Saturday, February 11, 2017

Adam Garrie — The problem with intellectualising Steve Bannon


Adam Garrie makes the valid point that Steve Bannon has become the focus of the intellectual aspects of Traditionalism but that Bannon himself is not an intellectual, or so his previous life would suggest. Moreover, he has not commented on the various intellectual aspects of Traditionalism other than briefly and in a cursory manner that suggests he is not interested in being a thought leader. Moreover, it is not clear what the primary influences on him may be. 

Therefore, it would be a mistake to view either Bannon or Trump as Traditionalist thought leaders or heavily influenced by Traditionalist thought instead of as chiefly political agents that can be broadly identified as Traditionalist in their analytic and governing approach. 

The Left appears to be making this mistake, or attempting to identify Steve Bannon and Donald Trump as extremists based on flimsy association. Some are making them out to fascists when Fascism is one of the four major political theories along with Liberalism, Marxism, and Traditionalism, and Traditionalism is opposed to Fascism. Instead, the Left needs to put its own house in order if it aims to be taken as more than an opposition.

The Left also needs to wake up to the fact that Traditionalism strongly supports the family rather than the individual and therefore it aligned with "the little people," that is, ordinary workers with no political voice in the present system. The Left wrongly assumes that this is cohort is naturally aligned with the Left but that was not the case in the recent presidential election.

This is not to minimize the significance of the various cohorts of Traditionalism that are in play nationally in the US and internationally among the rising Right. They are part of the Trump-Bannon coalition domestically and potential allies internationally. As such they are part of the political mix as such their views and aspirations will be a factor in politics and policy. But rolling all this into Steven Bannon as a symbol is not supported by evidence, and less so for Donald Trump.

The Duran
The problem with intellectualising Steve Bannon
Adam Garrie

17 comments:

Matt Franko said...

"Tsar Nikolai II once said that he wished to eliminate the term intelligentsia from the Russian language. I could easily hear such a statement coming from Bannon."

Tom, Looks like these Duran people have read Strauss & Howe but not Batra & Sarkar....

Bannon is an Acquisitor... the whole Trump thing is all Acquisitor except for the military, Trump went and got Warriors to work in those areas... but the rest is Acquisitor led....

Its Intellectuals rotating out and Acquisitors rotating in... to understand the whole Trump thing you have to try to start thinking like an Acquisitor....

"WWAD" ie 'What would an acquisitor do?'....

Tom Hickey said...

Good point, Matt.

Matt Franko said...

You know Tom maybe a lot of what S&H have been seeing with their 4 turnings is some type of rotation in leadership among the 4 archtypes...

With the Strauss & Howe stuff I think there is something to it but it is not like you can set your watch to it if you see what I mean...

iow the two theories could be related....

Tom Hickey said...

Hadn't thought about that. Seems plausible.

Matt Franko said...

4 archetypes and 4 turnings...

You've said the archetypes rotate for position of rule...

Noah Way said...

Ideologues abound, intellect not required.

Bob said...

The 1950s ain't coming back... the little people will wait in vain...

Tom Hickey said...

4 archetypes and 4 turnings...

You've said the archetypes rotate for position of rule...


Yes, but this is theoretical. An argument would need to be made for it based on evidence.

The views of S&H and Batra are both controversial and it would be a stretch to consider them as being established.

I look at them more from the POV of a useful frameworks to structure thinking about history. Same with Hegelian dialectic. I treat them as heuristics.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, Batra's analysis in The New Golden Age is based on the ending of an acquisitive age in crisis and the rising of a reaction led by the warrior mindset. This would accord with the crisis, the resulting dissatisfaction with a breakdown not only economically but also socially, and the rise of the new right based on Traditionalism. Traditionalism can be viewed as very much a product of the warrior mindset — strong leader, nationalism, and a return to traditional values.

Greg said...

Not only can the archetypes and the turnings be related its additionally likely that peoples archetypes are somewhat fluid.


