Salon suggests Paul Gottfried, "a retired Jewish political historian,” was a founder of the Alt-RightHistorians in the News
tags: Alt Right, Paul Gottfried
Related Link The Alt-Right’s Jewish Godfather (Tablet)
… Looking at the early history of the movement, long before the social-media trolls got involved, one can more clearly see that one of the principles that got the alt-right started was an intense dislike of former president George W. Bush — and his foreign policy in particular. Indeed, criticizing and debunking the neoconservatives who dominated the Bush administration has been [Paul] Gottfried’s lifelong project.
Although he rejects the alt-right label today, Gottfried affixed it to himself in the summer of 2008 when he teamed up with a 30-year-old editor named Richard Spencer to create a conference for right-wingers who regarded Dubya as a warmongering liberal who had betrayed conservatism and surrendered to leftist political correctness.
Gottfried delivered a speech that November to the first meeting of his H.L. Mencken Club titled “The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right.” It focused on the conflict that occurred in the 1970s and ’80s when many hawkish Democrats had migrated to the Republican Party and began dominating its institutions. The neoconservatives, as they were eventually called, had made a mess of the GOP and America as a whole, Gottfried argued, but their right-wing opponents (he had earlier coined the term “paleoconservatives” in 1986 to describe them) were continually unable to do anything about it because they were so ideologically divided.
According to his address, Gottfried intended to do something to promote collaboration and unity against the common enemy. The alt-right was that something.
Spencer, who later went on to start a (now-defunct) webzine called Alternative Right, played a big part in conference organizing for the nascent group. He also gave addresses at subsequent Mencken Club meetings, but eventually the two men grew apart as Spencer developed more than an academic fascination with fascism and white separatism.
“Richard, I think, has gone on out on a limb to create a more extreme, racialist right,” Gottfried, 75, told Salon in a telephone interview last month. His preferred stance then (and now) was more about “anti-anti-racism” and opposing leftist political correctness, he said.
Another factor in their disaffection was an address that Spencer gave at the Mencken Club’s 2011 meeting, in which he heaped praise upon Madison Grant, an early 20th-century conservationist who was also an advocate of the bogus racial science known as eugenics.
Spencer’s speech was not well-received by the crowd. According to a contemporary account of the conference proceedings, at least one audience member walked out in protest.
“His speech was so embarrassing,” Gottfried said. “I thought it would be a kind of historical presentation but it turned out to be a harangue in favor of Indo-German America or something like this.”
(Despite the Mencken Club’s professed dedication to completely intellectual discussions, the recording of Spencer’s speech about Grant is nowhere to be found in the club’s audio library of speeches from that year’s proceedings.)
Despite Gottfried’s unwillingness to be associated with Spencer’s advocacy for eugenics, that has been far from the only exhibition of racism to be featured at Mencken Club gatherings. Past speakers have also highlighted the life and times of Sam Francis, a deceased former Washington Times editor who was fired from the right-leaning newspaper for his overtly racist attitudes. White separatist Jared Taylor, who has found a new career as an éminence grise for the alt-right, has also been praised by lecturers.
Mencken Club conferences have also featured William Regnery, an heir to the conservative book publisher Henry Regnery who once tried to start a dating website exclusively for white people. William Regnery also publishes an anti-Semitic website called the Occidental Observer and is one of Spencer’s largest financial patrons….
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