Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s latest unhinged fantasy involves fearmongering about “transhumanism,” suggesting that elites in the tech industry are attempting to control the human race and eradicate religious practices through advanced gene editing, robotics, and forced microscopic implants.
Transhumanism has been described as “the idea of using technology to overcome sickness, aging and death.” One prominent text which explores this emerging field of scientific research is Yuval Harari’s bestselling book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. According to The Guardian, Harari is “careful not to predict that these outlandish visions” -- of whether human beings can overcome the corporeal limitations set by sickness and death -- “will come to pass.”
Bannon, who has referred to Homo Deus as “absolutely brilliant” and a book “everyone should get” to research this topic, has not been faithful to the book’s limitations on his podcast. Instead, he has framed transhumanism as a fait accompli. For example, during the February 26 edition of War Room: Pandemic, Bannon suggested that “the technocratic elite” wants “eternal life” because it comprises “radical atheistic materialist.” Bannon proposed that transhumanism is “a religion of the technocratic elite” and one day, like communism, will “be the God that failed.” He purported that transhumanism is dangerous because it “doesn’t really deal” with the “true spiritual or the real true consciousness,” as most other religions do.
He also claimed that transhumanists don’t care “if you’re a Tibetan Buddist or if you’re part of the Islamic faith, or if you’re a underground hardcore Evangelical Christian or Roman Catholic or Hindu” because they only want “eternal life.” Referring to the Trump supporters, he claimed that “the deplorables” are unknowingly “financing” the study of transhumanism and therefore giving power to the “radical reductionists.”
Bannon’s preoccupation with transhumanism compliments his anti-vaccine rhetoric. As the COVID-19 vaccine developed by large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and smaller start-ups like Moderna are beginning to be widely distributed, distrust of so-called transhumanism among his audience may only worsen fears.
In fact, Bannon himself has suggested transhumanism is part of a large-scale conspiracy. On February 24, he promised his viewers that they will soon see “how this interconnects” to the coronavirus being created through “gain of function experiments” in a Wuhan lab. He also told his audience the mainstream media is shoving science “down your throat” and the “global elitist secularists” want to “go beyond humanity.”
When Andrew Torba, CEO of the alt-right platform Gab, appeared on War Room: Pandemic, he suggested that transhumanist “Silicon Valley elites” believe that “they are a superior race to the rest of us” who want to “put chips in our brain, put chips in our wrists and modify the human body biologically by hacking our DNA.” Torba proclaimed that “whoever controls the chips controls the minds of the people with the chips in them” turning average people into “digital serfs.”
On February 20, Bannon and Torba used this hysterical fearmongering to advocate for the establishment of a “Christian-centric economy,” telling listeners they should “exit the existing system” and secede from mainstream economic and cultural institutions.
Torba suggested tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg are using transhumanistic science to “enslave our biology” while using that same technology to allow these leaders to “live forever” and “be gods.” Bannon continued Torba’s fearmongering, proclaiming, “You’re going to see transhumanism. These experiments are going on today.”