The AltRight: Paul Gottfried Interviewed by Sean Gabb


“The ‘Alt-Right’ is an amalgamation of all ‘alternative’ right wing views that are today considered heterodoxy. This means that the views of one person who considers himself to be part of the ‘Alt-Right’ are different to another. These can range from disillusioned libertarians who have adopted cultural conservatism (more specifically – Hoppesian views); to traditionalists; to ethno-nationalists; to European nationalists; to fascists; to ‘neo-nazi’ types who gleamingly partake in ‘Alt-Right’ discourse, to edgy teenagers/young adults who want to ‘troll’ liberal left types by gratuitous displays of right-wing rhetoric.” – Jakub Jankowski

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36 comments

  • Sean,

    Your sudden interest in identifying paleoconservatism — and even libertarianism — with the “alt-right” is a terrible branding decision. As my friend dL puts it:

    “To me, alt-right is new branding for what formerly used to be referred to as ‘unfkable creep.’ Now like any marketplace of ideas, there is a marketplace of ideas for whom to blame for being unfkable. At the top of the list would be god and evolution. But those two generally avoid the rightful blame. Instead. the blame shifts to ‘leftist culture’ which has poisoned the minds of our fine white women who would otherwise be wrapping their thighs around the lips of our scorned heroes.”

    It’s true that the ugliest and most irrational elements of paleoconservatism (Paul Gottfried name-checks a few of them in the other piece you’ve posted in the last 24 hours or so using “alt-right” in the title — Taki, VDARE, Sam Francis) are part the intellectual sewer from which the “alt-right” miasma rises. But that should really be treated as an alert that paleoconservatism needs to re-examine itself and weed out the evil, not as an advertising opportunity.

    • The AltRight is as broad a spectrum as the left. Accusing all of it of what some of it believes is as illegitimate as claiming that anarcho-syndicalists are actually Stalinists or Fabians.

      • Sean,

        The alt-right is a tiny, but loud, cult of the moment. That was my whole point. Whatever my disagreements with the paleos, I have a modicum of respect for them because their ideas have long-existing foundation. Associating them with the alt-right is kind of like the London Philharmonic re-branding itself as the musical font from which is drawn the ukulele stylings of Tiny Tim.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by the way psychotics unconsciously project.

      • I expect shaving each morning is an adventure for you, then.

        • If you ask me, fedoras need to make a come-back, as they make men optimally fuckable. It’s the ultimate in suave and couture. A man without a fedora on his bonce is not the complete package socially or sexually. Furthermore, it may be observed that just about the cruelest thing you can do is separate a man from his fedora.

          On the same topic, I’ve heard from more than a few lady acquaintances that there’s nothing that turns the ladeez on more than a lefty man with a whiny, lispy, effeminate voice. They love it.

          • “If you ask me”

            Galls that nobody ever does, I’m sure.

            • Well it’s just a figure of speech. I’m not quite sure how you would know who asks me for what advice or opinion and when.

              Do you follow people around?

              I must admit however that I am rarely asked for my input on what makes a man fuckable, which is why I was so fascinated to read your projection earlier.

              • If you had read “my projection,” you would have noticed that it isn’t mine. I’m quoting someone else.

                Re: Fedoras. I do own one, a Panama-style straw, which I wear with my fashionable linen suit in north central Florida. I have a pith helmet in case my travels take me to Africa or India, though.

                I just asked my wife if she finds a whiny, lispy voice attractive. She said she prefers my clear, bold, masculine bark, honed over my years as a Marine infantry NCO and marksmanship instructor.

                • (i). The projection is yours, regardless of whose opinion it might be based on.

                  (ii). You are not quoting somebody else. You’re just relaying an anecdote, framed as a quote, from somebody you call ‘dL’. dL may or may not exist; might be your imaginary friend who talks to you; might be the corpse of your dead mother that you keep in the basement; might be your wife, who again, may or may not exist in reality – for present purposes it doesn’t matter.

