Steve Bannon and his ugly philosophy

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We, the media, have been dubbed “the opposition party” and told to keep our mouths shut by Stephen K. Bannon, chief strategist to President Trump.

What does Bannon, co-founder of the unapologetic alt-right Breitbart Media, have against journalists? Does he believe he is living in the Matrix and that its agents are coming for him?

These would be the unhinged thoughts of an individual who has lost touch with reality. The problem with Bannon is that he is not only quite aware of what is going on in the world, but he is actively attempting to shape and influence the outcome of its events.

To someone intent on spreading his unique combination of white nationalist ideology and conspiracy theories in utter secrecy, we absolutely are the enemy, the opposition.

Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan,” Bannon said. “That’s power … It only helps us when [the liberals and media] get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

President Trump (Wikipedia)

This article was not written to spread the extreme views of the far-right or to aid in Bannon’s cause. It was written in response to organized attempts to discredit and silence the media. It seeks to fulfill the responsibility of a free and independent press to protect freedom and liberty through accurate reporting on things potentially dangerous to the nation. It offers a detailed analysis of the warped beliefs that influence the hearts, minds and goals of Bannon and the alt-right movement.

It was written to tell the ugly truth about Stephen K. Bannon.

Bannon is a well-spoken, highly intelligent and well-educated ex-Naval officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, a master’s degree in National Security Studies, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs, served as an assistant to the Pentagon, has produced and written several films and was a founding member and executive chair of Breitbart News before he joined the Trump campaign as its chief executive.

Now, he’s the chief strategist to President Trump and sits on the National Security Council.

Qualifications like that should make Bannon a good choice for a chief strategist. So why has Bannon, by all accounts, been characterized by the media as a dark and apocalyptic figure? Why has he been called an alt-right Leninist? Why does he characterize the Syrian refugees as an organized invasion of the Western World by borrowing the title of the racist French novel “Camp of the Saints” to refer to them? Why do the former investment banker’s documentaries and speeches cover an incendiary mixture of topics such as world war, authoritarian governments, mass genocide, the global financial crisis, engineered social cycles, regime changes and conspiracy theories?

Why does the body of material he has produced seem to celebrate the power of authoritarian leaders such as Hitler, Mussolini and Lenin? Why did he co-found a media organization he acknowledges attracts hate groups such as white nationalists, homophobes and anti-Semites? What is the story behind the dark figure that demonizes Republicans and Democrats alike, alleges a “Deep State” world domination conspiracy and predicts an upcoming period of great crisis and war?

Bannon prefers to be considered a center-right Populist, but this Disneyland label falls quite short of the truth. An empirical analysis of the beliefs that shape Bannon’s worldview, an exploration of his dark obsessions and his affiliations with far-right groups reveals a much darker and nightmarish vision of Bannon’s Wonderland. Bannon clearly defines his agenda in stating, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

If you are feeling like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, that’s understandable. You can take the blue pill, wake up and believe whatever it is that you want to. Or you can take the red pill, read on and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Bannon, a man with the appearance that he has not slept in weeks, addresses an audience from behind a podium. He begins by correcting an error in his introduction by saying that he is a “Naval officer, a real Naval officer, not a graduate of Naval academy.” He tells his audience that on Sept. 18, 2008, the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the secretary of the Treasury went to the White House and told President Bush they needed a trillion dollars immediately or that the entire world economy would implode, starting with the U.S. economy overnight.

Bannon goes on to say that the U.S. has had its share of sizable enemies in the 20th century, listing Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Mao Zedong and Stalin. He said that these enemies did not have the capability to envision, let alone carry out, what the financial industry did to the world.

He pointed out that local and federal governments are bankrupt. He presents the value of all assets in the U.S. to be around $50 – 60 trillion while the national debt liability is around $200 trillion. He declared the “welfare state” to be “totally and completely unsupportable.”

He then changed topics, saying, “Barack Obama is not the problem. Barack Obama is a symptom of a problem. We have to remove Barack Obama, I don’t doubt that for a second. We have to remove Barack Obama as President of the United States.”

Bannon told his audience that the nation is at the crossroads of the fourth great crisis in American History. He labels the period the “Fourth Great Turning.” He tells his audience that Newt Gingrich believes the upcoming election is the most important since 1860, an event that set the Civil War in motion.

