Gottfried, Paul Edward 1941–

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Gottfried, Paul Edward 1941–

(Paul Gottfried)


Born November 21, 1941, in New York, NY; son of Andrew and Ruth Gottfried; married Diane Zelcer, June 15, 1969 (died February, 1994); married Mary Zwir, May 12, 2000; children (first marriage): Barbara Hollander, Joseph, Jonathan, Beth, Sara. Education: Yeshiva University, B.A., 1963; Yale University, M.S., 1965, Ph.D., 1967. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, jogging, gardening.


Office—Elizabethtown College, Political Science Department, 1 Alpha Dr., Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2298. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, editor, political scientist, and educator. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, assistant professor, 1968-71; New York University, New York, NY, assistant professor of history, 1971-72; Rockford College, Rockford, IL, chair of history department, 1974-86; Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, professor of humanities and Raffensperger Chair, department of political science, 1989—. Yale University, graduate fellow, 1965-66. Mises Institute, adjunct scholar.


Neoclassical Reform Jewish Movement (organizer), Societa Libera.


National Endowment for the Humanities award, 1969; Earhart fellow, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1983, and 1988; Guggenheim fellow, 1984; National Endowment for the Humanities teaching fellow, U.S. Naval Academy, 1993.


Conservative Millenarians: The Romantic Experience in Bavaria, Fordham University Press (New York, NY), 1979.

The Search for Historical Meaning: Hegel and the Postwar American Right, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 1986.

(With Thomas Fleming) The Conservative Movement, Twayne Publishers (Boston, MA), 1988, revised edition, 1993.

Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1990.

(Author of introduction) Walter Kaufmann, editor, Religion from Tolstoy to Camus, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 1994.

After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1999.

Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2002.

The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2005.

Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including National Observer. World and I, senior editor, 1986-93; This World, editor-in-chief, 1992; Telos, senior editor; Humanitas, contributing editor; Chronicles, contributing editor.

Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy has been translated into German, Romanian, and Russian; The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, and Russian; Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right and After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State have been translated into Romanian.


Paul Edward Gottfried is a political scientist, educator, writer, and editor. He is professor of humanities and Raffensperger Chair of the Department of Political Science at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Gottfried is a noted political conservative writer and thinker, and is associated with a number of conservative political and public figures, including former U.S. president Richard M. Nixon, commentator Pat Buchanan, historian John Lukacs, critic Christopher Lasch, and sociologist Robert Nisbet, reported Justin Quinn in a profile of Gottfried on U.S. Conservative Politics. Quinn identified the timbre of Gottfried's political conservatism when he noted that Gottfried is a "respectful practitioner of the ‘Old Right’ in American politics."

Gottfried's written works have covered a wide gamut of topics in philosophy, democracy, and politics. In The Search for Historical Meaning: Hegel and the Postwar American Right, Gottfried argues that in the postwar years, American conservatives were influenced by Hegelian philosophical concepts that affected their cultural judgments and historical attitudes. However, Gottfried believes that their dedication to the values of personal freedom led them to abandon and denounce Hegel himself, and instead apply their own Hegelian ideas to less inflammatory and offensive sources, noted Robert Nisbet in the National Review. Gottfried looks at the Hegelian influence on prominent conservatives such as Eric Voegelin, Frank Meyer, Karl Wittfogel, Will Herberg, and James Burnham. "These names belong without question in the first rank of those conservatives who became prominent in American thought beginning in the late 1940s," Nisbet stated. Gottfried notes that all of these conservative figures were unwilling to concede any influence from Hegel; yet his examination of their writings, actions, and political thought evidence distinctive Hegelian influence. He finds this link in their adherence to historicism, the "envisioning of past, present, and future as seamlessly linked in a unilinear, inexorable, and necessary flow of humanity through time," Nisbet remarked. Nisbet concluded that The Search for Historical Meaning stands as "the best and most provocative treatment of postwar American conservatism yet written."

Gottfried takes a critical and historical look at the dramatic changes in the concepts of liberalism in After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State. At one time, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Gottfried states, liberalism as a political idea "meant and represented a belief in individual liberty, limited government, and the free-market economy," remarked Richard M. Ebeling in Freedom Daily. "In twentieth-century America it came to mean virtually the opposite. A liberal now is someone who believes in the interventionist-welfare state and the regulated economy. Government, in this more modern conception of liberalism, is viewed as a benevolent force to improve the social and economic conditions of man through directing and restricting the market in various ways," Ebeling continued. Gottfried asserts that the older concept of liberalism no longer exists as a viable political concept. "His concern is with what has grown up not only in American politics but in worldwide politics since the nineteenth-century heyday of liberalism. And that is the managerial state: the politics of handouts and entitlements that compels politicians of all stripes either to bow deferentially at its feet or simply bow out of the political arena," commented Carmine Sarracino, writing in the World and I.

Gottfried explores related issues, such as the rise of the welfare state. He considers the development of "pluralism" within liberal democracy, wherein dissenters from the thinking of the administrative New Class are labeled as bigots or agents of hate and "who have to receive either sensitivity training or be silenced by social ostracism, professional marginalization, substantial frees, or even jail terms," noted Mark Wegierski, writing in the Review of Metaphysics. Gottfried sees pluralism as the "tropes for the attempt to exclude and eradicate illiberal views in society," Wegierski commented. The managerial-therapeutic regime of public administration and the New Class values that result, he suggests, are unlikely to be successfully challenged by neoconservatives, members of the Old Right, the religious Right, and even the intellectual Left.

