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Steve Bannon Is Wrong, But Not for the Reasons You Think

If you consume prestige media, then it is likely that you believe a number of things about Steve Bannon on faith. For instance, you might believe that Steve Bannon is a white nationalist and an Islamophobe. And you may well believe that he’s a fascist—perhaps even a Nazi.

Each of these propositions has been logged repeatedly in influential outlets, and each has self-replicated its way into received wisdom, greeted by little more than eager nodding if said aloud at a book launch party. Zack Beauchamp at Vox called Bannon “a leading light of America’s white nationalist movement.” Omer Aziz in the New Republic said that Bannon believes “a war between the West and the Muslims is inevitable.” Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress reported that Bannon “direct[ed] white supremacist and Nazi beliefs into the mainstream.”

So naturally, when the Oxford Union announced that it would be hosting Bannon for a speaking event on November 16, they were accused of “legitimizing racism and fascism” by hosting a man who was “build[ing] an Islamophobic international” and served as “the white supremacists’ link to the White House.” The only problem is that Bannon’s speech credibly refuted each of these charges, exposing a rather large gap between Bannon’s actual views and the views much of the media attributes to him.

Media Bannon is a white nationalist. But Oxford Bannon said that “ethno-nationalism is a dead-end, and it’s for losers…economic and civic nationalisms bind you together, as citizens, regardless of your race, regardless of your ethnicity.” He described his “life’s work” as a political realignment that would attract “a third to 40 percent of the African-American, Hispanic, and Asian working class and middle class.” He elaborated that he wants “more people voting, I want  this voter suppression stuff to go away because working class African-Americans are going to be one of the core planks of our movement.”

Media Bannon is an Islamophobe. Oxford Bannon noted that, when he was a part of the Trump administration, “we went to Riyadh before Jerusalem, and before Rome, to send a message to the Islamic community: we are there for you and we’re your allies.” Media Bannon is a fascist. Oxford Bannon argued that “fascism is the worship of the state…it’s the combination of state crony capitalism and big government. It’s exactly what we’re trying to fight.”

Bannon’s Oxford interlocutors challenged his defenses by doubling down, hoping that if their guest was plied with Trump quotes about Mexicans, Media Bannon would appear. He did not. When the moderator asked Bannon to defend Trump’s “rhetoric about immigrants being rapists and terrorists,” Oxford Bannon emerged to talk immigration policy and grand strategy. Not getting what he’d hoped for, the moderator tried again, demanding that Bannon answer for “comments about Mexicans being rapists.” Bannon rolled his eyes. “Are we going to do this now for a third time? We can do this all night. Yes, [Trump’s] language is sometimes a little hot.” The trouble is that Bannon wanted to discuss ideas, but his audience could only understand him as a caricature. When Oxford Bannon arrived, the audience decided to instead debate a Media Bannon who wasn’t actually there. They weren’t having the same conversation.

Bannon confounds the Left because his economic populism turns out to be pretty progressive—if you’re a Bernie Sanders fan, Bannon seems to “get it.” But that can’t be right—Media Bannon couldn’t possibly be worth listening to. So, when Bannon opens his Oxford speech by lamenting that none of the bankers that caused the Great Recession were prosecuted, and explains how he fought for increasing the tax rate on top earners to 44 percent, and expresses outrage that the middle class hasn’t had a wage increase in 35 years and that 50 percent of Americans can’t scrape together $400 in an emergency, this constitutes a giant inconvenience. The Left quickly gathered that it would have better luck debating Media Bannon.

This is a shame, not least because Bannon’s ideas are eminently challengeable if only they could be acknowledged. If the Left could get around to doing that, they’d discover that there’s a serious problem with Bannon’s populism: for someone who seems so animated by a nationalism that can “bind us together” as Americans, he seems almost unbelievably cavalier about how his fight to achieve this has pulled us apart.

At Oxford, Bannon intercut his pleas for civic unity with evident glee in the dissension and conflict his populist movement has sown. “I see our country today under Trump, and I see the changes that have been made, and I see the opposition and how triggered they are by those actions,” Bannon enthused. Later: “Trump has permeated everything, and he’s triggered the Left because they understand he’s going to be in their lives 20 years from now unless they get rid of him.”

This trollishness was amplified by a refusal to acknowledge the unprecedented nature of our current political polarization, and the social ills that flow from it. Asked in a rare moment of audience insight whether his work for Trump “has contributed to a serious crisis of political trust,” Bannon punted with platitudes. “Democracy’s never been more robust and vibrant in the United States. People are more engaged,” he argued. “Do we disagree on stuff? Yes…our democracy’s very robust. These are intense debates.”

People are indeed more engaged—because they’ve been able to uncork unprecedented levels of political hatred, and embrace any opportunity to exercise it. In the year following Trump’s election, a third of Americans reported that they had cut ties with a friend or family member over political differences. Survey data shows that the number of Democrats and Republicans who disapprove of their child marrying someone from the other political party have more than doubled in recent years, to over 60 percent in 2016. Record-high numbers of people view the other political party as “a threat to the nation’s well-being.” Far from robust, a democracy whose citizens view one another as morally repugnant is endangered.

Bannon can’t fully grapple with this fact because he delights in this civil combat. It provides adrenaline-pumping opportunities for scheming, strategizing, demonizing, and power-projecting—all things that Bannon is good at. It’s the only explanation for announcing his pride in enraging “social justice warriors” in the same breath that he extols the uniting properties of civic nationalism. It’s easy for Bannon to take such a rosy view of a political era that most people experience as tiring at best and terrifying at worst—he’s benefited enormously from it.

Only a troll is capable of concluding that our uniters-in-chief should be candidates like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Roy Moore. If Bannon’s mission is to rally Americans behind a set of common ideals, this crew is worthless—their conception of American identity has been and always will be rejected, passionately, by a majority of Americans. They’re not even especially helpful protectors of the working class—whatever ideas they have on the subject are too ill-formed to survive a contest with the disciplined Reaganites that still run the GOP’s policy operation. Palin, Trump, and Moore can be relied on to do exactly one thing: make the other side as mad as possible. If that’s the real aim, Bannon couldn’t have chosen better.

After Bannon’s non-answer on the health of democracy, his female questioner attempted to follow up. He interrupted. “I’m sorry for mansplaining, you got me worked up,” he said. The room started to titter and boo, and Bannon, sensing a sweet spot, repeated himself to make sure the line had fully landed. “I’m sorry for mansplaining, but you’ve got me worked up.” In that moment, both sides received a little slice of what they’d really come for. The audience finally caught a glimpse of Media Bannon. And Bannon got to take a break from high-minded discourse to trigger the Left.


Nicholas Phillips is a law student and writer whose work has appeared in National Review, the Weekly Standard, the American Conservative, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @nicholas_c_p


  1. Morgan Foster says

    “a third of Americans reported that they had cut ties with a friend or family member over political differences.”

    Goodness, at first glance that sounds catastrophic!

    But a close reading of this reveals that the vast majority of this “third of Americans” may have simply stopped talking to one person at work.

    • Krashlis says

      It only takes the loss of a third of an army to turn them back.

      • Floor Knob says

        There are too many misconceptions in this article to address in a comment. It’s not that Phillips isn’t right; he isn’t even WRONG. He is, as the Samoans say, “Bad at thinking.”


        You claim to be all about the free speech, even if controversial. How’s about reaching out to Bannon, asking to publish HIS thoughts on all this? He’s looking for outlets, it seems, since the hysterical are trying to cover his mouth wherever they can. Spare us the window-licker intermediary critic, and let’s hear this for ourselves and hash it out.

        Or are you ???

        • I like your point Floor Knob, but I think Bannon presents a new-ish twist. I would submit, it is better to not hear what Bannon has to say because whatever he says is going to be builshiit to serve whatever purpose he wants to achieve with the audience he is addressing. He is the same as Trump in this regard. What they have to say is not worth hearing because it is never honest, it can never be trusted.

    • 南沢山 says

      @Morgan Foster

      At most one but likely less than one, as in, “unfriending” someone online.

      Here is another jewel from the article:

      “Only a troll is capable of concluding that our uniters-in-chief should be candidates like…” Obama? Gore? Clinton?

      What a barrel of laughs.

      • I have unfriended people this year (I voted for neither Clinton or Trump). Most have been progressives. Almost all were people that I was only loosely connected with and who I had had problems with in the past. After the election they became abusive of people who disagreed with them and unwilling to enter into constructive dialogue. It was their vitriol, not their views that led me to unfriend them. I also unfriended on social media, because I didn’t want it to cloud our relationship in real life.

      • GG00dmn says

        [Obama? Gore? Clinton?
        What a barrel of laughs.]

        A left wing journal pointed out with acid criticism that Obama just sat on stage at a gala with Wall Street executives and James A. Baker III.

        James Baker was Secretary of State under Bush Sr. and was the attorney who argued at SCOTUS to get Junior into the White House.

        Note that this also loosely connects Baker to Ronald Reagan when Bush was VP and running Iran-Contra.

        Baker’s connection to Bush family goes back to the 50s where he helped George H.W. Bush set up some oil companies, including Zapata Petroleum and Zapata Offshore. The latter was conveniently close to Cuba.

        Considering Bush’s associations at Yale and his later position at CIA Director (and more facts and conjecture), there’s decent reason to believe that Zapata Offshore was a “proprietary” like Southern Air Transport and other corporations serving as fronts for CIA activities.

        That puts James A. Baker III at the center of this pinnacle of US ops and Intelligence, and ultimately Power. The owner of Baker-Botts Law firm.

        Next to him, Barack H. Obama.

        If one represents a long history of “American statesmanship” however you interpret that, the other can’t represent some freak communist Muslim that Fox made him out to be.

        Seriously, Baker is a key attorney representing the Saudi Kingdom royal family.

        Baker succeeded in killing a 9/11 Survivors $1 Trillion civil suit on “diplomatic immunity” in which defendants openly admitted that they paid Al-Qaeda … but in their roles as secretaries of defense etc, not liable as individuals. Not held liable as a government.

        Baker, and Poppy Bush and at least Neil and George and I think other sons have had significant business relationships with the Saudi Kingdom … and members of the Bin Laden family were meeting in Washington on 9/11 with Poppy Bush and the Carlyle Group.

        Does anyone recall when, a few years after 9/11, Republicans were eager to provide Saudi pilots fighter jet training over America’s heartland airspace? Does that sound incredible? But money talks, BS walks, and contracts were involved.

        This places firmly Barack H. Obama in the same camp as Baker, Bush, and for that matter, Reagan. Obama also said he admired Reagan’s economics. This is the core of statesmanship.

        Trump seems to be excluded from this party. Nobody even mentioned his name.

        Obama told the Wall Street attendees to please say “thank you very much” to him because of all he did to make them wealthy, between stock prices rising and oil production. “That was me.”

        This was at a $5.4 Million fundraiser.

        So yeah, Obama DOES represent core American politics and statesmanship, just in a different sort of public image. For better or worse. I’m not even saying Trump’s “erratic” tendencies or “hot” as Bannon said aren’t refreshing or entertaining, or possibly helpful in some ways.

    • Right on. However, it is not race that is the problem, it is political views and culture.

    • Take that shit somewhere else. This fine outlet gets enough heat already. We dont need idiots like you to help demonize this site.

      • Are you actually upset he criticized the site? So you rather it becomes another partisan echo chamber?

        • Huh? I dont care about anyone criticizing this site I just dont want open white supremacists advertising their white nationalist website here. That’s what I meant about making this website look bad.

        • Did you read his comment. He literally refers to himself as a white supremacist so I’m not just calling him names.

        • I tend to be a free speech absolutist. If we start policing this site, it won’t be long until we are as bad as twitter or facebook.

    • Stephanie says

      @ Tito, it’s not race that makes the Western world great. There were plenty of barbarian white civilizations no more sophisticated than Aboriginal American and Australian civilizations, and significantly less so than the Chinese and Indian civilizations.

      Today, adherence to a set of values is the key to being a productive part of Western civilization. That is not inherited with white skin, and advancing the view that it is is not only incorrect, it’s a tactic for relieving yourself of the responsibility to be a good, productive member of society. Nothing prevents non-white people from adopting Western values, or white people from losing those values. You’re in danger of losing them yourself, by focusing on something as trivial as race instead of advancing our society.

      Be a Western chauvinist, that’s justified. White supremacy is its antithesis. It’s accomplished nothing but death.

  2. Ralf Terbauer says

    “Prestige Media” – I’ve learned a new term. So far I only had “Legacy Media”, “Mainstream Media” and “Old Media”. With so many contemptuous nicknames for this hogwash of leftwing propaganda out there I really wonder how long it will take until they all file for bankruptcy.

    • Prestige media isnt exactly the same as any of those other terms. USA today and CNN fit all those other labels you mention but it’s certainly not Prestige Media. Prestige Media can be center right too like WSJ and National Review. It just has to be ssomething that’s held in relatively high intellectual regard.

