Paul Gottfried

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The man himself in 2017

Paul Edward Gottfried (born 1941) is a Jewish American paleoconservative political philosopher, historian, and writer. He is a former Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. He is editor-in-chief of the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles, is an associated scholar at the Mises Institute, and the US correspondent of Nouvelle École. Gottfried famously helped coin the term paleoconservative and alternative right (together with Richard B. Spencer).


  • The competitors of leftist revolutionaries in Italy, Austria, or Hungary after the First World War were not nineteenth-century English Tories or English liberals. It was preeminently the revolutionary Right that performed this oppositional function. Moreover, the fascists did not operate as merely partisan opposition, like Republicans in the United States or the Conservative Party in England. They represented the "political" in the sense in which Carl Schmitt applied that term, namely as an adversary in a life-and-death confrontation between sides that did not view themselves as debating teams on a TV news program.
    • Fascism: The Career of a Concept. Northern Illinois University Press (2016).
  • We no longer even determine who should be allowed to enter the country and become a citizen since the demand for such control is itself seen as undemocratic; only neo-fascists, as our journalists now tell us, would try to restrict immigration or oppose open borders with third-world countries. A self-restricted political community, as Paul Veyne makes clear, is the mark of ancient and medieval democracies in republics. A government's denial to its citizens of their right to limit citizenship on any grounds they see fit indicates according to Veyne not a democratic but an imperial order, a supernational sovereignty in which the ruler or ruling class allows anyone born or found in that territory to become a subject not a citizen. These remarks (however) are not intended as an endorsement of a return to a racially homogeneous ancient politics I shall leave it to Sam Francis to make that case.
  • The major difference, I would submit, between left and right (in America today)... (is) that the left wishes to extend Jacobin democracy at home, while the right hopes to spread it everywhere else. Thus, the left accelerates the managerial-therapeutic domination of American society through anti-discrimination, victimological, redistributionist programs. The right, by contrast, (merely) considers domestic reform to have been already accomplished...

After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State (2001)


Princeton University Press (Copyright 1999)

  • Christopher Lasch explains the process by which the therapeutic segment of the managerial elite win moral acceptance. Despite the fact that its claims to be providing “mental health” were always self-serving and highly subjective, the therapeutic class offered ethical leadership in the absence of shared principles. By defining emotional well-being as both a social good and the overcoming of what is individually and collectively dangerous, the behavioral scientists have been able to impose their absolutes upon the culturally fluid society. In “The True and Only Heaven” Lasch explores the implications for postwar politics of the “Authoritarian Personality.” A chief contributor to this anthology, Theodor Adorno, abandoned his earlier work as a cultural critic to become a proponent of governmentally imposed social therapy. According to Lasch, Adorno condemns undesirable political attitudes as “prejudice” and “by defining prejudice as a ‘social disease’ substituted a medical for a political idiom. In the end, Adorno and his colleagues “relegated a broad range of controversial issues to the clinic – to scientific study as opposed to philosophical and political debate.
  • The invasion of government and the courts by behavioral scientists has produced what Thomas Szasz calls “the therapeutic state.” Psychiatrists and social psychologists have been given social status, according to Szasz, and their moral and political judgments, though not always founded on hard, empirical science, are taken to the “expert.” These experts today can affect decisions about the responsibility of criminals, the right to control property, and the custody of children. “Psychiatric theologians” have been able to impose their private political opinions as “scientific” truth, and Szasz cites the fact that the American Psychiatric Association now defines the involuntary treatment and incarceration of mental patients as “health rights.” Szasz also observes, “If people think that health values justify coercion, but that moral and political do not, those who wish to coerce others will tend to enlarge the category of health values at the expense of moral values. “Health values” have also become socialized through a global managerial culture. Since 1976 the United Nations, through its International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights, has elevated “the enjoyment of the highest standard of mental health” to a sacred entitlement. Henceforth governments must ensure a sound state of mind as a “human right."
  • [There is an] obscurantist feature in social scientists trying to combine pluralism with environmentalism. They are so preoccupied with the role of prejudice in creating hostile environments that they perpetually deny the obvious, that stereotypes are rough generalizations about groups derived from long-term observation. Such generalizations are usually correct in describing group tendencies and in predicting certain collective actions, even if they do not adequately account for differences among individuals. Nonetheless, as Goldberg explains, the self-described pluralist and prominent psychologist Gordon Allport went out of his way in The Nature of Prejudice (1954) to reject stereotypes as factually inaccurate as well as socially harmful. For Allport and a great many other social Scientists, nothing is intuitively correct unless it is politically so.
  • What made such a plan seem workable was that for the early pluralists and their multicultural descendants society would have fewer and fewer traditional groups. The kind of pluralist society that Dewey and Kallen envisaged would go beyond rooted ethnic communities. It would become the evolving creation of “free” individual participants, setting goals under scientific direction and having their material interests monitored by a “conductor state.” The world as conceived by pluralists was there to be managed and to be made culturally safe for its framers: Eastern and Central European Jews fearful of traditional Gentile mores and the uprooted descendants of New England Calvinists looking for the New Jerusalem under scientific management.
  • Today pluralism operates as a court religion, while having less and less intellectual credibility. Betraying the plastic terminology in which its directives are framed are the additions to the “Human Rights Code” passed in the Canadian province of Ontario in 1994. The Code cites “human dignity” to justify the criminalization of “conduct or communication [that] promotes the superiority or inferiority of a person or class because of race, class, or sexual orientation.” The law has already been applied to prosecute scholars making hereditarian arguments about social behavior, and its proponents defend this muzzling as necessary for “human dignity.” But never are we told whence that dignity is derived. It is certainly not the one to which the Bible, a text that unequivocally condemns certain “sexual orientations,” refers. Nor are we speaking here about the dignity of nonengineered academic discourse, an act that the supporters of the Ontario Human Rights Code consider to be criminal if judged insensitive. Yet the pluralist advocates of human rights codes that now operate in Canada, Australia, England, and on the European continent assume there is a human dignity. Indeed this dignity is so widely and passionately accepted, or so it is asserted, that we must criminalize unkind communication. In the name of that supposedly axiomatic dignity, we are called upon to suppress scholarship and even to imprison its authors.

Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Towards a Secular Theocracy (2002)


University of Missouri Press

  • The political class has adopted inclusiveness and diversity as a political instrument, as a means of controlling a society it has set about reshaping. The “diversity machine” is a mechanism of state power that operates without anyone being permitted to notice its coercive nature. Therapeutic regimes are packaged in a way that disguises their resort to force; both the Left and establishment Right in the United States, which misrepresent political life, have helped to make this concealment possible.
  • The question that poses itself is exactly what one means by “democracy.” Is it to be identified with self-conscious peoples ruling themselves, or does it entail the establishment and maintenance of “civic culture” by experts with “progressive” social views? Although these two opposed understandings have coexisted in the same societies, they are fundamentally incompatible.

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