When Donald Trump tapped Steve Bannon to be his top Counselor there was outrage on the left. The guy is an Anti-Semite. He’s a Racist. A Misogynist. He kills puppies and down-votes cat videos. Right?
Well, maybe, but the evidence is spotty.
Most of what we know about Bannon comes from his tenure at Breitbart News. By all accounts, Bannon is incredibly intelligent, and I seriously doubt he believes half of the conspiracy riddle crap spewed from that cesspool of a news rag. Breitbart serves a purpose: Bannon’s own personal conspiracy theory touting Megaphone to the Alt-Right. But Bannon is the head of Breitbart not its leading contributor. Just as Trump never really believed that Obama was born in Kenya, I assure you Bannon knows the difference between fact and fiction. This is the era of the New Big Lie. So what else do we have to give us insight into the mind of the Leading Architect of this Nationalist Presidency?
One oft touted talking point is the testimony of his Ex-wife during their divorce detailing anti-semitic statements Bannon made regarding which schools their children would attend. Again, we have to be realistic. Divorces are messy. I can’t say that he did or did not say these things. So we are left wondering again.
Google “the writings of Steve Bannon” and you will come up empty. Publicly, he has not provided us with many clues. Except one. One big one. Buzzfeed recently released a transcript of an interview Bannon gave to a conservative Catholic group at the Vatican, and the content turns out to be more serious than anything that has come out of the Trump camp so far.
(You can read the transcript here)
First we need to go back a step.
William Strauss was a Harvard trained sociologist and staffer to Rockefeller-Republican Senator Chuck Percy. While working for Percy, Strauss wrote some satirical songs for the an office party, and they were so successful that he started a Music and Theater group that focused on political satire with over 40 members performing around the country. Remember the Simpson’s episode with “The Deficit Rag” and “The Trading Gap Shuffle?” No?
We’ll get back to that.
Neil Howe was the son and grandson of physicists. He attended both Berkeley and Yale where he received graduate degrees in both Economics and History. A professional advisor by trade, he was a longtime consultant of the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), a highly ranked, centrists, think tank in the realm of defense and national security. There is no evidence that he wrote silly political songs.
If that had been the extent of things Strauss and Howe would have been quickly lost to the march of History. Footnotes of footnotes in the grander scheme of things. If that was all there was to the story I wouldn’t be telling you about these two men now, but around the early 90’s Howe began collaborating with Strauss.
Their first book Generations (1991) looked at the biographies of Americans from Plymouth Rock to Modern day in an attempt to show the changing mindsets of our people over the years. This work lead to what would become known as the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. The team looked at the History of America and saw a generational pattern. When you looked at generations as roughly 20 year periods of youth to adulthood, patterns seemed to form. There were distinct cycles of four generations. Generations that fell in similar phases of the cycle would have similar characteristics, and every 80 years…
Well, in 1776 America fought a violent revolution, Turned the world on its head, and started a nation that would be the gold standard of what a democratic republic could be for generations to come… four generations to be exact.
Four Score and Seven Years later and America was tearing itself apart and once again reinventing itself. Doing away with its slaveholding past, suffering the assassination of a president, and the loss of over half a million American souls.
80 years later and the stock markets went tumbling leading to the rise of FDR in the US and Facism in Central Europe, setting the stage for the all encompassing upheaval of World War II. 80 years later…
You get the idea. Some hopped that the great change that was about to come, The subject of Strauss-Howe’s second book “The Fourth Turn” (1997), would be an Obama lead New Deal. A reinvesting in America and new age of American Peace and prosperity. Alas, Obama spent his time and political capital in the first two years of his presidency on Health Care and that was all she wrote. The Republicans regained the Congress at the midterm elections of 2010. Faced with a GOP plan of obstructionism Obama would never be able to pass legislation again.
(Read more about the Strauss-Howe connections to Bannon in This Piece in Time Magazine)
Say and think what you will about the Strauss-Howe theory. Whether their theory was correct or not is no longer important. Because Steve Bannon believes it, heart and soul, and that’s really all that matters now. Not only does Bannon tout Strauss-Howe, he believes that the next turn will be a world war. A Judeo-Christian War against Islam. Here it is in Bannon’s words:
“we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 year”
This statement was made in 2014, After 13 years of bloody conflict in the middle east that claimed not only the lives of thousands of American servicemen and women, but millions of Iraqis and Afghans. Yet Bannon feels that this is just the beginning:
“I strongly believe that whatever the causes of the current drive to the caliphate was — and we can debate them, and people can try to deconstruct them — we have to face a very unpleasant fact: And that unpleasant fact is that there is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global. It’s going global in scale, and today’s technology, today’s media, today’s access to weapons of mass destruction, it’s going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act”
World War I began on this very imperative: Act first or perish. This is a man with a mission and a belief. Bannon is no mere peddled of half-truths. He is a man convinced that the time for world war is now, that the west must strike first if we want to survive, and he is pulling the strings behind the most powerful man in the world. I leave you with one last quote, again from 2014:
“It’s ironic, I think, that we’re talking today at exactly, tomorrow, 100 years ago, at the exact moment we’re talking, the assassination took place in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that led to the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the bloodiest century in mankind’s history. Just to put it in perspective, with the assassination that took place 100 years ago tomorrow in Sarajevo, the world was at total peace. There was trade, there was globalization, there was technological transfer, the High Church of England and the Catholic Church and the Christian faith was predominant throughout Europe of practicing Christians. Seven weeks later, I think there were 5 million men in uniform and within 30 days there were over a million casualties.”
Hope for the Best.
Prepare for the Worst.