Steve Bannon Unloads On Libertarians During Values Voters Summit In Washington D.C.

During today’s Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C., Breitbart News Executive Director Steve Bannon pulled no punches and zeroed in on many targets. He even set his ire toward libertarians, who he feels put too much of an emphasis on economic output and lose sight of the civic nationalism needed to bind America.

Bannon specifically called out policy centers such as the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, and American Enterprise Institute for their constant support of free trade. He also critiqued for the Austrian school of economics for stressing that ‘everything is about the economy.’ He hopes to eventually bring these folks on board with his program of economic nationalism.

“We’re a civic society and a culture that has a capitalist, free market system as our economy,” Bannon said. “But we’re not an economy, and you’re not just units of production. You’re free men and women in a civic society underpinned by a capitalist system, but where other people in the world don’t practice capitalism, we have to be savvier than that.”

Bannon claims that Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and other Midwestern states because Trump realized the importance of an economic nationalist program encompassing more than just usual GOP talking points in favor of the free market and tax cuts. He believes that this is the key to unlocking an unstoppable political machine.

“That’s how you’re going to win 400 electoral votes,” Bannon said.

This is not the first time that Bannon has criticized libertarians and their ideals. While serving as White House chief strategist, Bannon allegedly pushed for a healthcare plan seen by most libertarians as little more than an Obamacare bailout. The legislation ultimately failed, but not before a contentious battle between Trump and the House Freedom Caucus occurred.

Nevertheless, a man of Bannon’s experience and expertise cannot be completely discounted in his criticism. Even Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe agrees that libertarianism must be packaged in populist terms. Perhaps libertarians would be wise to tailor their message directly to the people, instead of using language appealing only to eggheads and academics.


  1. He’s not wrong.

    While I agree with most libertarian economic plans, they have a complete lack of social skills. It’s like a party of high functioning autistic people now. Great with numbers and statistics and what not. But when it comes to anything involving social interactions with the public they’re that awkward kid in the corner whose scared shitless to talk to a girl…

    • You do realize it’s not just libertarians that support free trade as we know it, right? Plenty of movement conservatives who were borne of the Reagan Revolution do so also, yet they don’t get stamped with the “autistic” label.

    • On the contrary my dear boy.
      The basis of Austrian economics(that libertarians use as their guiding economic theory)takes into account much more heavily human behavior, psychology, and tendencies as a whole, unlike the vast majority of other schools of economic theories that put their weight into “numbers and statistics”. Get informed if even just a little bit before making such ignorant comments.

    • Tony Meick
      Yes. They crunch psychological human behavior down into statistical facts and figures.

      It is still just a cold faced statistical analysis basing economical figures on their statistical human behavior data. End of the day they are still reducing human behavior down to contrive mathematical numbers.

      And that’s the point. You can’t win elections or garner social support by making everything into a bar graph and speaking to society as if they are nothing but a statistic.

    • Anthony Colleluori
      It’s not the words used as much as it is they context in which they’re used.

      When addressing a crowd to gain their support, only about 20% of WHAT you say matters. The other 80% is HOW you say it.

      And actually I’d say the majority of people in this country have no idea what antithesis means…

    • Anthony Colleluori
      Put it this way. When most libertarians speak, they speak in a way that only really resonates with other people who are already libertarians.

      They don’t speak in a manner that is inviting to non-libertarians.

    • IMO, Bannon is wrong on his critique of Austrian econ but is right to deride the globalist cheerleader thinktanks who have carried water for the cronyist GOP all of these years.

    • Tim Duquette Austrian economists do not see economics as an empirical science, rather a branch of logic.

      Mises describes the fallacy best in Human Action of why treating economics in the same manner as you do the physical sciences like physics and chemistry is erroneous.

      The equations you use in the latter are based on constants in the variables (i.e. the rate of acceleration due to gravity in a vacuum of 9.8m/s^2. ) Because value is subjective and this is revealed in action, as preferences differ among individuals, we aren’t just sticks and stones, automatons, robots who don’t employ the exercise of foresight, in making judgments about patterns of future consumption as an entrepreneur does, for example.

      Both Human Action and Man, Economy and State describe these fallacies of mainstream economics very cogently. If you haven’t read them and want to know more about Austrian Econ, both books are very enlightening imho.

    • Ryan Morris
      While I agree Austrian IS greatly better than others.

      The point Bannon was trying to make was that as a party Libertarians while discussing economic policies tend to break everything down to just numbers and fail to address any of the more personal social side of things.

