Friday, November 25, 2016

Some Interviews with Steve Bannon and his Association with the Alt Right

Here are some interviews with Steve Bannon, the man who is probably going to be Trump’s chief strategist at the White House:
(1) Michael Wolff, “Ringside with Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots ‘An Entirely New Political Movement’ (Exclusive),”, 18 November, 2016.

(2) J. Lester Feder, “This is how Steve Bannon sees the Entire World,”, 16 November, 2016.
These interviews are very interesting indeed, because it is clear that Bannon is an economic nationalist and *not* your standard Republican libertarian crackpot and free trader.

A fascinating excerpt from the first article:
“‘I’m an economic nationalist,’ [Bannon]… tells me. ‘The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver’ — by ‘we’ he means the Trump White House — ‘we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.’ …

‘Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,’ he says. ‘It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.”

“Ringside with Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots ‘An Entirely New Political Movement’ (Exclusive),”, 18 November, 2016.
It seems that Stephen Moore (Trump’s economic adviser) has recently delivered a similar message to top Republicans as well. Apparently, they weren’t happy to be told that they are now part of “Trump’s populist working-class party.”

We can see that Bannon is essentially an anti-neoliberal conservative, but a confused one, and the terminology he uses to refer to neoliberalism is “globalism” and “crony capitalism.”

Regrettably, he also falls for the “unfunded liabilities” nonsense about social security, but – on the whole – he is obviously superior to standard Republicans and doctrinaire free market conservative fanatics.

As is common to many populist conservatives, Bannon seems to imply that there is a pure “authentic, free-market capitalism” that fundamentally works and has only been corrupted by corporatism and crony capitalism.

But this is a delusion. The populist conservatives will never fully understand economics unless they understand that laissez faire capitalism is inherently flawed: the more laissez faire capitalism becomes, the more it becomes unstable, inefficient, and dysfunctional.

It is a well-designed state capitalism, guided by macroeconomic management and regulation, that is the form that truly “works.”

Bannon has also been subject to hysterical demonisation in the media, but, as far as I can see, almost all of this is lies and slanders.

For example, take a central allegation against Bannon: that his news site Breitbart is “white supremacist” or “anti-Semitic.”

I have been reading Breitbart for nearly a year now, and Breitbart is essentially a conservative cultural nationalist news site, which is critical of Islamism, regressive leftism, and mass immigration. It also plainly has a massive pro-Israel and pro-Jewish point of view. The idea (as seen all over the media) that Breitbart is “anti-Semitic” or “white supremacist” is a contemptible lie. If anything, Breitbart’s intense pro-Israel line is one of the most obvious biases.

This is also bound up with the issue of the “Alt Right.” Breitbart stands accused of being Alt Right, but whether they have at one time or another claimed that label it is very clear that Breitbart is different from the hardcore of the Alt Right, and the indeed the latter refer to Breitbart as the “Alt Lite” because they see it as being too soft and moderate.

Of the people who are usually labelled “Alt Right” (whether accurately or not) there is a crucial division as follows:
(1) The Alt Lite
All the Alt Lite conservatives I have seen tend to be militantly pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. They are not purveyors of anti-Semitism or explicit white nationalism. The Alt Lite includes Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Gavin McInnes.

(2) The Alt Right
The hardcore Alt Right mostly hates and despises many of the “Alt Lite” personalities. The hardcore Alt Right is neither pro-Israel nor pro-Jewish.

The core principles that seem to unite the hardcore Alt Right are as follows:
(1) race realism, as pointed out by Jared Taylor in the Guardian, which is the view that race is real and the different races have different genotypic average IQs and personality traits.

(2) anti-Semitism and the idea that Jewish people form a hostile elite in Western gentile societies because of their high average IQ, greater wealth, ethno-tribalism and support for Israel.

(3) white ethno-nationalism and ethnic and racial separation.

(4) more and more, the Alt Right seems to be anti-free market capitalism.

(5) the hardcore Alt Right seems to have a hostile view of democracy, and supports a limited franchise or authoritarianism.
Anyone who reads Breitbart can plainly see that Breitbart is not a supporter of the ideas held by the Alt Right in sense (2) above, and I do not see any hard evidence that Steve Bannon supports any one of the ideas.

Conclusion: I think Steve Bannon is being smeared in the media by hysterical liberals and leftists using the guilt-by-association fallacy to slander both him and Donald Trump.

Furthermore, even if we take someone like Milo Yiannopoulos, who does write for Breitbart, he was always (I think) careful to distinguish himself from the hardcore Alt Right and rejected the label himself as we see here:

Admittedly, Milo Yiannopoulos also lied about the hardcore Alt Right, and downplayed their race realism, anti-capitalism, and anti-Semitism.

Moreover, the hardcore Alt Right deeply hates Milo as we can absolutely see here:

Finally, we can see a recent development. The hardcore Alt Right held a conference in Washington at which they have probably essentially destroyed themselves in the eyes of the American public when this video emerged.

I think their “brand” is fatally tarred by that video. Curiously, some of the YouTube Alt Right personalities seem to have realised this, and one such Alt Righter even goes so far as to give up the label:

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  1. Moore's statements are amazing. I think that this might be for real.

  2. While I agree that much of the attacks on Bannon's racial views are overblown, it's worth pointing out that supporting Israel isn't proof that someone is not an antisemite. Richard Nixon was quite supportive of Israel, and he's probably the most antisemetic western head of state this side of Hitler. Anwar Sadat made peace with the Israeli's, and he was so antisemitic that he said the settlers in the Sinai should be burnt (and used the arabic word for burnt that shares a root with the arabic word for holocaust). Antisemite support for establishing a Jewish state predates the establishment of Israel, and in Western Europe, at least, it was supported much more by antisemites than the Jewish people living in western European countries until a shift began during the Dreyfus Affair and then the holocaust killed off most sentiments that integration was preferable to a Jewish state (not all, though, as the anti-zionist, pro-integration American Council For Judaism had some impact on the Eisenhower administration's stance on Israel). If you're an antisemite that thinks Jews are only loyal to their own tribe, but don't wish to see them eliminated off the face of the earth, supporting a Jewish state is a coherent way to deal with the "Jewish problem."

    Otherwise, I with all you laid out there, LK. If previous far right gatherings are any indication, the die hard white supremacist to federal information ratio at that gathering was close to 1:1.

  3. Only tangibly related, LK, but since you didn't seem to mention it, Bernie Sanders made a comment on identity politics a few days back that appears to have sent Yglesias and the other pseudo-leftist Hillary shills into a frenzy.