In a 2010 documentary produced and directed by Steve Bannon called Generation Zero, a featured historian named David Kaiser discusses the concept of “turnings.” “Turnings are like the seasons — every turning is necessary,” over footage of clocks ticking, the sun rising and setting.
“Cities are founded, cities collapse. States rise, states fall.”
Throughout the documentary, Bannon repeatedly claims that America is in a “state of crisis.” Sometimes the crisis is due to debt. Sometimes it’s about immigrants. What’s more concerning is that he compares this “crisis” to the Revolutionary War and World War II, insinuating constantly that it will inevitably lead to violent conflict.
According to Bannon, America is simultaneously fighting a global existential war against “Islamic fascism” and a domestic war against socialism. He’s the personification of decades of xenophobic and white nationalist rhetoric from the right.
He's a self-identified “Leninist” who wants to “bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” And, according to David Kaiser, during their discussions, Bannon implied that the coming clash of societies would be the biggest clash the world has ever seen. He's apocalyptic, through and through.
Why should we care? Because his worldview is becoming our politics. And the Trump budget is an unmistakable reflection of it.
Its largest cuts are to the EPA and the State Department, both of which are seen by Bannonites as vestiges of a socialist order that creeped into American politics. It’s making cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels, a program that fed 2.4 million people last year, to save what amounts to tenths of pennies for the federal government. It cuts funding to PBS. It cuts most everything we liberal elites hold dear:
African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
And during relatively peaceful times on Earth, where is most of the money reallocated? Glad you asked. We’re increasing the world’s largest military budget, which is larger than the next ten largest military budgets combined, another 9%. We’re also adding a 7% increase in Homeland Security spending.
Why? Well, in part, to upgrade and build on our nuclear arsenal, since currently we only possess the ability to destroy the world five times over.
For the answer to why or what's next, look no further than the dreams of Bannon. If you were Bannon and you thought we were headed towards World War III — or you wanted World War III — would your budget be any different?
If we’re asleep at the wheel, it could be our country’s demise. It could be the demise of progress. Now is the time to wake up and #Resist.