Review of Paul Gottfried’s War and Democracy

Kevin MacDonald


Gottfried

War and Democracy
Paul Gottfried
London: Arktos Media, 2012; 167pp.
Available at Arktos Media and Amazon.

Paul Gottfried is an important voice on the right. War and Democracy, a collection of his essays published between 1975 and 2012, bears that out.

Dissident History

Perhaps what struck me the most is his grasp of history and his ability to use his knowledge to illuminate present issues and, especially to argue against currently fashionable interpretations that reinforce the hegemony of the left (including within the left everything from the radical left to the neoconservative right). For example, a review from 1975 of Fritz Stern’s The Failure of Illiberalism, describes the “refugee historical tradition” (presumably a reference to Jewish refugees from National Socialism) on German history as “bad theology”; its purposes are “to be an object lesson to foreigners and to serve as a means of contrition for Germans. … Any interpretation of the past that puts the Germans in a particularly bad light can expect an enthusiastic hearing among large segments of the American academic community”  (“History or Hysteria”).

Gottfried rejects much of the received wisdom on issues related to the German past. In “Germany’s War Wounds” he notes the hypocrisy of framing World War II as a moral crusade while ignoring the crimes against the German people. While England suffered around 21,000 civilian deaths from German bombing, over 600,000 German civilians died as their cities were bombed, with much of the carnage occurring after the war was effectively won and the cities were defenseless. Yet we have intellectuals like Christopher Hitchens stating that Germans who complain show “a combination of arrogance and self-pity tinged with anti-Semitism.” And politicians like former foreign minister Joschka Fischer, “an ostentatiously self-hating German who has published ten booklets to express his revulsion for his own country and his hope that it will soon disappear.”

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A review of a Roger Scruton’s England: An Elegy, a memoir of mid-twentieth-century England, makes two interesting points: England of that period was vastly different from America. While England retained a basically medieval social structure, America was founded by “Protestant sectarians who neither had nor desired a medieval past and whose descendants have turned into celebrants of Progress, commerce and human rights.”

This is a point made in elaborate detail by Andrew Fraser his The WASP Question: America since its founding has been far more radical in its social outlook than England, representing a variety of English sensibility that from the beginning was untethered to the strong pull of tradition that characterized England until very recently. Indeed, Gottfried notes that the influence on England to completely break away from its past and become a multicultural society “patterned itself on American reforms and American visions.”

I strongly suspect that this is true throughout the West. Once America became militarily and culturally dominant in the post-World War II era and given the international and hierarchical nature of elite culture (particularly apparent in the academic world), it was only a question of time before other Western countries followed in its footsteps. One can only imagine the pressure that would be exerted on, say, Australia if it had retained the White Australia policy into the present.

Fraser would doubtless agree with Gottfried that England patterned itself on American policy. But it should be noted, and I suppose that both Gottfried and Fraser might agree, that the vision of America as a multicultural society and the backbone of the activism that made this vision a reality have come from the American Jewish community. America was indeed more radical in its social visions than the Old Country. But it didn’t head in the direction of national and racial suicide until the rise of a hostile Jewish elite in America after World War II typified by the Jewish role in altering American immigration policy in favor of displacement-level non-White immigration. Given this, it is truly pathetic  that the “English Right has indulged in the fantasy that by making their country a junior partner of the United States they will be saved from a Teutonized Europe.” Such thinking is particularly mind-boggling given that, as Gottfried notes, Germany is “a guilt obsessed giant” claiming “incessantly that national identity is obsolete.”

Gottfried is also well-tuned to how perceptions of American history are skewed to favor current political agendas. The mainstream is exemplified by historians who favor strong presidents willing to impose agendas advertised as moral. In “The Managerial President,” Gottfried notes that “All the major conflicts into which our leaders thrust us from the Civil War on, with the possible exception of Viet Nam, are seen as morally desirable actions. … [These historians] have never been as anti-Communist as they are anti-fascist and Teutonophobic. …  The U.S. is a land of morally driven, energetic presidents who have made us into the envy and dread of the world.”

In this iconography, Lincoln becomes the “sanctus omnium sanctorum,” the leader who created an “America dedicated to democratic equality.” Gottfried reviews dissident historians who complain that the concentration of executive power has “made a mockery of the rule of law; that socialism by any other name tramples on republican liberty; and that if the U.S. had stayed out of World War I and had not lied its way into it, the European powers might have been forced to make a peace without conquests.”

