Between the Lines

Considering Bannon

They liken him to Rasputin and Svengali: He’s the éminence grise of the Trump administration, the hard-line ideologue who represents and multiplies all the darkest impulses of that man in the Oval Office.

But who is Steve Bannon, really?

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...

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