                  (iii). The fact you are married does not alter my belief that you were projecting in your original post. Many married men – maybe most – develop sexual frustrations and insecurities. At the same time, due to a lie shared and colluded in by society – a sort of official fiction – married men are able rest on the widely-held but erroneous belief that marriage equals sex, when often it means the opposite. In almost all cases, marriage is not based on anything other than wish for the participants to conform (seeking an appearance of normalcy, and thus hoping for acceptance).

                  (iv). Your voice IS whiny, effeminate and lispy – I’ve seen you on YouTube. You come across on there more or less exactly how I would expect for somebody with your views.

                  (v). In your case, your Marine service was most likely a result of a need for validation as a masculine man. Your need to mention it here is further evidence of your weakness and propensity for projection. Perhaps during childhood you were bullied for (iv) above?

                  I am unimpressed by military service (just as I am unimpressed by other plastic trinkets of the modern world – like academic qualifications, public honours, industry awards, big tits, and ‘business success’). This is partly because I am of the Smedley Butler school of thought in these matters, but I particularly dislike people who parade around their military service as if it’s proof of something.

                  Given the damage you have caused, or helped cause, by fighting wars for ….certain people it would not be polite to name in present company…..I should have thought you would be trying to live it down, not show off about it on here.

                  And you were doing this in my name, more or less (the United States being an ally of ours), which is what grieves me most about it. Let me make it clear that any and all foul acts you committed while on your ‘military service’ were not in my name.

                  But your disclosure prompts me to wonder how you might have got your hands dirty?

                  Perhaps could fill us in? War stories are always entertaining. Give us your kill number too (a rough estimate will do), and break it down demographically – i.e. How many women? How many kiddies? How many Arabs? Etc.

                  • “Facts do not alter my beliefs.”

                    There — not only did I fix your post for you, I cut it down to reasonable length.

                    Your aspiration to have so many thoughts of such quality that they require separate listings with Roman numeral designations is indeed noble. The first step on that path is a single thought of said quality. Perhaps if you work on that lesser intermediate goal, you’ll eventually get where you seem to want to go.

                    • Is all this a necessary discussion?

                    • Sean, when you trawl bait for the alt-right behind the LA boat, they’re going to show up. And when they show up, the libertarians are going to argue with them.

                      Of course, that same sequence obtains even if you emulate Jeffrey Tucker and explain why the alt-right and libertarianism are two completely different and mutually exclusive movements.

                    • Oh, very well.

                    • [quote]”Your aspiration to have so many thoughts of such quality that they require separate listings with Roman numeral designations is indeed noble. The first step on that path is a single thought of said quality. Perhaps if you work on that lesser intermediate goal, you’ll eventually get where you seem to want to go.”[unquote]

                      Now you’re just rambling.

                      Perhaps the PTSD medication needs to be turned up a notch? I’d call the nurse…sorry…your “wife”.

                      “Yes, yes, Thomas, I’m your wife. Whatever you say, Thomas. Now take your tablets, and remember – if we find out you’ve missed a dose, we won’t let you have access to the internet.”

                      By the way, you haven’t given us your ‘kill’ total yet.

                      I’m positively dying to know.

                      How many did you kill during your stint in the U.S. Marines? Remember, the more you killed, the more fuckable you look.

                      Tell us. Be a man.

                    • Did I ever claim to have killed anyone?

                      What was that you said about “projection” again?

                    • By the way, what “facts” were you relaying to us in the previous post?

                      Let’s take a look:

                      First, you tell us that the original assertion was a quote from somebody else.

                      As I have just pointed out to you, it was your assertion, whether or not it started as somebody else’s opinion.

                      Second, you affirmatively tell us that your wife thinks you have a masculine voice.

                      But I’ve told you that I have seen you speak in public, on a video, and your voice isn’t masculine at all.

