“Our National Stockholm Syndrome”
“If an alien observer not trained in our customs and way of life were to read our Constitution, come to America and view our current situation, our fine little green friend would no doubt be amazed at the spectacle. Political parties, utterly without conscience, have taken it upon themselves to hold the country at ransom.
Yes, our observer would remark at the abject nihilism and greed of these political parties. And it would remark at the transparent weakness of those who cave to such demands, curiously viewing payment of ransom as just another form of compromise. But it would be most astounded, one might think, at the easy compliance of a populace so ill-used that they whisper scarcely a word of protest even as the pistol is held to their heads, their wallets taken, their cash distributed to those who would burn it to light their cigars, their families and children starved that their captors might eat caviar uninterrupted, their sons and daughters prevented even from serving to fight at their lords' behest for the crime of loving the wrong person, and denied the opportunity to pay off massive educational debts to the landed gentry for the crime of having been born to the wrong social caste.
Examining our encyclopedias of human behavior to explain such a situation, our curious onlooker would find only one explanation: Stockholm Syndrome. In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.
The term, “Stockholm Syndrome”, was coined in the early 70's by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, to describe the puzzling reactions of four bank employees to their captor. On August 23, 1973, three women and one man were taken hostage in one of the largest banks in Stockholm. They were held for six days by two ex-convicts who threatened their lives but also showed them kindness. To the world's surprise, all of the hostages strongly resisted the government's efforts to rescue them and were quite eager to defend their captors. Indeed, several months after the hostages were saved by the police, they still had warm feelings for the men who threatened their lives. Two of the women eventually got engaged to the captors.
The Stockholm incident compelled journalists and social scientists to research whether the emotional bonding between captors and captives was a "freak" incident or a common occurrence in oppressive situations. They discovered that it's such a common phenomenon that it deserves a name. Thus the label, Stockholm Syndrome, was born. It has happened to concentration camp prisoners, cult members, civilians in Chinese Communist prisons, pimp-procured prostitutes, incest victims, physically and/or emotionally abused children, battered women, prisoners of war, victims of hijackings, and of course, hostages. Virtually anyone can get Stockholm Syndrome it the following conditions are met:
• Perceived threat to survival and the belief that one's captor is willing to act on that threat.
• The captive's perception of small kindnesses from the captor within a context of terror.
• Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor.
• Perceived inability to escape.
Stockholm Syndrome is a survival mechanism. The men and women who get it are not lunatics. They are fighting for their lives. They deserve compassion, not ridicule. Stockholm Syndrome arises during times of great stress, when those whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down find themselves in an enclosed space with but one information source, and but one source of sustenance to hope for safety: the continued well-being of their captors. And here again, our friend from beyond the moon might understand the situation clearly, were it to examine our history of the last 30 years. All of the elements necessary for Stockholm Syndrome are fully in place.
Our society has been placed under great physical and psychological duress. A long and arduous road to record income inequality is being exacerbated by an impending economic collapse of terrifying proportions, seemingly inexplicable to all but the closest students of complex financial instruments and their consequences. Worlds are being turned upside down, as families across our nation look for any kind of answer, from anywhere, and will latch on to any seemingly coherent explanation, regardless of its factual merit.
The media that would have provided the nation with the outside information necessary to distinguish its own well-being from that of its captors has not only failed utterly, but has in fact been totally co-opted by the captors themselves. When only media in autocracies half a world away bother to cover the hostage-taking and ransom of first responders on 9/11, there is clearly a closed information loop so tight, that not even a rescuer's loudspeaker can penetrate the fortress in which this nation is held prisoner.
And the final blow? The apparent ideological victory of supply-side economics among the near entirety of the ruling class has led the nation to believe that our well-being, our own economic survival, depends entirely on the well-being and continued pampering of the Brahmins for whom we are lucky to serve as wipers and concubines, so that our children may consume the trickled-down wet crumbs they leave behind. The rich must be granted yet more wealth, or the nation may starve as a result. If we get any other ideas, the ruling caste will slice open the throats of our less fortunately employed brothers and sisters.
Our alien would doubtless counsel us that our only prayer lies in deliverance. It might tell us that things are darkest before the dawn, and that captives so held can often experience psychological transformation once on the outside of their prisons, though it may take some time. But first, we must understand our illness, and work to combat it. We must understand the degree to which we as a nation are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and engage in a deliberate plan to rethink and reorient. It starts by telling the truth about our captors and their motives. And it continues by organizing plans to truly fight them, and to find leaders unafraid to call them by the names they deserve, and to brook no compromise with them. To deny and reject those who would counsel negotiation with the terrorists who abuse us. This, our alien would say as it zooms back to its own world in disbelief, is the challenge that lies before us.”
Are we collectively suffering a mass societal form of Stockholm Syndrome? We watch impotently, numbly, as these psychopaths savagely rape what’s left of this country and world, and do nothing. How could we tell, if everyone else is similarly afflicted? Are we so grateful for the crumbs from their table that we consciously choose to ignore all else that’s happening, no matter how insane, outrageous or illegal it is? Something is very, very wrong here... - CP