Exceptionalism: the condition of being different from the norm; also: a theory expounding the exceptionalism especially of a nation or region.
There are many theories surrounding the origin of American exceptionalism. The most popular in US folklore, being that it describes America’s unique character as a ‘free’ nation founded on democratic ideals and civil liberties. The Declaration of Independence from British colonial rule is the foundation of this theory and has persevered throughout the often violent history of the US since its birth as a ‘free nation’.
Over time, exceptionalism has come to represent superiority in the minds and hearts of Americans. Belief in their economic, military and ideological supremacy is what has motivated successive US governments to invest in shaping the world in their superior image with little or no regard for the destruction left in the wake of their exceptional hegemony.
In considering itself, exceptional, the US has extricated itself from any legal obligation to adhere to either International law or even the common moral laws that should govern Humanity. The US has become exceptionally lawless and authoritarian particularly in its intolerant neo-colonialist foreign policy. The colonized have become the colonialists, concealing their brutal savagery behind a veneer of missionary zeal that they are converting the world to their form of exceptionalist Utopia.
Such is the media and marketing apparatus that supports this superiority complex, the majority of US congress exist within its echo chamber and are willing victims of its indoctrination. The power of the propaganda vortex pulls them in and then radiates outwards, infecting all in its path. Self-extraction from this oligarchical perspective is perceived as a revolutionary act that challenges the core of US security so exceptionalism becomes the modus vivendi.
Just as Israel considers itself ‘the chosen people’ from a religious perspective, the US considers itself the chosen nation to impose its version of democratic reform and capitalist hegemony the world over. One can see why Israel and the US make such symbiotic bedfellows.
“The fatal war for humanity is the war with Russia and China toward which Washington is driving the US and Washington’s NATO and Asian puppet states. The bigotry of the US power elite is rooted in its self-righteous doctrine that stipulates America as the “indispensable country” – Paul Craig Roberts: Washington Drives the World Towards War.
So why do the American people accept US criminal hegemony, domestic and foreign brutal tyranny and neo-colonialist blood-letting with scant protest? Why do the European vassal states not rise up against this authoritarian regime that flaunts international law and drags its NATO allies down the path to complete lawlessness and diplomatic ignominy?
What is Gaslighting?
The psychological term ‘Gaslighting‘ comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instill in their victim’s mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgment. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by the central intelligence agencies in US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.
Gaslighting as an abuser’s modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.
Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim. It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim’s subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious ‘hard disk‘ and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk. Put more simply, it is brainwashing.
“Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate.” ~ Alex Myles
Three Stages of Gaslighting: Stage One
The first stage depends upon trust in the integrity and unimpeachable intentions of the abuser, a state of reliance that has been engendered by the abuser’s artful self-promotion and ingratiating propaganda. Once this trust is gained, the abuser will begin to subtly undermine it, creating situations and environments where the victim will begin to doubt their own judgment. Eventually the victim will rely entirely upon the abuser to alleviate their uncertainty and to restore their sense of reality which is in fact that of the abuser.
The second stage, defense, is a process by which the abuser isolates the victim, not only from their own sense of identity but from the validation of their peers. They are made to feel that their opinion is worthless, discredited, down-right weird. In political circles they would be labeled a conspiracy theorist, a dissident, a terror apologist. As a consequence, the victim will withdraw from society and cease to express themselves for fear of ridicule, judgment or punishment.
This stage can also be compared to Stockholm Syndrome where a hostage or captive is reduced, by psychological mind games, to infantile dependency upon their captor. Narcissistic abuse bonds the victim to the aggressor via trauma. Stockholm Syndrome bonds the victim to the aggressor via regression to an infantile state where the abuser/aggressor becomes the ‘parent’ who will rescue the victim from imminent annihilation. Both methods tap into the victim’s survival mechanisms to gain and maintain control.
The final stage is depression. A life under the tyrannical rule of a narcissist drives the victim into a state of extreme confusion. They are stripped of dignity and self-reliance. They ultimately exist in an information vacuum which is only filled by that which the abuser deems suitable or relevant. This can eventually invoke symptoms of PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]. Flashbacks, constant apprehension, hyper-vigilance, mind paralysis, rage and even violence. The process is complete and the victim has been reduced to a willing accomplice in the abusers creation of a very distorted reality.
Exceptionalism or Narcissism?
We are currently seeing the transformation of US exceptionalism into an abusive Narcissism.
