Bannon and Miller shape White House policy: anthropologist
TEHRAN - Prof. William O. Beeman, head of the anthropology department at the State University of Minnesota, believes that Donld Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior policy advisor Stephen Miller are “extremly dangerous ideologues” who control the White House.
“Both Bannon and Miller are, in my personal opinion, extremely dangerous ideologues in a government where the president is deeply inexperienced and impressionable,” Beeman tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Mr. Bannon some analysts argue Bannon is the White House’s ideologue. Do you also think so?
A: Steve Bannon is a former editor of Breitbart News. His views, based on his previous writings and radio interviews are anti-Semitic, xenophobic, nativist and ultra-conservative. He is unelected, and un-vetted (never approved by Congress), and he has inordinate power in the White House, along with another right-wing ideologue, Stephen Miller. Both Bannon and Miller are, in my personal opinion, extremely dangerous ideologues in a government where the President is deeply inexperienced and impressionable. These two "advisers" see the president on a daily basis, and their influence is extremely powerful. In particular, Breitbart News, which publishes absolutely unsubstantiated stories seems to be a major source for President Trump's information. His accusation that President Obama had "bugged" his telephones during the election is completely without any evidence, and the story came from Breitbart news.
Q: What about other persons in Trump’s inner circle?
A: Bannon and Miller seem to be the most influential people. Many of Trump's cabinet appointees seem to be peripheral. For example, Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State not only seems to be almost absent from policy decisions, he has not been able to appoint a deputy, and the budget for the Department of State seems to be about to be reduced by 30% or more. This is unprecedented in U.S. history. Outside of Bannon and Miller, President Trump seems to be listening to military generals.
Q: Why is Bannon interested in views of uncanny Italian philosopher Julius Evola?
A: Bannon is an extreme right-wing ideologue. Many people believe his views to be Fascist. His interest in Evola reflects his personal beliefs. Prejudiced people often try to find philosophers or historians who reflect their views as a way of justifying their ideas.
Q: A report in the New York Times ascribed the roots of anti-immigration to traditionalists such as René Guénon. What is your opinion?
A: "Nativism" in the United States is a very old tradition. Every group of immigrants has been resisted in U.S. History starting back in the 19th Century. Irish, Italians, Jews, even Germans were resisted. Employment signs reading "Irish need not apply" were common in the late 19th Century. The United States actually passed laws barring Chinese in the earliest 20th Century. Of course we interred Japanese, Germans and Italians during World War II, and resisted taking Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. There were quotas on immigration from specific countries until quite recently. So the current anti-immigrant sentiment is very old, and unfortunately, supported by a large number of American citizens. You might look at the film "The Gangs of New York" to see a fictionalized example of this period.