Newt Gingrich (Wikipedia)

Bannon then predicted, five years in advance, that the 2016 election will be “the nastiest, ugliest in the history of this country.”

He changed topics again, praising the Tea Party and calling it “the backbone of the nation.”

He said: ” … the anger of the Tea Party is not racism, they’re not a bunch of homophobes or nativists.”

He added: “they understand we have a system now where … we have socialism for the very poor … and we have socialism for the very wealthy … They are paying for their own and their own children’s destruction. And that’s the rage.”

Bannon turned his attention briefly back to Washington, telling his audience it’s not a coincidence that for the first time, the per capita income for the five wealthiest counties in D.C. is greater than that of Silicon Valley.

He praised his audience’s commitment, telling them he sees the same people at these meetings three nights a week. He characterized a nation changing under Obama as a threat to Judeo-Christian values. “100 years from now, when they look back, if we come out of this crisis and we’re still the country Senator Rubio talked about, of American exceptionalism based upon Judeo-Christian values, believing in freedom and being the greatest country in the world, and the torch of freedom, it’s gonna be because of guys like you. And if you quit, we are done. We’re gonna be something very different on the other side. You can already see, in President Obama, you can already see what that’s gonna be. Cause that’s just the harbinger.”

Bannon stated the generation that came before the Civil War let society down and that a failure of leadership led to the war. He claimed the Baby Boomer generation in the room is “the second generation that’s gonna be looked at as having let this country down.”

He told the audience that he’s energized because this Fourth Turning will bring revolution. He told them that those who would have wanted to be a part of the Revolutionary War or to have fought at Normandy will have that opportunity today. He concludes by suggesting his audience watch his documentary Generation Zero. This speech was given in Orlando on October 25, 2011 at an event sponsored by The Liberty Foundation.

For those keeping score, Bannon has just convinced a group of white nationalists that the economic recession was planned, Obama is a threat to Judeo-Christian values, social cycles can be managed, the central government cannot be trusted, the Great War is coming and redemption will be found in revolution. Got it?

Generation Zero, along with four other Bannon documentaries, was produced by Citizens United Productions, the filmmaking arm of the controversial right-wing political action committee responsible for the infamous Supreme Court case of the same name. It can be watched in its entirety here.

Generation Zero adopts a tone similar to Bannon’s speeches by blending history, fact and conspiracy theory with overt efforts to demonize far-right political opponents. It continues Bannon’s attack on liberals, the counterculture and central government, adding African-Americans and Jews to its list of enemies.

Its title a nod to a Millennial generation worse off than its parents’ generation, Bannon’s documentary on the great recession presents historical events wrapped around the framework of the Strauss-Howe generational theory. The Generations’ theory –  developed by William Strauss and Neil Howe in the 90s – is a cyclical social theory similar to Arthur Schlesinger’s The Cycles of American History and Friedrich von Hayek’s account of Hitler’s rise to power in The Road to Serfdom.

Barack Obama (Wikipedia)

The theory organizes history into a series of four distinct periods, or Four Great Turnings. The High, the Awakening, the Unraveling and the Crisis represent society’s transition from a period of optimism, peace and prosperity to the loss of traditional values that results in great crisis and destruction followed by world war and regime change.

Generation Zero begins by declaring the U.S. government bankrupt, describes the widespread panic and economic hardships of the 2008 recession and characterizes the crisis as a $9 trillion theft of the American people.

The documentary claims: “This wasn’t an accident. This was the result of conscious decision making and some very bad judgment.” It describes a system where the banking industry made increasingly risky investments because it knew it would be bailed out if disaster struck as “a perverse form of socialism for the wealthy but capitalism for everybody else.” Generation Zero then introduces the Woodstock generation, describing the period from 1966 to 1986 as the Second Turning, or the Awakening. It describes members of the Woodstock generation as “self-indulgent, wealthy elite that decided to become a bunch of modern day Bohemians and rewrite all the rules of our society.”

It then blames the ideas of the hippy generation for the financial crisis.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around. One of the things that happened was the institutionalization of many of the ideas of the 1960s affecting the future of our country in a very concrete way. Ideas have consequences and we are seeing the consequences of the ideas of the 1960s unfold in our society all around us,” according to the documentary.

It goes on to claim the revolution of the 60s took away society’s sense of responsibility for the past and for the future, calling the period “devastating.” It further demonizes the counterculture by contrasting Depression-era values like gratitude and humility with the hippy generation’s sense of “moral self-righteousness” and “destructive narcissism.”