  3. Emmanuel says

    The author’s idea of contrasting “media Bannon” with “Oxford Bannon” is good. However we should keep in mind that this kind of discrepancy between what a person is actually saying and what that person is saying according to the mainstream media has become incredibly widespread. Rather than addressing a person’s idea, you distort them as far you can and then you use a few labels such as “far-right” or “nazi” : that way you can easily push a public figure outside of the sphere of ideas that can be decently expressed in public without having to factually assess what their views.

    • 南沢山 says

      “…has become incredibly widespread.”

      It is as old as time itself.

  4. I don’t like Steve Bannon but he is no crazier or extreme then the vast majority of the progressive left’s thought leaders. The evidence that he is a Nazi and anti-semite is pretty much zero. White nationalist is a made up term. I dont give credence to terms that left makes up to tar people they disagree with. I never heard that term before Trump and Bannon because it didn’t exist.

    • Yes. The term “white nationalist” existed before Trump. You didn’t hear it because you didn’t read the people who were talking about it. I’ve seen the term used in print and on websites for years. Mirriam-Webster says it originated in 1970.

      If you were wrong about this, maybe you should slow the hell down and consider what else you might be wrong about.

      • Northern Observer says

        Dana. But he’s right in the larger context of the political discourse since 2016. White Nationalist was a truly fringe identity and movement in the USA associated with the old KKK, odd isolartionists in Idaho, Waco, the Oaklahoma City bombing, and thats about it. It was a truly fringe movement without any meaningful interaction with the mainstream except occational negative outbursts. What has happened is that in their need to apply a negative lable to Trump that differs from previous republicans left leaning journalists have thrown the WN lable on him and given the movement and its ideas exposure and legitimacy beyong its wildest dreams. The misinterpretation of Charlottsville seems to be at the center of this. What pundits have failed to perceive is how parasitic and opportunistic the far right was in highjacking that protest to its own ends and steering it to signal their ideas and concerns rather than civic nationalist themes. Journalists are supposed to have a greater allliegence to the truth when speaking about significant events but that diesnt seem possible in the new culture of partisanship.

    • I agree with you overall, but neo Nazi types have been calling themselves White Nationalists for decades. I persume they started doing it because it sounds more respectable than neo Nazi or klan member.

    • michael Jefferis says

      @Kevin Herman According to Google Ngram (a measurement of in-print word frequencies) “white nationalist” first appeared in 1940. “White supremacist” first appeared in print about the same time. Made up? Many words and phrases are coined–made up–by somebody. Shakespeare coined quite a few.

      I’d have to have access to the OED (not convenient) to find out who coined the phrase and whether they were for – or against – it.

    • Hannah Lee says

      Here is one- POC- Person Of Color is a bullshit phrase. When members of my circle (asian/jewish) use it, I call it out as specious crap. Person of Color just means Non-White, not Male. just another excuse for why you are a failure/can’t compete in the real world…..

      • GG00dmn says

        Hannah, I’m pretty sure that the point of “Person Of Color” is that it’s like Colored Persons but in SJW speak it “centers the Person” over the Color whereas Colored Persons is archaic like Negro. At the same time, obsessed with Color as a status of historical — and present day — oppression.

    • GG00dmn says

      Steve Bannon was quoted as saying one of his heroes or examples was Julius Evola. I’m not a historian, just curious person. So I looked up Evola. Evola defended himself in a German court against charges that he was a fascist by claiming he was a super-fascist and the Nazis weren’t fascist enough.

      More curious, I did some googling and found a long essay by Evola. I only read this one essay.

      In it, Evola waxed at great length about reasons he disliked Judaism and with it Christianity, as not the proper ethic for Germany or Nordic people. He preferred a more “warrior God” from other mythology, not a tyrant God of morality and certainly not a story of a God of love and martyrdom who was murdered before resurrection after death.

      Nevertheless, Evola did not write a Mein Kampf style seething hatred of Jewish People, Jewish workers, etc. I don’t recall any mention of a Final Solution. He clearly wanted to rid German people of what he considered the mind-virus of Love and Forgiveness and Justice.

      Yet Steve Bannon’s public remarks didn’t sound like a man opposed to Love and Forgiveness and Justice, nor for racial hatred, nor for an ethnostate nor contemplating the “JQ”.

      I’m pretty sure the actual Alt-Right White Nationalist leadership unleashed some hatred or dismissal towards Bannon for betraying their ethic.

  5. derek says

    So what does Bannon say that is wrong? I know both the media and the National review types get their panties in a twist, but about what? Did i read sniffy condescension?

    Argue your points. I didn’t learn anything from this article.

    • Nicholas Phillips says

      My point, which I did feel was argued, was that it’s self defeating to adopt a politics that seeks to unite people through civic nationalism and then choose candidates and rhetorical strategies that alienate and enrage everyone outside your base. It’s a fundamental contradiction, and shows that Bannon takes more satisfaction in triggering his enemies than uniting Americans.

      • hooodathunkit says

        Seems like another neocon (NR) type of hit piece. (D*mn how I miss Buckley.) If not, then in light of the statement that “Bannon’s ideas are eminently challengeable”, yet not one tiny word challenging what Phillips thinks Bannon’s ideas are.

        One of Bannon’s ideas is that playing nice with enemies, people dedicated to getting their way, is counterproductive. An example is National Review, a ‘conservative’ publication that after what? 50-60 years? has conserved nothing. Bannon understands that a reasonable middle is the compromise between two positions. Since the 1960s (certainly since ’68) the Left has always been willing to go to the extremes: to character-assassinate, to riot, or to terrorize. Bannon (and Trump) understand the Right needs to be motivated to counter that.

        Phillips calls that ‘alienating and enraging’, and it may be, but those truly enraged and alienated would never vote for him anyway. Romney (the most milquetoast candidate in my lifetime) was a ‘hitler’ willing to push grandma off a cliff, and Kavanaugh ‘the sexual predator’ illustrate Bannon’s ideas clearly. Both attacked viciously and (now) clearly without any basis; one didn’t fight back and one did. Who started this alienation and enragement?

        • WonderBeagle says

          Nailed it. And please allow me to ask just where are they digging up these authors who can fill up so many columns with intellectually vapid garbage? I call them Cool Whip guys, whose work looks good, might even taste good at first, but it’s mostly just air and chemicals and definitely not good for you.

      • gabrielle sinclair says

        Did Bannon actually choose Trump or did he just seize the first non-party candidate who looked like a contender?

      • Steve Dresser says

        Well written article. I enjoyed your writing style. I watched this along with the Frum debate and I won’t lie that I was eager to hear you critique his ideas more then his roster. I too saw many similarities between Bannon’s views and Sanders views yet couldn’t quite understand how they were so far apart on the political spectrum. Where does one go to contrast their differences? I’d like to see a debate between the 2 of them on policy and implementation.

      • augustine says

        “enrage everyone outside your base” ?

        Hyperbole understood but is there any deeper thought behind this polarization?

        I’d say the liberal-dominated culture and body politic was due an upset of this nature and severity. Someone who defends illegal immigration on some vague humanitarian principle will naturally be enraged when someone like Trump puts his foot down and declares that our immigration laws are well-reasoned and should be enforced. Someone who sees Israel as a bad faith player (on a good day) will naturally believe that Trump was wrong to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. They will be enraged. Someone who positively views the future of nations as a centralized global government will be enraged when the current administration has us retreat from various international treaties and states in clear terms in a UN speech that globalism is a bad idea. More enraged outrage. Ad nauseam.

        I get it. Lots of outraged or enraged people. When do they get over that phase and enter into civilized dialogue with the opposition? Do they never get over the shock that their liberal juggernaut got a kick and some pieces were knocked loose? Being “enraged” is no way to go through life, political or otherwise.

        • But you don’t get it, augustine. First off, a liberal-dominated culture is the product of democracy and freedom. Liberty. Your understanding of the concept is based on political machinations applied to the phrase. The same partisan blindness applies to your other characterizations. Your comments about immigration, US embassy to Israel and globalism are strawmen built for you by rightwing media and politicians to keep your ego-centric political preferences protected from reality. You are right being enraged and outraged is no way to go through life, but you don’t seem to realize your own participation in it. You will never get it until you learn to point the finger at yourself and accept it.

          • augustine says

            “First off, a liberal-dominated culture is the product of democracy and freedom. Liberty.”

            I would say liberty as we know it promotes liberal development and certainly has done so for several hundred years. But the growth curve cannot go in one direction forever, with people hewing to ever more radical and insatiable notions of what it means to be autonomous or free from whatever dark things are perceived to have been dragged with us from the past. The vast majority of people are naturally conservative in their daily living and also religious. To imply that (Western) societies will only become more liberal into an indefinite future needs more support than you offer here. Liberalism is the deviation, not the default, and it does not follow a linear trajectory.

            My topical references were meant to show that certain subjects tend to polarize people and that becoming enraged immediately after Trump does just about anything is counter-productive. I could have picked “free trade” or SCOTUS or any one of many recent headliners. Who is responsible for liberals being enraged? The author implies that it is Trump. Shouldn’t he be pointing the finger at himself then?

            How do you know I don’t point the finger at myself, or at those I tend to agree with? Do you? If we both do that then do we have the basis for a fruitful discussion?

          • RylanG says

            In this case a liberal dominated democracy is a product of corporate media giants picking and choosing the views they want to push. It’s the product of unfettered corporate money. It’s the product of social media, controlled and guided by the American oligarchs of the West Coast.

            At some level it is also the complacency of most of the population. As a friend, who was fine with same sex marriage, commented on the same sex marriage issue “It’s amazing how quickly they were able to swing public opinion”. He typically doesn’t refer to the media as ‘they’ and happily subscribes to the Washingto Post. Both of us agreed that regardless of the issue or our individual stand on it this ability to rapidly swing opinion is not good for maintaining a healthy democracy.

            This article started out with some promise, but then lost it. At just a basic level, he speaks of people being enraged since Trump’s election…ok. However, that sort of ignores that a good number of people have been enraged long before the 2016 election. Those people were just the wrong people to be noticed and have ‘narratives’ woven around. If news were reported without the narrative, which is only useful to sway opinion, there would be as many enraged people but in a much more bi-partisan way. If Google, my email provider, cell provider, etc., reported a more even handed grouping of news providers upon log in/out it might relieve some of the pent up rage too. I’m pretty Conservative, but I don’t want Fox (nor MSNBC or CNN) as my main feeds. I would prefer say The Federalist, and visit that site often enough that my data should be directing my feed that way…but it doesn’t. Why?

            So when we speak of choices within a democracy we need to be aware of how the choices are made available.

      • Dont worry about defending yourself your article was fine it’s just there’s quite a few knuckleheads in the comment section now that this site has gotten some popularity. The comment section is still better than on any big news site though.

      • Robert Franklin says

        NP – I agree with you, but only up to a point. The idea that anyone can make common cause with social justice warriors is misguided at best. Those people exist to be offended. No white male or group that includes white males will be permitted to do otherwise. Bannon is a white male and many of his followers are too. Ergo… That said, there are of course others on the Left who may be reachable.

  6. R Henry says

    “Prestige media?” I have seen that term before, nor would I EVER use it to describe a media property which characterizes Bannon as a white nationalist.

  7. Harland says

    “Only a troll is capable of concluding that our uniters-in-chief should be candidates like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Roy Moore.”

    Complains about dividing Americans

    Engages in hateful, divisive rhetoric

    How do people do this without cognitive dissonance?

    The 2008 Obama campaign was the single nastiest, most corrupt Democratic campaign I’ve ever seen in 30+ years of watching national politics. From the RFK smear against Hillary, the race-baiting, the calls for Hillary’s death among Obama supporters – it was the sheer venom of Obama supporters to fellow Democrats that caused the huge split in the blogosphere. Then with Palin it was even worse. “Cunt” t-shirts? The unforgiveable rape kit smear – a smear which was orchestrated by the Obama campaign, with conference calls to reporters, etc. The lies about Palin’s beliefs on contraception and sex ed, also spread by the Obama campaign? Shit, the Obama campaign actually used Planned Parenthood’s mailing list to for a massive email campaign full of lies about Sarah Palin. Outright lies.

    Are you wearing your “Sarah Palin is a Cunt” shirt today? How tolerant! How supportive of women!

    This past weekend, I went to Lollapalooza in Chicago. I wore my new shirt, which in big letters, states “Sarah Palin is A Cunt.” I knew in this extremely liberal city, the hometown of Barack Obama, that I would not get lynched, but I wasn’t expecting so many compliments. Literally over 100 people complimented me on my shirt, from “I love your shirt” to “I love your shirt.”

    • dellingdog says

      Thank goodness the national nightmare of the Obama Administration is in the past. We finally have a dignified chief executive who brings honor to the Presidency through his honesty, integrity and inclusiveness. It’s becoming hard to remember, but just two years ago the White House was occupied by someone who lies constantly, attacks his enemies, and divides the country with overheated rhetoric. Fortunately, that’s all behind us now! We owe a debt of thanks to President Trump’s hard-core supporters, who hold themselves to the highest standards of civility, respectfulness and decorum. Just imagine if there were misogynists among them who said hateful things about Hillary Clinton. The horror!

      • Bill Conlon says

        Where have I heard this nonsense before, I get it you hate President Trump and love Barry. Barry didn’t even lift a finger to help black Americans, what was that about? Every white American I know expected Barry to help his race but he didn’t. Like most Dimms Barry spent most of his time golfing and virtue signaling.

