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By Jason Miller

Thomas Paine's Corner

Cluster B Personality Disorders

1776.0 Americanistic Personality Disorder

The essential features of Americanistic Personality Disorder include pervasive patterns of extreme self-absorption, profound and long-term lapses in empathy, a deep disregard for the well-being of others, a powerful aversion to intellectual honesty and reality, and a grossly exaggerated sense of the importance of one’s self and one’s nation. These patterns emerge in infancy, manifest themselves in nearly all contexts, and often become pathological.

These patterns have also been characterized as sociopathic, or colloquially as the "Ugly American Syndrome." Note that the latter terminology carries too benign a connotation to accurately describe an individual afflicted with such a dangerous perversion of character.

For this diagnosis to be given, the individual must be deeply immersed in the flag-waving, nationalistic, and militaristic fervor derived primarily from the nearly perpetual barrage of reality warping emanations of the "mainstream media," most commonly through the medium of television. Typically indoctrinated from birth to believe that they are morally superior, exceptional human beings, these individuals suffer from severe egocentrism, a condition further engendered by the prevalence of the acutely toxic dominant paradigm known as capitalism.

Individuals with Americanistic Personality Disorder are generally covertly racist, xenophobic, and openly speciesistic. They readily participate in the execution of heinous crimes against human and non-human animals, even if their complicity is banal and limited. As long as they are comfortable, safe, and enjoying the relative affluence and convenience afforded by their nation’s economic extortion, cultural genocide, rape of other species and the environment, and imperial conquests, such individuals display an apathetic disregard for the well-being of other human beings, sentient creatures, and the environment.

Individuals with Americanistic Personality Disorder tend to exhibit unabated greed and an insatiable desire for material goods. Fueled by a compulsion to shop and acquire excessive amounts of material goods, a condition sometimes referred to as consumerism, they have no regard for the misery and destruction caused by their pathological need for "more stuff". When confronted with the finitude and fragility of the Earth, they frequently react with level one ego defenses by denying that their behavior is a part of the problem or by distorting reality by asserting that concerns about Climate Change, resource depletion, and irreversible damage to the environment are over-blown. Their deeply entrenched sense of entitlement renders excessive consumption a nearly immutable aspect of their behavior.

Individuals with Americanistic Personality Disorder are virtually devoid of empathy or compassion. They view life as a game played by "law of the jungle" rules and co-exist with others in a chronic state of hyper-competitiveness, seeking only to advance their careers and "keep up with the Joneses." Their desire to win, get ahead and "protect what is theirs" has been so deeply etched into their psyches that their capacity to empathize and experience true concern for the well-being of others is severely stunted or extinguished. The pursuit of property, profit, and power rules their malformed psyches, nearly eliminating their capacity for humane behavior.

Individuals with Americanistic Personality Disorder almost always rely on extortion or violence to get their needs met and to resolve conflict. Believing in their inherent superiority, they eschew laws or rules except when they can utilize them for personal gain or when they fear punishment. Given a choice between a just resolution to a situation and the opportunity to humiliate, subdue, or subjugate the other party, they will choose the latter with a high degree of frequency. They have an amazing capacity to justify their unethical or criminal behavior using false pretexts such as self defense, good intentions, ignorance of the consequences of their actions, or asserting that they were merely carrying out orders.

Individuals with Americanistic Personality Disorder tend to manifest traits indicative of two of Erich Fromm’s personality orientations. They thrive on adding to their possessions, and appreciate their acquisitions more when they attain them through coercion, theft, or manipulation, thus showing strains of Fromm’s exploitative type. They also exist at a very superficial level, offering the world the "friendly face" of the marketing personality that Bernays and Madison Avenue have taught them is the most effective way of advancing their selfish agenda. Opportunism, careerism, and narcissism poison nearly all of their interactions and relationships.

Specific Culture Features

Americanistic Personality Disorder appears to prevail in a very high percentage of those in the upper strata of the socioeconomic order in the United States (and to persist tenaciously because these individuals have little motivation to alter their pathological behavior as they are largely immune from the consequences of their actions). While it is epidemic amongst the opulent, this characterological deficiency does not recognize socioeconomic boundaries. Various segments of the middle, working and impoverished classes comprise a notable percentage of those exhibiting this condition, including those practicing deeply conservative Christianity, many residents of reactionary states such as those in the south, Kansas, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, and many members of the Republican Party.


The overall prevalence of Americanistic Personality Disorder was recently measured at approximately 35% of the overall population in the United States.

