There may be no figure more polarizing, frightening and bewildering than White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. He is a terrifying racist with plans to make America like the “Camp of Saints.” Steve Bannon may indeed be the mastermind behind the Trump Administration.
The previous paragraph is likely not surprising to you. It, or something like it, has been tweeted, parroted, and posted over and over and over again on slosh news sites like Salon, Huffington Post, and Slate for the past four months Trump has been in office. Steve Bannon is the devil in disguise, ready to seize the heart of the nation. He is hated, feared, and despised by nearly every individual on the left these days, despite the fact that they had never heard of him until perhaps last September.
Frontline has recently devoted an entire documentary describing his “rise to power” and includes numerous conservative sources in its interviews, including right-wing hero Ben Shapiro. They build up Steve Bannon as a massive power figure, able to read and deftly move his way through the political system in order to advance some secret agenda, but why?
Why bother with Steve Bannon? Who is he, really?
Allow me to answer: Steve Bannon is a nobody. Yes, that is correct, Steve Bannon is a myth, nothing more than a boogeyman concocted to stir up fears in the opposition. He is a creation made of years of extreme partisan mentality.
Let me explain what I mean.
One of the basic parts of human nature is to consistently attempt to organize the world into different stereotypes. We do this all the time. We are Liberals, you are Conservatives; I am a Jew, you are a Christian; we are Democrats and you are Republicans; or the most notorious, I am White, and you are Black. These are labels that make the world easier to understand. They are often necessary in many ways, and very useful.
Let us use some primitive examples. It is essential that we stereotype all red plants at first, because we have been poisoned by them many times. It is essential that we stereotype all flowing water at first, because it has been clean before. It is essential, in war, that I stereotype all the enemy nationals at first, because they have been shooting arrows at me for most of my life. Those who do not stereotype in these situations will likely end up dead or disadvantaged. Stereotypes are necessary. What is not necessary is what we do next, and this is where things get more complicated.
There are two human instincts, or urges, that occur after stereotyping. The first is to preserve the stereotype and resist any change to it. The second is to create an in-group and an out-group, especially when the stereotype involves other human beings. Both urges must be accomplished with time and are not necessary to life-or-death situations. In other words, they are conscious decisions.
One of the consequences of these secondary urges is that they will lead to innate hostility between the in-group and the out-group. They must. If they do not, something has counteracted them. Let us take the example of two warring tribes. After years of conflict, a member of Tribe-X has an encounter with a member of Tribe-Y. Let us assume that both tribes have followed those strong stereotyping instincts. There will likely be a struggle, or a fight, as both persons have preserved the stereotype they have had of the other. The two individuals return to their tribes and reiterate to their tribesmen the stereotype that the other tribe is inherently violent, or something of the like. The psychology of group think dictates that this leads to a greater demonization of the opposite tribe, and a reinforcement of each tribe’s own ‘goodness’. These are the First and Second Secondary Urges at play. The preservation of stereotypes, and the in-group, out-group thinking.
There is a third instinct that will appear, unrelated to the first two, but nonetheless integral to their whole operation. It is the urge to create heroes and villains. It is the human urge to follow a leader, and hate the opposition’s leader. It is the urge, not just to follow one’s own hero, but to create the image of a mastermind in the opposition. The more nefarious this image, the better.
And at this point, there is no huge moral problem with this process. It could be just as easily applied to the Allies vs. the Axis or the Union vs. the Confederacy. It is our nature. It is how we feel the urge to behave.
This nature of ours, these urges, are what created Steve Bannon.
Steve Bannon is a real man with a sizeable résumé and a history of controversy. He was never well-liked by anyone, except maybe Andrew Breitbart, who only knew him for a few years. He got lucky one day, and by using his popular website to get closer to Trump, landed a job in his campaign and then his transition team. He was the perfect candidate for the Left-wing media’s urge to create a Mastermind in the opposition.
Steve Bannon is also a myth. He wields unknown power and influence, whispering unknown racist horrors in Trump’s ear like an old white Jafar. He wants war with Islam, and he wants to blow up the U. S. system of government, and who knows when his plans will come to fruition!?
In their own subconscious desire to see a villain in the out-group, the other, the ‘Right,’ the left painted a picture of a racist demagogue who flew through life, playing the system, and landing a job in the White House. There is no moderation to their fevered articles, because they are genuinely afraid of him. There can be no moderation, they have bought into a frenzy of fear and loathing usually reserved throughout history for entire enemy nations. They have bought their own demonization of the right-wing so much, they cannot see what is actually sitting in the White House Security Council chair: A crazy, old, overweight Navy veteran, who is being slowly pushed aside.
The Left have followed their human nature to its intellectual chasm, and have lost the ability to tell genius from genie.