        • dellingdog says

          So you’ve conducted a thorough comparison of the policies which Obama enacted with those of President Trump and evaluated their effect on African Americans? Good for you! Please share. (You can’t just point to unemployment rates since Obama inherited a country in economic crisis and the economy was well into a recovery when Trump was inaugurated.) I think you missed my point: it’s absurd to accuse Obama of corruption while giving a free pass to the current administration, which is far more dishonest and corrupt by every reasonable standard. Please check your facts: Trump has golfed far more than Obama ever did.

          Sorry, I have no patience for partisan hypocrisy and tribal epistemology.

          • Pot meet kettle. Dellingdog saying he has no patience for partisan hypocrisy and tribal epistmeology right after posting a snarky post full of partisan hypocrisy and tribal epistmeology. Even if you are not Christian, the teachings of Christ still have some salient points. I think for you you may want to consider the wisdom of attending to the plank in your own eye before attending to the speck in tour neighbors. This is just good advice for anyone.

        • Bill Conlon – If Obama had “helped his race” (I presume he’d give 50% to whites, 50% to blacks as that’ s “his race” right?), the outrage would have been even greater.

          • MagnusMino says

            “If Obama had “helped his race” (I presume he’d give 50% to whites, 50% to blacks as that’ s “his race” right?), the outrage would have been even greater.”

            Obama was a moderate Republican, to the right of Nixon in many ways.

            He not only didn’t help his own race, he helped his donour class by giving 38 billion dollars to Israel while poor black people in Flint are still, to this day, drinking lead in their water supply. Virtually all of the Democratic party’s megadonours are Zionist Jews, so we’re clear about who his real “base” is. It’s certainly not poor black people, who voted for him twice but all he gave them was empty platitudes and showing the colour of his skin on TV while being timid and “well-spoken” enough to not scare away white voters.

            He famously said he was boosting the drug war and evicting illegals to court moderate Republican voters, which was ridiculous and didn’t help. He could have pardoned the 1.5 million felons in Florida to allow them to vote in 2016 (as could Bill Clinton have done years before), but he was a “law and order” type Republican who was against the government paying for birth control. Obama was a DINO. Instead, letting those felons vote was done via a ballot initiative just now.

            The idea that Obama was a progressive is mere projection, from both the left and the right. He was a right-wing, play-by-the-rules warmonger and drug warrior and ICE fan who booted out more illegals than GWB did and gave massive taxpayer funds to bail out banks and 1000$ USD per capita to Israelis while sending blacks to jail with his anti-pot drug raids which went on in California even for medical marijuana. He also bragged about bombing 7 muslim countries, to court GOP voters and his 100% pro-zionist donour base in Hollywood. Did he help black people? No, not really. He did put a lot of them in jail via his continued enforcement of anti-pot laws which he could have stopped with a stroke of his pen. The simplest explanation is the best: he was doing his donours bidding. Even Dick Cheney was in favour of gay marriage before Obama and Clinton, before it became popular enough. The idea the American Democrats are actually liberal is ludicrous nonsense. They are > 99% corporate controlled puppets, just like Republicans. Maybe a handful of Democrats are actual progressives, in the House. But certainly not the Senate.

            The entire premise of these types of articles is ridiculous. White nationalists in the US have virtually no power and are shunned everywhere. If you look at the stats for KKK membership, it’s at 3000 or so now, and has been steadily declining for the past 100 years or so.

            If you want to know who the real racial supremacists who control the government are, look no further than the judeo-supremacists (aka zionists), a subset of white supremacists who actually are powerful and well-organized and well-funded.

            Obama famously had to send Senators to campaign inside Israel to get his Iran Nuke deal passed domestically, so Israel has a veto over any choice the US President makes (except maybe UN votes), and virtually complete control over both houses of Congress. And the whole “Putin controls Trump” meme is complete nonsense. Imagine if Putin were invited by the GOP to give a speech mid-presidential election to support Romney on the floor of Capitol Hill, like Netanyahu did. The chutzpah, right? The idea that Russia controls the US and meddles in elections to any significant degree, is ridiculous, whereas any US politician who criticizes Israeli war crimes is instantly attacked and deplatformed and funds go to their opponent. Ask yourselves who really is in control of things. Is it marginal white supremacists?

            Or is it powerful judeo-supremacists, who get what they want no matter who is in the white house, who is the leader of the Senate or the House. Imagine if a mainstream politician or news source started complaining of undue influence of US elections by foreign meddling by Israel? It wouldn’t happen. This is why the entire “Bannon is a white supremacist” / Putin / Russia story is a complete non-sequitur. There is a foreign power that meddles in every one of your elections, you are all just too blind to admit it here.

            Quillette is rather funny, chasing all these side stories while ignoring the main story. You’re quite mainstream here and colouring within the lines set forth to limit your ability to reason and discuss real facts without this idiotic “left / right” divide.

            Everyone knows there is only one type of racial supremacist who gets a free pass for being blatant racists in the US. It’s zionists. And if you don’t play along with the constant 24 / 7 lies and omissions about their electoral meddling in the media, you get instantly deplatformed like Marc Lamont. One guess as to the last name of the guy who fired him.

            Anyone who claims to be against racial supremacy must logically be against all forms of it, by any race, including judeo-supremacists. But you are conspicuously silent about it. Trump has a 60% approval rating in Israel. Where do you think he got his idea for blanket muslim ban on immigration from? The Israelis have had that policy since 1948. As if any further proof were necessary, they have anti-miscegenation laws. Yes, interracial marriage is illegal there. If you deny this is racist, then maybe look in the mirror.

          • Leaving aside the anti-semitism of your post (I am sure you don’t see it as anti-semitism, just anti-zionism, which is a conveniently delusiinal), one of tthe reasons the amount of lead in Flint’s drinkinwg water was high because the limit had recently been further lowered. There was little evidence that lowering the limit was going to make the water any safer, but much like the movement t9 force of vaccine makers to remove thiomersal, it wasn’t based on science but on fear.
            The rest of your screed was boiler plate True Scotsman fallacy.

  8. This is a superficial article, written by someone who took at face value the persona that Bannon wanted to show at Oxford Union. Bannon is a shrewd political operator, and a competent political thinker (although arguably not as deep as he likes to think himself). He knows that if he is going to convince anyone at Oxford, he has to speak a language agreeable to his young, overwhelmingly liberal/progressive listeners. That includes gross over-simplifications like “ethno-nationalism is for losers”, and making a supposedly clean distinction between ethnic and civic conceptions of the nation. This is not the way Bannon would speak, or has spoken in the past, in a different context.

    Saying that the media is too eager to call Bannon a Nazi or white supremacist may be true, but it isn’t worth a whole article, here or anywhere else. To what extent national identity is or ought to be based on ethnicity, and the different meanings of nationalism in the US and Europe, deserves a deeper this discussion. Although I disagree with him, Bannon has something to contribute to this discussion, and this article doesn’t.

    • “He didn’t say what we think he’s supposed to say, so let’s just assume that he thinks those things anyway.”


      • No need to assume anything. Indeed, not need to even look further than his Oxford Union intervention. At some point, in response to a question, he clearly states that he supports the governing parties in Poland and Hungary 100%. Do you get the impression that Orban and Kaczynski think that ethnic nationalism is for losers? Do you think they believe being Polish or Hungarian is only a matter of “citizenship”?

        So, take your pick: either Bannon is so naive that he doesn’t understand that nationalism almost always has some ethnic basis, although its importance may vary from nation to nation, or he knows that it’s in his best interest not to emphasize this in front of that audience.

        • Nicholas Phillips says

          Phil, another possibility is that ethno-nationalism is a non-starter in America, but may have a more legitimate basis in ethnically homogenous countries who have historically been dominated by outsiders. That would be an alternative explanation for why Bannon could both support Orban and PiS while disavowing ethno-nationalism when discussing American politics.

          • Mr Phillips: that already sounds a little less naive than taking “Oxford Bannon” at face value when he says ethnonationalism is “bad” or that Tom Cotton’s preferred immigration policies are intended to protect blacks and Hispanics.

            The prospects of overt white nationalism are indeed not great in America, not least because the Republican party itself made the choice in the 1960s to espouse anti-racism. Of course Bannon is not the caricature of the racist that some people make him out to be.

            More likely, based on listening to a couple of hours of interviews and his old radio shows, Bannon thinks (at least partly correctly, in my opinion), that the old WASP ethos, and what survives of it in the contemporary white working class are an integral part of the culture that has built America, and ought to be preserved. Limiting immigration is a step in this direction.

            Now, let’s take the next step: why would Bannon support PiS and Orban if what he said at Oxford were a faithful reflection of his whole political philosophy? After all, he was not in America. He was there to defend his much grander “The Movement” project. Neither Orban nor Salvini (nor anyone else in Europe, really) buy into his nonsense about destroying the administrative state, and more generally the populist parties Bannon has approached differ wildly in their economic views. What do you think is the common denominator between all of them?

          • Cinncinatus Californicus says

            Mr. Phillips,
            If someone opposes one sided trade/IP theft, and moves to use the only reasonable tool available (tariffs), then they are labeled an economic luddite of the first order. If someone opposes illegal immigration, the it is assumed that they are opposed to immigration in all forms, and therefore racist. If the meaning of the 14th Amendment to grant birthright citizenship to children born in the US “not the subject of a foreign power” is questioned at all, then the only explanation accepted by most in the “Prestige media” is racism. If one is opposed to the growing creep of the regulatory state on constitutional grounds, then they are held to be shills of the oil industry arguing for toxic waste spills. I could go on, but you get the point.

            Arguing these characterizations are incorrect is pointless-the true message is “shorthanded” to the negative automatically by these outfits. These folks, almost uniformly progressive in their own outlooks on the world, are convinced that they can “see into the heart” and “discern the deeper (and uniformly darker) meaning”. This comforted those who originally did this, knowing that they were violating long-held journalistic norms in that they were doing so for “the greater good”. Later versions have dispensed with the even the artifice of introspection on these

            The approach of the regular Republicans was to try and thread the needle, trying to find a message that espoused Conservative principles but did so in a way that minimized the opportunity for lefty journos to engage in this “see into your heart” shorthanding. Unfortunately, the less introspective the shorthanders became, the less evidence they needed. Simultaneously, journos trying to drive clicks in a fight to the death with non-traditional news outlets amplified each cycle of this accelerating whirlpool, calling any differences with prevailing progressive opinion lies, and using ever more cataclysmic language to boot.
            What Bannon and Trump did was to reject the traditional response of giving the journos a smaller target in that shorthanding. Instead, they turned into the wind as it were, challenging the underlying, increasingly unquestioned, and universally smug assumptions of the Prestige Media. This made sense on two levels. First, the increasingly unhinged reporting left little space in which Conservatives could even open their mouths without being pilloried. Second, they instinctively knew that there was a demand for this in the body politic. People were tired of being labeled this “ist” or that “phobe” for mere differences of political opinion. Voting for Trump was thus the biggest middle finger they could give to the coastal bubble dwellers.
            This then becomes the question who is responsible for the incivility: the affronted media types, aghast and unmoored at the thought of someone having the temerity to question their received wisdom, or agent provocateur shit disturbers like Bannon who take joy at the apoplexy their actions create? Supporters of Bannon would argue that, with no legitimate outlet for their views, breaking the tyranny of shorthanding justified this confrontational approach.

            I’m not sure. As an analog, in California school (like most public infrastructure) construction costs have escalated to absurd levels while also benefitting a few politically connected groups. To get the needed work done means giving in to the waste; a Hobson’s choice paying the vig or harming the kids. Pack-hunting Short-handing Journos gave Bannon/Trump a similar choice “argue within our constrained and tilted definitions, or face purple-faced indignation”. Bannon Trump made their choice, the Prestige press is making the previous threat into a reality.

  9. “People are indeed more engaged—because they’ve been able to uncork unprecedented levels of political hatred”
    “Hate” and “phobia” are now used to describe any negative reaction. Not helpful.
    As a distant observer it seems to me that it’s his opponents, perhaps more specifically Trump’s, who have broken into a real deranged hatred. If Bannon has produced angry mobs of supporters, I’ve missed it.

    • Thoughthelookingglass says

      The Left will reply to that with “Charlottesville!” as if one motley crew of tiki torch bearers represented a movement comparable in size and influence to the Left.

      My son now lives in a pretty red area in Texas, but when I visited him in October, I saw several Beto signs on the front lawns on his street. He told me they had been there for months. Nobody had ripped them up, or egged or spraypainted “Commie” on the owners’ homes, How long would a Trump sign stay up on a lawn in LA? When liberals start pontificating about how hateful the Right is, I ask them to perform an experiment: first, drive to a rural area with a Hillary bumper sticker on your car and see if anybody notices, or says anything to you, or cares. Then put a Trump sticker on your car, drive to an urban area or a campus, park and go for a stroll with a MAGA hat on. Then come back and tell me who the hateful ones are.

