America, come in and have a seat. Thank you for waiting. I’ve reviewed my notes from your assessment interview, and the psychological testing, and I’m ready to share with you my conclusions. I have to start out with a little explanation.
All of us, you, I, and everyone else has as a part of their psychological makeup things called “personality traits”. These are enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the world around us, and ourselves. These traits are not limited to specific situations or time of life. Sometimes these personality traits can become very powerful and cause significant problems in our daily functioning. The traits that define the disorder are ego-syntonic, and may not be apparent to you. I believe that’s what’s going on with you. I believe your problem is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with a couple of Antisocial Personality Disorder traits as well. My explanation of my diagnosis may be hard for you to listen to, but bear with me. I believe I can help you work through this.
Let’s start with why I’ve diagnosed you with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There is a set of 9 criteria for this disorder, with a total of 5 having to be met for this diagnosis to be made. I see six of them in you. Let me tell you about the criteria I see you meeting and give some examples that you’ve shared with me in the assessment interview.
The first criteria I see you meeting is a grandiose sense of self-importance; for example, exaggerates achievements, or expecting to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements. You proclaim yourself to be the “Land of Opportunity”. Is that still true of you? You have a growing income disparity, with more and more income going to the upper class. That’s resulted in a shrinking middle class with more and more people falling into the status of low income. You’ve shipped millions of jobs overseas, and are busy cutting education and job training programs in the name of austerity. Can you really say that you are the “Land of Opportunity”?
Another criteria you meet is a believe that he or she is special or unique and can only be understood by or associate with other special, high purpose persons and institutions. You’ve long held a belief in something you call “American Exceptionalism”. You believe you’re specially favored by God. You don’t believe that any other country on earth is your equal.
Then we have a sense of entitlement, unreasonable expectations of specially favored treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations. You are doing a lot of saber-rattling concerning Iran and their nuclear program. You accuse them of trying to develop a nuclear weapon, when the three National Intelligence Estimates on Iran conducted over the last nine years, which summarize the intelligence estimates of all sixteen of your government’s intelligence services, have concluded that Iran ended their nuclear program in 2003. You’ve joined with Israel in a program to murder Iranian scientists involved in their nuclear program, and have launched cyber attaacks on Iran’s computer systems. You’ve established military bases in the countries surrounding Iran. You’ve long had a nuclear energy program, and you expect Iran to simply drop theirs. You expect them to simply comply with your expectations.
The next criteria I see you meeting is that you’re exploitative of others, that you take advantage of others to meet your needs. America, you’ve had a long history of supporting brutal dictators because you shared a common enemy. For a long time Saddam Hussein was you man in Iraq even though he brutalized the people of his country. You even supplied him with the materials to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, which was the pretext for your invasion of Iraq in 2003. And let’s not forget about your troubles with Iran. Back in 1954 you participated with England in the overthrow of their democratically-elected Premier Mossadeqh and installed as the head of their government the Shah of Iran, who negotiated a contract giving control of all of Iran’s oil to western oil companies. The people of Iran did not receive any financial benefit from the oil under their country. Every penny of benefit went to those western oil companies.
The fifth criteria that I see you meeting is that you lack empathy and are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. Remember what you, England and France did to Haiti after Haiti’s revolution, winning independence from France? Despite the fact that shortly before that you had your own revolution and won your independence from England, you joined with England and France to establish a naval blockade of Haiti. You helped to thwart the economic and political development of Haiti, making them a permanently impoverished country. Then, to pour salt in their wounds, you, England and France forced Haiti to pay millions of dollars in compensation for the expenses you incurred during the blockade. Haiti was unable to pay off that debt until shortly after World War Two. Why were you unable to recognize or identify with the people of Haiti when they had come through an experience identical to your own?
The final criteria I see you meeting is that you show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes. Look in the mirror, America. There’s a reason that you became known as “Ugly Americans” when yo traveled abroad.
I mentioned that I see a couple of Antisocial Personality Disorder traits in you. The first of those is impulsivity or failure to plan ahead. Do Iraq and Afghanistan ring a bell? You invaded those countries and waged war with them without having in place a clear exit strategy. You handcuffed your efforts in Afghanistan by pulling resources from that war to carry out your invasion of Iraq. Your actions with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan are clear examples of impulsivity and failure to plan ahead.
The second trait of Antisocial Personality Disorder that I see in you is a lack of remorse as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another. An example of that is your actions during the Iraq/Iran War thirty years ago. You sold weapons to both sides. You openly supplied Iraq with weapons, and then began to sell weapons to Iran through Israel in the Iran-Contra affair. The Iraq/Iran War was an incredibly bloody war with millions of casualties. Have you done any soul-searching at all about your role in the suffering you helped bring to the people of those countries?
America, I believe your Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder traits are being fueled by dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs which have led to your dysfunctional psyche. Here are the first tow that I believe we need to address.
Let’s call the first “The Myth of the Selfmade Man”. I know all about Horatio Alger’s stories about people rising out of poverty and lifting themselves up by the bootstraps to become wealthy and successful. That is a myth because it ignores the reality that there are many people beyond the scenes who have played important roles in helping that person achieve success; they did not do it all by their lonesome. They may have benefited from a student loan or grant from the federal government. When they were ready to start their business they may have benefited from a federal Small Business Administration loan. As their business developed and grew they had assistance from the commons; those things that we share together, from parks and clean water to scientific knowledge and the internet, to the roads and highways the business used to ship and receive goods, to the police and fire departments that protected the business.
“The Myth of the Selfmade Man” fuels your Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder traits because the belief that you can do it all by yourself minimizes the importance of the commons and thus fuels the dysfunction. If you believe you can do it all by yourself you place no importance on the commons. You are willing to accept cuts in education, police, fire, the roads, environmental protection, in the name of austerity budgets. You need a strong commons to grow and develop. Weakening the commons weakens you and damages your functioning.
The second dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs I see in you is your belief that there is none better than you and there is nothing you can learn from the experience of others. Look at what happened with your health care reform law. During those long months of debating the law, not once did you look at other countries to see what they were doing that you might adapt for your own reform. Every other nation in the industrial world has some form of a single-payer system. You are the only one who is still using an employment-based model for health care. What has your stubbornness brought you with regard to health care? The World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems has your system in 37th place, between Costa Rica and Slovenia. You are in 24th place in terms of life expectancy, between Israel and Cyprus. From 2000-2005 you were ranked second on the rankings of total expenditures on health as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. Your friends Canada was 18th and the United Kingdom was 41st. You are not getting a bang for your buck where health care is concerned. Health care spending makes up a greater share of your economy than almost any other country. You’re spending exceptional amounts of money on health care and getting middle of the pack results. Despite that, you refused to consider what other countries who are spending less on health care and getting better results are doing.
What I’d like to do with you, America, is Cognitive Therapy. I want to work with you on changing those dysfunctional thoughts and belie….Hey! Where are you going America? Accepting and understanding your problems is the first step in dealing with them. I want to help you do that. Don’t go……