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Why Steve Bannon Is Not a Fascist


Steve Bannon has often been accused of fascism by his opponents. His real intellectual affiliation, however, is with the first generation of American neo-conservatives of the 1960s, people like Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol. Like them he criticizes immoral elites and an amoral version of capitalism in the name of traditional values. His criticism is a symptom of the long-running battle between Mind and Money, the war between intellectuals and capitalism.

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  1. Neil Howe and William Strauss, The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny (New York, 1997).

  2. See Alan S. Kahan, Mind vs Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2010; London: Routledge, 2017).

  3. See Gwynn Guilford and Nikhil Sonnad, « What Steve Bannon Really Wants », in Quartz, 3 February, 2017.

  4. The group was largely Catholic or Jewish. Michael Novak was a prominent American Catholic theologian. See Michael Novak, “What is a Neoconservative?” article posted 18 November, 2005,

  5. Cited in Guilford and Sonnad, « What Steve Bannon Really Wants », in Quartz, 3 February, 2017.

  6. Steve Bannon, lecture to the Liberty Restoration Foundation, cited in Guilford and Sonnad, « What Steve Bannon Really Wants », in Quartz, 3 February, 2017.

  7. See Kahan, Mind vs. Money. 233. Decter was a leading neocon and a board director of the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institute.

  8. Kristol,Two Cheers for Capitalism (New York, 1978), 61–3; “When Virtue Loses All her Loveliness”, The Essential Neo-Conservative Reader ed. Mark Gerson (Reading, MA, 1996), 107.

  9. They also tend to accept homosexuality.

  10. See Jonathan Swan, Axios, March, 2017; Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (New Tork, 1995), 45–9. Another work of Lasch’s, The Culture of Narcissism, an attack on the counterculture reminiscent of Bannon’s assault on the baby-boomers, is also reminiscent of the neoconservative critique of capitalism. See p. 235.

  11. Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites, 83, 101.

  12. In another time and place, this would have meant the Jews, of course.

  13. Trump Inaugural Address

  14. Bannon’s 2014 speech at the Human Dignity Institute in Rome, whose transcript was downloaded from BuzzFeed News. It is available at All speech references that follow are to this speech.

  15. See Kahan, Mind vs. Money

  16. Bannon speech.

  17. Guilford and Sonnad, « What Steve Bannon Really Wants »; Bannon interview with NY Times, 26 January, 2017.

  18. Bannon speech cited above.

  19. For example, the Personalism of Emmanuel Mounier. Jean Paul II was also a personalist.

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Correspondence to Alan Kahan.

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Kahan, A. Why Steve Bannon Is Not a Fascist. Soc 55, 303–307 (2018).

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  • Steve Bannon
  • Populism
  • Fascism
  • Neocons
  • Intellectuals
  • Globalization
  • Free trade
  • Capitalism