Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bannon and Guénon explained

An excellent new article by Joshua Green in Vanity Fair finally explains René Guénon's importance for Steve Bannon. According to Green’s “Inside the Secret, Strange Origins of Steve Bannon’s Nationalist Fantasia,” Bannon first read Guénon when he was a young man in the US navy, and Guénon was “a life-changing discovery” for him. But, as Green says, Bannon is “more synthesist than strict adherent.” While at a personal level he may be a Traditionalist, at a political level Traditionalism is something that helps “build an intellectual basis for Trumpism, or what might more accurately be described as an American nationalist-Traditionalism.”

The article explains how Bannon’s Traditionalism fits with the Trump campaign and with some of the Trump administration’s policies. It also explains what readers of this blog know well, but what others may not realize: that not all Traditionalists are alike—that a common interest in Guénon does not mean that Bannon shares all the views of Richard B. Spencer or Julius Evola.

The article is generally excellent, as I say, but goes rather too far in labeling Alexander Dugin as “Vladimir Putin’s chief ideologist.” Unlike Trump, Putin does not have a chief ideologist, and while Putin clearly does not disagree with much that Dugin says, his ideas have other sources.


refractario said...

But where is the proof that Bannon is inspired by Guénon's thought?

Mark Sedgwick said...

Well, he says he is. Which is not exactly proof, as people do say all sorts of things, but it is definitely significant.

refractario said...

Please, excuse me for my poor English. I will try to explain what I meant. Steve Bannon has declared to Joshua Green that he has read Guénon? Or this is what Joshua Green has deducted after studying Bannon's previous statements? I remember that Bannon mentioned Evola in a conference, but it was in reference to Dugin. In my opinion, from that citation we cannot conclude that Bannon endorses Evola or even has read him. A lot of people speak of Evola without having read him or without knowing his true meaning, as exposed in your great book.

Mark Sedgwick said...

Yes, that is what Bannon told Green. Read Green's article and you will see.

Neo-JacobitefromNY said...

What I found just as interesting his parents were indult Latin Mass Catholic Traditionalists, explains his intellectual journey. I was into internet SSPX/Sedevacantist media 2003-2016 (decided to convert to Orthodoxy in Feb 2016) so I know the thinking. Thought Bannon was just a normie neoconservative radicalized by Obama Presidency to nativist nationalism. Who liked to namedrop Reactionary thinkers to seem cool, but seems he really might have enjoyed reading Maurras as reported. I underestimated him as shallow poseur, new found respect.

refractario said...

Now I clearly see that Bannon is a fan of Guénon. My doubts had no grounds.

I wonder how an islamophobe like Bannon can be inspired by Guénon, even considering that Guénon was not a true muslim. Perhaps Bannon's islamophobia is another temporary strategy for achieving a hidden purpose.

Anonymous said...

Some news:

Pope Francis' allies accuses US Catholics of forming an 'alliance of hate' to back Trump
Caroline Mortimer,The Independent 19 hours ago

(Quote)Catholic priest Antonio Spadaro and Protestant theologian Marcelo Figueroa published a joint article in La Civilta Cattolica, a journal published by Jesuit priests in Rome and overseen by the Vatican, in which they denounced US Catholics for supporting the extremist positions of the American right, saying the world view of hard-line Catholics is “not too far apart” from that Islamist jihadists.

Exclusive interview: Antonio Spadaro on his article about ‘The Ecumenism of Hate’ in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

For some background on Catholic Traditionalists, including the SSPX, sociologist Michael Cuneo's survey, The Smoke of Satan: is fascinating and informative -- no mention of
mention Guenon or Evola, though.

The books listed below give some insight into the hopes dreams, rages and fears of
Traditionalist Catholics unaware of Guenon or Evola but who often become the
foot soldiers of leaders who are influenced by Traditionalist ideologies derived from our

Catholics Against The Church, (University of Toronto Press,1997 Johns Hopkins University Press; Revised ed. edition (July 21, 1999)

Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism 1997

A memoir from a woman who grew up in a Traditionalist/Latin Mass Catholic household.

Waiting For the Apocalypse.

Her father was the driving force. He was not apparently influenced by Guenon or Evola
but became involved a leader, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, who operated a personal fiefdom
in Brazil - the TFP, Society for the Protection of Tradition Family and Property.

After Olivere's death, TFP split into different groups.

I have not yet had time to do more searching to see whether Olivares was influenced by
Guenon and or Evola.