Steve Bannon and the Last Crusade, por Noah Smith:
I heavily doubt Steve Bannon is the anti-Semite many on the left now claim he is. It's mostly based on one thing that his wife said that he said, about not wanting to send his kids to school with whiny Jewish girls. It's hearsay, about one thing he said in private years ago, which isn't even that anti-Semitic. (...)
I also hear a lot of claims that Bannon is a white nationalist. Some are based on stuff he allowed to be published at Breitbart (e.g., this), but many seem to rely on one thing he saidwhile interviewing Donald Trump, in which he worried that too many immigrant CEOs would reduce "civic society." That's not something I agree with, since I'm strongly and categorically in favor of skilled immigration. But it certainly by itself doesn't peg him as a white nationalist, especially when he vigorously and publicly and explicitly denies being a white nationalist. So if you think he's B.S.-ing about that, your case will have to rely on Breitbart articles.
So what does Bannon believe in? The main articulation of his worldview that I know of comes from this 2014 speech. Essentially, Bannon's worldview seems to have three main pillars:
1. The fruits of capitalism should be more broadly distributed.
2. The West is in a war with radical Islam and must prevail.
3. Secularism contributes to the weakness of the West.
This "center-right populism" is basically a cross between FDR, Bernie Sanders, and Ross Douthat. Bannon also criticizes "crony capitalism", and says that he thinks a Judeo-Christian ethic facilitates a more equitable form of capitalism.
Bannon criticizes secularism, which is pretty standard among religious conservatives, and also remind me of Ross Douthat. In fact, Bannon's ideas sound a lot like the "reform conservatism" that had been making the intellectual rounds before Trump showed up on the scene.
But the one place where Bannon comes out very strongly against an external enemy is when he talks about radical Islam (...)
Bannon's view is that radical Islam is attacking the West, and must be defeated by a united Judeo-Christian West. (...)
Bannon's call for a "church militant" and a "church of the West" is basically similar to the Holy Leagues that fought the Ottomans in the 1500s. It's not a call to invasion, like the original Crusades, but rather a defensive move. Bannon is calling on the Catholic Church in particular, but also Christianity, Western capitalism, and all other unifying institutions of the West, to act as unifying and motivating forces to fight this struggle. (...)
But I believe that Bannon fundamentally misunderstands what's going on with radical Islam. Some of the malign energy of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups has been directed against the West and against Christians, yes. But most of it has been directed at other Muslims in Muslim countries. Only a very small part of what we're witnessing is a continuation of the eternal clash between Europe and the Middle East. Most of it is an internal civil war within the Islamic Umma.