|Paul Edward Gottfried|
Paul E. Gottfried
|Full name||Paul Edward Gottfried|
|Main interests||Welfare state, Democratic pluralism|
Paul Edward Gottfried (born 1941) is the Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and a Guggenheim recipient. He is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
He is the author of numerous books and articles in several languages on intellectual history, paleoconservatism, ancient historiography, and political theory. Gottfried has also been a close friend of important political and intellectual figures: Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan, John Lukacs, Christopher Lasch, Robert Nisbet, and Murray Rothbard. He is now writing his memoirs that will deal with his "encounters" with these and other personalities. He is a critic of the neoconservatives within the conservative movement and the Republican Party. Gottfried contributes frequent articles on conservative politics and has written about Jews who are critical of Zionism.
Much of his historical-theoretical contributions have sought to demonstrate the obsolescence of inherited political and ideological distinctions. This theme runs through his recent trilogy, which traces the rise and expansion of the democratic managerial state. His third book-length attempt to define Conservatism in America addresses the rise of "value conservatism" in a highly critical fashion. In this work, he contends that tradition arises from the practices of inter-generational communities and has nothing to do with the hawking of privileged values by talk show hosts and journalists.
Gottfried has often portrayed culture and morality in contemporary Western societies as reflections of the reach of the current political administration. He has focused on the democratic welfare state as a force of change because of its power to recode social behavior and to break down communities. He focuses especially on social engineering occurring with popular consent, and the advance of democratic pluralism.
Gottfried's political columns have been generally critical of neoconservatives, whom he associates with "global democratic idolatry" and "irresponsible name-calling". Gottfried has also accused particular neoconservatives of having kept him in 1987 from a graduate professorship at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.. Moreover, he has made references to this ominous intervention in commentaries dealing with academic freedom. He has also voiced doubts about the possibility of maintaining free institutions with the "self-obliteration" of the bourgeois society that created them. He has made no secret of his cultural and social pessimism, a trait, he has observed, that has become more acute the more he reflects on the course of Western societies during his lifetime.