CIReport.ca INTERVIEWS: Paul Gottfried
Paul Gottfried: “White guilt is the essence of liberal Christianity in this country, the way Holocaust blame opens the door to the same leftist politics in Europe”
CIReport.ca: You are the Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and a Guggenheim recipient, author of ten books and numerous articles. Moreover, you are credited with coining the term “Paleoconservatism” in the 1980s. What is the story behind this word and what is the difference between paleoconservatism and “traditional” conservatism?
Paul Gottfried: I invented the term paleoconservative originally to indicate the older conservative traditions from which the neocons dramatically departed. Nonetheless, by the time I was working on the second edition of my survey of the American conservative movement, it was apparent that the neocons had won their war with minimal opposition. Thereafter the paleocons in my account were those on the right who went on fighting the neocon takeover, even after it was clear that they would be totally marginalized. What characterizes the neocons, beyond a specifically New York Jewish pattern of ideas and prejudices, is a dedication to democracy as a cluster of abstract propositions.
CIReport.ca: What is the biggest threat to the contemporary Western societies?
Paul Gottfried: I can’t say what is the biggest threat to Western civilization but I would rate the evil of a neoconservative American presidential administration as being up there with Muslim terrorists and multicultural ideology.
CIReport.ca: Samuel Francis said: “Immigration from countries and cultures that are incompatible with and indigestible to the Euro-American cultural core of the United States should be generally prohibited, current border controls should be rigorously enforced, illegal aliens already here should be rounded up and deported, and employers who hire them should be prosecuted and punished.” What are your thoughts on immigration as practiced in the Western world today?
Paul Gottfried: Sam Francis was right about the incompatibility of certain groups with the established culture of the West. But I’m not sure it makes sense any more to identify the “Western democracies” with such traditional cultural foci as the bourgeois family or Christianity.
CIReport.ca: The population in general has no knowledge or is apathetic about the massive demographic shifts occurring in the West. How do you explain that so many individuals are undisturbed with the future of their own nations?
Paul Gottfried: The media, public education, and the social democratic state are sweeping away such reference points. All these socializing forces help explain why the “people,” whatever that means, are indifferent to the disappearance of their nations.
CIReport.ca: A great deal of recent turmoil, particularly in Europe, is due to the increasing number of Muslims living in democratic societies. It has been suggested that these issues are welcomed as challenges that are formative and instrumental in achieving a practicable multicultural nation. Many state that the West is assisting slowly working towards an Islamic enlightenment. Is it our responsibility to bring forward an Islamic Renaissance?
Paul Gottfried: I can’t imagine why the white European population would even care at this point about Muslims colonizing their countries, providing they continue to receive goodies and moral direction from their “democratic” governments.
CIReport.ca: What do you think about the so-called “Arab Spring”?
Paul Gottfried: I’m not sure what the “Arab spring” means, except for a series of riots against weak, authoritarian governments in places that speak Arabic and are predominantly Muslim. Since the liberal-neocon media approve of this turmoil, they refer to it as an “Arab spring.”
Paul Gottfried: “I can’t imagine why the white European population would even care at this point about Muslims colonizing their countries, providing they continue to receive goodies and moral direction from their “democratic” governments.”
CIReport.ca: Why has 9/11 or European terror attacks not had a larger impact on Westerners’ perception of Islam?
Paul Gottfried: The 9/11 terror attack did not generate significant anti-Muslim sentiment because the Bush administration, the Democratic opposition, and the media diverted the expected anger elsewhere. The attack was ascribed to “extremists,” “religious Fundamentalists,” or cowardly scoundrels who had no specific non-Western identity. I’m not sure what the next war will look like. But I see no reason for Muslims to unleash it on Europeans since they can take over by producing more children and operating through Western multicultural institutions.
CIReport.ca: Studies have consistently demonstrated that the large-scale Western-bound population movements we have seen in recent decades provide a negligible or negative economic impact. Why are these policies unabated and do you believe in any of the theories who claim that Jews, lefties, liberals, etc. are behind mass immigration and consequently the social experiment called multiculturalism?