                      Then you tell us you were in the Marines.

                      So what? That tells us nothing about anything else that has been asserted.

                      So where am I ignoring facts, fuck nut?

                    • Mr. Rogers,

                      It’s not my fault that you can’t tell a masculine voice from an effeminate voice. My reference to the Marine Corps was by way of establishing where I got my incredibly masculine voice/speaking style.

                    • “I’m a leading light in the Centre for a Stateless Society, you know.”

                      “Yes, yes, Mr Knapp, we know, we know. You even have a website. You told me last week. Very good” [Turns to nurse] “Have you checked his medication this week, Nurse Smithers?”

                      “I think he’s been skipping doses, Doctor. He’s even started referring to me as his wife and he keeps referring to somebody called ‘dL’.”

                      “dL?”

                      “I think it’s his imaginary friend. I’ve overheard them having conversations about something called ‘the Alt Right’.”

                      “My God! We’d better increase the dosage. Strap him down Nurse Smithers.”

                    • Not only am I not a “leading light” in the Center for a Stateless Society, I’m not in the Center for a Stateless Society at all. Please to try to keep up.

                      “dL” has been part of the libertarian blogosphere since there’s been a libertarian blogosphere, although for the last couple of years as a commenter on other sites (including a couple of mine) rather than blogging himself.

                      You’re an idiot. But of course everyone who’s noticed you at all has noticed that; the only one it bears repeating to is you.

                    • Mr Knapp,

                      The reason I don’t “keep up” with your exploits is because I simply don’t care, and since you’re not a famous or important person in the first place, I hardly think getting that wrong makes me an ‘idiot’.

                      It’s not as if Debrett’s have a page on you – though your psychiatrist tells me you swear blind that they should do.

                      “dL” is not a real name. I generally only deal with people who post under their actual names. My point is that sharing a quote with us from an avatar and then trying to ascribe your own projections to the avatar when I highlight them is hardly a convincing line of argument. “No, it was dL who said it, not me.” No, it was YOU.

                      The last I heard you were involved in the C4SS, which as far as I can tell is just a website published by a bunch of non-entities. If you’re no longer involved, then please accept my most sincere apologies for that terrible slight on your character, you fuck nut.

                    • Well, if you don’t “keep up with my exploits” then perhaps you should refrain from commenting on them. What’s that old saying? Ah, yes: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

                    • I’m not commenting on your exploits. I have no interest in them. You can start calling me an ‘idiot’ when you do something important.

                      I disagree with Sean Gabb. Exchanges like this, while petty and slightly embarrassing, can also be quite revealing about the character of the people involved – in this case, both you and I.

                      I like focusing on the ‘small’ things. The little, trivial stuff that everybody else ignores. I am intrigued by the projection in your original post and by your strenuous efforts to deny it as such, even to the point where you disingenuously try to distance yourself from the quotation.

                      Even if we assume that “dL” exists as a discrete individual, and even if you had such a conversation with him or her (I cannot find the quote online, so I must assume the quote is taken from a verbal exchange or perhaps an e-mail), it’s clear that you agree with it entirely.

                      You also go on to say:

                      [quote]”It’s true that the ugliest and most irrational elements of paleoconservatism (Paul Gottfried name-checks a few of them in the other piece you’ve posted in the last 24 hours or so using “alt-right” in the title — Taki, VDARE, Sam Francis) are part the intellectual sewer from which the “alt-right” miasma rises. But that should really be treated as an alert that paleoconservatism needs to re-examine itself and weed out the evil, not as an advertising opportunity.”[unquote]

                      That paragraph tells us more about you than you might like. It says a lot about the way your mind works. yYou are approaching this as a moral (good/evil) issue rather than as an intellectual matter. Your perception is that anybody who believes in a racial or ethnic foundation for society is ‘evil’, so we are diametrically opposed, and I think, given the chance, you would want to exclude people like me from civic society entirely. You probably see me as something less-than-human.

