Steve Bannon: Paleoconservative

In his analysis of Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Justin Raimondo cuts through the usual media spin and hysteria:

The New York Times, in a remarkably dishonest—even for them—piece implied that the President’s chief strategist and senior counselor, a devout Catholic, is a disciple of the Italian pagan and protofascist Julius Evola.  The Nation described him as someone intent on starting World War III.  The “libertarian” Freeman echoed The Nation, and went on to accuse Bannon of being an “historical determinist” whose sway over Trump would lead to a cataclysmic disaster.

If one looks at Bannon’s ideology objectively, however—a feat that most analysts seem incapable of—one comes to a very different conclusion.  And the best way to analyze Bannon’s thought is to watch his 2010 film Generation Zero, a remarkable documentary about the past and future of our nation.

The film is roughly based on a theory of history expounded in The Fourth Turning, a 1997 book by William Strauss and Neil Howe: Every 80 years or so, the country goes through a revolutionary crisis, a “turning,” in which the institutions built up over the previous period are destroyed and consequently reimagined and rebuilt.  These turnings are augured by war: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II (two phases of the same conflict), and now our seemingly endless “War on Terror.”

The generational lessons learned in the midst of the last crisis are invariably forgotten or outright rejected by the children of those who weathered the storm—and therein lie the seeds of the next turning.  Generation Zero presents this cyclical theory of history within an economic framework.  And Bannon’s analysis should cause libertarians, in particular, to perk up their ears and listen, because it limns the theory of the business cycle as propagated by Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics, which locates the cause of severe downturns in credit expansion by the central-banking system.  Throughout the film, the responsibility of Alan Green span’s policy—the injection of vast amounts of cash created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, and subsequent “easy money” in the credit markets—for the crash of 2008 is underscored.

Watching Generation Zero is, in essence, like listening to a speech by Ron Paul, but with the one thing missing from the usual libertarian analysis: a cultural critique.  Rather than treating human beings as if they were Homo economicus, Bannon gives us a theory of cultural change to explain how and why the “easy money” economy went so wrong.

Raimondo connects Ron Paul's anti-Fed, anti-Establishment populist libertarianism with the paleoconservative's traditionalist cultural critique. There was a time, back in the early 1990s before Murray Rothbard's death, that these two movements formed a coalition. The right-wing libertarians (like Rothbard, Paul, and Lew Rockwell) and the paleoconservatives (like Sam Francis, Joseph Sobran, and Thomas Fleming) were to put away their minor differences to form a reactionary counter-movement to the pillars of Leftism: anarcho-tyranny, globalism, and multiculturalism.

Sadly, in a time before the Internet and instant, mass communication, this fusion did not last long. The paleocons were banished from the official, mainstream conservative movement, and the libertarians took a hard Left. But the growth of the Alternative Right is recreating a similar, yet far more energetic, movement: identitarians, paleocons, traditionalists, and right-wing libertarians in a loose alliance, mischievously slinging arrows at an even more entrenched Leftist order. Not only does the AltRight fundamentally challenge the dogmas and ideology of the Left, they also offer an existential, rooted, authentic alternative.

Raimondo continues:

[The economic/banking crisis] all came crashing down in the fall of 2008, wiping out “wealth” that had never existed in the first place.  One of the victims, among many, was Bannon’s father, whose savings went up in smoke.  And so the government bailed out the “too big to fail” institutions, owned by the very people whose greed had caused the crisis in the first place, while people like Bannon’s father were left to rot.

It’s personal with Bannon—and his hatred for the elites, which we saw reflected in the Trump campaign, illuminates Generation Zero like lightning at midnight.

You know the rest of the story: The Tea Party movement, which was a direct response to the bailouts, rose up and elected Republicans who subsequently betrayed the very movement that had elevated them into office.  But the “fourth turning” wasn’t over—not by a long shot—as Trump’s victory over the hated elites demonstrates.

There are no visions of World War III in Generation Zero, and the mystic fulminations of Julius Evola are nowhere to be seen.  To characterize Bannon as the mainstream media has is slander, pure and simple, but what else do we expect from these narrow-minded little ideologues of both the left and the right?

No, Steve Bannon isn’t a fascist, he isn’t a warmonger, and he isn’t a “Leninist,” as the neoconservative ideologue Ronald Radosh has charged.  He is a paleoconservative, one of our own—the very heart and spirit of the Trumpian revolution that our corrupt elites rightly fear.

Pat Buchanan raised Hell, but lost. Ron Paul desperately pleaded with the public to embrace traditional liberty, end the Empire, and restore the Republic. But no one listened—and now we have Trump and Bannon.