Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Joshua Green

Joshua Green's new book is Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency. From his Q&A with Slate's Isaac Chotiner:

How deeply do you think race and racial paranoia play into who Bannon is and his ideological makeup?

A lot of media people, I think including you, like to portray him as white nationalist and racist and all that, and I understand why people would do that. I personally think that’s the wrong vector or the wrong strain of bigotry through which to analyze him. I think that it has much more to do with religion. Bannon has this very strange, very odd, but very well-developed intellectual and religious foundation for what it is that he actually believes, and at the heart of that is this apocalyptic clash of civilizations worldview. I thought initially that this was just part of the whole self-generated Bannon mythos, but after having talked to him about it a while back, I think he really believes this stuff.

Bannon went to this right-wing, Catholic, Benedictine military academy in Virginia where they were fed a hardcore Catholic version of Western Civ. That was the curriculum. A classmate told me in the book that they were essentially taught that Christendom is always under assault from outside forces, that true believing Catholics always need to be willing and able to jump into the breach and defend our world—Western civilization. I think that idea burrowed itself into Bannon’s mind and fed into his own natural grandiose sense of himself as someone who was going to be an important actor in history.

OK but—

Wait, wait, wait. To get back to your question. Just in all the interviews over the years, I’ve heard him be sexist, I’ve heard him be anti-Muslim, I’ve heard him be anti-immigrant, and I tried wherever I could to put these quotes on the record in the book. He called Hillary Clinton a “fucking bull dyke” and some of the other stuff. I never heard him say anything that was personally racist. I asked him about this. He pointed out Breitbart has black staffers and this and that. I said, yeah but look at the headlines you guys write about black crime and this and that. He just shrugs it off.

His abiding passion is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue