Paul Gottfried

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Media Windbags
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Media Windbags

Emotional outbursts and misleading rhetoric from our political class and TV opinionators leave Americans confused about everything from Putin's motives to Caitlyn Jenner's degeneracy.

Germany, Harbinger of the Abyss
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Germany, Harbinger of the Abyss

Finis Germania is a posthumous collection of melancholy writing by German ecologist and sometime academic Rolf Peter Sieferle, who took his own life in despair in 2016. Sieferle regreted the disappearance of a recognizably Western civilization and deplored the likely ecological effects of a European continent thrown open to almost unrestricted Third World immigration.   ...

Books in Brief: 3/1/2022
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Books in Brief: 3/1/2022

Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape, by Cal Flyn (Viking; 384 pp., $27.00). In our era of ecological angst, many are desperately seeking strategies to mitigate human damage, but Scottish writer Cal Flyn suggests a holistic new way—one that is simultaneously haunted and hopeful—of seeing these problems. She writes often in sorrow, sometimes in righteous...

Driving Miss Racial Activist
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Driving Miss Racial Activist

At first blush, the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy seems innocuous. Its plot centers around the relationship of an aging Jewish matron, Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), and her black chauffeur Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman). Yet a recent rewatch caused me to notice irksome elements of the plot I missed the first time around. This has...

Books in Brief: February 2022
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Books in Brief: February 2022

Christianity and Social Justice, by Jon Harris (Reformation Zion Publishing; 160 pp., $14.99). In this slim discussion of social justice and its relationship, or non-relationship, to Christianity, Jon Harris, a Protestant theologian and Baptist minister, addresses the topic long after he observed the “incursion made by the social justice movement” into the Baptist seminary where he...

Biden Voters’ Remorse
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Biden Voters’ Remorse

There seems to be a widespread belief that Joe Biden has exceeded the mandate for which he was elected. It seems we’re supposed to believe that those who voted for the Biden-Harris ticket craved moderation after Trump’s troubled and unsettling presidency. Writer and commentator Scott Jennings repeats this familiar narrative in a recent interview with...

Paid to Hate Putin
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Paid to Hate Putin

It seems that National Review Editor Rich Lowry never tires of carrying water for the sponsors of his magazine, whether it’s the high-tech giants who help pay his gargantuan salary, or his neoconservative donors, whom he also faithfully serves. Most recently he honored his patrons with a dutiful denunciation of Russian President Vladmir Putin entitled...

The Soul of the Claremont School
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The Soul of the Claremont School

The Soul of Politics: Harry V. Jaffa and the Fight for America by Glenn Ellmers Encounter Books 408 pp., $31.99 Glenn Ellmers, a former student of Harry V. Jaffa associated with the conservative Claremont school of thought, has produced an exhaustive study of his mentor. Ellmers has pored over Jaffa’s available writings, including a dozen...

In Memory of Gerald Russello
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In Memory of Gerald Russello

Gerald Russello, an author and editor often associated with Russell Kirk’s life and work, passed away on Nov. 7, 2021. He was 50 years old. Russello’s death took me by surprise, as I wasn’t aware until recently that he was fatally ill and being treated for brain cancer. Since he was around the same age...

From High Noon to Django Unchained
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From High Noon to Django Unchained

Our new issue of Chronicles contains several essays that assess films that can be classified in some sense as “conservative,” or at least dealing with themes of interest to the political right. Several of those who participated in making these movies and whom we discuss in this issue, such as Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov, American...

In Defense of Sam Francis
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In Defense of Sam Francis

Open season has been declared on the late and longtime Chronicles columnist Samuel Francis. Evidence for this can be found in, among other places, a diatribe recently published by political journalist Michael Lind in Tablet, “The Importance of James Burnham.” Lind started his essay by analyzing Burnham but then segued into unkind remarks about Burnham’s...

The Red Butcher
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The Red Butcher

Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II by Sean McMeekin Basic Books 864 pp., $40.00 This massive tome is more than a new history of World War II. It is above all a depressing confirmation that the crimes against humanity committed by Stalin’s regime, including during the war, were comparable to those of...

