Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Steve Bannon's moral philosophy bears a "shocking" resemblance to my own, but I wouldn't behave the same way in office at all

J. Lester Feder has an interesting interview with Steve Bannon on BuzzFeed, “This is how Steve Bannon sees the entire world”  As a dangerous place, where extreme capitalism has made a lot of enemies.

Indeed, Bannon’s vision does cater to fear, and to expectations of war and hardships imposed by enemies.

But he talks as though some of us have it coming to us.  The talks about two wrong directions for capitalism:  statist (Russia and China, “The Peole’s Republic of Capitalism”), essentially oligarchy, and excessive libertarianism or Ayn Rand-style objectivism.  He says he has some respect for libertarianism.

The notes that working people have been left behind by the “rentier” class (to paraphrase) and also discusses the Crash of 2008 as an example of morally unsupportable forms of capitalism.

But he thinks that capitalism needs some grounding in faith of some sort, because when people are successful they need to give back to make what they have and accomplish meaningful, for the less fortunate.  He also thinks people need religious guidance to do this, because pure intellect alone could rationalize almost any ideology.

Generally, this is similar to the ideas in my DADT-III book, especially the “Epilogue” of the non-fiction part, where I talk about people needing to “step up” to unchosen challenges.

There is a whole system of thought that you need faith when you might take a bullet for someone else – you need some grounding in a group you belong to, some sense of identification to purposes greater than just your own, some kind of belonging.  Because at an individual level “dead is dead” and, indeed, victim-pimping makes no sense.

I may agree with much of his philosophy, but I wouldn’t behave the same way he has in office.  I may agree with some of Trump’s ideas, but I would not test the system to see what I could get away with, or manipulate a voter base with slogans.  I would be much more careful with trade, foreign and military policy, even given a similar ideology.  

Update: Feb. 1

The Washington Post has another article today on Bannon's apocalyptic views on religion which would seem to practically call for a Christian crusade.  I do not share these views of religion "in group think".  I do understand his ideas on how they can affect individuals. 

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