                      The phrase “weed out”, which you use above, suggests intolerance of opposing views, an attribute you have shown amply on here in your various contributions. I know your type. If you had power, you would be the most totalitarian and intolerant of all of us.

                      You are no libertarian.

                    • “You are approaching this as a moral (good/evil) issue rather than as an intellectual matter”

                      You say that as if the two were mutually exclusive.

                      “Your perception is that anybody who believes in a racial or ethnic foundation for society is ‘evil’”

                      No, just stupid. The evil enters when you try to impose that belief on society itself through the instrumentality of the state.

                      “I think”

                      The jury is still out on that one.

                      “given the chance, you would want to exclude people like me from civic society entirely. ”

                      Not at all. True civil society can tolerate a range of views, including the idiotic. Tolerance doesn’t mean anyone has to pretend that idiotic views aren’t idiotic, though.

                      “You probably see me as something less-than-human.”

                      Nope. It’s you who pretends to know me, not vice versa.

                      “The phrase ‘weed out,’ which you use above, suggests intolerance of opposing views”

                      Only the same intolerance that any school of thought practices — its thought leaders recognize some ideas as comporting with that school of thought, and others as not comporting with it. What I am suggesting is that if paleoconservatism’s thought leaders wish for their school of thought to be rehabilitated and once again recognized as a variety of libertarianism, they need to stop accepting anti-libertarian tenets as part of their school of thought.

                      “If you had power”

                      What makes you think I have any interest in power?

                    • I’m not saying you do have an interest in power. I am aware of your professed beliefs and I acknowledge that you at least don’t have an expressed interest in such.

                      I’m predicting what you might be like if you had power. I repeat: I know your type. You pretend to be sort of free-wheeling and liberal/libertarian, but your personal instincts are fascistic and authoritarian.

                      Everything else you say in that reply, and elsewhere, serves to make the case.

                  • What he is, Tom, is not difficult to work out – or the fact that he’s full of shit. It’s also very unlikely that he’s ever been in any military. His sort usually get someone else to fight their wars.

                    • “No, just stupid. The evil enters when you try to impose that belief on society itself through the instrumentality of the state.”

                      It’s not stupid; certainly no more stupid than the belief that race is a “social construct”, has no bearing on the sort of cultures that emerge etc., i.e. biological denialism, being pushed very strongly by our “elite” and individuals such as yourself.

                    • The foregoing was intended for Mr Knapp of course.

  • Don’t destroy your libertarian credentials by associating with this hate-thinker, Dr Gabb! Here is so-called Gottfried espousing a central pillar of the alt-right’s evil and obnoxious Weltanschauung:

    This brings me to the heart of my Politically Incorrect argument. Jews in public life and in academe have trouble living in an intellectually open society, because it would allow those whom they fear and/or loathe to be heard in open forums. This is something that Jewish organizations and Jewish intellectuals seek to avoid at all costs, through “Hate Speech” laws, academic speech codes, and associating dissent with the Holocaust or anti-Semitism.

    A Jewish conservative wonders: Is free speech really a Jewish tradition?

    • I don’t get others to fight my wars because I don’t have any wars to fight — I’m an antiwar activist.

      Not only is it not unlikely that I’ve ever been in any military, the likelihood is 100%: US Marine Corps, 1984-95, honorable discharge, infantry (81mm mortars).

      • Yes, and I got two VCs in the SAS. Isn’t cyberworld great.

        • What a strange attempt at insult. Not a very successful one, though. When there’s some compelling reason for me to prove my claims of prior military service, I produce my DD-214. Otherwise I just assume people aren’t idiots and know that I have no particular reason to lie about it, especially at such a level as to have had the letters USMC tattooed on my body for 25 years.

        • Actually, I don’t doubt he was in the Marines, and it’s not something we should doubt anyway. If Mr Knapp says he was in the Marines, then as far as I am concerned, he was.