      They are very robotic in their presentation of their economic policies. Regardless if they are right about them, they don’t present in a way that makes your average person feel warm and fuzzy, which shows in the voting booth.

      In simple terms. They aren’t winning hearts and minds with their economic policies. And the drastic changes the propose, even if they are the most beneficial, isn’t appealing to people.

    • Ryan Morris
      Simple example. Anytime the proposition of drastic federal spending cuts comes up and reducing federal income taxes rates. Inevitably the “but my roads!” Comes up.

      Like clock work.

    • @Tim duquette

      Anything that initiates force on others is wrong. You don’t need to subscribe to Austrian economics to understand that. But Austrian economics is the only school where force is not required 😉

  2. Bannon is anything but conservative. He like Bernie Sanders and Al Franken is a clueless protectionist and an authoritarian who knows nothing about economics or the free markets. Placing tariffs on foreign goods is one of the stupidest things ive ever heard. It wont bring back manufacturing they’ll just replace humans with robots. His logic is just as stupid and insane as those who think raising the minimum wage will help the economy.

  3. Steve Bannon is a journalist, not an economist.

    I wouldn’t expect you understand why free trade works.

    Those his critiques of libertarians are fair and deserved, his push for protectionism and against Austrian economics is empirically disproven as well as historically ignorant.

  4. The problem with lolbergs is that hey think everyone is motivated by economics, surprise there are whose who will place other values over economics, see Islam and SJWs. They don’t care about economics and there is nothing you can say to convince them.

    • You are really confused. Hoppe is just the opposite of what you accuse him of. Bannon deserves your remark.

  5. He doesn’t understand that the reason why we fall behind in the global market is not other nations, its us. We have a currency that is overprinted and it makes the dollar worthless on a global scale. It is inflated well above its value. So, when you buy an American good, you pay more and get less. If you compare that to undervalued currencies, you will pay less and get more. Guess who gets the sale? The undervalued currency nation will. We can cure this by deflating our currency and tying it to a precious metal to control value. This eliminates the human factor. Then, always try and regulate it to be a 1:1 ratio of dollars to wealth. This ensures that we remain competitive on a global scale. The other factor is eliminate the income tax in favor of the voluntary consumption tax. Also, eliminate the payroll taxes as well. This will get business to grow and wealth to develop domestically and people to look to produce goods in the US, as opposed the other nations. Playing protectionist economics doesn’t work, as they don’t know what got us here. It wasn’t thevother nations actions, it was our own. When you print money like a printer does newspapers, you will have massive problems.

    • A democrat shill who derides democrats daily? Use your brain. Bannon is trying to remove the RINO corrupt republicans who are blocking the populist agenda

  6. How utterly dishonest of Bannon to claim that economists discussing economics are failing to consider other things. Bannon fails to understand economics. For him to suggest that we live under a free market capitalist system is proof that he is a gas-bag who doesn’t bother attending to the meanings of the words he employs.

    Bannon and Trump are opportunists who grabbed power when the public was disgusted by the alternative. They are ignorant and arrogant – a very bad combination.

  7. Libertarian dogma must not masquerade as globalism. Libertarianism only works within the framework of Judeo-Christian worldview where honesty, trust, forgiveness and neighborly love are promoted and elevated.

  8. Bannon is a nationalist and therefore a statist. To the extent that he favors dismantling the state for the sake of free market capitalism he may be able to find common ground with libertarians, but when he starts talking about using the state machinery for social or economic agendas he will naturally be opposed, as he was by the Liberty Caucus when he was peddling Trump’s healthcare legislation. Ultimately, “civic nationalism” delivered by the vehicle of government is anathema to libertarian principles.

  9. All you libertarians can’t admit that your ideology is an utter failure, time and time again the “market” as rejected your ideas when people are given a chance to vote for it.

    • Call it what you want, but there is no standard of liberty offered by any political person or entity that is superior to it.

  10. Two things Bannon does not give preference:
    1) The strength, basis and importance of every nation’s existence was expressed clearly by Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild when he said: “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws” and
    2) In this nation we have a Constitution and the President takes an oath to uphold that Constitution. You cannot sidestep that standard to accomplish your goals, even if your goals have some merit.

  11. I am a nationalist libertarian who voted for Trump, and I agree that the libertarians have become a soft cucked party. The libertarian party must embrace economic nationalism, closed borders, and populism in the trump vein in order to win the presidency.

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