In Memory of Thomas F. Bertonneau
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In Memory of Thomas F. Bertonneau

Although Thomas F. Bertonneau published only once in Chronicles, on science fiction in 1997, this recently deceased professor of comparative literature was a contributor to whom we should have paid closer attention.   Tom, who died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease on Sept. 21 in Oswego, New York, at the age of 66 was a versatile...

Books in Brief: October 2021
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Books in Brief: October 2021

Homo Americanus, by Zbigniew Janowski (St. Augustine’s Press; 250 pp., $24.00). Polish American political thinker Zbigniew Janowski examines the reasons that modern American democracy has taken a totalitarian turn. Contrary to the happy talk coming from establishment conservatives about the need to spread America’s so-called liberal democratic values everywhere, Janowski paints a dark but compelling...

The Cowardice of ‘Patriotic Courage’
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The Cowardice of ‘Patriotic Courage’

That Donald Trump bothered to challenge the official outcome of the November 2020 election was an annoyance to a number of congressional Republicans, representatives and senators alike. Remarks issued on Jan. 6 by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as the Senate was about to confirm the election of Joe Biden reflect these views: We cannot...

The Declaration and Its Iconoclasts
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The Declaration and Its Iconoclasts

The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition (1995) by Willmoore Kendall and George W. Carey Catholic University of America Press 168 pp., $19.95 Ask the average American what  his country stands for and he will likely answer “equality.” If that person studied a bit of American history, he or she would then cite the...

Flawed Reasoning on CRT
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Flawed Reasoning on CRT

Impassioned attacks on critical race theory (CRT) are the subject of AMAC Magazine’s August issue. A publication of The Association of Mature American Citizens, a Republican alternative to the American Association of Retired People, the magazine’s lead editorial by Robert B. Charles described CRT as an “anti-American … rebranding of Marxism.” This is equally true...

Remembering Eric Voegelin: Anti-Gnostic Warrior
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Remembering Eric Voegelin: Anti-Gnostic Warrior

That political ideology and activism have become a new religion is something the average individual sees signs of nearly every day. A black man is killed in an altercation with police and his face instantly becomes an icon to be carried in protests, his name a phrase to be repeated with adoration. A slogan such...

The Misnomer of Marxism
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The Misnomer of Marxism

American institutions have been  allegedly occupied by Marxists who are waging a war against the “American Revolution,” according to conservative commentator Mark Levin. Demonstrating how this alleged occupation occurred is at the core of Levin’s American Marxism, a work driven to the top of the bestseller list by conservative book clubs and Fox News.  ...

The Wages of Divorce
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The Wages of Divorce

My mother’s older sister Sadie and her husband Roy spent a lifetime concealing a secret: both had been in earlier marriages that ended in divorce. My aunt wanted no one of the younger generation— not even her children—to know about this source of embarrassment and only told me about her first marriage when I was...

What the Right Needs Now
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What the Right Needs Now

Amid an eloquent diatribe against the “woke” left and its friends in the Deep State, Fox News host Tucker Carlson attributed to American Deplorables a sentiment that may more accurately reflect his own feelings: “All they want to do is go back to how things were in 2005.”   I heard myself responding out loud...

Books in Brief: March 2021
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Books in Brief: March 2021

America’s Revolutionary Mind, by C. Bradley Thompson (Encounter Books; 584 pp., $32.99). Thompson’s examination of colonial America’s natural rights political culture and the effects of the Declaration’s oft-quoted passage about unalienable rights is not likely to please members of the traditional right, and as such I consider it required reading. Thompson presents copious evidence that...

The Late-Coming Left
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The Late-Coming Left

For years I’ve been listening to the hot air produced by Conservative Inc. about the political conservatism of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was dedicated to “self-government based on absolute truth and moral law.” Supposedly King was also a proud member of the GOP. This last claim is not even remotely true, as Alveda King,...

Trumpian Fantasies
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Trumpian Fantasies

“Jan. 6, 2021, is not over, but it already lives in infamy. A sitting president of the United States, having lost re-election, incited a mob to storm the Capitol as the Congress sat in joint session to certify the Electoral College vote. This act was without precedent. It was based on a lie, fed by...

When Is Enough Pandering Really Enough?
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When Is Enough Pandering Really Enough?

Having forced myself to listen to most of the Republican National Convention (RNC) orations in late August, I was struck by what my daughter, who had done such work professionally, characterized as the program’s “underlying marketing strategy.” The GOP’s advisers seem to have pitched their message at the demographics among whom Trump has had the least...