      • D-Rex says

        The evidence is clear that the vast majority of hatred is coming from the left, and not just the far left. It’s ironic that when media personalities and Hollywood types go on a rant about how Trump foments hatred, their own nastiness is there for all to see.
        The author states that “This trollishness was amplified by a refusal to acknowledge the unprecedented nature of our current political polarization, and the social ills that flow from it.” but fails to recognise that it is the left that has become literally unhinged.

  10. George says

    This article did a brilliant job in martialing the misapprehensions and distortions of Bannon’s beliefs in the legacy media, and how starkly different he is in real life. But I’m not sure “delighting in civil combat” was his most notable flaw- he is just honest about the culture war in which he fights. He was also pretty courteous to people who asked blunt questions – definitely not a Milo Yiannopoulus provocateur type.

    Bannon’s main flaw – it seems to me – is trying to make civic nationalism globally adoptable, without formerly friendly countries sliding into mutual suspicion. This is borne out in his failure to unite the disparate populist movements of Europe. Moreover, I wasn’t convinced by his argument that what the working class really need is to repatriate their industrial, manufacturing jobs…in the ashes of manufacturing jobs came service and tech jobs which are better paid and safer. The working poor in the West have never been better off.

    His economics in general are very confusing. On the one hand he wants to punish the naughty bankers and throw them in jail (and raise tariffs, etc), but on the other he wants to dismantle the administrative state and the “party of davos”. So more regulations and fewer regulators? This is just ideological pick and mix. Sounded flimsy and unworkable. If you a truly a man of the people then you must surely support global free trade (capitalism): more choice, more competition, cheaper prices.

    • “The working poor in the West have never been better off.” reference please – I have never heard this stated before.

      • George Harris says

        I don’t have a reference, just a hunch. An informed hunch. If you look at poverty through purchasing power (what things you can you buy for a day’s wages) then I think the current generation are materially far richer than any previous generation. The working poor today are obese and have two televisions and a car.

        • GG00dmn says

          Electronics are cheaper.
          Housing and health care drastically more expensive, at least in many locations.

          I pay for health insurance. I have a deductible over $7000. Then it only pays partial.
          This “free market” policy costs more than rent. Fortunately, I don’t need any surgeries at the moment over $7000.

          This is about “financialization” of the economy that seems to be as incomprehensible as water is to fish … other than unhelpful rhetoric against “bankers” or (((bankers))).

          I’m partial to economist Michael Hudson on free markets vs parasitic markets. I learned about Ricardian Socialism based on “revolutionary thinkers” (not so radical) like classical liberals Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill and also the Physiocrats in Europe.

          This long preceded Marxian and National-Ethnic Socialisms and is obviously “core American”.

  11. AndrewS says

    What this article touches on, but doesn’t quite elaborate, is that Bannon is a professional shit stirrer. He uses language and gestures from fascism, and white supremacy to enrage the left, without ever pinning himself down to a coherent ideology. When interviewed on tour in Italy Bannon ran rings around a Guardian journalist, Paul Lewis I think, who made the mistake of trying to engage with him as a far right politician, and make him say something offensive. In reality he’s probably just a scam artist.

  12. What exactly is Nicholas Phillips point in this piece? He spends most of the article stating that Oxford Bannon is not what the media view is. Then the point he tries to make is 2/3rds of Americans dislike a family member or a friend due to politics. I think this could translate world wide.

    In Australia politics is widening and the quality of debate falling, I think this is happening everywhere and is certainly nothing to do with Bannon. I watched his speech and felt that the questions were pretty poor but the questioners were ernest in their convictions.

    The mansplaning thing is a non-event all he went on to do was restate his view that there was more engagement in political debate than ever before.

    I read this as I had enjoyed the Oxford debate and wanted to know why he is wrong. Nicholas has not told me why he is wrong and I was disappointed.

    Absolute thanks must go to Oxford University for putting this on. I don’t want to hear one sided debates I want the full sandwich.

    • Thoughthelookingglass says

      Ardy, a few months ago, I watched a clip of the Nixon-Kennedy debates from 1960. It made me realize just how far we have fallen. While there was plenty of campaign skullduggery in 1960 and the American media was liberal then and favored Kennedy, there was no obvious bias shown in the debates, no “gotcha” questions, no insult-flinging. Each candidate discussed the issues. It was like watching a strange, exotic breed who have vanished from the political landscape. I believe we once referred to them as “serious adults.”

    • Nicholas Phillips says

      I too enjoyed the Oxford debate and feel very grateful that they held the event. My argument was that Bannon’s civic nationalism is self-defeating because it involves enraging the people who didn’t vote for his guy. A nationalism that alienates over 50% of the nation’s inhabitants is a non-starter. His desire to trigger and provoke his opponents is greater than his desire to unify.

      • Scroto Baggins says

        “A nationalism that alienates over 50% of the nation’s inhabitants is a non-starter.”

        In all love …

        It’s time to take off the blinders. This is not at root political, it’s religious … and not Judeo/Christian versus socio-humanist/atheist but much, much more complex. The alienation was already there. The house was filling with gas for a long time. Bannon and Co. just struck a match. He’s not making waves; he’s riding them like Laird Hamilton.

        My estimation of your difficulty (though I could be wrong) is that you espouse one side of this religious divide and don’t realize where your feet are. Let’s call it “neo-Enlightenment rationalism.”

        If you want to understand the social situation at the same level Bannon does, you will need to step outside your faith and think bigger. Bannon thinks in centuries and millennia, not decades. See his comments about the poundMe2 folks at the last Golden Globes.

        As I starter, I would recommend:

        I’m not an atheist, but I respect Gray’s thinking and scholarship a great deal. He explicates brilliantly the roots of where our present social beliefs originate.

      • Nicholas: I think both sides are more than capable of alienating the other, its just a question of how they do it
        Trump does it by opening his mouth, he is so hated by the left that nobody is listening to a damn word he says be it right or wrong. The left uses emotive argument in answer to questions which alienates the right ie ‘why do you want to let this illegal caravan into the country?’ answer ‘ There are little kids down their living in abject poverty and starving and we are ignoring their plight’.

        There is no common ground when emotion trumps Trumpism’s and the right ignores emotive agurnent. Neither is in balance for the last 50 years the left has had control of the Universities and used to have the working class, the right used to have control of big business and the middle class. None of this makes sense anymore.

        The Uni’s are still pouring out left wing thinkers but it is so nuanced that any reasonable thinking person will grow out of ID politics and make their own call.

        Bannon is just pointing out the obvious and sees an opportunity for Nationalism and prife in your own country. The left want a single world government – There is NO COMMON Ground

  13. Strange sort of civic nationalist, that has such hatred for his fellow citizens that his greatest delight is in making them outraged.

    • Mystical Cristal says

      Chip, it seems like you are saying you can read Bannon’s mind, to know his thinking is full of hatiness.

      Unless I see some further proof, I’m going to have to dismiss you as “not a serious person.”

  14. Ray Andrews says

    “It’s the only explanation for announcing his pride in enraging “social justice warriors” in the same breath that he extols the uniting properties of civic nationalism.”

    Is there a contradiction? SJWs posit a world in which is is impossible for various Victim identities to ever live in harmony because someone will always be Oppressing everyone else. If some temporary disruption was entailed by throwing the Warriors out, that would be a small price to pay for a better world once the idea of common citizenship has been restored. As for Trump and his crew, they are tools. Trump’s task is to rock the foundations of Washington, not to rebuild afterwards. For that Bannon will turn to other people.

  15. Morgan Foster says

    From the article: “If Bannon’s mission is to rally Americans behind a set of common ideals … ”

    “Rally Americans”? “Common ideals?”

    There are no common ideals in America. This is a republic of racial and cultural identities. There can be no commonality of purpose or ideals in a country where diversity is the rule.

    Bannon, like everyone else, is competing in a marketplace of ideas. Hoping to win a temporary advantage. Just as those who oppose him are doing the same.

    • Good point Morgan and I am thinking the reasons for this are normal human nature. Different cultures bring different ideas and that is fine and they will amalgamate as long as they have no agenda to take over.

      The basic problem as I see it is that the Universities have let their students down as has the basic education systems. Nobody seems interested or capable of intense critical thinking education or in debate as it takes too long (more than 8mins?).

      In Australia we have no politicians capable of performing verbally, they mostly can’t or they are hoping for a sound bite from the media who are also under educated.

      It is just the West going down the hole of indifference, due to having everything they fought and worked for. Now all that is left is ‘you cannot take anything away, just give me more stuff I could pay for but prefer the government to pay for it’.

      The elites, actors etc. are strangely left wing because they seem to want respect from their peers and they can afford it. I would bet that If they lost their money their attitudes would change to either outright communism or right wing orthodoxy.

      I will state that I have no higher education apart from basic secondary school in the UK and left aged 15 with a great admiration for those with a degree or phd. That small amount of education has served me well and took me onto other forms of education. I wonder if the same could be said for todays education of the poor?

  16. “Prestige media”? I prefer “legacy media”.

    I watched Bannon’s Oxford talk. The questions from the students and moderator as to Bannon’s racism and fascism were more pleas. No evidence was provided.

    I’ve yet to see any evidence that Bannon is a racist or a fascist. In fact, in the Oxford talk he clearly spoke against both racism and fascism.

    Where is the evidence of Bannon’s racism and fascism?

  17. Daniel says

    To call Bannon divisive, or Trump for that matter, is popular among the Lying Media Elites, but is ridiculous.
    They are exactly as divisive as someone who says: “Two plus two isn’t five; it’s four. Only idiots (fake news) think otherwise!”
    We should all call out liars, crooks, and those who use the social justice platform as a license to destroy. To do so isn’t to drive a wedge, it is to say no to the militancy of pathological ideology.

    The Ugly Left’s agenda has been endlessly tried before throughout history — in piecemeal form at least. No facet of it has been successful. Humans can’t bend into the positions they are demanding.

    • dellingdog says

      So you believe that everything President Trump says is obviously true (equivalent to mathematical truths), implying that people who disagree with him are either evil or stupid. Everything the mainstream media reports is a lie, so any “news” which contradicts your opinions can be automatically dismissed. No ideas from the left have ever been successful; it’s “pathological ideology” all the way down.

      You’re obviously right: it’s ridiculous to call people with views like yours divisive! It must be convenient to see reality with perfect clarity, without any ideological distortions. It allows you to dispense with fake virtues like humility and open-mindedness. If only we could all be so enlightened …

    • Malcolm the Confused says

      “They are exactly as divisive as someone who says: “Two plus two isn’t five; it’s four. Only idiots (fake news) think otherwise!””

      Spoken just like a reactionary cis white male, Daniel. Don’t you know that heteronormative white supremacist math and logic is done?

      2 + 2 = 5 is an entirely valid interpretation for certain identities, and you are full of hate to suggest otherwise. Next you’ll be telling me everyone needs to get vaccinations.

      Get educated, you donkey: (“Algebra, Geometry Perpetuate Privilege: Emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi give the impression that math was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans”)

  18. lloydr56 says

    I like the contrast between Media Bannon and Oxford Bannon, but there’s something silly about Never Trumpers. “… the unprecedented nature of our current political polarization, and the social ills that flow from it.” Compared to the 60s, 70s, 80s etc.? Maybe you think the 50s was a golden age, and if you can’t have Ike, you’ll take Hillary?

    • Nicholas Phillips says

      There is a mountain of social science showing that our society is more politically polarized than it was in any of those eras. It doesn’t mean those eras didn’t have problems, just that feeling contempt for people in the other party wasn’t one of them. I cited some of the evidence for that in the article.

      • martti_s says

        @Nicholas Phillips

        According to that data, the polarization peaked in 2012 already, four years before Donald Trum wo the election. Trump is a symptom, not the disease.

      • I hypothesize that political polarization in America is like everything else politically, cyclic. If you look at the level of hostility between Adams’ Federalist and Jefferson’s Democratic-Replubicans, Lincoln Republicans and Southern Democrats etc, I think you will find close parallels (actually antebellum political polarization was probably worse).

        • It was tongue in cheek, because obviously it devolved into open violencd, not just the Civil war either, but John Brown and even before him, Bleeding Kansas. I was ridiculing the Polly-Andish concept that what is happening today is uniquely terrible in the history of the US. This can be traced as far back the myth that the Revolution was near universally supported. It appears Tories and Patriots were fairly even, but as in today’s society, more geographically unevenly distributed. Some of the worst autrocities committed during the Revolution was by Tory against Patriot and vice versa.
          The feud between Adams’ camp and Jefferson’s camp at the turn of the 19th century ended up in violence on the Senate floor and a number of duels. And it was fairly common in the 19th century for families, especially upper and middle class families, to forbid their offspring from marrying spouses from competing political parties.

        • And another point, in the, 18th, 19th and most of the first half of the 20th century newspapers didn’t even attempt to hide their ideological bent. Instead they openly embraced it. This was probably more healthy and created more trust, not because it created less biased reporting but because they never tried to deny their bias.

      • Considering the growing evidence that the social sciences are not very scientific and guilty of a variety of unscientific practices such as implicit bias, self selection, P-mining, fraud, foundational studies that cannot be repeated, suppression of contradictory research etc, basing anything on their conclusions should give you some pause.