          But he does not have a stentorian delivery – that I do know, as I have seen him speak.

    • Nice try at lumping in not believing in your religion with other “denialisms.”

  • Just going back to the original quote from Mr Knapp…sorry…his [imaginary] friend, ‘dL’:

    [quote]“To me, alt-right is new branding for what formerly used to be referred to as ‘unfkable creep.’ Now like any marketplace of ideas, there is a marketplace of ideas for whom to blame for being unfkable. At the top of the list would be god and evolution. But those two generally avoid the rightful blame. Instead. the blame shifts to ‘leftist culture’ which has poisoned the minds of our fine white women who would otherwise be wrapping their thighs around the lips of our scorned heroes.”[unquote]

    Tell me something – What were “our fine white women” doing before leftist cultural influences took hold?

    Were they standing on street corners, waiting to be used as fuck dolls by Pakistani Moslem men?

    Were they starring in porn movies?

    Were they marrying, or partnering with, black men in any great number and having mixed-race babies?

    Were they making themselves “unfuckable” by sleeping around, getting plastic careers and having their skin tattooed?

    The assertion has an imperious arrogance about it. It rests on a sweeping assumption that the issues raised by the so-called ‘Alt Right’ are invalid or illegitimate, or maybe misdirected. The author thinks that he/she [I suspect it is a she] can simply wave away the concerns of white men without giving them much thought.

    It will also be noted how an apparently leftist author seems to give credence to very crude notions of Darwinism as a way of disparaging political views that the author doesn’t like.

    Does ‘dL’ think that the demise of the white race will be an evolutionary healthy thing?

    Will average IQs increase globally if white people decline and disappear?

    This is often seen among left-wing people, who will, in the same breath, condemn racism or Darwinist ideas while supporting them as tools against their enemies and opponents.

    I find that quite an interesting contradiction.

  • I’ve watched the full interview. It’s very good – and very important, and I’m surprised it’s not more widely known about. My comments here focus on the first half of the interview, in which Gottfried discusses ideology. I was less interested in what he had to say about the practicalities of revolution, as I think even in 2016 we are some way off that.

    I learned a great deal from this about the topography of the broader ‘Right’.

    I’d always thought that the Right – which I have never considered myself one of, by the way, even if I am part of it – was more or less synonymous with classical (traditional) conservatism, otherwise the term ‘Right’ (and indeed, the term ‘Left’) would seem rootless, but Gottfried explains that the two terms have very different political and social roots.

    The classical conservatives are not the Right, but are in fact are “a reaction against the French Revolution”, which I take to imply (Gottfried doesn’t explain this further) that modern conservatism in its proper sense is a pining for an old order.

    Gottfried says that the Right, by contrast, are those who “consciously oppose the Left” and exist to preserve bourgeois society – free market economy, Christian morality, private property – which are the institutions of modern capitalism. This makes sense.

    I’ve always been aware of an alignment between the ideas of the Right and those of classical liberalism, but Gottfried says that the Right were originally the liberals of the 18th. and 19th. century, made up of remnants of both bourgeois society and traditional working class, who believe in family morality and are against the managerial state. This is represented in the American Right by small-town Protestant America. This Right was displaced by a more left-leading (I would say ‘metropolitan’) Republican Party committed to a welfare state, then by neoconservatives,who have absorbed the American Right.

    Gottfried defines the neoconservatives as a ‘second Left’, which I think is very apt, but there is an inconsistency in Gottfried’s terminological analysis in that he seems to be attaching neoconservatives to the Right (albeit as a false Right), whereas the name ‘neoconservative’ would suggest association with the movement that arose from the French Revolution. Likewise, Gottfried seems less clear about who paeleoconservatives are. Though I might have misheard him, what I got was that he thinks a paeleoconservative is anybody who is critical of changes made in America during the 1960s, but that doesn’t cohere with the earlier dichotomy between conservatives and the Right.

