The fast answer might be “the same thing that makes Jordan Peterson so controversial”, but that would be inaccurate. Their enemies are far closer to each other than Bannon is to Peterson. What their enemies want in each case is to shut them up, to dislodge them from the public stage, to prevent anyone from hearing their arguments.
So what exactly makes Bannon so objectionable? More precisely, why do the lefties of Toronto want to prevent him from appearing at the Munk Debates?
Several organizations banded together Tuesday to call for the event, part of the Munk Debates, to be called off in light of last weekend’s deadly attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
They said giving Bannon a platform to express extreme views contributes to a climate of hatred that can encourage violence against marginalized or racialized groups.
“We’re at an important and terrifying moment as we watch right-wing governments come into power all over the world. The hate we are witnessing is serious — in fact, it is deadly,” said Rachel Epstein of the United Jewish People’s Order.
Ignoring the sinister sound of the United Jewish People’s Order for a moment, why do people object to even hearing Steve Bannon?
Let me recite his arguments from memory.
- The working class of the United States and elsewhere has been relatively impoverished by policies that have driven factory jobs overseas. This was caused by NAFTA in particular and freer world trade in general.
- These job losses have been part of a policy of globalization, by which the working classes of third world economies have been lifted out of poverty.
- Free trade has benefited many, but not everyone, and the people left behind happen to be the citizens of fly-over country, west of the Appalachian mountains and east of California.
- In addition, lack of adequate immigration controls in the United States have served the interests of rich Republican factory owners and of Democratic organizers, but the flood of illegal immigration has drastically lowered the standard of living of the American working class, white black and brown.
- After the economic crash of 2008, a vast lot of people lost the value of their houses, but everyone who owned an asset such as intellectual property or stocks has made out like bandits.
- None of the perpetrators of the financial crash has spent a day in jail.
- The interest of Bannonite policy is whether you are an American citizen, not what colour or ethnicity you are. US policies should be directed to the benefit of citizens, not sub-groups within the United States. This is not white identity politics, but American identity politics.
This set of policies and concerns may be described as nationalist, backward-looking, reactionary, anti-free trade, misguided, or mistaken. It cannot fairly be described as racist or hate-filled. Nor can it be said to be “extreme”, if words are to have any meaning.
But as I have been saying for some time now, all the Left can say these days is “sexist, racist, fascist, nyah nyah nyah”. Their minds have atrophied to the extent that actually confronting reasoned debate is a challenge they would rather not face. Especially as Bannon, not they, is defending the interests of the working classes. Long ago the Left abandoned the working classes and has sought to get the Supreme Court (in the States and Canada) to do for them what votes could not.
And who is the United Jewish People’s Order? It is here: https://www.winchevskycentre.org/staff.
My kind of obnoxious zealots.