Playing Pretend With the Founding Fathers
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Playing Pretend With the Founding Fathers

In a remarkably disjointed, bombastic defense of “the liberal order,” C. Bradley Thompson writes in American Mind about the dangers posed by “Pajama-Boy Nietzscheans” and the supposedly surging “neo-reactionary movement on the Right.” According to Thompson, “radical Left and Right have now merged” in a virulent form of anti-Americanism—the essence of which consists of not agreeing with...

Books in Brief
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Books in Brief

Russian Conservatism, by Paul Robinson (Northern Illinois University Press; 300 pp., $39.95). Canadian historian Paul Robinson has written a highly accessible study of Russian conservatism that extends from the early 19th century down to the present time. According to Robinson, defenses of the Russian homeland as a spiritual entity and the accompanying rejection of Western late modernity...

Antifa: Nazis Without a Plan
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Antifa: Nazis Without a Plan

Although I have spent much of my scholarly life warning against inappropriate comparisons between Nazis or fascists and the pet peeves of academics and journalists, I myself am now using the F-word (as in fascist) or really the N-word (as in Nazi) with growing regularity. The antifascist left, about which I have just finished writing a...

In This Number
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In This Number

Like many historical questions, critical reassessments of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki 75 years ago have moved generally from right to left. In the 1950s and even later, when National Review was unmistakably on the right, challenges to this decision were almost the orthodoxy of the day.  The first time I saw...

Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion
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Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion

I have a passing interest in a first-century rhetorician and Hellenized Egyptian named Apion, who is the target of a famous polemic by Flavius Josephus, a member of the Jewish priestly class who became the court historian of the Flavian emperors. Published in Greek but known by its Latin name Contra Apionem, Josephus’s diatribe faults Apion for...

Cultural Radicalism Is the Problem, Not Bolshevism
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Cultural Radicalism Is the Problem, Not Bolshevism

Socialism is cool again in America, but it’s not your father’s socialism. It is no longer “the rival but the patsy of state capitalism,” as Nathan Pinkoski writes in a penetrating article in Law & Liberty entitled “The Strange Rise of Bourgeois Bolshevism.” The villain of this new socialism “is not the bourgeois but the...

Looking for Moral Foundations (in All the Wrong Places)
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Looking for Moral Foundations (in All the Wrong Places)

A debate unfolded in March last year in American Greatness between Chronicles contributor Mark Pulliam and the Claremont Institute’s Edward Erler, a devotee of Harry Jaffa. According to Erler, Robert Bork and others who adhered to strict constitutional originalism were essentially moral nihilists because they would not apply natural law standards to our governing document....

The Unclubbable
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The Unclubbable

The late Joe Sobran used to refer to liberal high society as “the hive.” What Joe was highlighting were certain qualities that he associated with the fashionable left, e.g., extreme clannishness, the exclusion of those who deviated from authorized political doctrines, and a sense of moral superiority. Without having to deny that such a “hive”...

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Vestigial Reds

Diana West should be a familiar name to anyone who has studied the operation of the American Communist movement. Two of her books, America Betrayed: The Secret Assault on our Nation’s Character (2013) and The Red Thread (2019) examine the influence of Communist party members and fellow travelers on American politics and civic culture, and...

Nationalism for the Lukewarm
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Nationalism for the Lukewarm

It seems that Rich Lowry has taken time off from castigating Donald Trump and calling for the prompt removal of Confederate memorial monuments to compose an entire book making “the case for nationalism.” A media launch was provided by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who gave Lowry ample time on his widely watched program to expatiate on...

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Culture and Peoples

In a widely noted commentary on the achievements and failures of Sam Francis in the October issue of First Things, author Matthew Rose offers this conclusion: Francis claimed that he sought only to defend Western culture. It is impossible to believe him. He displayed no feeling for literature, art, music, philosophy, or theology. He did...

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A Gutless Persuasion

On Nov. 18, the Rupert Murdoch-financed New York Post ran an opinion-piece by its star columnist, Karol Markowicz, on left-wing anti-Semitism. Like the rest of the Post editorial staff, Markowicz is upset that at least part of the Jewish left has turned emphatically against the Israeli Likud government and is demanding the return of the West...

