portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

The new Nero

But the United States has also become a pathocracy, that is, a regime that is neurotic in essence, the leaders of which are, quite simply, psychopaths. I offer the hypothesis that the American president is personally suffering from a paranoid psychosis and that the quartet he has formed with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld constitutes a government that is both theocratic and pathocratic.
The new Nero
The new Nero
The new Nero

By Francois de Bernard

 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=278606&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

A new pathology is ravaging the city. It has taken control of the neurons of the empire. First it infected the emperor himself and then it was transmitted to his oligarchs. First it took control of the center and now it is shaking the peripheries, from north to south and from east to west. Now, at the height of its fury, the incredulity has given way to stupor.

This is the feeling that is giving rise to an unbearable and diffuse malaise among "experts" as well as among "ordinary citizens." This is an indisputable intuition, which has been persistently rejected because it is unacceptable.

How can we admit that we have returned to the worst hours of the Roman Empire, those that bear the tragic seal of Caligula and Nero? How is it possible now, in our day, when supposedly there is the most comprehensive application of "democracy" in the history of humanity, to accept the idea that the most "developed," wealthy and powerful nation in the world has a leadership that has come down with a devastating psychosis?

Indeed, everything is impelling us to minimize the gravity of this matter, insofar as possible. But the time has come for us to open our eyes. The time has come to forget the old idea - forged during the course of two centuries - of the United States as the bridgehead of the "free world" and "democracy."

The reality that we are trying to keep at a distance is that the United States has become a theocracy and a pathocracy. It has become a theocracy because nearly all the important decisions of President George W. Bush's administration are taken "in the name of God" - an angry and vengeful God, not a God of love and compassion - and because this system is not encountering any serious opposition on the part of the legislative and legal institutions, not to mention the media.

We are Democracy, by the will of our angry God, and our role is to promote it in His name and for His sake. The fact that this democracy has only a marginal and metaphorical connection to 2,500 years of political tradition is of no importance. The self-definition and the self-justification are the two breasts of the empire. Just as the United Nations is a negligible factor that can be ignored when it opposes our plans, we were established in order to impose on the rest of the world the idea of democracy that corresponds only to our convictions.

For two years now - and increasingly since September 11, 2001, there has been a great deal of focus in the discourse on the subject of "good and evil" and the strategy derived from it with respect to the "axis of evil." This has generally been based on the return, in full force, of the primitive moralizing that runs through a large part of the political and intellectual history of the United States. But in fact, it is something of an entirely different nature. It is the brutal transformation of an oligarchic republic tinged with democracy into a republic that is essentially theocratic.

If we realize this, then it is possible to understand that everything becomes possible from the point of view of Bush's administration, from the rejection of the Kyoto treaty to the perpetuation of the death penalty, from the attempt to marginalize the UN to the approaching exit from the World Trade Organization, from the war in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq.

But the United States has also become a pathocracy, that is, a regime that is neurotic in essence, the leaders of which are, quite simply, psychopaths. I offer the hypothesis that the American president is personally suffering from a paranoid psychosis and that the quartet he has formed with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld constitutes a government that is both theocratic and pathocratic.

Therefore we must not slip into the ordinary plaint that claims: "He's crazy, they're all crazy." It is necessary to understand the extent to which the new Emperor, his principal advisers and those who carry out his directives have brought the most disturbing pathology into the heart of the world empire.

In order to judge whether this is indeed the case, it is enough to read the full texts of the speeches that are published on the White House Internet site (whitehouse.gov) and the statements by the quartet on the State Department site. A study of the videotapes of the president's appearances is also recommended. These sources set forth a worldview that is intrinsically paranoid, imbued with visions of the most regressive Crusades, drenched in a frightening symbolism that sees any external opposition as evidence of crime and in which every decision and every action bear the seal of a vengeful divinity.

I recommend all citizens of the world judge for themselves. The time has come to move from vague intuitions to diagnosis. Sigmund Freud, who so appositely revealed president Woodrow Wilson's pathology - come back!

Francois de Bernard is a philosopher and writer. Among his recent works are "La Pauverte durable" (2002) and "Parthenia 2050" (2003). This article was originally published in Liberation on March 26.

homepage: homepage: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=278606&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
address: address: Ha'aretz