In a daring, bold, and defiant move Steve Bannon – the racist white supremacist adviser (until very recently) to the democratically elected president of the United States – told a gathering of likeminded French racists: “Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honour. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker.”
This is not a revelation. This is a confession, a public admission of otherwise private convictions.
Steve Bannon and his ardent supporters in the US and France and rest of Europe are racists and are proud of it. Let the world take note of this.
According to Steve Bannon, a major component of US and European societies – a component that in his estimation is getting stronger – believes that they are white and that whites are a superior race. They think their race is being threatened by blacks and all other coloured people they have invented. And they think it is time to go out and declare this prophetic mission openly and proudly to attract more followers and put us all, Jews and Gentiles, Muslims or otherwise, all coloured people of the world, if not in concentration and internment camps then at least in our right place as the inferior races – so we know who is the boss, and which one is the master race.
Steve Bannon is the heart of racist America. He is the heart of racist Europe. He is the very heart and mind of the very foundation of what they call “Western Civilisation,” which has never had anything but racist contempt for the world.
Steve Bannon is a prophet of the evil banality at the very core of what they call 'Western Civilisation'.
Steve Bannon is a revolutionary of the obvious. He is a rugged thug, only a Beer Hall Putsch and a gang of Sturmabteilung officers shy of Hitler – another racist European who did exactly as Bannon told his French admirers do: carry his racism like a “Badge of Honour”. The swastika, which some of Trump and Bannon’s supporters also sport in the heartland of the United States, was his “Badge of Honour”.
From the inaugural genocide of Native Americans, which they celebrate every year and call “Thanksgiving”, to the sustained course of African slavery, to the prolonged history of European colonialism around the globe, to the US dropping of the atom bomb on Japan, to the European genocide of Europe’s Jews during the World War II, all are historical testament to Steve Bannon’s “Badge of Honour”. He went to France to claim his “Badge of Honour” – the very same one that he and his racist ideology claimed for an entire history of white supremacy.
Steve Bannon is a prophet of the evil banality at the very core of what they call “Western Civilisation”.
It is not accidental Steve Bannon hates Jews and Muslims and loves Israel. He is a perfect Christian Zionist.
His hooligan habits, his hoodlum diction, his sophomoric pomposity all gather about him so the buffoons who love and admire him think they are fast upon a revelation. He may or may not have ever sported a KKK hood of cowardice. But he walks and talks as if he just took it off and came out with the loutish zealotry of an old-fashioned fiend.
What to call Bannon?
“So here’s my proposal,” this is John Elledge writing for New Statesman, “If these fu**ers are willing to wear words like ‘racist’, ‘xenophobe’ or ‘Nazi’ as a medal, we need to start describing them with a word they can’t possibly treat as such. We need a word they will never want to appropriate.” His suggestion? “My suggestion, inspired by Bannon himself, is ‘sh**bag’. I mean, no one in their mind is going to proudly go round claiming to be a sh**bag, are they?” (Isn’t John Elledge lucky he can use that kind of language in print! My Al Jazeera editors wouldn’t let me use any such language – unless like this I am citing a white person using his white privileges. We brown and black folks better stay polite and have our English prose behave properly).
But I respectfully disagree with John Elledge. I think we must avoid abusive terms like “fu**ers” or “sh**bags”. We must stick to what these racists call themselves – and they do so proudly: “Racist, xenophobe, nativist”.
The rush to call them abusive terms is a sign of embarrassment. Other white people get embarrassed to see one of them spills the beans like this. If they are mass murderers they call them “crazy”. If they declare themselves racist, they call them “sh**bags” and “f**kers.” This is both impolite and imprecise.
We are at a very precise moment in the history of what they call “Western Civilisation” – they have come out, their ideologues, their presidential candidates and advisers, and declare proudly they are racists – thus they recall their history of genocide and conquest. Rushing to call them “sh**bag” is to deny future historians of the “terror” these “sh**bags” have perpetrated on our planet and beyond.
Steve Bannon is only the rugged and illiterate version of Niall Ferguson in his voluminous works such as Civilisation: The West and the Rest (2012). Five minutes of listening to Steve Bannon you are saved from the highfalutin euphemisms of Niall Fergusson, Samuel Huntington, and Bernard Lewis in one heavy volume after another.
Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka, Richard Spencer, Kellyanne Conway, ad nauseam – they are the “Cliff Notes” version of Niall Fergusson, Samuel Huntington, and Bernard Lewis. A quick look and you are ready for your test: “Western Civilisation 101”.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.