The New York Times

Bannon's Deviant 'Badge of Honor'

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 10: Former U.S. President Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon gives a press conference during the French far-right Front National (FN) party annual congress on March 10, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Lille, north of France. Le Pen will attempt to revive her battered party this weekend at a conference with a proposal to ditch the tainted National Front brand, seen as a key hurdle to winning power. / Sylvain Lefevre / Getty Images
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

THE TACTIC OF SUBVERTING LANGUAGE TO TURN VICE INTO VIRTUE HAS A VERY DARK PAST.

In a speech last weekend in France, Stephen Bannon, the former top adviser to President Donald Trump, urged an audience of far-right National Front Party members to “let them call you racists, let them call you xenophobes.” He went on: “Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor.”

On the face of it, Bannon’s advice is strange. After all, by any normative understanding, “racist,” “xenophobe” and “nativist” are negative words from both a moral and rational point of view.

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