The gargantuan apparatus of mind bending and controlling is being put into hyper drive by the ruling elite. We are inundated with propaganda that challenges our sense of reality but only after being “tenderized” by the fear factor. Fear of “terror”, fear of war, fear of financial insecurity, fear of gun violence, fear of our own shadow. Once we are suitably quaking in our boots, in comes the rendition of reality that relieves our anxiety. If we challenge this version of events we are labeled a conspiracy theorist, a threat to security. We are hounded, discredited, slandered and ridiculed. We are isolated and threatened.
Wars are started in the same way. Despite the hindsight that should enable us to see it coming, the process swings into motion with resounding success. The ubiquitous dictator, the oligarch who threatens to destroy all that the US and her allies represent which of course is, freedom, equality and civil liberty all wrapped up in the Democracy shiny paper and tied with the exceptionalist ribbon.
Next the false flag to engender fear, terror and to foment sectarian strife. The support of a ‘legitimate’ organic, indigenous ‘revolution’ conveniently emerging in tandem with US ambitions for imposing their model of governance upon a target nation. The arming of ‘freedom fighters’, the securing of mercenary additions to these manufactured proxy forces. All this is sold in the name of freedom and democracy to a public that is already in a state of anxiety and insecurity, lacking in judgment or insight into any other reality but that of their ‘abuser’.
The NGO Complex Deployment
Finally, the Humanitarians are deployed. The forces for ‘good’, the vanguard of integrity and ethical intervention. The power that offers all lost souls a stake-holding in the salvation of sovereign nations that have lost their way and need rescuing. A balm for a damaged soul, to know they can leave their doubts and fears in such trustworthy hands as HRW, Amnesty International, they can assuage their deep sense of guilt at the suffering being endured by the people of far flung nations because they can depend upon the NGOs to provide absolution with minimal effort on their part. They don’t realize that NGOs are an integral part of their abuser’s apparatus, operating on the leash of neo-colonialist financing and influence. NGOs provide the optic through which the abuser will allow the victim to perceive their world and once absorbed into this flawed prism the victim’s own cognitive dissonance will ensure they do not attempt a jail break.
In this state of oppressed consciousness the victim accepts what they are told. They accept that the US can sell cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia that obliterate human beings and lay waste to essential civilian infrastructure in Yemen. They accept that the US financially, ideologically and militarily supports the illegal state of Israel and provides the arsenal of experimental weapons that maim and mutilate children and civilians on a scale that is unimaginable. They accept that a crippling blockade of the already impoverished and starving nation of Yemen is ‘necessary’ to resolve the issues of sectarian divisions that only exist in the minds of their Congressional abusers.
The majority of Americans accept mass murder under the pretext of the right to protect, because their ability to form rational and reasoned opinions has been engineered out of them. This is now the definition of US exceptionalism. It is their ability to manipulate the world into accepting their lawlessness and global hegemony agenda. In seeking to impose its own image upon our world the US has drifted so far from its founding principles, one wonders how they will ever return to them. They have employed a recognized form of torture to ensure capitulation to their mission of world domination which entails the mental, physical and spiritual torture of target civilian populations.
In conclusion, the US has indeed achieved exceptionalism. The US has become an exceptional global executioner and persecutor of Humanity. Imperialism is a euphemism for the depths of abuse the US is inflicting upon the people of this world.
Our only hope is to break the cycle of abuse with empathy for the victim and with appreciation for the years of brainwashing that precedes their agonizing passive-aggressive apathy towards crimes being committed in ‘their name’.
This was an email I received recently from one courageous young American girl whose epiphany is testament to the resilience and survival instinct of the human spirit.
“My name is Caroline and I am a 22 year old US citizen. I only fairly recently discovered the truth about Empire/NATO’s activities in Syria and Libya and so many other countries (thanks to writers like Andre Vltchek, Cory Morningstar, Forrest Palmer). I am sickened when I remember that I signed some of those Avaaz petitions and I feel horrified at knowing that I have Syrian and Libyan blood on my hands. I want to believe that I’m not “really” guilty because I really thought (as I had been told) that I was not doing something bad at the time, but still, what I did contributed to the suffering of those people and I want to do something to atone in at least some small way, even though I probably can’t “make up” for what I did or erase my crime.
If it’s not too much trouble, could you please tell me what you think I should do, if there is anything?”
She deserves an answer…
Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.