      • Saying that Bannon and Trump are the cause of the political divide is by far the weakest argument made in this piece, the media and the country’s ruling class are obviously responsible for most inciting of the current political hysteria as they are threatened by anyone who speaks out against corporate globalism and the concentration in power into the hands of the few. Also polls show that racial tensions skyrocketed under Obama, and the democrats have been nurturing increasingly divisive identity politics for years. Sure, Trump is a blowhard and Bannon has some trollish tendencies as well so they haven’t helped, but by refusing to acknowledge who started the divisiveness, this National Review writer is making himself part of the problem.

        I will also say this website has very weak articles on globalism and populism, most read like warmed over-NR rejects. Unherd has far better political writers, I strongly recommend that anyone frustrated by pieces like this check that website out.

        • GG00dmn says

          When we speak of “corporate globalism and the concentration in power into the hands of the few” one of the key watershed moments was the election of Ronald Reagan and deregulation of banking and finance as the tool for that power shift to the Few.

          Get Government Off Our Backs meant get government regulation off the backs of Wall Street. Bill Clinton became the ultimate master of that game.

          Previously illegal or unethical financial activities were made legal and ethical, like “bucket shops” for stock trading, like using borrowed money from banks and capital firms to conduct corporate raids on cash-rich industrial firms that were light on any debt burden (and had good credit), pledging the takeover target as collateral for the stock buyout takeover debt, and then loading the debt-free company up with crippling debt to pay off the creditors and pay fat bonuses to the takeover specialists.

          Reaganite economists described what amounts to a roofer pawning all his tools and ladders and trucks as “efficiency” because of the payout from looting vs low capital investment and high leverage arrives much faster and bigger than slowly building a successful industrial firm and brand.

          This also meant workers were fired as quickly as feasible, across industry. I had just entered college at the time.

          Part of this target collateral included pension funds seized and pledged to debt or bankruptcy (previously off-limits), pensions that workers had earned in lieu of wages. That’s a direct “redistribution of wealth” as people like to call food stamps.

          But the average conservative or moderate person loudly applauded these Reagan era actions so much that Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party embraced this process of financial deregulation, debt-loading and/or decline of the middle class, and general expansion of poverty across society. After the Dot Com Bubble, they shifted to housing market financial fraud and now the rising $1.8 Trillion in college debt — and many people still blame the individuals who gambled on a college education, as if this isn’t systemic and doesn’t harm the entire economy.

          Trees? Forest?

  19. martti_s says

    ‘Prestige Media’ in Bannon’s terminology refers to The Economist, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and the likes.

    I have tried to figure out what are the biggest crimes that Bannon has committed, why he is drawing so much flak from the MSM’s choir of monkeys. Why such a big difference between the Straw Bannon and Steve himself?

    The most important is his aesthetics. ‘Sloppy Steve’ does not drink but has a skin condition that makes him look like the brother of Frank from the Shameless.
    The second is something the progressives will never forgive him, namely leading Trump’s campaign to victory. The third is actually having worked in the White House though not for long.

    The fourth is his view how the Old Conservative Money and the New Progressive Money have divided the fruits of the economic growth between themselves, barely leaving crumbs for the ‘deplorables’. This is probably why his stay in the WH did not last any longer.

    Bannon is very critical of China. There is a lot of Chinese money flowing to the Academy at the moment. Opinions can be bought.

    Steve Bannon has a clean past of a self-made man. He is not an Atheist. He has never deadnamed or doxed anybody and if ever he’s been grabbing somebody by the pussy, the victims have been cool about it. It is amazing how dangerous he is in the eyes of the progressive flock.
    He is a boogieman, an enemy to keep ‘our side’ united.

    What about his ideas? Any rational critic, anybody?

    • dellingdog says

      Josh Green, the author of a book about Bannon and his role in the Trump administration, describes his ideology as “hardcore right-wing nationalism. The major elements to it, as far as I’m able to detect, are an antipathy to free trade, a hostility to immigrants both legal and illegal, this kind of misty nostalgia for the white, blue-collar manufacturing economy of the mid-20th century. And in terms of foreign policy, there’s a kind of America-first isolationism.” That sounds more or less accurate to me. Those are all debatable issues, and I think you’re right that people should engage in the substance of Bannon’s views instead of calling him a racist and trying to marginalize him.

      • martti_s says

        ‘Right wing’ has become a nonword.
        I am quite old so to me ‘extreme right’ means authoritarian government, traditional valueas such as religion, national identity, no extramarital sex, no rock and roll or beards or modern art. Honor and discipline would be among the highest values as well as the traditional patriarchal family structure a bit like in Ingmar Bergman’s movies.

        In situations where law and heart contradict, a right winger chooses law. He shaves and wears ironed shirts. He believes that the money has earned belongs to him and he can do what he chooses with it. He hates government spending.

        Really, what is it to be ‘right wing’ today?
        Is criticizing the madness of the Academy chattering monkeys enough? Do you need to be worried about the social effects of massive immigration also? Do you need to dress in a certain way, read known books or dig assigned musicians?

        Please, I cannot figure anything out.

        • Peter from Oz says

          Caring more for liberty is right wing. Caring more for equality is left wing. Big government is left wing, small government is right wing.
          Being suspicious of tradition and custom is left wing. Believing in tradition and custom is right wing.
          You mustn’t mistake the conservative for the Conservative or the liberal for the Liberal. There are plenty of leftists who are just as conservative in there need to impose strict moral rules on the rest of us as there Used to be old fashioned moralists. The urge to be Puritan comes from the left at first and later becomes the orthodoxy. Some people then think that this is somehow “right”. I don’t think that is necessarily the case. It depends upon how the rules are imposed. If, as now, the puritans are keener on government imposing moral rules and institutions following suit, then Puritanism is left wing.

          • martti_s says

            For liberal, I stick to the traditional definition which holds for openness and tolerance.
            In my mind, it does not mean that I have to grow a beard, wear sandals, go vegan or lose my sexual orientation. I can have various thoughts about the welfare or healthcare or taxation. As long as I am open to hear other people’s ideas and in some cases even change my own, I remain a liberal.

            Communists embrace the ideas of Karl Marx who believed that the means of production should not be privately owned. Wherever these ideas have been put to practice, a catastrophe has ensued. This does not weaken the vigor of the believers as they think that the problem of Communist states has been NOT ENOUGH COMMUNISM!
            Nothing could be further from liberal than a Communist state where you are only allowed to say approved things and do as you are told to. You have the freedom of choice: Obey or Gulag. Social Democracy takes some aspects of Communist ideology like equality, health care and education, army, police and infrastructure and lets grow enough Capitalism to pay for it. As the economy needs high-level knowledge and skills, freedom of thought and speech are tolerated. (Those things always go together)

            Then we have these left-wingers or progressives as they like to call themselves.
            As much as I have tried to figure out what their utopia would look like, I have not been able to see a plan. I have the feeling that they do not really mind filthy rich people as long as they are active against climate change and reflect values such as diversity, multiculturalism, veganism, non-fossil, non-nuclear energy production, bicycles and LGBT worship.
            They are about as liberal as the Communist orthodoxes.
            Appearances are very important, substance less so. As the roots are in Academy, they often mistake words for deeds.
            To put it briefly, I have got the impression that their main goal is to rip the existing Western societies apart, no matter what might follow.
            Their parents were hippies.
            The Bible puts it right: “The sins of the father will be visited upon the children”

          • X. Citoyen says


            I think it less a mistake and more a reflection of the transformation of politics into religion. The left versus right used to be a rule of thumb for sorting political positions. But it’s become the bedrock of cartoon politics, something used by Manicheans who need a God of Light to identify with and a God of Darkness to spill their bile upon.

          • GG00dmn says

            At one time, the Tories defending Tradition and the Crown were on the Right.
            Patriots defending liberty from King George were the leftist radicals.

            Tom Paine was the Left of the Left, rejecting the Church-State-Religion and ultimately rejecting God, but believing that republicanism was feasible for communities larger than about 20 (direct democracy only in small groups). Jefferson’s vision was merely to separate Church vs State and let religions hopefully flourish aside one another.

            John Jay said that the owners of America ought to run it, meaning the aristocrat landowners.
            Madison wrote an argument for minority rights — the Minority of the Opulent — against the Many of Little Means who were growing in wealth and power.

            That’s my sketch of Left vs Right but that has nothing much to do with today.

            To wit, Quillette article on Peggy McIntosh and the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege. Her level of unearned privilege and family wealth was similar to the Bush and Walker families. She’s an author and activist speaker but there’s no mention in her bio of helping underprivileged Black schoolkids or parents, just spreading lessons about White Guilt.

            My friend told me about this Invisible Knapsack she holds, as a white person, but she has probably done more work for free to contribute to the vulnerable at 12 Step meetings and Women’s Recovery than Peggy McIntosh has done for her fat 6-figure income in shaming.

        • GG00dmn says

          FYI only rant:
          [He believes that the money has earned belongs to him and he can do what he chooses with it.] — Good, OK, assuming in context that it’s earned and not really more-or-less unethically looted.

          [He hates government spending.] — which is the sole source of US Dollars except for credit/debt from banks that serve as agents under the govt, tied closely to our fiscal and monetary system.

          I’m continuously baffled by people who rightfully *like* money — appreciate cash flows and profits and savings — but argue that Govt should stop creating any money and start deleting it faster. (Faster deletion because private wealth equals federal liabilities, per system design.)

          As if what they believe is that money grows on private trees or that people who go to work literally “make money” on their private inkjet printers or something, and then after all that hard work, the Govt seizes /their/ money …. never thinking about the USA logos, Treasury Officer signatures, and USA serial number on paper money, with that invisible and systemic “branding” on digital money in accounts.

          This fact means that Govt cannot benefit or gain anything by redeeming its own liabilities for tax payments, that taxes cannot “pay for” anything. Tax collection destroys money. It’s necessary for system design but we citizens can’t “fund” the federal government.

          Ford makes Ford cars.
          Nike makes Nike shoes.
          Uncle Sam makes USA dollars.

  20. If I understand the argument, we will need to engage the “real” Steve Bannon in order to combat his ideas. This is a very true statement, and if I also understand the article, the authors big problem with Bannon is that he wants national unity, but it putting up trolls to spearhead this.
    While I understand that would be a good observation, perhaps it is more a reflection on the national institutions, and the political class that they can’t engage with, or accommodate, somebody like “Oxford Steve”. Perhaps the national institutions have lost touch with the common people and only a troll is capable of breaking through. It would be interesting to know “Oxford Steve’s” view on this.

  21. Loïc Hoguin says

    “he seems almost unbelievably cavalier about how his fight to achieve this has pulled us apart”

    The article goes downhill from that point onward.

    I do not understand how people reach these conclusions when all signs point to the opposite: the political views of people on the left has been moving to the far left for the past 20 years, while the right stayed mostly the same; the “prestige” media has increasingly embraced extreme left-wing rhetoric, especially in their opinion pieces; a lot of what is cited as facts to support this rhetoric comes from grievance studies fields that are explicitly relativist and anti-science.

    Considering this political climate it’s also unclear that anyone would have done better than Trump. He won against 16 Republicans despite being a life-long Democrat. His approval rating has only increased since. If he really was the divider in chief he’s portrayed as in the media, he wouldn’t gain support like he is. Chances are he’s seen as the divider in chief simply because the media portrays him so.

    I used to think Jordan Peterson was the most misunderstood person in the media but Steve Bannon might have it worse. The difference between what Steve Bannon says and what the media tells is so bad that even people who end up debating him can only misrepresent his views and smear him. The Munk debate was another example of that. You can’t expect people to understand the other side when the other side is smeared as white supremacist Nazis, or socialist tyrants constantly.

  22. Bronson says

    “Nicholas Phillips is a law student and writer whose work has appeared in National Review”

    Aaaand here it is. There is a high possibility this author is a never Trumper or associates with people that follow this ideology.

    Which in itself isn’t a condemning feature however the biases edging on Trump deferment syndrome are showing.

    After quite balanced and factual opening towards the end when it comes to present why Steve Banon is wrong but not for reasons we think we get a non-factual opinion piece that poorly tries to strawman their way to creating a vision in which Trump and by extension Banon created the divisions. Or exaggerated to the point that it wouldn’t be possible if Trump- Bannon steamroller hasn’t won.

    Now here’s the thing, my dear boy. The disciplined Reaganites that you so fondly mentioned are impotent. No other Conservative candidate could have beaten Hillary Clinton. This is my opinion of course however we have no way of finding out for sure. The very fact that they couldn’t beat Donald Trump, a non-political newcomer and let’s say it: a PR clown, in the primaries, proves how weak they were.

    As to the core of your proposition that he created or exaggerated the national divide. This is wrong. The left in the US was militant and aggressive years before and it was ramping up to the point of culmination which was Donald Trump’s election. Just ask Ben Shapiro and other conservative authors that were deplatformed on Universities or censored online. Just because you haven’t been paying attention it doesn’t mean the device did not exist.

    The left was planning to be aggressive and purposefully divisive no matter who they were going to get from the Conservative camp. Just look at poor Judge Cavanaugh. Yes, he was a Trump pick but does this validate the smear campaign and fishing with hunt against him?

