Paul Gottfried

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Paul Edward Gottfried
Paul Gottfried by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Gottfried speaking at an October 2017 event in New York.
BornNovember 21, 1941 (1941-11-21) (age 77)
Alma materYeshiva University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Welfare state, democratic pluralism, Romanticism

Paul Edward Gottfried (born November 21, 1941) is an American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist. He is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient. He is currently H. L. Mencken Club President.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Gottfried was born in Brooklyn in 1941, to Jewish parents.[2] His father was a successful furrier from Budapest, who had fled Hungary after the July Putsch of 1934. The family moved to Bridgeport shortly after his birth. Gottfried attended Yeshiva University in New York as an undergraduate and returned to Connecticut to attend Yale. He belonged to the Yale Political Union's Party of the Right.[3]


Gottfried is the author of numerous books and articles detailing the influences which various German thinkers (such as Hegel and Schelling) have exerted on American conservative political theory and other topics, most recently a study of the nature and historiography of fascism. Many of his books also appear in translation.[4] He has also been a friend of many political and intellectual figures, such as Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan, John Lukacs, Thomas Molnar, Will Herberg, Samuel T. Francis, Paul Piccone, Murray Rothbard, Eugene Genovese, Christopher Lasch, and Robert Nisbet.

Gottfried is a paleoconservative critic of neoconservativism within the Republican Party.[5] In fact, the term paleoconservative was first used by Paul Gottfried and Thomas Fleming, with the "paleo" prefix meaning "old" in opposition to the "neo", or "new", conservatives.[citation needed]

Gottfried is opposed to nation-building and is an avid critic of American interventionist foreign policy.[6]

Gottfried is also the first person to use the term "alternative right", when referring specifically to developments within American right-wing politics, in 2008.[7] Richard B. Spencer co-created the term with Gottfried while working together at Taki's Magazine and helped it to gain wide currency through media attention surrounding conferences organized by his think tank, the National Policy Institute.[8][9][10]

Gottfried is current president of the H.L. Mencken Club which was founded in 2008.[11]

In 2018, he joined the Institut des sciences sociales, économiques et politiques (Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences), founded by Marion Maréchal and Thibaut Monnier, in Lyon, France[12].

Selected publications[edit]


  • Conservative Millenarians: The Romantic Experience in Bavaria, Fordham University Press, 1979 ISBN 978-0-8232-0982-8
  • The Search for Historical Meaning: Hegel and the Postwar American Right, Northern Illinois Univ Press, 1986 ISBN 0-87580-114-5
  • The Conservative Movement, Twayne Pub 1988, with Thomas Fleming (second edition 1992) ISBN 0-8057-9724-6
  • Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory, Greenwood Press 1990, ISBN 0-313-27209-3
  • After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State, Princeton University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-691-08982-5
  • Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Towards a Secular Theocracy, University of Missouri Press, 2002 ISBN 0-8262-1417-7
  • The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium, University of Missouri Press, 2005 ISBN 0-8262-1597-1
  • Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007 ISBN 0-230-61479-5
  • Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers (1 ed.). Wilmington, Del: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. May 15, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933859-99-6.
  • Leo Strauss and the American Conservative Movement, Cambridge University Press, 2012 ISBN 978-1-1070-1724-5
  • War and Democracy, Arktos, 2012, ISBN 978-1907166808
  • Fascism: The Career of a Concept, Northern Illinois University Press, 2015 ISBN 978-0-8758-0493-4
  • Revisions and Dissents, Northern Illinois University Press, 2017 ISBN 978-0875807621


  • "Anti-War Anti-Americanism?". Telos 114 (Winter 1999). New York: Telos Press.
  • "The Multicultural International". Orbis (Winter 2002)
  • "The Invincible Wilsonian Matrix". Orbis (Spring 2007)
  • "The WASP Roots of Liberal Internationalism". Historically Speaking (Fall 2010)


Column archives[edit]