Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Bannon Blitzkrieg

{Author's Note: This posting is out of line with the general purpose of the Blog, yet it points to a situation that should be of Anthropological Interest -- the role of the Individual as an agent of Cultural Change. The Trump election is a watershed in the evolution of liberal democracy in the United States. It is a case of Nationalism in the extreme against the modern concept of the State, the Individual against the species. I might refer you to Edward Spicer's Posthumous paper "The Nations of the State" to see how these two concepts often conflict. See Kroeber, Karl (ed) American Indian Persistence and Resurgence 1994 Duke University Press. What follows are personal observations and hypothesis}

Last night while watching Rachel Madow she announced the firing of the acting attorney general. it reminded me of Nixon's Saturday Night massacre, an image that didn't escape anyone who lived through it. It seemed like another irrational ego driven reaction from Trump, the spiteful bully.

But stepping back from this and putting it in context -- it was far more sinister and dangerous. What we are seeing, I feel is the undercutting of the load bearing wall of the Constitution with the goal of causing an implosion of America and American values. It is Purposeful, Calculated, and beyond the mind of the President. It is even counter to his own interests. Trump is a Brand and he is destroying his own Brand even as he seek to protect it. But worse, he and his followers are destroying the American brand.

Today, the New York Times carried an OpEd piece:entitled "President Bannon?" in which they question the relationship between Trump, the President, and Bannon, the "adviser", The puppet master is Bannon, whose raise to power has been going on under the radar for some time. Based on the recent events it seems that he is in control of the President and the Administration. Fear and hatred are his weapons. The real question today is what is the weapon or tool, that he has over Trump? Are the Tax returns the weapon?

I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory, and maybe it is. But logic leads me to wonder why Trump would go to such lengths to commit financial and reputational suicide? He has four years to bring about the changes he said he wanted. He has a Congress controlled by his party and soon he may have a Supreme Court that shares his "conservative nationalism. What is the hurry?

Things are moving very fast. It is like Hitler's Blitzkrieg on Poland in 1939. The strategy appears to be to hobble the free press out of fear that their plans will fail if the public knew the truth, They may also fear that the Congress might awaken from its partisan nightmare. Or, that true legislators would have time to read Article One of the Constitution and actual do their job. Maybe then they would have time to think and understand how they are being invaded by a hostile and hateful force.

Nuclear weapons can not only destroy an enemy. In a world of MAD they will destroy you as well. But to scare a population into forsaking their basic values and play upon their ethnic fears, prejudices and hatreds you can gain control of the whole system with a minimum of physical damage. It is the strategy of the right wing Israeli government and their right wing Palestinian counterparts. Rule through fear.The recent actions of the Trump Administration appear to be under the guidance of "President Bannon"rather than a President Trump.

Fear mongering is a super-organic tool for social control. As anthropologist, we should consider how individuals and groups use and instill fear of the Other in order to control themselves and the members of their group.

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