Gottfried notes the hypocrisy of the mainstream historians—that they have particular policy preferences usually associated with the left and that they would be staunch opponents of executive power if a true conservative (much less a White nationalist) assumed power. But given the power of the left in the media and academic world, there is grave temptation for presidents to abuse executive power because such actions will be vigorously applauded by the powers that be.

But the dissidents have lost: “Today, hardly anyone in my heavily Republican region of Pennsylvania can imagine criticisms of Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, or FDR’s prosecution of World War II as anything other than anti-American” (“Victor’s History”). In forging this consensus, the neoconservatives have taken the lead, borrowing the left’s framing of issues in moral terms (e.g., “democracy vs. Islamofascism”), and using this framework to justify wars, prototypically wars on behalf of Israel.

Jewish Issues

Gottfried at times writes explicitly about Jewish issues, most extensively in his essay “On ‘Being Jewish’,” from 1996. It is a comment on Philip Weiss’s essay on the contradictions of contemporary American Jews who have been very successful but still harbor feelings of fear (“of Nazi atrocities”) and loathing toward the American White majority (e.g., Abe Foxman’s view that American Jewry is “a threatened minority in a hostile country”).

Quite simply, Jews like Foxman hate White America and they imagine White America as hostile to them (see also below).  Unfortunately, Foxman’s attitude is an entirely mainstream view among American Jews, with the result that America is beset by a hostile elite that is completely unrepresentative of the population as a whole. Say what one will about the now deposed and despised WASP elite, it was far more representative of the country it ruled, not only in terms of attitudes (e.g., accepting a version of Christianity) but also racially, given that 90% of the country was White.

Chapter 3 of The Culture of Critique (“Jews and the Left”)  revolves around the question whether Jewish leftists retained their Jewish identity— an issue because, at least until the 1980s, radical ideology tended to anathemize ethnic and racial identities in favor of internationalism. This resulted in an implicit contradiction among Jewish radicals between their leftist universalist ideology and their Jewish ethnic identity — a contradiction that was papered over with a variety of self-deceptions.

Gottfried is well aware that Jewish political attitudes stem ultimately from a Jewish identity: “I’ve never met a Jewish liberal whose leftist politics was not in some way connected to his self-identity as a Jew. … [Leftist politics] is the way Jews have responded to their anxieties in the Christian West. And mixed with this anxiety at some level is a sense of marginality grounded in theological difference” (“The Myth of ‘Judeo-Christian’ Values”).

In the above-mentioned chapter on Jews and the left, I used the following quotation from Gottfried’s “On ‘Being Jewish’” because it illustrates self-deception about their ethnocentrism that is utterly commonplace among Jews:

All my Jewish colleagues in graduate school, noisy anti-anti-Communists, opposed American capitalist imperialism, but then became enthusiastic warmongers during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. One Jewish Marxist acquaintance went into a rage that the Israelis did not demand the entire Mideast at the end of that war. Another, though a feminist, lamented that the Israeli soldiers did not rape more Arab women. It would be no exaggeration to say that my graduate school days resounded with Jewish hysterics at an institution where Wasps seemed to count only for decoration.

My experience with Jewish radicals at the University of Wisconsin around the same time was quite similar. In addition to their suddenly visible ethnic attachment to Israel that seemed so contrary to their surface ideology, in my experience they had a great deal of hostility to Western cultural institutions as politically and sexually oppressive combined with an ever-present sense of danger and imminent destruction by the forces of repression.

Nothing has changed, except that the psychoanalytic influence has waned. The fear and loathing remain and are absolutely central to Jewish self-concept in America. Expressions of concern about humanity in general are quickly replaced by assertions of Jewish interests when there are real or perceived dangers to Jews. Jews who never consciously had a Jewish identity suddenly become overt, emotionally charged Jewish patriots.

Gottfried goes Weiss one better when he notes that Weiss himself harbors typically Jewish fears of Christian traditionalists and rural Americans (Weiss: “A red pickup went by with a country-looking driver, the very embodiment of all the values that my family had kept at bay. Probably not that smart, either. And given the landscape, a Jew-hater too.”) Weiss doubtless developed such attitudes from his father, “an enraged left-wing radical seething with hatred toward gentiles.”