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Diagnostic Criteria for 1776.0 Americanistic Personality Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of greed, selfishness, and lack of empathy, beginning the moment he or she begins to intellectualize and presented in nearly all contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. lacks empathy due to an excessive degree of self-absorption
  1. believes that he or she is exceptional and morally superior
  1. frequently engages in exploitative behaviors
  1. requires frequent acquisition of goods he or she doesn’t need
  1. usually resorts to some form of overt or covert violence, coercion, or extortion to resolve conflicts
  1. perceives others as obstacles to his or her "success"
  1. disregards laws and rules except as a means to achieve his or her agenda
  1. demonstrates deep hypocrisy by projecting a righteous, benevolent image while committing reprehensible acts
  1. refuses to accept the consequences of his or her actions

Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor ( and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at You can reach him at

Originally posted to Jason Miller on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:18 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Half of all IQ's are equal to or less than 100! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, luckylizard
    •  That goes a long way toward explaining it . . . (3+ / 0-)

      but still - 35%??????????

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:23:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are they not men? No, they are devo. It seems (0+ / 0-)

        this proves the theory that they really are devolved.

        Also these devolved American Personality Disordered individuals are incapable of appreciating any sound pattern other than the most imbicilic, ie. barbaric rap/country/metal grunting and do not understand singing, melodic synthesizers and 3/4 beats.

        Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

        by doinaheckuvanutjob on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 03:49:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If the writer is right that most of these people (0+ / 0-)

      are in the upper socioeconomic strata of our society, the intelligence of most of them is likely to be above average.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:09:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it may be the form of the questions (6+ / 0-)

    used by the pollsters.  For example, if the question is:

    Q.  Do you support the President of the United States?

    I think you might get a higher percentage of positive response than seems reasonable.

    On the other hand, if you phrase the question properly . . .

    Q.  You telling me you support that fucking moron?

    I think you get a far more reliable indicator of public sentiment.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:22:40 PM PDT

  •  American exceptionalism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, luckylizard

    is at the heart of this mindset.  Given the ideals and principles upon which this nation was created, such an attitude is (or was) understandable.  We were supposed to be "a light unto the nations" a designation God himself had previously bestowed upon the nation of Israel.  A republic founded upon the Enlightenment principles of brotherhood, equality and reason.  What's not to respect and admire?

    We haven't done so well with that, have we?  Even though we were ultimately as vulnerable to imperialsim, greed and selfishness as any monarchy, our children are still today taught from the beginning that America is special.  I tolerate this because I think deep down that we are special and unique.  Our history should serve as an abject lesson to our children of the evils of hubris and smug superiority.  If we could stick to our founding documents, we would actually have the moral and intellectual authority to lead the world towards a better place.

    As it is, we have no business trying to force our way of life on anyone until we get back to what this nation was SUPPOSED to be...

    Defend marriage. Make divorce illegal.

    by jarhead5536 on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:26:39 PM PDT

  •  Some people just can't admit they made a mistake (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, luckylizard

    (ie voting for Bush)

  •  Also observed: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Profound distrust of those with character traits which include empathy, honesty, inclusiveness, honor and progressive ideation.  Persistent opposition to these characteristics."

    I note the lack of suggested therapies.  I sometimes wonder if this disorder is, in fact, incurable.

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:53:13 PM PDT

  •  Predates the USA don't you think: (0+ / 0-)

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:57:00 PM PDT

    •  (don't hit Return, whatever you do) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Be it thy course, to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels."  Shakespear, Henry IV II.  

      Hatred of otherness, and a robust belief that might makes right, go deep, deep into our history and beyond -- into our gene pool.  Our lizard brain. Beloved of demagogues ever since there were any.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:00:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  35% of Americans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can't wipe their ass with both hands. Questions ?

  •  The Late Saint Kurt's Diagnosis... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, ExStr8, luckylizard

    found in God Bless You Mr. Rosewater:

    Samaritophobia: hysterical indifference to the problems of those less fortunate than oneself.

    `Il bene commune è quello che fa grandi le città' -- Machiavelli

    by angry blue planet on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:22:23 PM PDT

  •  harsh! (0+ / 0-)

    it's been my experience that most folks who still "support" Bush are middle class or lower and cling to an uninformed illusion that they are patriots. They are generally good people who are sentimental and have a hard time accepting that they have been hosed. It is akin to someone who has been conned--great reluctsance to see themselves as suckers.  

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