This blog initially appeared at A Carl Schmitt Reader.
Steven K. Bannon, senior Trump advisor and strategist, has been added to the US National Security Council. The move has brought with it questions of how much influence Bannon has on Trump administration policies, and in particular recent Executive Orders on travel and immigration. Not much has been written about Bannon’s own personal political philosophies, but one blog has some interesting reflections on a talk Bannon gave to the Human Dignity Institute. (Buzzfeed, to their credit, published a transcription.)
One somewhat obscure portion stands out as particularly significant in identifying Bannon’s understanding the relationship between the West (traditionally, Christian countries) and the Islamic world.
Questioner: One of my questions has to do with how the West should be responding to radical Islam. How, specifically, should we as the West respond to Jihadism without losing our own soul? Because we can win the war and lose ourselves at the same time. How should the West respond to radical Islam and not lose itself in the process?
Bannon: From a perspective — this may be a little more militant than others. I think definitely you’re going to need an aspect that is [unintelligible]. I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam. And I realize there are other aspects that are not as militant and not as aggressive and that’s fine.
If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. I think they kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places… It bequeathed to use the great institution that is the church of the West.
Pay particular attention to the last passage. Bannon views the “long history” of antagonism between Islam and the West as an antagonism between the West and something analogous to today’s jihadists. “I think they kept it out of the world,” he adds, and what he means by “it” is radical Islam. He then makes mention of what must be the Battle of Vienna (1683) and the Battle of Tours (732), two battles that stopped the march of Islam into Europe during Islam’s expansionist periods.
The particular phrasing, “they kept it out of the world” recalls the katechon, or “restrainer of the Antichrist,” a concept in Medieval Christian theology. In his 1950 book The Nomos of The Earth, Schmitt discusses the concept as it relates to the imperial system of the Holy Roman Empire at its height (1100–1300 AD). One of the book’s central premises is that Law (broadly speaking), nomos consists of two elements: order and orientation. “Order” could be described as the technical aspects of law — its codes, processes, etc. — while its orientation would be the “moral compass” (for lack of a better term) that both grounds the law in the past and sets the direction for its future. In the Christian Europe of the Middle Ages, the orientation was the “moral compass” of the Catholic Church and its lineage stretching back to antiquity. That compass’ future direction was set by the Empire’s designation as the katechon, or restrainer of the Antichrist. Schmitt explains:
The continuity that bound medieval inernational law to the Roman Empire was found not in norms and general ideas, but in the concrete orientation to Rome. This Christian empire was not eternal. It always had its own end and that of the present eon in view. Nevertheless, it was capable of being a historical power. The decisive historical concept of this continuity was that of the restrainer: katechon. “Empire” in this sense meant the historical power to restrain the appearance of the Antichrist and the end of the present eon; it was a power that witholds (qui tenet), as the Apostle Paul said in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians.
While looking back to the Rome of the early church for inspiration, the katechon was nevertheless aware of its future destiny — and eventual dissolution — and made it its mission to bring this about. The practice of completing this ‘mission’ or task is what Schmitt is referring to when he describes the katechon as a historical power: that is, it assumes its power in bringing about this historical movement to its completion.
The emperor’s office was inseperable from the work of the katechon, with its concrete tasks and missions. This was true of a monarchy or a crown, i.e., of rule over a particular Christian land and its people. It was the elevation of a crown, not a vertical intensification…but a commission that stemmed from a completely different sphere than did the dignity of the monarchy. …Thus, as the Ludus de Antichristo demonstrates (in accord with the tradition dominated by Adso), the emperor, in all humility and modesty, and without compromising himself, laid down his imperial crown after completing a crusade.
The condition of the katechon is the condition of a concrete historical task that provides orientation to the empire. If Bannon is comparing the historical expansionist periods in Islam to today’s war on terror, radical Islam takes the place of the medieval conception of the Antichrist, and finally, the West assumes the historical task of — to harken back to Bannon’s phrasing — keeping the Antichrist out of the world.
Jews love immigrants & refugees because Jewish immigrants turned Palestinians into refugees in the creation of Israel
It’s not very complicated. It’s also not “Judeo”-Christian. 🙂
Bannon’s the best we’ve had in a long long time. He just needs to find a way to wake lazy, soft, pussy Christians up from their ignorant slumber.
An Announcement from the International Socialist Union of Progressive Peoples Worldwide:
These are dangerous times. The Presidency of Donald Trump means fascism has come to Washington. We are now at the mercy of an American Hitler whose evil agenda is to scapegoat Jews, round up Muslims, hunt down undocumented immigrants, enslave women, and murder homosexuals.
Heroic attempts to punch Nazis are insufficient to roll back the tide of tyranny. When Trump’s minions come to assault and dispossess us, we must be ready. We must stand together as brothers, sisters, and one of the many genders.
Trump and his evil white supremacists will surely try to divide us, but, as Shia Lebeouf has declared, they will not divide us. We are all one under the sun, inseparable and resolute in our solidarity. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘We Shall Overcome’ because we have a Dream, and that dream is to struggle in unity with progressives forces in the mass media, Ivy League universities, FBI, CIA, NSA, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Las Vegas to counter and take down Trump, the American Hitler.
And in this struggle, every voice, every pair of hands, and every heart & soul matter because it is only the alliance of men, women, homosexuals, trans-gendered people, whites, blacks, browns, Asians, Muslims, Hindus, immigrants, youths, and intellectuals that can strike a blow at the tyranny whose tentacles are now stretching from Washington DC, which has become like Vichy France during World War II.