    Like most of impotent Conservatives, you fail to acknowledge that you are in the middle of a cultural war. When one side – the left is in a full frontal assault with indiscriminate bombardment and the other side just stands there calling for civility. Donald Trump, therefore, is a leader that you don’t want but a leader that you need.

    I also have a slight criticism of your last paragraph. It seems like you did not wrap up properly. It seems that you did not know how to make a final statement to your argument. In fact, you did not mention it all. Just some mentioned your observations from the opening parts about media Banon.

    Overall I think you have a clear and easy to read style. Continue to develop and you possibly will get far. However, like some other commentators mentioned before me: you engage in a critique of divisive rhetoric while being guilty of it in almost the same breath. You open with facts that lead to an opinion piece that is not backed up by facts. This is not a way to go. There is a lot of work to be done before you start practising what you preach: to be civil and mending the divide on one hand and to be a disciplined reason based Reganate on the other.

    • augustine says

      “Donald Trump, therefore, is a leader that you don’t want but a leader that you need.”


  23. scribblerg says

    The author seems wedded to the idea that there is some new level of polarization in our politics, lol. I wonder, was he around for Nixon? Nixon was called a “Nazi” by McGovern in public. Reagan was so hated by the left, the rhetoric used against him regularly by the Left and MSM by his second term was awful.

    But even then, left and right in many ways were still political positions, not identities. However, the Left wasn’t satisfied with that because it did not sponsor the revolution they seek. The “politics are personal and the personal is political” did not emanate from the right, it emanated from the Left. It wasn’t the right that attacked the RC church or the Boy Scouts or overtook the educational system with Progressive and Marxist ideas – it was the Left.

    The right is reacting to an over-encroaching state and decreasing civic space that is dominated by Prog-Marxist values and ideas. Only then did the Right begin to pull more into it’s ‘identities’. But even then, it was weak. It’s taken another 20 years of insane Leftist identity politics run amok for many of us on the Right to finally say, “Given how Western white men are called out as the most destructive in civilization’s history regularly by our leading intellectuals, perhaps we are under attack as a group? Perhaps if we are in an identity politics era, seeing ourselves as a group of white people is required?”

    The Left brought us to this insanity. The Right is adjusting accordingly to the threats posed against us. There is no equivalence, this author seems quite naive, superficial in his analysis and ultimately quite confused about the nature of the world.

    And oh yeah, he did zero damage to any of the arguments Bannon made…Lol. I expect much, much more substance from Quillette.

  24. Markus says

    I saw the Oxford talk a few days ago already and also watched the Munk Debate with David Frum (

    Previously I had been mildly critical about mainstream media, seeing them mainly (as Trump probably rightly complains) as one sided and on a mission.

    But having heard about Bannon from MM exclusively, before seeing him for the first time in those talks, it dawned on my, how massively distortive the MM is.

    I’m by no means a Trump supporter and I think there is a lot to disagree between my view and Bannon’s. And I don’t think he is convincing a lot of people of his political views.

    But one thing, which he is achieving with these talks, is that he’s supporting Trump by lending credibility to Trump’s media criticism. Because at the moment I can’t think of anyone who’s picture in the media is more distorted than the picture the media paints (or has painted) of him.

    Again, I don’t agree with him and I think that Trump is a disaster. But the media is right par with them.

    • GG00dmn says

      I’d say I have strong Leftist sympathies, or did. Y’know, working class, Labor. This would make me a deplorable now?

      Anyhow, I listened to the Frum/Bannon debate in my car driving a few hours. Frankly, Frum’s “arguments” made me cringe.

      I would like to directly ask Bannon about his statement that Julius Evola is his hero. Evola isn’t a fascist. He self-described as a super-fascist, not a fascist, in a defense. I read an Evola essay that wasn’t plain, wasn’t Nazi, was esoteric. Now I want to know what Bannon means.

      He apparently doesn’t hate Jews. Maybe Bannon dislikes certain aspects of Judeo-Christianity, as Evola disliked the “soft” and “martyrdom” and “morality” and “social justice” aspects of Christianity and Judaism. If true, that says …. something.

  25. Burlats de Montaigne says

    Bannon is Trunp’s Carville. No more, no less. That Carville had the sense not to stick his head above the parapet after Clinton won the election is to his credit. The idea, as the author seems to believe, that these guys are some sort of sage or founts of political philosophy is ridiculous. They are players; movers, shakers, fixers. Their whole purpose is to destabilise and run spin. Intellectual or ideological ‘consistency’ is not part of their job description – it is, in fact, the opposite. I thoroughly enjoyed the Oxford Union “debate” as I’m sure did Mr Bannon, but to try and read anything very profound into what ultimately was a ‘performance’ is a fool’s errand.

    • Burlats de Montaigne says

      Your frequent recourse to adolescent insults really doesn’t reflect well on your mental state. What are you so cross about?

  26. What’s wrong with triggering the Left? The author makes the same dull mistakes so many others do: he assumes that Trump and Bannon are somehow causal in terms of the discord of rhetoric in the US; he assumes that ‘triggering the Left’ is unpleasant (true),therefore invalid (false) [This is why the Left and their SJWs have earned the epithet “Snowflake”, BTW]; and he ignores fantastically that when one looks at the electoral map that got Trump elected what you really see are islands of blue urban areas in a sea of red. Each point deserves discussion but I’ll spare you that except for this. Point one–the media has been oppressively Left for far too long finally losing all credibility in any claim they are not so, and more and more inclined to utilize the Rules For Radicals to demonize anyone, anywhere who pointed this out. The US press started to frighten the people of the US. Anyone with a D behind their name was cannonized, anyone with an R demonized–it was and is mindnumbingly transparent. Doesn’t the author realize that “Media Bannon” was the media’s Creation, not Bannon’s, and as such is a beautiful and crystalline example of why American’s have been taught over decades to now completely distrust the Press, all Press? Can Bannon be accused of playing with that and thus being percieved as “triggering”?, absolutely and more power to him. Point two–what is the sound of one hand clapping? Silence obviously and that was exactly the state of affairs in public discourse and media–all that is happening now is that the other hand has finally showed up, that sound you hear is discourse, reflecting discord that has been ongoing again for decades and it is a sound way over due and pleasant to my ears. Point three–who lives in cities? In the US it’s the very wealthy and the very poor, there is no urban middleclass to speak of, but somehow the wealthy and the poor require the middleclass to support their respective lifestyles (financially and morally), and for that burden the middleclass is demonized and called terrible names at the least tremor of ‘impertinance’ that their betters in urban centers might perceive. It’s downright feudal, so the peasants have risen up–that the urban overords continue to call them names, doesn’t have anything to do with what is true of them, it’s just an empty tantrum.

    • It isn’t the peasants who rose up, it is the yeoman class, the middle class, rising up. Successful revolutions tend to be driven by middle-class, in history. The tradesman and merchants, the artisans. Rather it is violent or cultural, the most successful changes are fostered from those who make, not those who take.

    • Jan de Jong says

      Indeed, and funny how the author blames the victim for the divisive hatred. TDS anybody?

    • Peter from Oz says

      Are there no conservative media outlets in the US?
      I’m always hearing from the left the trumpet cry of how Rupert Murdoch controls the media, which is therefore influenced heavily by the right.

      • There are, but the the Left dominates all of the what is known as the Mainstream Media (MSM), as a result you have to intentionally seek out media with a Right voice. This is a problem because since now essentially all news outlets are politically allied and vociferously so, it is impossible to feel that what is said is reliable. As a result, responsible people are left to seek out whatever primary sources they can and to read as many articles as possible, from as many sources as possible, to try to get some sort of idea about what is happening in politics (less so with other sorts of stories), but certainly the political filter opertates in all forms of reporting at this point. This is both unfortunate and time consuming. It is the Tower of Babel. So complaints about the MSM are completely and utterly warranted and disturbing. The press has abdicated, it’s responsiblities and abandoned their ethics such that what we are subjected to is an endless stream of propaganda pretending to be reporting. Look up the Rules for Radicals, once you get a handle on these you see them operating–in fact you can outline articles to illustrate them within the writing. The fourth estate has committed suicide and yet expects sympathy for this act of violence against the people, this is the collective grandiose delusion of all suicides.

        • GG00dmn says

          Leftists — who sometimes agree partly with Trump, such as Jimmy Dore and others — see the MSM as soft-right pro-war capitalist and Fox/Limbaugh and Pat Robertson and 10000 radio stations (and now Infowars) as hard-right usually pro-war capitalist fringe conspiracy with a dose of religion and sometimes overt racism. (Somehow elite wealth complaining about elitism.)

          Yet, as stated, the Right isn’t always Wrong, to the Rad-Left. Just an incomplete or skewed analysis. One older viewpoint is that the mainstream center was opposed to “Class War” by the Left, but wealthy elites sometimes make explicit Class War statements, normally considered to be right wing.

          One key example is Lewis Powell rallying despondent wealthy corporate leaders to rise up and fight back against Labor and the Left in general by funding new institutions and new messaging, borrowing from Leftist rhetoric when feasible.

          To take that a step further, real communists were the grassroots left libertarians and anarchists overthrowing the tyrannical Czar and Orthodox Church, while Lenin and especially Stalin were right wing authoritarian and counter-revolutionary, while accusing their perceived enemies of being counter-revolutionary to be punished in the Gulags or quick death.

          That, per Chomsky, is probably accurate. Libertarians praised leftist *Emma Goldman as one of theirs — such as Mises and Rothbard. So did H. L. Mencken.

          In the 50s, Ike was conservative then there was the John Birch Society who said Eisenhower was a conscious communist conspirator and that JFK was an outright pinko traitor to the United States.

          And here we are.

          *Excerpt: In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to “induce persons not to register” for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrested—along with 248 others—and deported to Russia. Initially supportive of that country’s October Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power, Goldman changed her opinion in the wake of the Kronstadt rebellion; she denounced the Soviet Union for its violent repression of independent voices. She left the Soviet Union and in 1923, and published a book about her experiences, My Disillusionment in Russia.

  27. I wish the article had tried to devote at least a few words to a broader analysis. Bannon is a merchant of division through his provocations. What benefit does he derive from it? If the USA is descending into an oligarchy, do his positions and methods further this drift away from democracy? To my eyes, they do. Why do White Supremacists see him as a natural ally? Why does he call for greater engagement by minorities but not decry rampant minority voter suppression in his country? The man has a lot more to answer for than merely being an agent provocateur.

    • martti_s says

      @Andre Sobolewski

      The political polarization peaked already in 2012 so you can hardly blame Steve Bannon’s politics.
      Looking from afar, I see that the Progressive Left had hegemony in media (Hollywood, press, TV) and in education where 80% of both staff and professors share progressive views. The term ‘divisive’ appeared in public discussion when the Right started to fight back. Bannon’s Breitbart was an important new mover as is Fox TV and the anarchists and the never-do-wells of the internet.

      Opposition found a voice. Maybe that is divisive. I am sure that Erdogan would agree with you as would have the late Fidel Castro. National unity is a precious thing, more precious than a silenced journalist or two.

      If Bannon says what he means, he is actually AGAINST the oligarchs, whether the money is old and conservative or new and progressive. I have heard him repeat the same thing over and over: The economical growth of last 20 years have made the rich –no matter the age of the money– richer while the buying power of the middle class has essentially stayed the same.

      He also repeats that his idea of economic nationalism has no color. Being a citizen of the US is what matters. I have never heard him mention anything that could be interpreted as racist. I am sure the MSM would have reported it already. What the white supremacists might like about him is that he has spearheaded a hole in the wall of progressive hegemony in public discussion.
      Enemy of my enemy…

      MSM tells us that he is against migration. Again, if we let him talk, we hear that he sees UNCONTROLLED migration as a threat to the people he himself believes he is trying to help, the working class. The realist he is, he cannot see the US economy turning without migrant workers.

      You cannot find answers to your questions unless you look him up and listen. The media won’t help you. Once you know what he is actually thinking, you might bring some valuable criticism, not before.

      Could the wheel of history be turned backwards, would the production industry return to the Rust Belt? Can China be forced into more favorable trade deals? What about the FAANG enterprises, is there an upper limit to their greed for money and influence or should they use their resources for their communities instead of buying back stocks to keep the owners satisfied?
      He’ll give his best shot.

      • Morgan Foster says


        “MSM tells us that he is against migration. Again, if we let him talk, we hear that he sees UNCONTROLLED migration as a threat”

        The people who work in American MSM tend to hold, as a matter of personal belief, that there is no moral distinction between illegal immigration and immigration under the process of law.

        These same people believe that there should be no barriers between countries. No physical barriers, such as walls. No legal barriers, such as … law. In their world view, all of the people of the world should be permitted to freely go anywhere they wish, and find work and social support.

        No borders. And ultimately, no countries. And as part of this great project, it is necessary to demonize anyone who opposes illegal immigration by mobbing them, falsely accusing them of being racists who oppose ALL immigration, and denying them a platform. Once silenced, it is believed, more illegal immigrants will be able to come, supporting the great project.

        It’s a well established lie. The people who voted for Trump are still furious about it.