The reality, of course, is that Weiss’s father was quite successful in life (“at the top of his field”), but his success didn’t change his attitudes. I have repeatedly found such “seething hatred” for the Christian West among Jews. In “The Myth of ‘Judeo-Christian’ Values” Gottfried notes that “Jewish distaste for Christianity is so deep-seated that it cannot be written off as a legacy of Christian anti-Semitism. This unfortunate hostility actually seems to grow in intensity or expressiveness as Christians try to reach out to Jews.”  Such attitudes along with the reality of Jews as an elite throughout the West have led me to label Jews a “hostile elite” with all that implies in terms of policies, such as displacement-level immigration directed against the interests of the traditional people and culture of the West.

Gottfried is also attuned to Jewish hypocrisy on Israel, noting that Jewish activists like Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman defend the idea that Israel must be a Jewish state, while having no sympathy for the idea that America should be defined as a White, Christian republic. They are openly concerned about Palestinian demographics in Israel, but have no concern about the eclipse of White America. Zionists in the West attack all opponents of massive displacement-level immigration as incipient fascism, but defend the idea of a Jewish state. He devotes particular venom to David Frum who strongly desires Israel to remain an ethnically Jewish state, but “notoriously raged against Sam Francis in ‘Unpatriotic Conservatives’  …  for advocating ‘a politics devoted to the protection of the interests of what he [Francis] called the ‘Euro-American cultural core’ of the American nation.” And he makes the points that while liberal Jews (the vast majority) “are inclined to be multiculturalists because they fear and distrust a Christian majority. White Christians … chase after ‘diversity’ because they are self-dismissively throwing away their civilization.”

Right.  Gottfried’s preferences are consistent: An ethnically Jewish Israel and an America that remains “predominantly Euro-American.” Gottfried may well have gotten such attitudes from his father who “would go speechless with rage if someone suggested that Jews were morally required to support a porous border with Latin America because a ship of German Jews had not been allowed into the U.S. in 1940” (“A Man in Full”).

Gottfried’s father’s rage is directed at a very telling example of mainstream Jewish sensibilities: There is no concern for the interests of other Americans. Only Jewish interests matter. Old historical grudges must never be forgotten. Revenge must be had. The hated White, Christian America must be destroyed.

In a remarkable passage — remarkable because such self-awareness is so rare among Jews — Gottfried is quite aware of how his ethnic blinders as a Jew may color his perception of Israel:

The question is whether I would [support Israel] absent certain factors: for example, if I had no Jewish blood, if member of my family had not fled Hitler and gone to Israel, and if my son-in-law were not an Israeli military officer. The answer is probably not. In this other reality I would be focusing …  on Israeli’s most boisterous advocates, including the neocons’ underlings at National Review and The Weekly Standard. I would also be noticing all the others who run around sliming any critic of Israel as an anti-Semite or Holocaust-denier. Like Taki Theodoracopulos and Pat Buchanan, I would be sick of such defamers and their manipulation of the American Right. And such passions might affect my judgment about Israel. (“Ilana, Israel and the Paleos”)

The Frankfurt School

Although associated with the Frankfurt School, Gottfried is well aware that it is an exemplar of Jewish activism (see also Chapter 5 of The Culture of Critique). In a review of a biography of Theodor Adorno (“Bourgeois Radical”), he notes “Adorno’s demonstrable contempt for bourgeois Christian society” and the Frankfurt School’s “hostilities, which in some cases seem to stem from an ostentatious sense of Jewish marginality, in a variety of desperate radical positions, from hating their own country long before the Nazis rose to power to pouring affection on Communist dictatorships.” He attributes to the Frankfurt School a large responsibility for what is ailing the West today — the “political correctness” that “would be unthinkable without the influence of Adorno and the Frankfurt School.”

Gottfried describes a complex relationship with another prominent member of the Frankfurt School, Herbert Marcuse (“The Marcuse Factor”). As a graduate student he found ways of “rationalizing Marcuse’s defects, almost turning them into excesses of virtue.” But he never got to the point of thinking that the Soviet Union was becoming a garden of sexual delights, as Marcuse had it. What comes through is that Marcuse, like so much of the mainstream Jewish community to this day, simply detested the West and wanted to see it destroyed. “Like other members of the Frankfurt School  — most notably Theodor Adorno, with whom he had been associated since the early 1930s — Marcuse claimed to detest bourgeois civilization and supposedly wished to see it destroyed.”

