A Little Appreciation For Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried

via Paul Gottfried – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’ve met Paul a handful of times, and while he probably doesn’t remember, been to lunch with him once to discuss his work.

Paul’s been a troubling figure for me for two reasons. First, as a sensitive person, he’s personalized the attacks on him rather than simply kept on with the drudgery that is expected of all of us. It makes him petulant. Personally I think it’s because he can’t find anyone worthy enough to debate him on his terms. But the solution to that problem is to change your terms. And second, I’m troubled because he attacks WASPS broadly rather than christian women in particular.

Institutionally, I just don’t think wasps are open to that much criticism. In fact, I think we’re only beginning to understand the value of the manorial system.

But Paul’s a German nationalist. And a bit of Continental. Meaning he retains the continental obsession with emotions in his work when emotions are nothing more than a reaction to changes in state, and changes in state are only a reaction to norms. It’s our norms and institutions that are open to criticism and analysis. Our emotions are only so much distracting chaff. As a post-analytic philosopher myself I have very hard time translating most continental philosophy for this reason: we always have to map these emotions backward into a normative expression then evaluate the norm and it’s tedious.

Like Paul, I happen to be one of the small number of people on the planet who thinks the Germans were in the right, and the English in the wrong. As time passes, and emotions wane, I expect that our opinion will become that of the academic majority.

I’m also one of the small number of people that has suggested that the German social model (and its Asian parallel the Japanese) is the best social model for advanced societies. I think time has proven that assertion true. Although the political model of inter-temporal redistribution is probably in the process of failing, I see that as a separate question from the metaphysical assumptions in any social portfolio of norms. And in that portfolio, the Germans have clearly emerged as the best.

So in those matters I agree with Paul. What I don’t agree with is the notion that the American WASP is as much to blame as the incorporation of women into the political process. We would not have had Hitler, nor FDR nor Kennedy nor any other left leaning American president without women voting. We established a constitution for property owning males. We protected against the known crimes of men. We did not protect against the unknown fantasies of women.

And I think that’s the correct problem to address.

The Germanic manorial system worked north of the Hanjal line. It worked in no small part by suppressing the birth rates of the underclasses and concentrating capital in the productive classes. That the English encountered the problem of over-extension and the need to develop the norms of an empire is true. That the Manorial system as a means of suppressing the locust like behavior of the underclasses is something else entirely. And to that end, the blame goes to women.

All this said, I’ve spent some time on Paul’s writing, and it’s intelligent, and well argued and I’m going to have to go through all of it now to see if it can be restated in propertarian terms: absent the continental baggage. Because if I can re-frame his arguments as propertarian statements rather than emotional statemts about norms, I suspect that his work will defend my premise.

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