        • dellingdog says

          @Morgan, this is a sweeping and unsubstantiated assertion. Can you provide evidence that many or most mainstream journalists believe in completely open borders? I doubt it. That’s a fringe position which is advocated by a certain strain of libertarianism. It sounds to me like you’re promoting a conspiracy theory which has no basis in reality.

          • Dellkngdog,
            How much pushback has there been in the media as it has become increasingly acceptable for Democrats to call for the abolishment of ICE and the Border Patrol, and comparing them to the GestapoI? Ihave seen editorials featured quite prominently on CNN, NBC and CBS. So I believe once again you are allowoal your own bias to blind you to what has been happening.

    • ga gamba says

      Bannon is a merchant of division through his provocations.

      This is not to pick on you Andre, but I read such statements, which are quite common, and I wonder what kind of fantasy political world the writer has experienced. You can be assured that many proposed laws and policies from either party are going to be divisive. Tax cuts? That’s divisive. Trans people in the military’s bathrooms. Guaranteed to be divisive. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom is divisive too. Allocation of federal money increased/decreased to Planned Parenthood? Very divisive. People find many things provocative.

      About the only time a country rallies together and unifies is after a national catastrophe, such as 11 September. In hindsight there was plenty of warning that attack was coming, such as the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center, the numerous attacks by Al Qaeda, as well as Bin Laden’s own vow to kill Americans wherever, but to do anything of significance about it would have been divisive. The response to pre 11 September attacks was launch a few cruise missiles and call it a day. Under the cover of post-attack national unity some poor and even dreadful decisions were made, such as expansion of the surveillance state, torture, etc. These actions were largely supported by both Democrats and Republicans, though not equally.

      Each party declares itself doing things for the common person whilst accusing the opposition of being beholden to special interests and divisive. It’s a rhetorical game.

      • Sorry friend, but there is nothing here of interest. When I asked for some deeper analysis, I was looking for new insights leading to better understanding. I disagree with Bannon, but I’m willing to hear his critique and find out if there is some truth in what he says, or whether the author has thought more deeply about the issues Bannon raises, examined their context in American politics. Instead, everything here divides itself along the Maginot Line of American politics. It is a sterile debate, a struggle to make oneself look good with one’s peers, while pressing hard in the vain hope the other side capitulates and cries Uncle. If that fails, then there’s always name-calling.

    • D-Rex says

      See Viki? You can make a positive, thoughtful contribution to this conversation.

  28. Stephenitisok says

    1. Widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality.

    1.1 Denoting something that arouses widespread respect or admiration.

    I wonder, did the author reflect before using the term ‘prestige media’ when describing the traditional media outlets in the USA? Does he really believe that there is widespread respect and admiration for the traditional print and broadcast media in the USA, especially when they are reporting on the democratically elected president of the USA.

    If he so believes I am sure he can, without much convincing, believe that President Trump is held in ‘widespread respect and admiration’.

  29. Tome708 says

    “Why does he call for greater engagement by minorities but not decry rampant minority voter suppression in his country?”

    Cause maybe “minority voter suppression” is just a windmill not an attacking dragon.

    • It is seen as racist to require ID cards to vote, but not racist that I have to show that same ID to purchase firearms, board an airplane or train, rent a higeh room etc.
      I have never heard anyone who can argue this without some form of cognitive dissonance. The bear the usually come up with is that riding on a plane isn’t a right but a privilege. And, even after Heller, that owning a gun isn’t a right.

      • GG00dmn says

        The only or main thing I see w voter ID is this:
        Travel and firearms are more well-off activities.
        State ID is required for all.

        In some places, State ID offices are open 1-2 days per month, during working hours, and possibly several bus rides away.

        In some areas, those in power took measures to close those State ID offices in a manner most likely to inconvenience their voting opposition, the extremely powerless.

        In Australia, voting is mandatory. Failure to vote, without a really good excuse like being hospitalized, is a $20 fine. So opposite mindset. I’m not sure what they do about ID tho.

        • Breakfast Bear says

          This is all reasonable, but think about something. Why doesn’t the Left offer up any money or push to help those who need ID to obtain it?

          It seems as though such a campaign would be fairly easy and inexpensive, especially considering the sparse flyover country is not going to be its aim.

          The Left doesn’t really defend poor folks in the middle of Nebraska who need an ID. They only want to stoke calls of racism against inner-city people. Well, the inner-city is usually the place where it is easiest to obtain such documentation. It’s the folks in Nebraska who may have to travel 20+ miles to obtain an ID.

          But, the inner-city of blue states is also the place where the bureaucracy is the largest, and the process for obtaining such an ID is the hardest. It is a much longer process to get an ID in NYC than it is in Huntsville, AL.

          There are easily implemented technical solutions to this problem, and I agree that the Right doesn’t promote those either. But the Left has a track record of bad voting habits that take place in its own backyard.

  30. Rick Phillips says

    In one of my past lives as an economic consultant I came to the conclusion that if enough people lied to me I would be able to glimpse the truth. I was also aware that TOM (Tired Old Media) sometimes misrepresented persons and events. I must admit I was totally unprepared for its treatment of Dr. Peterson, whose work I am familiar with. Mr. Bannon of course was seemingly detestabiles hominus and certainly deplatform worthy!

    I saw the Oxford talk

    and the Munk Debate

    I agree with the observation that neither Oxford nor Munk Bannon was anything like what I had come to expect based on the TOMB (Tired Old Media Bias) I had been exposed to.

    In TOM’s view Bannon is a “populist” and as such promotes interests that are beyond the pale of “woke” discourse. I was unaware that populism in the sense of “adhering to a party or movement seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people” was such a bad thing given that here in Canada two of the mainstream parties, the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party have “populist” roots in the form of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and Reform Party of Canada (RF).

    Which brings me to Bannon’s apparent position on immigration. I came away from the Oxford and Munk talks with the idea that he was against “illegal” immigration and for moderate legal immigration based on a country’s skill needs (which at the moment, seems to be, at least formally, the main criteria associated with Canada’s woke immigration policy), as opposed to an open borders approach. The “populist” idea he seemed to support is that wages of less skilled workers at the lower end of the economic ladder are compromised if labour supply at that level is increased. Bannon came across as many of the union leaders I listened to in my younger days.

    Which brings me to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which is to be signed by many countries (I think including Canada but not the US, in Marrakech Morocco, December 11, 2018 and is advertised as the “intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner”. The agreement is reported to be “non-legally binding”. I can’t say that I have been influenced by TOMB here because TOM to date hasn’t seemed to pay a whole lot of attention to the agreement. The question is whether the Agreement is simply aspirational; something a little more binding; or could it be Bannon’s Davos elites doing an end run round the populists!

    Is there anyone in the Quillette community who has more informed knowledge of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and who could explain the mechanisms that could allow this document to achieve legal as opposed to aspirational status in the domestic context?

    • Evander says

      “Mr. Bannon of course was seemingly detestabiles hominus and certainly deplatform worthy!”

      Spotted a solecism: you’d be looking more for ‘homo detestabilis’.

  31. David says

    Two thoughts on this: I watched the Bannon -Frum debate and Bannon’s presentation at Oxford. I thought his message of economic nationalism- not caring about race, sex, gender- only about bringing jobs back to the middle class would garner more support from the audience, especially at Oxford. And yet the students that asked questions were more concerned about social justice and I thought that was very telling. Social justice should begin with economic justice, raising the middle class, providing economic opportunities to all regardless of race, etc. It tells me that for all the yelling and screaming the Bernie’s and Warren’s do about a level playing field and bringing jobs back, social justice is really their agenda. And of course who gets to define social justice? They do, which means conservatives can never win that argument so they better stay as focused as they can on economics, jobs, and growth.

    Secondly, targeting 40% of the Black and Latino vote makes Bannon the most dangerous man in America to the left. To put a stake in the ground and target 40% of the liberal base leaves Progessives and their supporters in the MSM no choice but to demonize Bannon as a racist, neo-Nazi, homo-transphob whatever. Bannon must be stopped at all cost; he is their existential threat.

    • @David,

      It has always been a danger (at least since the 1970s) to the left if minority, especially AA, voters were to begin to vote more republican. It has only grown as they have increasingly alienated whites. If polling can be believed Trump’s support among Hispanics and African Americans appears to be increasing. We are seeing increasing attacks on African Americans and Hispanic conservatives and libertarians. And increasing desperation on the part of the left. They may have been overplaying their hands, and the less Nazi-esque Trump has been, compared to the lefts caricature, the faster this progress may become. This is the problem with their hyperbole, (and the gamble that Trump and Bannon made) that eventually it becomes apparent that the hyperbole has no resemblance to the real world. I truly believe that the over the top attack on Romney proved to Banning that there was nothing to lose in being more forcefully confrontational. Especially, seeing that Romney’s (and McCain’s before him) appeasement accomplished nothing but embolden their adversaries attacks.

      • GG00dmn says

        I have seen some African American writers say that Republican econ policies may be better overall for them but certain Republicans seem to openly and blatantly engage in racist attacks on qualified AA candidates, identity politics in contrast to the merits of their ideas, that they simply can’t claim the GOP as “home” at this point.

        This includes comments by Carol Swain [who is shrilly attacked by the SJWs on campus] [I can hardly comprehend how far she has come up from below the bottom rung] who called on Republicans during the Bush admin to say something positive to or apologize to African Americans, something inclusive, but there was silence.

        When Obama made such pro-AA statements, she described that as meaningless … in other words, perfunctory and empty rhetoric.

        Also, I despise this Trans assault on liberty as Peterson and other Rad-Fems describe it, but shee-it … they gotta pee somewhere. When you gotta go you gotta go. Not ladies locker rooms though. There’s so few if them, it’s probably easier to call for special ad hock accommodations.

        But stop the indoctrination of children and young teens that all gender-uncertain children or those with un-typical likes and tendencies need hormone treatment and re-assignment surgery. That’s barbaric.

  32. benben says

    There was a book I read in prep school called Michael Jordan and the new global capitalism that talked of Jordan’s popularity being magnified by the age of global satellites and the launch of CNN the same year he came into the NBA. Much in the same way, Trump’s candidacy happened in the infancy of social media; it is the first time the fragmentation of media to instagram, youtube etc has been able to compete with the mainstream. In order to keep up, CNN has turned into as a simulacrum of click bait pulp fiction entertainment Americans crave. The anger has not risen, the crudeness of the mainstream news has in order to generate more revenue and stay relevant with the harsh editorializations going on on youtube and elsewhere.

    The baby boomer was a target of liberals as they moved away from the blue collar worker in the late sixties to target anti-war, flower child, disenfranchised etc and so forth. Now the left is going after the children of baby boomers, especially those that have yet to generate wealth to propagate ideas of socialism, federal regulation and utopian idealism that has failed time and time again as described in books they haven’t read due to the popularity of fortnite. There is a reason why the postmodernist progressives have flocked to academia, the real world neither offers nor rewards with long sinecures to those that live by and espouse antithetical notions of meritocracy and a causality.

  33. X. Citoyen says

    Bannon at Oxford exposes the paradox underlying deplatforming. In principle, the progressive says, no one so evil should be able to speak anywhere at any time. But the progressive psychodrama can’t be performed without having Emmanuel Goldsteins to vent righteous scorn upon. So the Bad Man is allowed to speak on condition that he perform the role assigned to him. Bannon seems to have only obliged at the end. He shouldn’t have.

    • Breakfast Bear says

      This was played out in 1984. Goldstein had to exist in order to stoke the Two Minutes Hate.

      Go to Russia/China. There is anti-American propaganda everywhere. All over the place.

      The Left needs Bannon to exist in order to demonize him beyond what he really is.

  34. Daniel says

    It’s interesting the the author acknowledges that the left hates Mr. Bannon for invented reasons and odd that he also gets credit for the rage…

    • Jamie Karl says

      Well yes. A compromise between insanity and sanity, is not more reasonable. The lefts rage at trump is also for mostly invented rather than rational reasons. This is an unexpectedly partisan piece for Quillette. No talk of, what kind of candidate or policy might ‘unite’ people, or examination of if that’s even a good idea when progressivism is basically toxic, and the entire left needs to be reformed.

  35. Hank Essay says

    Interesting to read the high minded appeals of Oxford Bannon with no discussion of the actual “media” that Bannon himself created (or led): Breitbart…I guess one could say it is interesting to see his public views evolve regarding his appeals to a multi-racial populist future. Yet very little of that was on display at Breitbart either in how he framed news or in how he let his message boards develop….that is the real Bannon legacy. Ignoring doesn’t make it go away.

    • martti_s says

      Breitbart is mostly matter-od-fact. Of course, outrageous statements have to be backgroud checked but isn’t that the same with all news outlets?

      The message boards are a toxic junk yard.

    • D-Rex says

      Viki, I find the articles very informative, the comments section very disturbing.

      • Breakfast Bear says

        But this is common in so many boards. And you can’t count online discourse as real discourse.

        You have to look at what people are doing in real life, and how the discourse and the violence is working in the real world. And right now, Breitbart’s commenters aren’t the ones who are rioting.

