Author

Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried has 4 articles published.

Paul Gottfried
Paul Gottfried is an American political philosopher and intellectual historian, and former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
Politics

What Do They Want From This Lady?

I just witnessed on TV a crowd of Black-Lives-Matter demonstrators protesting the arrival of our newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a predominantly black public school in Southwest Washington. The following questions immediately came to mind as I looked at this scene—in total wonderment. Why would Black Lives Matter zealots be up in arms against Ms. DeVos, who has done absolutely nothing to offend them? Why were, among other sometimes violent demonstrators, blacks screaming “shame!” at this middle-aged lady? If the demonstrators were concerned that policemen are unfairly targeting black youth, then the new Secretary of Education has nothing to do with this practice, assuming that the charge is justified, which statistically it’s not… What the angry blacks seemed to be protesting, however, was DeVos’s policies as an educational reformer. But here my perplexity is even greater. As far as I know, DeVos has been a champion of charter schools, as a vehicle for helping inner city minorities. She was closely identified with this project in Detroit, to… Keep Reading

Politics

Trump’s Problem

Let’s not imagine that Trump can alone pick up his popularity ratings. Several days ago I picked up the Inquirer while in Philadelphia and saw on the front cover, next to a puff piece for Michelle Obama, a headline that Trump’s popularity is now down to 40%. Although I’ve no implicit faith in polls, given the likely politics of the pollsters and given their obvious downplaying of Trump’s support throughout the presidential campaign, from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems that Trump’s approval rating is in fact well below 50%. Despite Obama’s longtime associations with onetime terrorists and raving black nationalists, Mr. “Hope and Change” had an 80% approval rating when he took office; and it remained at about 60% when he flew off on Inauguration Day for a California vacation. And that often tongue-tied establishment Republican George W. Bush enjoyed a 60% approval rating when he entered the Oval Office. Although Trump continues to benefit from an intensely loyal following, it seems hard for him to raise… Keep Reading

Politics

Weeping With Dersh

Lately, I’ve been watching the blossoming lovefest between the conservative-Republican establishment and those on the Left who are raging over the Obama administration’s reaction to the UN resolution against Israel. Arguably, this resolution was an attempt to take away Israel’s bargaining chips in negotiating with the Palestinians. The UN Security Council, which passed the resolution, made unmistakably clear that Israel is illegally occupying both East Jerusalem and the territory on the West Bank that had been taken during the Six Day War. The resolution may also have the effect of justifying terrorist acts designed to dislodge Israelis from areas that they’re no longer supposed to be occupying. Finally, it challenges Israeli claims to East Jerusalem, although there is no chance that the Israeli government will acquiesce in making Jerusalem once again a divided city. Although some of the reactions coming from Republican publicists and politicians have bordered on the hysterical or histrionic, I won’t disagree that the US might have done better by not lobbying for the troublesome resolution,… Keep Reading

Politics/Religion

Real Islam And Democracy

During the last few months I’ve seen on TV and read in Newsmax the views of an earnest American patriot, Zudhi Jasser. A onetime naval officer, distinguished cardiologist and more recently, an inspired leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Yasser has been second to none in denouncing Islamicist terror and in exhorting his fellow-Muslims in the US and throughout the West to turn in suspected terrorists. It pains me to criticize such a decent fellow, but much of what I hear him saying about purifying Islam of Sharia and making Muslims accept “human rights,” “gender equality” and “secular governance” as part of their belief system is arrant nonsense. I make this point not because I wish to savage Islam, in either its Sunni or Shiite form, but because it is hard for me to imagine that anyone who accepts the claims of a traditional religion could in good conscience adopt Yasser’s position. Biblical or Koranic religion antedates by many centuries the modern principles or attitudes around… Keep Reading

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