"The seriousness and thoroughness of Gottfried's study make it an extraordinary accomplishment and, if not quite unique, certainly distinguished among books of political or cultural analysis. Every major point he makes is supported with extensive historical contextualization as well as a review of the relevant literature from across the Americas and Europe," remarked Sarracino. Wegierski, reviewing the book in the Social Contract, concluded that "After Liberalism is a very fine work, and it may indeed be the kind of book of analysis that George Orwell would have written, had he lived longer." American Enterprise contributor John Attarian concluded that the book is "concise and lucid enough for one sitting, but learned and sophisticated enough to repay several. Its shrewd insights make it a matchless guide for the perplexed."

Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy is Gottfried's "quietly and learnedly devastating appraisal of Political Correctness in all its forms," commented R.J. Stove in the National Observer—Australia and World Affairs. Gottfried lays much of the blame for the rise of political correctness on "the collapse, over the last half-century, of America's mainline Protestant denominations," Stove noted. The influence of political correctness has not only pervaded Protestant religions but Catholicism, as well, Gottfried reports. He looks to Europe and finds further confirmation of his bleak outlook on the pervasiveness of liberal politics, institutionalized guilt, and political correctness. He sharply criticizes such recent ideas as hate crimes and how they amount to little more than "witch hunts" that suppress political and intellectual dissent. "An essential technique of those witch-hunts, wherever they occur, is the medicalisation of political dissent. You need never confront, let alone refute, a single argument if you can demonise the arguer as ‘homophobic,’ or ‘sexist,’ or best of all—why not, since it worked for Andropov's K.G.B.?—mentally disturbed," Stove commented. Stove concluded that "there need be no excuse for doing without Professor Gottfried's terse yet dense production. Though not cheap, it represents very good value for money."

In Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, Gottfried suggests that modern political conservatism in America is a relatively new phenomenon. For Gottfried, the American conservative movement originated in the 1950s, invented by journalists and intellectuals who were observing and reacting to the Cold War, and who sought out allies in their opposition to Communism. Gottfried places the beginnings of the American conservative movement alongside the founding of William F. Buckley's conservative magazine the National Review in 1955. Gottfried finds that the current state of conservative thought and writing at the National Review is considerably diminished from that which reigned during Buckley's early days as editor.

In more recent years, Gottfried sees the American conservative movement as suffering from the influx of neoconservatives, a political group that attracts his considerable criticism and scorn for the damage he perceives they have done to the once-stolid conservative movement. Neoconservative writers and commentators, Gottfried asserts, often support political ideas, personal values, and other concepts, such as immigration, homosexual marriage, and feminism, that are in opposition to true conservative thinking. He also finds fault with the close association of neoconservatives with the Republicans. Stove concluded: "For those seeking guidance as to how this situation developed, and whether it could have been avoided with a greater concern by establishment conservatives to avoid piggybacking on the Republican Party, Professor Gottfried's analysis will be indispensable."



American Enterprise, September, 1999, John Attarian, review of After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State, p. 83.

Choice, July-August, 1999, W.C. Johnson, review of After Liberalism, p. 2016.

Current, March-April, 2004, James Kurth, "Reinventing Identities in the Atlantic World," p. 30.

Freedom Daily, July, 2002, Richard M. Ebeling, review of After Liberalism.

Modern Age, spring, 1993, Lee Congdon, review of Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory, p. 231.

National Observer—Australia and World Affairs, autumn, 2003, R.J. Stove, review of Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy, p. 63; spring, 2007, R.J. Stove, review of Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, p. 69.

National Review, May 22, 1987, Robert Nisbet, review of The Search for Historical Meaning: Hegel and the Postwar American Right, p. 44.

New Republic, June 7, 1999, review of After Liberalism, p. 34.

Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2006, George Ross, review of The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium, p. 332.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2005, review of The Strange Death of Marxism.

Review of Metaphysics, September, 1991, Mark Wegierski, review of Carl Schmitt, p. 120; September, 2000, Mark Wegierski, review of After Liberalism, p. 144.

Social Contract, summer, 1999, Mark Wegierski, review of After Liberalism.

Society, November, 1999, Paul Seaton, review of After Liberalism, p. 103.

Telos, summer, 2001, James Kalb, review of After Liberalism, p. 186; fall, 2006, Nino Langiulli, "Marxism's Strange Death," review of The Strange Death of Marxism, p. 177.

University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, spring, 1992, Paul Michell, review of Carl Schmitt, p. 310.

World and I, January, 2000, Carmine Sarracino, "Reign of the Managerial Elites—Yesterday's Liberalism Has Been Replaced by the ‘Tyranny of Values’ of Today's Managerial State," review of After Liberalism, p. 274.

ONLINE U.S. Conservative Politics, (April 10, 2008), Justin Quinn, "A Profile of Paul Edward Gottfried."

Elizabethtown College Web site, (April 10, 2008), faculty profile.