This book needs to be read by ‘progressive-liberals’ who think of themselves as erudite critics and analysts, just as much as by conservatives, but I dare say the one group that would be least likely to benefit are the oddly name neoconservatives, who are neither “neo” nor “conservative.” Another group that could benefit are intransigent “anti-Semites” on the Right whose often justified suspicion as to the Jewish presence in New York and Washington excludes the possibility that a great many Jews both now and in the past have been sincere patriots, not least those in Weimer Germany who, apart from being conspicuous in the ranks of the anti-national Left and the most depraved manifestations of cultural excess, also included the greater number who had fought with valor during World War I, and others who were committed to German nationhood and German culture.
Today many Jews in the so-called “Diaspora” find themselves in a predicament: there is a charge of “dual loyalty” that puts Jews under suspicion of having secondary loyalty to the goyim states in which they reside and primary loyalty to Israel.
Dr Paul Gottfried, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, and a Guggenheim recipient, has never had any conflict of loyalties. Nor does he even accept the designation “dual loyalty.” Gottfried is an American. While he supports Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state his sympathy is apparently for the ordinary Jewish folk who find themselves pushed about by the forces of history, like any other ordinary folk, and in particular pushed about by the Zionist establishment which, as other scholars such as Israel Shahak have shown, strive to keep their flock under tight control, regardless of the sacrifices demanded (Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, 1994). For Gottfried “dual loyalty” is a misnomer; there is nothing two-fold about the loyalties demanded by Zionism: loyalty to Israel first, last, and always. Gottfried as a genuine conservative of Jewish origins, is often in even more of a predicament that the Gentile conservative, as he does not follow the party-line in regard to Jewishness as demanded by the likes of the Anti-Defamation League and just as much by the Israel-fawning neocons. Hence he is called a “self-hating Jew” by Israel’s hallelujah chorus on the one side, while on the other being treated with suspicion by some of those on the traditional Right who think that being Jewish is a ground for suspicion. Gottfried, as a measure of his own introspection, states that had it not been for his Jewish origins he would probably share the bitterness of many towards Israel per se, on the Old Right, which has seen once pro-Israel conservative luminaries such as Pat Buchanan being pushed into an unequivocally anti-Zionist position when it is found that support for Israel by conservatives is not reciprocated by Zionist support for the integrity of Western, Christian nation-states. Nor does Gottfried have any sympathy for whiney Jews who see anti-Semitism and disadvantage behind every corner, no matter how privileged their position; a situation he first noted as a student at Yale. He is also avid in exposing the “anti-fascism” racket, that of using the “f word” at every possible juncture, not just with the contrivance of an “Islamofascist” world threat, but also the smearing and suppression of every movement that questions the desirability of multiculturalism, especially in Europe.
It is Gottfried’s opposition to the confounding of Israel and Zionism’s interests with those of the USA that is a particular feature of his analyses of US policies and the outlook of the neocons who dominated the Reagan and Bush administrations and whose policies have continued by Obama in the name of liberal-Democracy.
He has significantly defined, and apparently coined the term, paleoconservative. A clarification was needed for what Gottfried also calls the “real Right” and the “true Right” vis-à-vis what Leftists and self-styled conservatives today call “neoconservatism” which is, especially in the Anglophone nations, generally regarded as synonymous with Right-wing. Hence the US foreign policy establishment and the US conduct in world affairs is often termed “Right-wing” when it is nothing of the kind.
War and Democracy comprises a selection of 25 articles spanning nearly forty years of scholarly endeavor and articulation in both academic and broader media. Many of the articles take the form of book reviews to express Gottfried’s opinions. All articles are succinct and forceful. One, a eulogy to his father, backgrounds the life of a Jewish family from the old Austro-Hungarian empire, who were not, unlike many of their brethren, well-disposed towards supporting the Communist Party once in the USA. Gottfried seems to have been a conservative from his earliest days at Yale, but watched firsthand the manner by which the conservative movement was subverted and redefined by people who were often of Leftist background, whose messianic yearning for a “world revolution” never left them, and whose influence continues to define US policy whether under Democratic or Republican administrations. Gottfried sees this more aptly as “neo-Jacobinism.”
The present neocons have taken over the ideological baggage of Woodrow Wilson in wanting to impose a one-size-fits-all system over the entire world, with neocon ideologues such as Ralph Peters calling for “constant conflict,” which sounds more like Trotsky’s “permanent revolution” than anything of a conservative nature. The neocon movement has inherited much from the Left as to general outlook: the ideal of a “world revolution” is just as much a part of the ideology of Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy, etc. as it was for the old Left. Likewise “the fight against “’fascism’” is continued today just as vigorously by the neocons as it was by the old Left. The terminology is similar, the mentality the same, however, today the new threat is repackaged as “Islamofascism,” which must be defeated in the interests of “world democracy” under the leadership of the USA. Indeed, as Gottfried points out, neocon ideologies have a messianic outlook in wanting to impose “American democracy” over the world by force if necessary. Wars are therefore fought in the name of “human rights” or of “feminism” in order to drag every state into a global order under US auspices. The bogus Right therefore pursues agendas across the world that were once regarded as left-liberal, and misnamed “conservatives” expound views that until a few decades ago would be regarded as on the left; lauding Martin Luther King for example, as a “Christian conservative,” pursuing multicultural agendas across both the USA and the rest of the world – other than in Israel – advocating open border immigration in the name of “human rights,” unless those immigrants are Muslim.
Gottfried rejects the Islamophobia that has become part of the neocon agenda, while also rejecting another notion popular among the neocons, especially Israel’s cheerleaders among the Moral Majority types: “Judeo-Christianity.” Gottfried states that the term is a misnomer. He confirms that Judaism is fundamentally anti-Christian, pointing to the vitriol about Jesus in the Talmud. He states that such sentiments are not, as is argued by Talmudic apologists, a reaction by persecuted Jews against their Christian tormenters, but entered the rabbinic teachings well before any such conflicts between the two religions. He points out that the relations between Judaism and Islam were until comparatively recently amicable, and the call for a united “Judaeo-Christian front” against Islam is without foundation. Gottfried states that despite the kowtowing of the Christian “Right” to Israel, Zionists do not reciprocate with any such respect for the Christian tradition, and Jewish groups back efforts to undermine the Christian foundations of Western states.
Indeed, support for Israel is a defining element in neoconservatism, as is multiculturalism, and dissent has seen outstanding thinkers and writers of the “real Right,” such as Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran purged from National Review and other mouthpieces of neoconservatism, and marginalized.
Gottfried goes further and as a scholar of the Right also stands against the liberal agendas in academia, publishing and government, ensuring that if he wanted to maintain his integrity he would probably have to content himself to remaining as a humble professor at Elizabethtown College, despite a brilliance that could have taken him to the pinnacles of conventional success.
Whatever one’s political persuasion, War and Democracy will be instructive, even if only to inform the antagonistic reader as to what the “real Right” actually is firsthand, rather than coming second-hand through the filters of both the Left and the neocons.
[Editor’s note: Mr. Gottfried has written a reply to this review in order to make a few clarifications. Read his letter here.]