching the blossoming lovefest between the conservative-Republican establishment and those on the Left who are raging over the Obama administration’s reaction to the UN resolution against Israel. Arguably, this resolution was an attempt to take away Israel’s bargaining chips in negotiating with the Palestinians. The UN Security Council, which passed the resolution,... Read More
Dr. George Hawley, [Email him] an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, has provided a badly-needed public service by producing Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism. Hawley’s work, published by an outstanding press for American studies at the University of Kansas, should bring him much deserved attention. Of course it’s ridiculous that America has had... Read More
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Although I fully share the jubilation of others that Donald Trump may be taking a wrecking ball to the GOP establishment, I don’t hold the view that Trump’s candidacy will reduce neoconservative power. Matthew Richer, Justin Raimondo and other writers whose columns I usually welcome all believe that Trump’s rise as a Republican presidential candidate... Read More
He was once credited as the leading figure of the “Conservative Intellectual Movement” (to borrowGeorge Nash’s phrase) but today Conservatism Inc. wants to keep Russell Kirk in obscurity. Luckily,Bradley Birzer, the Russell Amos Kirk Professor of History at Hillsdale College, has written what may be the definitive Kirk biography Russell Kirk: American Conservative. It will... Read More
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Donald Trump has been dominating American news ever since he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination six months ago. Trump is known to be a deeply divisive figure, who in a two-way race with his likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, would lose the distaff vote by about seventeen percent. He has also emerged... Read More
Just as I was beginning to despair that Goucher College’s most famous graduate among contemporary historians Jonah Goldberg had lost his talent for offering revelations about the past, Jonah surprised me yesterday with a learned discourse on the Middle Ages as a prolonged period of primitive barbarism. For those who may have forgotten this nugget... Read More
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Although I can’t think of a single social issue on which the predictably soporific Washington Post-columnist Jennifer Rubin sounds different from Barack Obama, Rubin, who welcomes gay marriage as a sign of the “inexorable course of greater inclusiveness” and favors amnesty for illegals, is now a certified voice for “serious conservatives.” Indeed she writes a... Read More
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One of the first essays I ever published was in the left-leaning Canadian Forum, to which I contributed a dissenting article, from the right, in 1968. Those were the days when the Left was far more tolerant than it is at the present time, and also far more tolerant than are the Stalinists and Trotskyites... Read More
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Since the neoconservatives took over the American conservative movement, in alliance with GOP operatives, I’ve been looking for a no-nonsense defense of academic and intellectual freedom issuing from the establishment Right. And I am still waiting for such a defense and may go on waiting until the end of my life. It’s not that Republican... Read More
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Although I wouldn’t expect the mass media or the paid publicists of Conservatism, Inc. to have read my books about political reference points, I am deeply irritated by self-advertised authorities flinging around the words “conservative” and “liberal.” According to Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Jonah Goldberg and other” conservatism” experts, the US has been writhing in... Read More
For some time now I’ve been intrigued by the bizarre length to which conservatism, inc. goes in trying to woo minority groups that vote consistently Democratic. I’ve heard from Republican journalists that the Democrats, and especially Obama, are abusing blacks by not lending enough support to charter schools. Before that I recall being serenaded (especially... Read More
My young paleoconservative friend Jack Kerwick has posted on his website his own distribution of blame for what befell two police officers shot by a black thug in Brooklyn last Saturday, as revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Jack has extended the burden of responsibility from protestors screaming “kill a cop”... Read More
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An Address by Prof. Paul Gottfried, President of the H.L. Mencken Club, at the Seventh Annual Conference, October 31, 2014 As we begin the seventh annual meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club, it seems appropriate to address certain misconceptions about our organization. I would not be engaging this particular topic were it not for the... Read More
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Those Intellectuals Who Know Nothing of the Past May Help to Repeat It
I recently received an unexpected gift from American historian and political theorist Barry Alan Shain, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context, a 600 page collection of documents from the era of the American Revolution, with accompanying commentaries and a long introductory essay, published by Yale University Press. It would be marvelous if Barry’s ambitious... Read More
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Last August for the first time in my life, I was kicked out of an organization. Intercollegiate Studies Institute is the organization that did this, as I learned from its Senior Vice President. Although I had been affiliated with his outfit as an author for more than thirty years, my caller told me that ISI... 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
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
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
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
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
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
The refurbishing of the Statue of Liberty, which has been hoisting its torch above New York Harbor since October 1886, has evoked a torrent of lavishly tendentious praise in the national press. Perhaps the smuggest commentary is a New York Post op-ed piece by Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics,... Read More
A recent syndicated column by Michelle Malkin indicates what happens to interesting conservative commentators when they sign on as GOP flacks: They become predictable Republican mouthpieces and attack dogs against the Dems. For years I read Michelle with delight as she railed against weak-kneed politicians in both parties. She was murder on Republicans as well... Read More
Michael Brendan Dougherty‘s analysis of the Religious Right and its impact on the GOP makes several convincing points. One, white Evangelical Protestants, who constitute almost a third of the electorate, contribute mass support for signature neoconservative policies that neoconservatives could not generate without this assistance. Two, Evangelicals, and more generally the Religious Right, are disproportionately... Read More
During the last five years I’ve written provocative fortnightly columns for the Lancaster newspapers, and I periodically receive letters from an outraged older woman (or so my wife has guessed from her handwriting and historical references) who considers me to be a moral leper. From this person’s communications, I’ve learned that I’m “one of those... Read More