One wonders why Gottfried included ‘supposedly’ in this sentence, especially because in the next paragraph he asks what connection Marcuse had to the civilization which “he professed to despise.” The hatred was real, and one can only recall the glee with which Jews destroyed the traditional culture of Russia and were complicit in the murder of millions (see my “Stalin’s Willing Executioners: Jews as a hostile elite in the Soviet Union”). Jewish hatreds have had huge real world consequences that are of urgent importance to White America as it sleepwalks into its non-White majority future dominated by a hostile Jewish elite.

Gottfried began turning away from the Frankfurt School in the early 1990s. I was a bit surprised to read that he found Dialectic of the Enlightenment (by Max Horkheimer and Adorno) instructive, since it epitomizes the hatred toward the West and pathologizing its accomplishments that he elsewhere laments. My comment on Dialectic of Enlightenment fromChapter 5 of The Culture of Critique:

The general thesis of Dialectic of Enlightenment is that the Enlightenment reflected the Western attempt to dominate nature and suppress human nature. Fascism was then viewed as the ultimate embodiment of the Enlightenment, since it represented the apotheosis of domination and the use of science as an instrument of oppression. In this perspective fascist collectivism is the logical outgrowth of Western individualism—a perspective that is fanciful to say the least.

Dialectic of Enlightenment also develops a theory of anti-Semitism based entirely on Western pathology and in which Jewish behavior is completely irrelevant. Anti-Semitism is the result of “the will to destroy born of a false social order.” This is exactly the kind of baseless, poisonous theory of anti-Semitism that feeds into Jewish hostility toward the West and warrants the destruction of the West as an ethnocultural entity.

Gottfried mentions his increasing distaste for the ”hero worship”  surrounding the Frankfurt School—a phenomenon I have found in all of the Jewish intellectual and political movements I have encountered and a major theme of The Culture of Critique. Such hero worship is  fundamental to Jewish social organization throughout history, the only difference being that in the modern world, the charismatic rabbis of traditional Jewish communities have been replaced by charismatic intellectuals (Freud, Boas, Horkheimer, Adorno) and political leaders (Trotsky, Emma Goldman, Max Shachtman).

Gottfried notes “the self-evident truth that much of the radical project of the Frankfurt School was attributable to the Jewishness of its founders. Without their sense of marginalization and the attendant hostilities, they would not likely have been so contemptuous of ordinary, non-adjusted bourgeois.” His disillusionment with the Frankfurt School stemmed from the very negative reaction of his erstwhile Frankfurt School colleagues when Gottfried agreed with a Jewish author who emphasized the Jewish nature of the movement.

But he never cut all of his ties with the journal Telos which carries on the Frankfurt tradition. In the end he portrays himself as someone who has benefited from the Frankfurt School’s methods (emphasizing “historical contexts and power relations”) while using them to target leftists. Alex Kurtagic has made a similar point—that the language of post-modernism can be used effectively to advocate for White identity and interests (“Deconstruction: I Know How To Do It Too”).

Discussion

There is much to like here and little to disagree with. I should note that in general, Gottfried has been a fair critic of my work. In one case, he took me to task for not getting at the depths of Jewish hatred for the traditional American nation:

Kevin MacDonald, has hardly scratched the surface in delineating the nastiness with which the children and grandchildren of Eastern European Jewish immigrants clawed their way to the top of the academic-media industry, on the backs of those they often despised. And all the while they appealed with brilliant success to a guilty WASP conscience. (quoted in my (“Jews as a hostile elite—again”)

This kind of criticism on the theme of Jews as a hostile elite is certainly the kind I am very open to. But quite frankly, it would be difficult to exaggerate my view of the importance of Jewish hostility. (TOO has 44 articles on the theme of Jews as a hostile elite, including this one.) I regard Jewish hostility toward the people and culture of the West as the key issue in White dispossession. It matters little to the future of America and the  West as the creation of European peoples that Jews are an elite. What matters is that they are a hostile elite.

Gottfried also wrote a fairly critical review of my Cultural Insurrections with some specific criticisms, to which I responded.

