The Daily Beast informs us that Steve Bannon, the Svengali behind Trump, was a Grateful Dead fan and "Jerry Brown liberal" when he was in college. What should we make of that? Nothing, precisely stated. 'The media often makes the mistake of assuming that because someone has a hippie/free love/drug taking/rock and roll background in their past that they are, by default aligned with left wing and liberal causes and sentiments. Many are and many are, and those who go destructively right wing as they age should not surprise us, since the counter culture was, in effect, libertarian idealism played out in real time."Do what you want and don't let the man keep you down."
Yes, there was a core streak of peace and love and live and let live and non violence in all that, which dominated the discussions concerning the era and its bohemian propensity, but there was a strong vein of self-regarding assholism and know-nothingism in there as well . They did the same drugs, listened to the same music, dodged the same draft and had as much sex as they could get away with, but they were the ones who would their bitterness that the expectations about what the Sixties would bring about didn't pan out into a cartoonishly vulgar array of racism, misogyny and all the rest.
The benign hippie freedom they wallowed in has turned into a free floating rage that articulates itself barely as a form of social Darwinism: get rid of the state and let nature take its course by ridding the species of its less fit (or deserving) members. Bannon would have been the least interesting one in any bunch of longhair layabouts, a dude with the wrong hair, too many zits, too fat, trying too hard to get in conversations that were over his head, the one who was mocked in front of his own face by those of higher status in the clique. His later career plays out like a revenge porn fantasy. Or at least that's part of a revenge fantasy of my own wherin a nefarious , dangerous and nihilistic punk and all around blaggard over-reaches from whatever proximity to power he's attained and is , ever ironically, hoist by his own petard. Meaning , of course, that we want him done when his plans backfire and result in his professional demise.
More realistically, Bannon may have well been the sort of dude-ster who would have fit into one of the several social circles I had least one foot in during my college days. Perhaps we'd been arguing music, movies and women at the campus pub , solving exactly nothing with our jargon and recycled thinking. Admittedly, I was a registered Libertarian for a year during that time, 1979-198 and 1981 approximately, a stunt I offered up more as a way to irritate a few of the hard Lefties still haunting the pathways of the University I attended. It was more fun to make fun of Libertarians, though, than it was to be, so I claimed my Democratic Party bona fides again and have been a yellow dog ever since. Bannon, of course, found his own calling, and it is his current mission we have to concentrate on, the so called "deconstruction of the administrative state". The focus needs to be on what he's doing now,not on what he was. Irony , at the moment, is a distraction that can kill us.