Paul Gottfried In FRONTPAGE Mag On Being The Man Who Named The Alt Right
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The following text that recently appeared on the Frontpage Mag website was prepared as my response to the furor that I seem to have aroused by coining the term “Alternative Right.” The greater furor was of course created by Hillary Clinton and her decision to go after Donald Trump by linking him to something I had once given a name to.

After I used the designation in a speech given at the H.L. Mencken Club in November 2008, Richard Spencer (now head of NPI) shortened it to “Altright” and built his own movement around it.

My complicated relation to that movement, or cluster of tendencies(including itself) looking for a unifying movement, is explained in the commentary that I was asked to write for Frontpage Mag I doubt my comments will satisfy everyone in what is now called “Altright” but then the text was not constructed to glorify anyone—least of all myself. Although I make no bones about preferring Altright (warts and all) to Conservatism, Inc..

I also underline the reasons that I have remained at some distance from my subject. Perhaps at a future time this will change.


An intellectual movement that Democrats want to use to smear Breitbart and Trump.

August 30, 2016

Editor’s note: Frontpage’s recent article by Matthew Vadum, The Alt-Right is Coming! Hillary Shrieks, exposed the dishonest nature of Hillary’s and the Left’s slanderous attacks on Trump, Breitbart and the “Alt-Right,” revealing that the situation is far more complicated than their smear campaign would suggest. For instance, Clinton and leftists blame individuals such Richard Spencer for the Alt-Right, but it was Dr. Paul Gottfried, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, who actually invented the term for the movement. Below we are publishing Gottfried’s account of the narrative to help clarify matters for our readers.

Last week I was reminded by a call from Associated Press that I had invented the term “Alternative Right.” When I asked about how I had accomplished that, the woman on the other end of the phone referred to a speech I had given in November 2008 in which I urged the creation of an “Alternative Right.” The same caller said that I was considered the “godfather” of what had become Altright, something that the Democratic presidential candidate would be denouncing later in the week. Thereupon I tried to explain in what modest ways I may have inspired the movement that Hillary was about to go after (namely, in a quadrennial ritual in presidential races in which the Democratic candidate accuses her GOP rival of being the second coming of Adolf Hitler).

I pointed out that Altright authors, some of whom I knew, shared my revulsion for the neoconservatives and deplored their influence on the American Right. I also noted that Altright publicists believed that modern liberal democracies had become dangerously fixated on promoting equality; and I’ve made this observation repeatedly in my books. Finally, as someone who had published entire works on the European Right in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (and most recently a book on the career of fascism as a concept), I had provided the Altright with food for thought. This was the case, even if the writers in question didn’t bother to look at my qualifying phrases.

Except for being a very occasional contributor to, I am not exactly part of the Altright stable of writers. Recently I expressed interest in an email in writing for Breitbart, which is rumored to have some connection to Altright. Alas, I may have to wait until Hell freezes over before hearing from this website.  More importantly, I couldn’t recall until a few days ago that I had spoken to fifty attendants at the H.L. Mencken Club eight years ago on the subject of the “Alternative Right.” I am president of the Mencken Club, and in November 2008 gave an inaugural address, in which I called for an “Alternative Right” to combat the high degree of neoconservative control over the intellectual Right. [More]



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