Unlike stupid and retarded Conservatives, Republicans, fascists, racists, homophobes, reactionaries, sexists, misogynists, transphobes, Islamophobes, and assortment of right-wing retards who get their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, and Alex Jones, we on the progressive & humanitarian Left know the truth from Real News(as opposed to Fake News), and we know damn well that Trump is a shill of Vladimir Putin, the new Czar of Russia who has Hitlerian, Mussolinian, Franco-ean, and Tojo-maniacal designs on the free world. It is only a matter of time before he invades Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Iceland to massacre all Muslims, Jews, Homosexuals, and Transsexual people. Putin has shown his true face in his Gestapo tactics against the Pussy Riot who tried to spread love and peace across Russia.
You are likely asking the question that all good Americans are asking: What Can I Do? Yes, what can each of us do in these dark and depressing times? Countless conscientious Americans are traumatized that their countrymen elected an American Hitler who, furthermore, is a puppet of Russian Hitler(Putin). Those good Americans feel paralyzed and don’t know what to do. Some have given up and thrown in the towel. Some have gained excessive weight like Judd Apatow by turning to comfort food. Some have shed excessive weight like Lena Dunham who lost the will to live.
But we mustn’t give up hope. Each of us can play a part. Each of us can join the growing network of progressive, socialist, liberal, leftist, feminist, homosexual, queer, transsexual, bisexual, communist, globalist, pro-immigration, anti-Islamophobic, and pro-celebrity individuals who have committed their lives to fighting the good fight to decide the destiny of the world.
Yes, America now stands at the crossroads. One way is the road to Nazism, fascism, racism, hate, Islamophobia, misogyny, sexism, homophobia, fat-shaming, tyranny, ugliness, odiousness, noxiousness, divisiveness, xenophobia, paranoia, and hysteria. The other road leads to happiness, justice, progress, equality, diversity, tolerance, inclusion, love, peace, socialism, free healthcare, free college tuition, and mixed-race babies who must be the future because white babies are born-racists and may grow up to be Nazis.
We must stand with forces of progress and march together. And this calls for an alliance of Hollywood studio heads, movie stars, gangster rappers, porn actors, homosexuals, transsexuals, Muslims, pro-gay Christians, undocumented immigrants, single mothers, antifa anarchists, communists, Marxists, Harvard academics, Mexican lettuce pickers, cleaning ladies, Zionists, Palestinians, Wall Street globalists, and girls wearing pussy hats.
So, what can YOU do? What should any of us do? Before we act, we must know our enemy. This is easier said than done because their views and ‘values’ are so toxic and dangerous that we don’t want to go near them.
It is like handling radioactive material. But, as a wise man once said, Know Thine Enemy. And we must know ours. We must pick up the trash if we are to throw it out. We must see what makes our vile, venal, sick, and disgusting enemy tick, and we must share our intelligence as we embark on devising a grand plan of rolling back the Nazi Trump tide.
We, the International Socialist Union of Progressive Peoples Worldwide, recommend that each of our comrades pore through the hateful screeds, diatribes, hysterics, ramblings, and rants of our enemies and inform the US government of whatever dark plots that may be lurking among the Nazis, fascists, homophobes, theocrats, populists, Alt Right, Islamophobes, Russophiles, patriarchal misogynists, fans of Pepe, and other assorted reactionaries.
We have assembled a list of Hate Sites and Fake News Sites funded by Putin and endorsed by Trumpen-Fuhrer who is working relentlessly to undermine the founding principles of America that call for progress, socialism, open borders, free trade, hedonism, feminism, Muslim immigration, and American military & financial domination around the world to spread the blessing of the homosexual rainbow into every nation.
If you come across any Plot Against America in the hate-press of the Right, be sure to inform the FBI, CIA, NSA, NYT(New York Times), and City Hall. We are all in this fight together:
Oops, looks like there is a typo.
“If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam,”
That sentence should read, “If you look back at the long history of the Christian West struggle against the Judeo-Muslim world.”
Honest mistake I’m sure.
Imagine the backlash he if said that
Establishing “Judeo-Muslim” as a visible concept needs to be an alt-right intellectual objective IMO.
I agree completely.
Jews consistently side with Jews, their position regarding both Christians and Muslims is a lot more complicated. In the Muslim invasions of Europe Jews weren’t much involved at all, It was Christians vs. Muslims. During the Crusades there was a massacre of Jews by the crusaders that led the Jews to side with the Muslims. Now Jews are siding with Zio-Christians against Muslims. Me, I want the Muslims out of my country and want no part of the never ending feud between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s not my feud and I don’t see why I should have to take sides.
One problem with Brannon’s conception is that he said the history of the Judeo-Christian west.
My understanding is that Jews were mostly on the side of Islam against whitey for most if not all of that period. The Jews ran around in the baggage train of Islam slaving the captured Christian boys for Janissaries and the girls for the harem.
My guess is that he’s using the term as a shield but still, Jews tended to prosper best with Muslims as their enforcers against whitey.
there is reason why Russians limited movement of Jews on liberated territories. Heck pacified Islam was tolerated more then Judaism.
Because the jews are powerful and there are jews on both sides of this fight. Same with whites, our biggest problem is other whites standing in our way. We must embrace the jews that want to be on our side or we will never have a chance to prosper. Even Hitler had some jews on his side.
Historically, the West checks the boxes here. But now the East seems to be carrying on the torch. What of the transition? Is it the white race in general that is the katechon?