Chronicles’ editors should be commended for publishing several hard-hitting articles on the left’s pernicious censorship and particularly for providing an interview with a young friend of mine, Michael Millerman, who has been victimized by academic bigots (“Interview with a Condemned Academic,” Chronicles, August 2019).

Like Michael, I have written on Leo Strauss and Martin Heidegger and, to add to my long list of politically incorrect acts, prepared an introduction to the English edition of Dugin’s study of Heidegger’s philosophy. What makes Millerman’s story stand out from other examples of students and colleagues who have been treated badly by universities is its obvious lack of appeal to authorized conservative publications. Although the victim meets at least some of our official conservatives’ standards of acceptability, since he is Jewish and describes himself as a “Zionist,” he also, to his detriment, displeased a Straussian neoconservative professor at the University of Toronto.

Millerman, it seems, focused in his dissertation on figures whom our conservative celebrities dislike for their own reasons; and therefore they have no obligation to rise to his defense. Had Millerman been hassled for arguing that Martin Luther King was a free-market conservative, or that Plato was an atheist playing word games with his readers, I’m sure Clifford Orwin would have thought differently of his project.

This brings me to my larger point. If intellectual freedom is to gain defenders in this country, it will have to come from independent journals like Chronicles. One should expect nothing but continued hypocrisy from our conservative establishment, which picks and chooses ideologically useful victims for public celebration. An anthology that I organized, and which is now in press with Cornell University, documents the degree of the hypocrisy that the present conservative movement engages in when it claims to be championing academic or intellectual freedom. Its record in this matter is entirely self-serving and should not be considered without taking into account the character assassination that the same political establishment has practiced repeatedly against conservative dissenters. By now Millerman should be aware of the futility of looking for friends in certain quarters.

Paul Gottfried
Elizabethtown, Pa.

Mr. Welsch Replies:

It’s a pleasure to hear from Prof. Gottfried, who was an original contributor to Chronicles at its founding in 1977 by Leopold Tyrmand and John Howard. In fact, since receiving this letter, we’ve commissioned him to write a piece in this number diagnosing the current conservative landscape, and then prescribing a cure: “Resurrecting the Old Right,” beginning on page 23.

Prof. Gottfried’s insights are particularly valuable to us now, as he has been one of the leading intellectuals at the center of the so-called Old Right, or paleoconservative, movement—a name he invented.

He also helped create the name Alt-Right, which was later hijacked and redefined by those obsessed with racial politics. As a result, he’s been unfairly maligned as a member of the white-nationalist and Alt-Right movements—his facility at naming political movements came back to haunt him.

Gottfried’s piece in this issue of Chronicles helps to clarify his position and why it is so important to have a viable alternative to mainstream conservativism that doesn’t descend into a fruitless and wrongheaded quest for racial consciousness on the right. We’re honored to have him back in these pages.