    Perhaps the terms neoconservative and paeleoconservative are portmanteaus?

    Are paeleoconservatives the remnants of classical conservatism, or something different?

    What, if any, is the relationship between neoconservatives and the Atlanticist New Right that emerged in Britain and America during the late 1970s and took power under Reagan and Thatcher? That New Right was economically liberal and socially conservative (though Reagan was quite socially liberal), in contrast to the economic conservativism and social liberalism of the so-called Old Right (which in reality was the Buskellite Tory Party and the post-War Republican Party).

    On a different note, I’m not convinced Gottfried’s Alternative Right is the same as Spencer’s Alt Right (which is shorthand for Alternative Right) or that they share the same source. It seems to be assumed that since Gottfried is recognised as the first to coin the term ‘Alternative Right’ in a public forum in the context of an anti-liberal position, this means that Spencerite Alt Right owes its genesis to Gottfried, but I think Spencer’s line of thinking was actually very different and owes more to what was the Nouvelle Droite (‘European New Right’), an intellectual movement than began in France (and is not to be confused with its realpolitikal namesake, the New Right of Reagan/Thatcher) and is really a syncretic movement of both the Left and the Right with a distinct ideology.

    Spencer’s Alt Right, while very broad and heterogeneous ideologically, is firmly about white identity and is not necessarily anti-left but does reject social liberalism, whereas Gottfried’s Alternative Right is about civic identity and is by definition anti-leftist.

    Spencer’s Alt Right is a consilience is diversified origins, but the main factions seem to be classical conservatives (including High Tories, neo-reactionaries and neo-feudalists), and white nationalists and national socialists, all of whom share an underlying commitment to Western identity and, to varying degrees, racial identity.

    In contrast, Gottfried’s Alternative Right is a simple continuation of the ‘true’ Right and thus has its origins in Gladstonian liberalism, and before that, classical liberalism, and while there is a commitment to Western identity in Gottfried’s views, this seems to be more civic than racial.

    I was interested in a comment by Gottfried, in response to this question from Dr. Gabb [at 8:58]:

    [quote]”If you exclude the neoconservatives, there doesn’t seem to be much remaining, does there?”[unquote]

    Gottfried replies:

    [quote]”I think that is one of the problems we face, that the neoconservatives have done to the American Right what Adolf Hitler did to the German national Right. He has [They have] corrupted, suborned and poisoned the American Right, and those people who have to serve them are immeasurably contemptible people who have absolutely no commitment to a free society.”[unquote]

    Although most within the Alt Right would certainly distance themselves somewhat from the Third Reich, we do not reject Hitler or his legacy. Thus, in my opinion, Gottfried is not – and due to his ethnicity, probably cannot be – Alt Right. He may be Alternative Right, but really his version of the concept is not the same thing at all.

    I can see, however, that people are conflating the Alt Right with the Alternative Right, and so there is probably going to be a schism in the future.

    The main fault lines seem to be:

    (i). Philo-Semitism versus Judeoskepticism.
    (ii). Economic Left versus Economic Right.
    (iii). Conservatives versus the ‘Right’ (i.e. classical liberals).
    (iv). Statists and social democrats versus libertarians and minarchists.
    (v). Pro-Israelis (Pro-Zionists) versus Anti-Israelis (Anti-Zionists).

    I think the result will rest not so much on which brand of the Alt Right, Gottfriedian or Spencerite, can win out on each point, but on which brand can best accommodate these creative tensions and thus build itself a critical mass. I think Gottfried’s Alternative Right is too ‘Right’ and not flexible enough to accommodate these tensions. Spencer’s Alt Right is best placed to do so. Just as an example, there is already an uneasy but effective accommodation of Philo-Semitism within the broader movement, and arguably the figurehead of the Alt Right, Jared Taylor, is an arch-Philo-Semite.

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