  36. jolly swag, man says

    “a refusal to acknowledge the unprecedented nature of our current political polarization, and the social ills that flow from it.”

    our current political polarization is the product of globalist policies that have been implemented since at least the 1970s. For the most part, the left has fully embraced those same policies and couldn’t have cared less about the social ills that flow from them – on the contrary, it savoured them as the fruits of progressivism. The left is only concerned now because it fears a backlash from the constituency it abandoned along the way.

  37. Jamie Karl says

    Unprecedented? Get serious. The closeness of the political polls, is a brief and recent phenomena. Go back the the fifties and sixties and ask them if there was political tension between liberals and conservatives. Or the 30s. What we are witnessing now, is a political shift that has repeated throughout all of history. Indeed the problems emergent from modern globalism are not dissimilar to the events that lead to ww2. Only someone ignorant to the nature of the stimulus in progressivism (falling marriage rates, lack of LTR, excessive immigration, lowered community trust, emergent orthodoxy and puritanism) would consider that the solution is unification, rather than progress through cultural conflict. I mean the problem is worse than you could possibly overstate here. Europe could end up in civil or national war. America’s economy could completely (and I mean worse than great depression), collapse. The orthodoxy seems to be approaching true authoritarianism in for example the UK. That people are unfriending each other on facebook, couldn’t be less important.

    • GG00dmn says

      [America’s economy could completely (and I mean worse than great depression), collapse.]

      America’s economy, and with it the global economy, DID collapse in 2007-08. Yet it was rescued and here it is, booming and plodding. Bush-Obama didn’t have to rescue and protect the bankers’ past gains along with the banking institutions.

      A widespread financial system dominoes collapse would mean no short-term credit and no way to pay vendors and payroll. That sounds like Army Trucks supplying hot meals and troops or Guards shooting looters, or just the 2nd part of that.

      This pre-2007 Bubble (which was necessary to sponsor the collapse) was spread out thru the consumer housing sector and into pension funds which purchased “AAA+ safe” mortgage securities, unlike the Great Depression which was mostly Wall Street stocks. But in 1929 we had less of an automatic safety net when business failures and layoffs began to spread out.

      Trickle Down from Wall Street firms is better than nothing, so it has some positive effect on Main Street business and jobs. Therefore a Wall Street crash without a quick recoup and rise by vultures would have an effect but to the best of my weak superficial understanding, it’s not the same scenario as 2007 nor 1939.

      For one, Trump’s Fiscal Stimulus is pretty darn strong. Democrats are calling that irresponsible Deficit Spending but that’s the exact same thing as economic stimulus of GDP, and of the private sector.

      China is apparently doing their version of the New Deal, which our leaders have fought to destroy, so their Middle Class has been growing while ours has been shrinking. Result: China exporting less, more imports and consumer buying.

      Our GOVERNMENT itself cannot go broke. Greenspan told Ryan basically US Treasury payments don’t bounce, in response to Ryan’s calls to “stabilize” Social Security by handing it over to Wall Street looters.

  38. D-Rex says

    “Bannon should do 3 hours with Jimmy Dore”
    Now that I would happily watch.

  39. Peter says

    Every time the left gets in control of something, it immediately becomes tyrannical. It is all about power. And they control academia, most media, large parts of bureaucracy. This predates Trump and Bannon for decades.

    I listened on NPR to a retired progressive bureaucrat, involved many years ago in a culture war on textbooks. Her sneering comment was: »Those people (=the opposing side) were stupid.« She successfully prevailed in choosing an author who (correct me if I am wrong, but I heard it distinctly) in some other works suggested raping women of a certain skin color. This is IMHO the major reason for divisions. Appeasing (=»bridging the differences«, as the author suggests) will probably get you nowhere.

    I looked several times at Breitbart. Most articles are just reporting facts, but mainly those that mainstream media shun or skip.

    But it is hard to imagine that Breitbart London articles calling for the dissolution of National Health Service will catch in UK (and benefit the working poor). These and similar articles are probably a tribute to the Big Money financing the site. And the comment sections are full of stuff likely coming from similarly financed US trolling factories aka »activist groups«.

  40. Perhaps I misunderstood the article. Bannon’s ideas are challengeable (“eminently” so, I think it said), but the author went on to criticize his trollishness, not any of his ideas.

    Second, is being trollish really incompatible with being a nationalist? If there was a large section of the population that were globalist–virulently so, let’s say–and you wanted to reorder the posture of the body politic around nationalism, what is the model we should follow? Paul Ryan? Jeb Bush? The editorial board of National Review?

    What kind of bloodless nationalism does the author find palatable? Is Ronald Reagan acceptable? Was Reagan’s desire for peace incompatible with amplifying the tensions of the Cold War?

    Isn’t that effectively what is going on? There is a cultural Cold War that we thought victory in the original Cold War would save us from. Something is wrong with western civilization. Bannon thinks economic nationalism is going to solve the problem. He needs a constituency to advance that cause, and whites and men are the natural choice. When he trolls feminists or what have you, that energizes his base, triggers the opponents, and, with some luck, makes those opponents appear ridiculous to middle-of-the-roaders.

    If his goal is to get to 50%+1 to acquire enough power to make concrete changes to policy to repatriate industrial jobs and revitalize American nationalism, then that’s what he has to do, not weasel his way into satisfying every constituency in America until they feel comfortable being American again.

    Given his aims and the socioeconomic and political climate, I don’t think his trollishness contradicts his nationalism.

    • David says

      I typically don’t like to comment on ‘reader’s comments’ but this is especially well reasoned; great comment. I would argue with just one point; “whites and men are a natural choice”. Middle class and below, those striving to get ahead, should be the natural choice regardless of ethnicity. At least I hope so.

      • Breakfast Bear says

        Because the middle class and below are the ones giving into the absurdity of the Left. And because the Left is demonizing the whites and men.

        Bannon is simply trying to recruit the castaways of the Left who are being put into a purgatory-by-interpreted-historical-guilt.

        White people, and men, are significant demographics.

        This is the thing the Left doesn’t understand about Bannon. He’s not going after whites/men because he is a sexist or racist. He’s going after them because the Left is sexist and racist, and because whites/men are the only cards in the burn pile that he is allowed to scoop up.

  41. The author seems to grant significant validity to Bannon’s critiques, yet he seems incapable of acknowledging the implication that Globalist Progressivism represents a kind of existential threat to traditional ideas of the Rule of Law and the integrity of national borders. If, as Steve Bannon more or less argues, Globalist Progressive ideas are such a direct threat, then cultivating a heightened awareness of the nature of this conflict would seem both necessary and inevitable. Perhaps the “political divisiveness” so dreaded by Never Trumpers is a necessary and healthy stage of either renewal or complete transformation. Perhaps such high-minded and sensitive souls need to start considering that we are simply not going to have “peace in our time”.

    For better or worse, for noble reasons or base reasons, Trump has heightened and clarified the nature of this divisiveness. Almost single-handedly Trump has exposed the Media’s own pervasive Globalist Progressive biases. If such biases are indeed a threat to the essential nature of the Republic, how then are the Media not “the enemy of the people”? And, if has appeared to be the case, our political institutions have been weaponized in the name of some ideological agenda, how can there not be a “crisis of political trust”?

    If indeed we are at a time of great conflicting ideas, how can we have compromise or unity until the nature of the issues is clarified? I personally know dozens of Liberal Democrats (especially middle aged or older) who claim they believe in the US Constitution and the integrity of national borders yet gleefully vote for any “progressive” politicians who sees nothing wrong with violating the Constitution or ignoring federal immigration law. So if millions of Americans are not even aware of the nature of the conflict, what in the world might an appeal to unity or compromise even look like?

  42. Anon55344 says

    To Jeffery re MagnusMino’s post: MagnusMino’s does damage to his/her argument about Obama being a Republican because the last half of the post goes on about antisemitism. But I noticed Obama’s policies were almost straight from the Republican play book.
    As FormerGOPer posted in another forum:
    “Obama spent a decade teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. It is a bastion of conservative thought among lawyers and legal educators. You cannot spend a decade in the faculty lounge with the likes of Richard Epstein, Gary Becker, and Richard Posner, and not have some of that conservative thought rub off. So this stance on trade, like his stances on school reform, banking reform, and a tax subsidy based health care reform, should not be surprising IF you were paying attention.

    Obama being a “leftist,” a “socialist,” or even all that “liberal” was always a lazy con talking point, with no rooting or grounding in any objective reality. Obama is what USED TO BE called a “Rockefeller Republican” . . . an Illinois Chuck Percy Republican. But the GOP has become so whacky right wing that the former moderate middle has been banished to become the Dem right. Thus Obama being towards the right of the Dems on just about every issue imaginable. Because that’s where a moderate GOPer like Obama SHOULD be.”

  43. Alphonse Credenza says

    I listened to the entire Oxford talk. Fantastic to hear a fellow American speak so confidently, intelligently and so right, and willing to fight!

    Bannon’s pulled us apart? Nonsense! Bannon has identified just how many of us despise the awful ideas the Leftists hold dear and the profane society they prefer to live in.

    The West’s own totalitarian socialist-adoring, One-Party-rule, there-is-no-truth-but-our-relativism-and-you-must-submit, de(con)structing, nihilists with their pitiful need to annihilate reality owe their Godless theology to the German and Russian (and French, before that) “revolutionaries,” pseudo-philosophers, who long ago began poisoning the well of meaning with their meaningless, self-referential lust for overwhelming power over all mankind, to do what they wish with our liberty and property.

    This battle of ideas is several centuries old, but only now do we see who has lost the game: the Left (as they call themselves)! It’s all over for them! Bannon has got it right!

    • martti_s says

      Did it not bother you how much he sounded like Bernie Sanders when he described the causes behind the downfall of industrial America? That would be the unholiest alliances ever those two joined forces!

      • Alphonse Credenza says

        I didn’t hear anything that would put them on par, analytically, except perhaps only coincidentally, but to what do you refer?

        • martti_s says

          Bannon according to “Business Insider”:

          “He wants to tear down “crony capitalism”: “a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn’t spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century. … when you have this kind of crony capitalism, you have a different set of rules for the people that make the rules.” [This position is surprising because Tr2ump has so many conflicts of interests he looks like a perfect example of crony capitalism.]

          Bernie Sanders according to “The Guardian”:
          “Today in the United States, and in many other parts of the world, people are working longer hours for stagnating wages, and worry that their children will have a lower standard of living than they do”
          “It is not acceptable that trade policies that benefit large multinational corporations and encourage a race to the bottom hurt working people throughout the world as they are written out of public view”
          “While the authoritarian axis is committed to tearing down a post-second world war global order that they see as limiting their access to power and wealth, it is not enough for us to simply defend that order as it exists now”. (He is talking about the Crony Capitalists here.

          Looks like they see the same problems here, unharnessed greed and the shameless way to concentrate the fruits of economical elite who get ricer by the day.
          At times, Bannon talks like an old fashion Union leader for the lives of the bluecollar people, the deplorables of the deindustrializet ruins in the rust belt.

          Sure, their solutions differ but at least they agree on the nature of the problem.

  44. François St-Onge says

    I honestly liked Oxford Bannon. He was right in so many ways. I don’t think the polarization of the Americans is as catastrophic as the author of the article seems to think. I would be curious to see what the polarization was during the Iran hostage crisis, or during Watergate, or just after JFK’s assassination. The US has seen many, many crisis in the past, and the constitution put in place by the founders has always worked well. Now we can see “live” how well it can counteract a narcissistic populist. So far, so good. Unless I am very mistaken, this presidency hasn’t cost the US more money than the W. presidency (Irak war), or as much as the Obama presidency (major bailout for rich bankers).

  45. Baloo says

    So to sum up, Steve Bannon is wrong because he upsets people. Not a very reasoned argument, is it?

  46. Optional says

    Bannon didn’t cause the social division and neither did Trump.
    Identity politics did that, and Obama was always eager to stoke the division.
    A thug walking in the middle of the street attacks a police officer and tries to grab his gun, and Obama sets the Dept of Justice on the police and excuses the rioting as justified?
    Give us a break.
    Bannon is happy to see insanity of racist identity division abating.
    As is anyone sane is.
    The main stream media are the only ones that are blind and full of it.

  47. GG00dmn says

    That was about 12 years of accelerating debt-leveraging to inflate the housing market bubble, and the debt-based financial asset derivatives bubble. 1995 to 2007.

    Steve Keen described what was necessary to maintain solvency as not merely acceleration of debt but acceleration of acceleration, exponential. William Black described that in light of financial fraud he helped prosecute successfully in the 80s Savings & Loan collapse.

    When a debt bubble winds up that is fast but still gradual over time, the unwind isn’t gradual, it’s sharp. Solvent becomes insolvent overnight. Liquidity dries up too. In other contexts, like 3rd World, it is known as a Capital Flight disaster. Singapore is a capitalist country with laws make Capital Flight destabilization and ruin subject to execution.

  48. Alan Wells says

    I actually like Bannon – and I’m a Liberal anarchist! Burn it down. Burn the US government to the ground… Start over. Democracy and it’s instantiation as a “Democratic Republic” simply didn’t scale. It’s over. Full disclosure: I already left the country and live in Central America. At least the politicians are honest crooks.

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