Matthew Towery is unhappy with how “conservative” commentators have gone after Republican senators who voted for the START treaty with Russia. This agreement limits those antinuclear weapons that may be stacked by the two signatories. Towery observes the support that some Republican senators gave the treaty has been used to brand them as Republicans in... Read More
FOX News has been running a series on the conservative movement and recently released a DVD showing what purports to be the definitive picture of the movement’s progress. I have a close friend who regrets he couldn’t watch every minute of this treasured series and is ordering the DVD to keep the authorized view of... Read More
After I recently savaged Rich Lowry’s syndicated review of Deirdre McCloskey’s book Bourgeois Dignity, Professor McCloskey indicated that I have no right to discuss her work until I’ve read it from cover to cover. I explained to her that I’ve nothing against her work, only Lowry’s embarrassing commentary on it. For all I know, her... Read More
A book of mine, Leo Strauss and Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, is about to come out with Cambridge University Press; and it has a special connection to the Mises Institute. Much of the critical thrust comes from attending conferences sponsored by the Mises Institute and from getting to know my fellow- participants... Read More
The responses on this website to my remarks from last month’s Mencken Club meeting impel me to offer this clarification. For those respondents who criticize me for not addressing biodiversity, I should point out the obvious. Unlike a scholar like Henry Harpending, who was one of our speakers, I am not a biologist. It would... Read More
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The following address was delivered to the HL Mencken Club‘s annual meeting in Baltimore, October 22, 2010. I’m often asked why there is need for an independent or non-aligned Right. Aren’t Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin and Rich Lowry covering all our bases? Why should we create a movement on the right when FOX and those... Read More
Richard Spencer’s references to Alex Knepper and his erotic activities while working as David Frum’s assistant bring up what is not an isolated embarrassment. It betokens what may be a widening problem for the neoconservative camp and given the influence of the neoconservatives, for the entire authorized Right. (Fortunately our side will not be involved,... Read More
The death of Joe Sobran on September 30, after several years of failing health, could not have come as a total surprise to any of his friends. News about his deteriorating condition and the need for divine intervention was steadily provided by Fran Griffin, his alter ego of many years, his longtime publisher, and, not... Read More
This morning (on September 15) while dressing, I was watching The Today SHow and noticed three figures being interviewed, all of whom were supposedly “Young Conservatives.” The three looked as if they were on loan from a nursing home, and all wore matching black suits. The most animated of the stooges, Republican congressional whip Eric... Read More
A respondent to my comments about the leftist mindset of the GOP and movement conservative journalists stated an opinion that I’ve heard numerous times before. This view seems to me counterintuitive as well as undemonstrated: Republican strategists, and cooperative journalists, are flattering minorities and running down the ancestors of Southern Whites in order to appeal... Read More
A column by Jonah Goldberg published in the dead-tree National Review (August 30) “A Muslim Gay Bar by the Mosque?” typifies the utterly infantile quality of our current movement conservative discourse. Goldberg writes in glowing defense of Fox News celebrity Greg Gutfeld, who had just advocated (presumably in a serious way) the creation of a... Read More
A question I’ve been thinking about for some time is as follows: Where on the American political spectrum would it be proper to place strong supporters of Israel, including American partisans of Israel’s present nationalist government? What complicate this question are the support patterns for the Israelis and the Palestinians. They cut across conventional ideological... Read More
In a commentary for Chronicles (unavailable online), Tom Fleming makes an argument about the increasing irrelevance of the Constitution that I find mostly irrefutable. According to his argument, which is clearly non-neocon in origin, it is futile to try to depend on a tradition of government that arose in radically different circumstances from our own.... Read More
My young friend Richard Spencer is thinking about a career change, and he wisely asked my advice about what he can do in order to be invited on FOX as a regular contributor. Although Richard has loads of charm and sex appeal, he nonetheless lacks the kind of worldview that’s essential for one to become... Read More
Although Richard Hoste provides stimulating fare, by identifying the Blue States with the cognitively gifted and the Red States with the dullards who didn’t make it into the big cities, his argument is nonetheless flawed. Let me begin by noting that the New York Times ran a story today about the Tea Party activists, who... Read More
What strikes me as indicative of the phoniness of the “conservative renewal” now being preached by FOX-news, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the movement noisemakers, is its inseparability from the group that ran this country between 2001 and 2008. It is hard to watch the GOP-peanut gallery parading as redeemers of the Right, without... Read More
Richard Lowry may be the most culturally illiterate journalist now plying his trade. In a column from several years ago, he seemed unaware of who fought whom in the Spanish Civil War. And he has now exceeded his previous record for silliness. In his latest syndicated effort, he informs us that “liberals’ are guilty of... Read More
Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism, George H. Nash, ISI Books, 450 pages
George H. Nash’s Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, in either its original (1976) or later expanded edition (1996), would have assured him an honored place as a scholar, even if he had never embarked on his exhaustive three-volume biography of Herbert Hoover. His new anthology treats in further detail a movement that Nash... Read More
Richard Spencer is right when he says that he couldn’t think of any significant issue that the Alternative Right and the established conservative movement would hold in common. What he might have added is that he couldn’t think of any significant issue over which the conservative movement and the GOP would disagree; or any major... Read More
Having just read the Hate Watch bulletin of the SPLC about the cancellation of the American Renaissance conference, scheduled for February 15, I came away with heightened contempt for the “conservative movement.” I don’t blame the two DC hotels that refused to host the conference for the recent fiasco, or even the Four Point Sheraton... Read More
As one might surmise, one doesn’t get rich by serving the HL Mencken Club. Unlike other organizations, which have claimed the “conservative” label, belonging to our club is not a ladder to social acceptability or a means of increasing one’s income or deferred annuity allowance. Investing time and energy in an organization like ours is... 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.