United States

Patriotism and the Stockholm Syndrome

by John Reimann

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In the world of human psychology, sometimes a victim bonds with is or her abuser. It’s called the Stockholm syndrome, and Wikipedia describes it as ‘a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”’ Once the victim is released from the clutches of the abuser, the psychological bonds are usually broken.

……

In the world of mass psychology – which is politics – there is a similar phenomenon. In a country whose capitalist class dominates the world scene, millions of workers will tend to see that domination as a sign of their own power. That is what lies behind the historic patriotism that has been so prevalent in the United States.

read more: 156 Stockholm Syndrome and Patriotism

3 replies »

  1. I recommend the book the most dangerous superstition. it does a very good job explaining this. It’s not “capitalism” people are beholden to, it’s the State. The State is who they kill their neighbors for. The State is whose commands they believe they must obey even against their own conscience. It’s the State who runs around throwing people into ovens while mostly everyone stands around saying “it’s law.”

    • This is the essential difference between anarchism and Marxism. Marxists believe that the state did not arise nor does it still exist outside of the class struggle. In capitalist America, the state (that is, the government) simply represents Corporate America – that is, the capitalist class.

      As far as patriotism, it’s not just “the state”; we get that propaganda through the media, organized religion, professional sports, Hollywood — in every aspect of our lives.

      This isn’t just some debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; it has real consequences. There is a reason, for instance, that a lot of what anarchists advocate comes very close to those of the far-right “libertarians”.

  2. I was watching, of all things, the Simpsons, when it occurred to me that patriotism could be a form of Stockholm Syndrome. A quick google and i was surprised to see much written on the subject.

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