The only criticism I have of Gottfried from the present collection is that there is no real analysis of why the mainstream Jewish community hates the people and culture of the West so much. An analysis in terms of “marginality” or “marginality grounded in theological difference” is simply not enough.  Such an analysis implicitly blames Jewish hostility on non-Jewish society that has regarded Jews with distaste or outright hostility. Such an analysis disregards Jewish behavior as being part of the equation. For example, in the early twentieth century when radicalism and support for the Bolshevik revolution were rampant in the Jewish community, negative attitudes toward further Jewish immigration were well-founded to say the least, particularly given the long-term effects of Jewish immigration that we see now. And, as Gottfried would doubtless acknowledge, the hostilities of Jewish radicals during the period were based on previously existing hostility intimately connected to their Jewish identity.  Jews expect non-Jews to embrace them even when they refuse to socialize with them. As Lawrence Auster says about Alan Dershowitz, “He lived a life apart as a Jew, yet at the same time he expected high-society lawyers to staff their firms with people who couldn’t socialize with them. And he calls them bigots for not wanting to do this!” [Auster’s emphasis]. Dershowitz may have been marginalized, but he quite clearly wanted to be marginalized, just as in traditional societies Jews intentionally segregated themselves from surrounding peoples.

Surely part of the answer is ingroup/outgroup social identity processes where strongly identified members of ingroups tend to have negative stereotypes and even hostility toward outgroups—developed in Chapter 1 of Separation and Its Discontents. This is part of our evolutionary psychology, but these processes are exacerbated in highly ethnocentric groups—Jews being a prototypical highly ethnocentric group. The phenomenon of highly ethnocentric leftist Jews noted above is classic—their hatreds accompanied by self-deception and phrased in a Marxist/Frankfurt School/liberal language that completely belies the ethnic roots of their hatreds.

Jewish self-perceptions as a persecuted group feed into these hatreds. For most Jews, Jewish history in the West is a lachrymose litany of unjust and irrational persecutions—their views warped by their profound ethnocentrism that biases their perceptions and sharpens their hostility.  Jewish historical memory is profoundly tinged by Jewish ethnocentrism (see, e.g., the work of Andrew Joyce on the Russian pogroms, the Limerick affair in Ireland, and Jewish writing on historical anti-Semitism). Consider again the truly egregious hater, Alan Dershowitz who rails about the fact that the people he hates don’t love him. Jews like Dershowitz are completely unable to see the situation from the perspective of those who marginalize them. Unfortunately, Dershowitz is entirely within the mainstream of Jewish opinion and activism among American Jews and certainly within the organized Jewish community in America. And because of the elite status of American Jews, this is very important indeed. Jews matter.

Further, Jewish hatred has been instrumental in toppling the previously existing WASP elite of America—a fact well-illustrated by the quote from Gottfried noted above.  Jewish hostility has been combined with Jewish aggression toward the hated WASPs while nevertheless managing, in Gottfried’s words, “to appeal with brilliant success to a guilty WASP conscience.”

A lot of people feel marginalized in all societies, whether because they are different from the ethnic or religious majority (e.g., growing up, as I did, as a Catholic in a town where Protestants were the elite) or because they have a different sexual orientation from the majority, a physical or intellectual disability, or even political outlook (e.g., a conservative in a university setting). But the vast majority of marginalized people do not react with the aggressive hostility that Jews have exhibited toward the Christian West (or toward the traditional culture and people of Russia).  For Jews, nothing less than destroying the hated West and its traditional Christian culture would do.

Radicalism and other forms of leftism among Jews (including neoconservatism which is a form of leftism in everything but name, including being characterized by the typical Jewish hatred toward  the former WASP elite; see here, p. 4) are ideologies fashioned to achieve Jewish interests in the Diaspora, and in my view the main Jewish interest has been to depose previously existing elites in favor of a Jewish-dominated elite.

Even though the New Left rejected Stalinism, there is no doubt it was bent on a similar displacement of white elites. All of its policies led inexorably in that direction. To a considerable extent, the current malaise of whites in the US can be directly traced to the triumph of the attitudes of the New Left—especially non-white immigration, the rise of multiculturalism, and the steady erosion of whites as a percentage of the electorate. (See here.)

The WASPs barely fought back, instead leaving the stage laden with guilt and groping for a sense of moral righteousness — traits that were deeply embedded in their Puritan ancestors and cynically exploited by their Jewish conquerors. As a result, we now have a Jewish-dominated elite that is far more corrupt and far less representative of the country than the previous elite, but whose power and motives (the latter rooted in a boundless hostility although often phrased as a love for humanity) are completely outside of the boundaries of acceptable public discussion.

No people can long survive when they become dominated by an elite that is hostile to them and their culture.

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