Bannon’s Tribe: Understanding ‘Sloppy Steve’



By Mike Smith

To understand Steve Bannon, tribalism must be understood.

The Left views humanity though the prism of tribes. This can only make sense: if you’re conditioned to completely dismiss individual worth, only tribes will ‘have’ it. People are removed from responsibility for their actions. And only the groups that matter are those that must depend on the government to survive (good-bye ‘equality’!)

Tribalism moves leftward — always has; always will.

But tribalism doesn’t always ‘begin’ as tribalism — not all tribalists appear leftist. America’s Founding Fathers knew this; Europe’s failures warned them.

The French Revolution teaches what happens when human nature ‘regulates’ a government. In France’s case  —and this has always been true—  Judeo-Christian ethics are not ‘national’ or popular. It is not possible to be a French nationalist and not champion social atheism over Christian and Jewish religious liberties. If in doubt, recall what France’s revolution opposed (the revolution, not the revolt).

And now we get to Steve Bannon.

We think Mr. Bannon showed his true colors when he sided with author-slanderer Michael Wolff against the Trump agenda. Not quite — Bannon’s true colors surfaced when he spoke in support of Marine LePen and her French National Front Party last week. His populist manner aside, the values of his “nationalism” are in full view.

Steve Bannon’s tribe is not American, let alone in America. ‘Sloppy Steve’ is of Robespierre, not Paul Revere. France’s values are ‘Fraternity, Liberty, Equality’ — conserving these means opposing America’s ‘Liberty, In God We Trust, and e Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One’). Now liberty and equality cannot coexist, but the French way is naturally confused.

However Mr. Bannon is also (gasp!) not a nationalist. How can he be? He faked American nationalism, still fakes it, and is now on a speaking tour for multiple European nationalist parties. He touts economic nationalism, but only for his own benefit. This is the track record he rode into his current role, passing through the White House along the way. Bannon may be anti-European Union, but he’s no Americanist either.

Mr. Bannon is an intra-regionalist populist. Intra-regionalism is Steve Bannon’s tribal identity. Yet the old European order he wants back was not much friendlier to America than today’s is. The values that birthed the EU were (and are) themselves worth replacing with American values.

Steve Bannon’s not in Europe to spread the American way. ‘Sloppy Steve’ should be Strong Steve — he should trade his Robespierrian sloppiness for the one-and-only American nationalism. Perhaps Geert Wilders and the Dutch Party for Freedom can help Mr. Bannon be the strong, Trumpian American Nationalist he should be.


Mike Smith is a longtime Ventura County resident who identifies as a Red State male in a Blue State body politic.

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