Paul Gottfried: The economic effect of Third World immigration into the US has been too negligible or hidden to create significant opposition to immigration as such. The GOP talks about controlling illegal immigration but then goes on to call for more legal immigration. There are certain groups like the ones you’ve mentioned who have been in the forefront of the multicultural transformation of this country. But the list would have to be expanded to include many others before we could reach a comprehensive causal account. The most critical cause for the triumph of multicultural values and policies in my opinion are the rise and power of liberal Christianity. This phenomenon is so important because it affects the onetime core culture and majority population.
CIReport.ca: How would you explain White Guilt?
Paul Gottfried: White guilt is the essence of liberal Christianity in this country, the way Holocaust blame opens the door to the same leftist politics in Europe.
CIReport.ca: What were American thoughts in voting for Obama, a non-White man with a fully Muslim name?
Paul Gottfried: A black social and economic leftist, and particularly one with a Muslim name, seems just about right as the head of the US or Canada at this point in time.
CIReport.ca: Had Pat Buchanan been elected president, how would America be different from what it is today?
Paul Gottfried: I couldn’t imagine Buchanan becoming president of the US, any more than I could imagine a German nationalist becoming German chancellor.
CIReport.ca: If current economic and political trends stay the course, when will life become insufferable for the middle class?
Paul Gottfried: I’ve no idea what it would take to jolt the “middle class” out of its multicultural infatuation and addiction to government programs.
CIReport.ca: How far has “WASP” culture declined as the prevailing ethos of the United States?
Paul Gottfried: I couldn’t even conceive of a reinvigoration of WASP culture. Aside from the habit of voting for centrist mediocrities with GOP labels, playing golf, working for corporations and apologizing for slavery, I’m not sure what is left of WASPdom. If John McCain and Mitt Romney are the best it’s now producing, I won’t mourn its passing.
CIReport.ca: Have you ever been threatened or felt in danger because of your opinions?
Paul Gottfried: I’ve never felt in physical danger because of my views but then my enemies have done such a good job in marginalizing me that the leftists would be fools if they tried to eliminate me.
CIReport.ca: What do you think about rewriting history to please racial sensitivities and norms? One famous example is the case of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written in the vernacular of the time and today deemed to be inappropriate because of the presence of the word “nigger”. CBS even produced a 1955 TV adaptation that lacked any mention of slavery and feature a White man in the role of Jim. In 1998, parents in Tempe, Ariz., sued the local high school over the book’s presence on a mandatory reading list. Fortunately, the parents lost the case.
Paul Gottfried: I see no problem with bowdlerizing everything to fit the multicultural doctrines of the administrative state and our media priesthood.
Paul Gottfried: “I couldn’t even conceive of a reinvigoration of WASP culture. “
CIReport.ca: Is long-term multiculturalism/multiracialism possible?
Paul Gottfried: We live in a multicultural church state, together with the other “democracies” that have come under American influence. Although I don’t know whether multiculturalism will turn out to be long-lived, in the short and middle term it has done swimmingly and does not seem to be on the way out.
CIReport.ca: A common claim in North-America is that “we are all immigrants”, which discounts the pioneering and colonial peoples who faced impossible conditions and worked tirelessly to construct the New World. How far do you think the establishment will go in order to make immigrants feel equally at home?
Paul Gottfried: The claim “we are all immigrants” is either exaggerated or meaningless, except as a dishonest persuasive tool. Even the US as a “classical immigrant country” suspended or reduced immigration for periods of time or introduced national origins requirements to insure compatible populations. Since 1965 however the US has undergone a political and social revolution, starting with the civil rights upheaval and culminating in the election of our president, “who transcends race” by having a black nationalist background. It would be fallacious to generalize from recent American history or to infer broad trends on the basis of what we see now.
CIReport.ca: Thank you, Mr Gottfried.
Books by Paul E. Gottfried:
Conservative Millenarians (1979)
The Search for Historical Meaning (1986)
The Conservative Movement (1993)
First edtion (1988), co-authored with Thomas Fleming
Carl Schmidt: Politics and Theory (1990)
After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State (1999)