There are many potential warriors among the labor class given the right social milieu. In fact we get many of our warriors from the labor class. Acquisitors are also intertwined with politicians/intellectuals and are not successful on their own most of the time. Many of the acquisitor mindset are playing a global zero sum game and are using a warrior mentality in their endeavors even though most of that class would run away form true physical battle.

I know Ive got traits of all four archetypes my self (least of all acquisitor) and I can express all under various circumstances. I am mainly intellectual/labor but I have a strong warrior side that can be brought out under right circumstances.


I disagree that intellectuals are rotating out Matt. Religious leaders are intellectuals and Bannon is on some sort of divine mission. Acquisitors use intellectuals and reward them for their "cover". What Bannon is "acquiring" are hearts and minds using intellectuals. Yes its intekllectuakls with a different ethos form the last eight years (maybe last eighty) but intellectuals none the less.

Greg said...

The only thing that might have made the misspelling of intellectuals in my last sentence above more apropos would have been to have added a third "K". ;-)

Greg said...

And it was completely unintentional, I swear.

Bob said...

Eric Hoffer covered this decades ago.

Hoffer identifies three main personality types as the leaders of mass movements, "men of words", "fanatics", and "practical men of action." No person falls exclusively into one category, and their predominant quality may shift over time.

Mass movements begin with "men of words" or "fault-finding intellectuals" such as clergy, journalists, academics, and students who condemn the established social order (such as Gandhi, Trotsky, Mohammed, and Lenin). The men of words feel unjustly excluded from or mocked and oppressed by the existing powers in society, and they relentlessly criticize or denigrate present institutions. Invariably speaking out in the name of disadvantaged commoners, the man of words is actually motivated by a deep personal grievance. The man of words relentlessly attempts to "discredit the prevailing creeds" and creates a "hunger for faith" which is then fed by "doctrines and slogans of the new faith." A cadre of devotees gradually develops around the man of words, leading to the next stage in a mass movement.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Believer

I doubt that we are seeing the beginnings of a mass movement. Bannon supports the system far more than he wishes to overturn it.

Tom Hickey said...

Not only can the archetypes and the turnings be related its additionally likely that peoples archetypes are somewhat fluid.

There are many potential warriors among the labor class given the right social milieu.


Batra's analysis is based on mindset rather than social class. He says that in modern societies, warriors are not restricted to the military but this mindset can be found in many other places. Same with the other mindsets.

The warrior mindset is realistic, courageous, values honor and glory, determined, rising to challenge, and capable of endurance in the face of hardship and adversity.

The intellectual mindset is inquisitive and analytical, occupied with symbols.

The acquisitive mindset is materialistic, accumulative and possessive.

The worker mindset is servile and unimaginative, limited in breadth and depth of vision, given to survival and reproduction, and dependent on the leadership of others.

These are types. People have all these characteristics to one degree or other. Their type is determined by the dominant characteristics.

This is represented by the Indian caste system in which there are four castes, but owing to intermarriage many subcastes the off-spring of which would display characteristics of their genetic makeup.

The Upanishads and Buddha taught that caste is mindset, confirmed in behavior, and that someone low-born can exhibit the characteristics of the highest caste and should be regarded as such.

"I do not call him a Brahman merely because he is born in the caste of the noble ones, or of a Brahman mother.... But one who is free from possessions (craving) and from worldly attachments — him I call a Brahman."

— Buddha, Dhammapada, 396

sapientstate said...

IMHO, there has always been a high priest, know-it-all attitude associated with individuals in STEM-oriented occupations and those in the Arts with Esq., Ph.D. et al., after their name.

On the political right, I think Trump represents (and Bernie on the left) resentment against those individuals because they are perceived as smug and condescending to "working class" people. Those on this blog understand this anti-intellectual dynamic (at least I think they do), establishment Democrats don't hence they don't understand why Trump is POTUS.

Great insight in this article, thanks for posting!

Tom Hickey said...

What the Left also doesn't realize is that they are being trolled by the alt right and NRx folks and are falling for it by overreacting to the degree of appearing ridiculous.

Bob said...

Establishment Democrats are not paid to think; they are paid to do as they are told.