Tribulations of Academia

On October 25 and 26, the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) sponsored Dr. Paul Gottfried, Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus, Elizabethtown College, for a series of talks, two on the Hamilton College campus.  On Wednesday morning, October 25, he discussed conservatism in the United States in a seminar “Modern Conservative Politics,” taught by AHI Resident Fellow Dr. David Frisk.  In the afternoon, Dr. Gottfried was invited to speak on his recent book Fascism: The Career of a Concept (2016) in a course, “Nazi Germany,” taught by Hamilton College professor Alfred Kelly.  On Thursday evening, October 26, AHI hosted a Leadership Dinner during which undergraduates, faculty, and local citizens, using a prescribed chapter from Gottfried’s book Fascism, conversed on the meaning of totalitarianism and on the similarities and differences between Nazism, fascism, and communism.  Disruptive protests greeted Gottfried at his two appearances at Hamilton College.

In the morning seminar, Gottfried passed through a gauntlet of about twenty protesters. They regarded his appearance on campus as “unacceptable” and charged him with “hate speech” and being a “white nationalist.”  Dr. Frisk provided them, to the extent that space in the classroom would allow, an opportunity to enter and hear what Gottfried had to say on conservatism as well as to devote the majority of time to questions about his positions on various subjects, including race, Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School, and the election of Donald Trump.  On the subject of modern conservative politics, Gottfried brings unquestioned expertise as a participant in many key events and as an intellectual force on the right.  He knew personally many of the…

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