What’s Paleo, and What’s Not
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What’s Paleo, and What’s Not

In a recent Townhall commentary, the young author Michael Malarkey marvels over “the resurgence of refined paleoconservatism.” Supposedly Donald Trump has absorbed quintessential paleoconservative positions and is now putting them into practice. This now triumphant creed is “a political stance that posits the importance of strong borders, economic protectionism, and vehement anti-interventionism.” According to Malarkey,...

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What the Editors Are Reading

French Catholic novelist François Mauriac (1885-1970) enjoyed a long and professionally successful life, receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952 and the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1958. He was also intermittently involved in French politics as an outspoken opponent of the German occupation of France during World War II, and...

The Conservative of Convenience
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The Conservative of Convenience

In a Washington Post review of George F. Will’s The Conservative Sensibility, Catholic political thinker Patrick Deneen offers the following observation: This book is not so much a brief for conservatism as it is a learned and lengthy defense of liberalism: the philosophy of John Locke and America’s Founding Fathers; the economic theories of Friedrich...

Judging the Past
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Judging the Past

Joshua Tait, who is completing a dissertation on the American conservative movement at the University of North Carolina, is a virtue-signaling expert on his object of study. Never does Tait hold back in judging past conservatives by his super-duper progressive standards. For example, he offers this on one particularly revered conservative icon: “[Russell] Kirk was...

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Resurrecting the Old Right

For those who may have noticed, I’ve been absent from this venerable magazine for more than 12 years. Upon returning, I feel obliged to give an account of what I’ve learned in the intervening time. Aside from visiting my family and doing research for several monographs, I’ve been pondering the vicissitudes of the American right....

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Mending Wall

The Jewish population I encountered during my recent month-long tour of Israel was markedly different from anything I had expected. If there are Israeli counterparts to Abe Foxman and Midge Decter, I didn’t meet them. The vast majority of Jews I did meet were Moroccan and Levantine, while most of the security police in the...

Later, Not Better
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Later, Not Better

The work of a longtime author on social problems, on the deteriorating relations between blacks and Jews, and on Philadelphia civic life who also served as a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Murray Friedman’s history of the neoconservative ascent to power is neither scholarly nor balanced.  Nor is it a book I...

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A Loyal Life

A remark I recently overheard on FOX News captured a key difference between Sir Alfred Sherman, whose assessment of the Thatcher years I now have in my hand, and those minicons who float on and off of FOX.  Commenting on the visit of Prince Charles to the United States, one of the news interpreters began...

Out of Harm’s Way
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Out of Harm’s Way

In this factually and conceptually rich biography of French political thinker Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987), Daniel J. Mahoney has at least begun the task that he sets for himself in the Preface: performing an “act of intellectual recovery” to “rectify the unwarranted neglect of one of the most thoughtful and most humane political thinkers of...

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A Suppressed Embarrassment

A book that has failed to go anywhere internationally, contrary to the author’s expectation, is a recent study by a Chilean Jewish academic who teaches philosophy at the University of Berlin, Victor Farías.  His work deals with the youthful thought and career of Salvador Allende, who, between 1970 and 1973, headed the Marxist Government of...

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Setting History Straight

Having sensed in the 1990’s that most European and American reporting about the Balkans was suspect, I find that this investigative study by a young German journalist, associated with the publication Junge Welt, fills in gaping holes in the received account of a controversial phase of recent history.  Contributing to my uneasiness over the establishment’s...

Shoddy Goods, Shoddy Selves
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Shoddy Goods, Shoddy Selves

Victor Navasky’s memoirs, which discuss his longtime relation to the Nation and how he came to publish that magazine, create for the reader two misleading impressions before he gets beyond the dust cover.  Contrary to the blurbs of Bill Moyers, Barbara Ehrenreich, E.L. Doctorow, and Kirkus Reviews, this book is neither “elegant” nor “subversive” nor...

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The Ugly Muslims

Russell Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor of Humanities at Stanford, has published a book, Anti-Americanism in Europe, that focuses on European dislike for the United States.  Berman explains that “anti-Americanism has emerged as an ideology available to form a postnational European identity.” In place of the nationalist, anti-immigration mood of the 1990s, anti-Americanism permits...