The older generation’s modesty is compared to the sexuality and long hair of the 60s. After praising traditional Judeo-Christian values, Bannon’s documentary condemns the hippy generation for telling others how to lead their lives.

Much of the alt-right argument against what they have dubbed as the “Leftists” and the “Globalists” follows a similar pattern of demonization of the counterculture and others perceived as not embodying Judeo-Christian values.

Jews who engaged in social activism and political reform during the 60s are characterized as anarchists and Communists hungry for destruction and power.

The documentary claims political activist Saul Alinsky, grandfather of grassroots social activism in the 60s and mentor to Hillary Clinton, was simply trying to achieve power. It also vilifies sociologists Richard Cloward and Frances Piven, authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy, whose efforts resulted in the adoption of a national welfare program.

Bannon claimed: “The essence of the Cloward-Piven strategy was to sabotage and destroy the capitalist system by creating bureaucratic demands, excessive regulations, and entitlements that would lead to economic ruin, economic collapse, and bankruptcy. Once you have reached that point of bankruptcy, that society is ripe for revolutionary change.”

The documentary goes on to claim the Left used Alinsky, Cloward and Piven’s techniques to take control of politics in an effort to undermine Capitalism.

It places the blame of the housing bubble on the Civil Rights movement, claiming, “This policy that led to the subprime crisis and so forth came out of the fact that the Civil Rights movement had claimed that blacks were being redlined.

“Banks then didn’t want to lend money to them. Here is another source of black victimization. Here is another place where this fundamentally racist society is keeping blacks down.

“Since the mid-60s, white Americans have been in a position where they constantly have to prove that they are not racist.

“It is that phenomenon of white guilt is what pressures people in the government to say things like, ‘Everybody has a right to a house.’ ”

Bannon claims “white guilt” influenced then President Clinton to put pressure on lenders to provide equal housing opportunities, which led to banks making loans to riskier borrowers. Bannon also criticizes Clinton and the Baby Boomer generation for allowing commercial banks to engage in the kind of widespread high-risk investments that brought our financial system to its knees in 2008.

Ironically, Goldman Sachs, of which Bannon served as vice president of Los Angeles operations, received a $10 billion bailout as a result of TARP.

Having successfully laid the groundwork implicating the counterculture, the Left, blacks and Jews in the 2008 economic crisis, Bannon then explains how his version of the past 70 years fits into the Strauss-Howe generational theory.

According to its authors, the Generations theory defines history as a cyclical pattern of social change called a saeculum. Each saeculum lasts 80 – 100 years and is divided into four distinct periods of roughly 20 years, which are called turnings.

In an interpretation bordering on a belief in prophecy, Bannon presents major events in history as turnings that were engineered by man. Bannon considers the prosperity of the 50s to be the First Turning, or the High.

The documentary explains that in the wake of great wars such as WWII or the Civil War, society vows to never again allow such atrocities. Hope ushers in a reconstruction era where a lot of infrastructure is built and many children are born. The era that follows is the Awakening, or Second Turning. Bannon describes the Awakening of the 60s as a period where we redefined our moral agenda and focused on social causes.

Bannon believes an Awakening eventually produces a generation whose narcissism and hedonism lead to a complete unraveling of traditional values.

This rejection of traditional values leads to an Unraveling, a period characterized by scandalous behavior and wide financial booms and busts. Bannon considers 1987 – 2007 to be an Unraveling that culminated in the 2008 economic recession.

Bannon believes all Third Turnings lead to a Crisis, a period where Great War and destruction signal a coming regime change. Time-lapse footage of fruit rotting, troops being shot, and a nuclear bomb detonating sets the mood for the Fourth Great Turning. Bannon’s documentary explains, “History teaches that usually Third Turnings finally issue into a Fourth Turning … history shows that if an event doesn’t trigger a Fourth Turning, a Fourth Turning leader will actually encourage one to happen.”

As frightening a thought as it is, one must consider whether this is how Bannon perceives the role of the President.

For those keeping score, Generation Zero alleges the economic crisis was planned, the counterculture, blacks and Jews are to blame, the Left is using activism to gain political power and erode Judeo-Christian values, man engineers social cycles, and Great War and regime change are right around the corner.

Got it?

Top photo: Steve Bannon at CPAC earlier this year (YouTube)