The appointment of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist to the President of the United States of America is the linchpin to my theory that Donald Trump is a stooge. Bannon has no business in the coveted position of having the greatest access to the ear of the president…
The unhinged Bannon hate has gotten quite unseemly and, more to the point, counter-productive to the sincere left. Bannon has been rather eloquent in his criticism of contemporary neoliberalism, something you’d think the more principled elements of the left could find common ground with.
Bannon’s 2014 interview with The Human Dignity Institute is definitely worth considering at length for its fairly rigorous criticism of neoliberalism (although Bannon himself avoids that specific term):
But there’s a strand of capitalism today — two strands of it, that are very disturbing.
One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that’s the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it’s what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms 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.
The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I’m a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that’s a very big part of the conservative movement — whether it’s the UKIP movement in England, it’s many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.
However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost — as many of the precepts of Marx — and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they’re really finding quite attractive.
So in effect, Bannon is criticizing both the Too-big-to-fail cronyism and the dog-eat-dog utilitarianism of modern globalist neoliberalism — something you think would inspire sympathy among the left (and certainly does among liberal-leaning segments of the population like blue-collar workers, who used to be reliable Democrat votes until the party whored themselves out to Wall Street and began pandering to the multiculturalists).
What’s really become clear over the past eight years — and what Bannon seems to understand completely — is the substantial Venn overlap that’s formed between progressives and neoliberals.
Both believe in open borders — progressives because of multiculturalism, neolibs because their free market ideology compels them to reduce labor to a fungible commodity.
Both believe in globalism — progressives because they hate the ethnic roots of most Western nation states, neolibs because of their neoconservative compulsion towards multilateralism (WTO, EU, NAFTA, et al).
And both believe in technocratic solutions — progressives because they love statism and neolibs as a residual of their Ivy League/country club sense of noblesse oblige.
For all the arm-waving about civil war, fascism, white nationalism et al, what Bannon is espousing is really nothing more than the Christian Democracy of the type that was commonplace through most of the 20th Century (until the end of the Cold War provided an opening for globalist neoliberalism). As the current political situation in both the US and Europe demonstrates, if effective opposition to globalist neoliberalism is going to come, it’s going to come via the nationalist right (Trump, Brexiteers, France’s FN, Hungary’s Fidesz, Poland’s Law and Justice) and not the progressive left.