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.
Born (1941-11-21) November 21, 1941 (age 81)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Alma materYeshiva University (BA, 1963)
Yale University (MSc, 1965)
Yale University (PhD, 1967)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
American philosophy
Doctoral advisorHerbert Marcuse
Main interests
Welfare state, pluralism, Romanticism
Notable ideas
Therapeutic state, movement conservatism, alternative right

Paul Edward Gottfried (born November 21, 1941) is an American paleoconservative political philosopher, historian, and columnist.[2][3] He is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. He is editor-in-chief of Chronicles.[4] He is an associated scholar at the Mises Institute,[5] and the US correspondent of Nouvelle École, a Nouvelle Droite journal.[6]

He founded the H.L. Mencken Club, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers a white nationalist group.[7][8] The SPLC has described him as a "far-right thinker".[7] He helped coin the term alternative right in 2008.[3][2] He has said, however, that he does "not want to be in the same camp with white nationalists" or associated with pro-Nazis, "as somebody whose family barely escaped from the Nazis in the '30s".[3][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gottfried was born in 1941 in the Bronx, New York City. His father, Andrew Gottfried, was a furrier in Budapest who fled Hungary after the July Putsch of 1934. The family relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut, soon after Paul Gottfried's birth. Andrew Gottfried had a fur business in Bridgeport and was involved in its Hungarian Jewish community.[2]

Gottfried attended Yeshiva University in New York as an undergraduate. He returned to Connecticut to attend Yale for graduate school, where he studied under Herbert Marcuse.[2]


Gottfried had written 13 books as of 2016.[2] With Thomas Fleming in 1986 he coined the term paleoconservative (a term he identified with), and with Richard Spencer in 2008 he coined alternative right.[3][9]

He was expelled as a contributor to National Review in the 1980s; interviewed in 2017, he said National Review "didn’t throw anybody out because they were racist," but alleged that it and the conservative movement had been captured by interests supportive of immigration and multiculturalism.[10] He was an advisor to the 1992 Republican primary campaign of Pat Buchanan against President George H. W. Bush.[2] He is opposed to nation-building and is an avid critic of American interventionist foreign policy.[citation needed]

Gottfried is an associated scholar at the Mises Institute.[5] 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.[11] Gottfried is the US correspondent of Nouvelle École, a Nouvelle Droite journal founded by GRECE in 1968.[6]

In 2008, Gottfried founded the H.L. Mencken Club, a group the SPLC has described as white nationalist.[7] He has spoken at American Renaissance conferences and written essays for VDARE.[8]

Coining of alt-right and associations[edit]

Gottfried helped coin the term alternative right with a speech to the H.L. Mencken Club in 2008 envisioning a nationalist and populist right-wing movement; it was published by Richard Spencer in Taki's Magazine with the title "The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right".[3][2][12] As of 2010, according to the SPLC, Gottfried was a senior contributing editor at Alternative Right, a website edited by Spencer.[13] He and Spencer co-edited a book in 2015, according to Tablet.[2]

In a 2016 Tablet article, "The Alt-Right's Jewish Godfather", Gottfried said, "Whenever I look at Richard [Spencer], I see my ideas coming back in a garbled form." He also said, "I just do not want to be in the same camp with white nationalists," and "As somebody whose family barely escaped from the Nazis in the '30s, I do not want to be associated with people who are pro-Nazi." Jacob Siegel, author of the Tablet article, described Gottfried as having "tried to build a postfascist, postconservative politics of the far-right" for the past 20 years, but that "Spencer and his acolytes wanted to cross the threshold into fascist thought and beliefs".[2]

In 2018, Robert Fulford for the National Post suggested that Gottfried was the "godfather of the alt-right" and that his paleoconservative ideas were the origin of the alt-right "phenomenon".[14] Three weeks later, Gottfried published a response article requesting he not be referred to in that manner. He wrote, "I do know Richard Spencer and worked with him in 2010 when he edited the Taki's Magazine website. We did develop the term 'Alternative Right' together — it was a headline he put on one of my articles. But my subsequent strategic differences with him are a matter of public record, which should have been noted."[15]

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
  • Antifascism: The Course of a Crusade, Northern Illinois University Press, 2021 ISBN 978-1501759352


  • "Why must Christians routinely grovel and apologize for crimes against Jews which they never committed?" Rothbard-Rockwell Report, vol. 6, no. 5 (July 1996): 1–4.
  • "Anti-War Anti-Americanism?". Telos, vol. 114 (Winter 1999)
  • "The Multicultural International". Orbis (Winter 2002)
  • "The Invincible Wilsonian Matrix". Orbis (Spring 2007)
  • "The WASP Roots of Liberal Internationalism". Historically Speaking (Fall 2010)



  1. ^ a b Parvini, Neema (2022). The Populist Delusion. Imperium Press. pp. 132–134. ISBN 978-1-922602-44-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jacob, Siegel (November 30, 2016). "Paul Gottfried, the Jewish Godfather of the 'Alt-Right'". Tablet Magazine. Nextbook, Inc. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Meet the Jewish 'Paleoconservative' Who Coined The Term 'Alternative Right'". The Forward. August 29, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Paul Gottfried". Chronicles Magazine.
  5. ^ a b "Paul Gottfried". Mises Institute. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  6. ^ a b François, Stéphane (2018). "Réflexions sur le paganisme d'extrême droite". Social Compass. 65 (2): 275. doi:10.1177/0037768618768439. ISSN 0037-7686. S2CID 150142148.
  7. ^ a b c Piggott, Stephen (November 4, 2016). "White Nationalists to Gather in Baltimore for the Ninth Annual H.L. Mencken Club Conference". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Prominent Racists Attend Inaugural H.L. Mencken Club Gathering". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  9. ^ Drolet, Jean-Francois; Williams, Michael C (2022). "From critique to reaction: The new right, critical theory and international relations". Journal of International Political Theory. 18(1): 27.
  10. ^ Nwanevu, Osita (March 23, 2017). "National Review Wants Credit for Opposing the Alt-Right Movement It Helped Create". Slate Magazine. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  11. ^ Catherine Lagrange (June 22, 2018). "L'école de Marion Maréchal : du business et de la culture (très à droite)". Le Point (in French). Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "Inside the Far-right Podcast Ecosystem, Part 2: Richard Spencer's Origins in the Podcast Network". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Keller, Larry (March 15, 2010). "Paleocon Starts New Extreme-Right Magazine". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Fulford, Robert (March 29, 2018). "Robert Fulford: How the alt-right's godfather transformed our world". National Post. National Post. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  15. ^ Gottfried, Paul (April 17, 2018). "Paul Gottfried: Don't call me the 'godfather' of those alt-right neo-Nazis. I'm Jewish". National Post. National Post. Retrieved January 14, 2022.