There was a National Review tweet in my Twitter feed this morning. Not sure why I looked at it (coffee hadn’t really cut in, probably) but it seemed at first glance to be a link to yet another extended whine about how a conservative speaker on a East-coast liberal arts campus hadn’t received the proper level of adulation from the assembled lumpen. Yawn! But First Amendment, I suppose, so I read on...
Then the coffee started doing its magic, and I got curious. It was about a retired college professor named Paul Gottfried, who recently gave a lecture at Hamilton College, in upstate New York.
A gauntlet of students accosted him before he had said a single word, tossing around epithets and accusations.OK crappy writing. Don't they know a gauntlet is a little glove? No, obvs. not. Buckley no longer edits. And epithets and accusations…oh, sweet merciful Cthulhu!
(OK, I’m jaded. I’ve been binge-watching Supernatural, and am therefore unaroused anything less than stabby silver knives, decapitation, and Latin exorcism rituals. Jeez, epithets and accusations pretty much describes my teaching evaluations. Double yawn.)
Nevertheless, I persisted. I saw this…
Gottfried isn’t famous or provocative. He’s a retired professor who has written a lot of scholarly books and articles.Oh yeah? I thought. Let’s ask Mistress Google.
And Mistress Google was unusually forthcoming today. A lot of the hits for Gottfried seemed to be from a publication named American Renaissance. For those of you who have led sheltered lives, American Renaissance was founded by Jared Taylor, the man whose The Turner Diaries inspired Timothy McVeigh. He’s a white supremacist, and American Renaissance is an unambiguously white supremacist rag, which features such luminaries as Jared Taylor himself, David Duke, Richard Spencer, and, whaddya know, our new friend Paul Gottfried. Perhaps they haven't been able to raise Tim McVeigh on the old ouija board yet. Needless to say, I’d rather have my legs sawn off dangerously close to the groin than publish in American Renaissance, but, I thought, let’s not damn him by mere association. Maybe he’s paying piano in a whorehouse (apologies to sex workers everywhere), trying to redeem the racial purity crowd. Nah. He wrote this.
[O]ne would have to be blind or struck insane by the gods not to notice that some races and ethnic groups have a greater capacity to produce culture, science, and civility than do others. Moreover, blacks almost always are found at the bottom of this list in terms of their real cultural accomplishments and their performance in building peaceful societies. And it is reasonable to think that this problem cannot always be explained by oppression, colonialism, an excess of heat, or too many lush plants in tropical climates—or to whatever fashionable theory for explaining away the underachievement of minorities the media and public educators are currently proclaiming. Genetics does matter, and I suspect that at some future time if we do emerge from the government- and media-created miasma of PC, we may be willing to look honestly at all of the reasons that some groups behave less productively and less peacefully than others.”…and this…
In Europe, the white, onetime Christian majority may even find ways to send back their swelling Islamic proletariat and restrict the educational and cultural reach of the gay movement. I’m not sure how far this reaction would extend, but speaking as a profoundly disgusted senior citizen, I can only say “bring on the counter-revolution!” if there is one in our stars.Yeah, surprise surprise, he’s an unabashed racist and hates gays and Muslims. I know you’re all sitting there, mouths agape, with astonishment.
At this point, ‘epithets and accusations’ seems almost milquetoast. He’s a fricking white supremacist.
But why is National Review depicting him as a victim? Well, if I were to give NR a grade on its racial performance over the years, the grade would be no better than a D. It started with Bill Buckley arguing that Africans would be capable of independent government when they stopped eating each other. That was in the early 1960’s. They cleaned up their act somewhat, and while they let undoubted racists like Pat Buchanan, John Derbyshire, and Steve Sailer play little footsie games with racism for a while, they ultimately banned all three. And recently, their best writers have been unambiguously anti-alt-right and anti-Trump.
But this little eruption is worrisome. Is there any shred of decency left in conservatism?