By Ramy Osman
My wife forwarded an article to me called “10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America”. The author, Mark Manson, talks about his realization that America is not as great as Americans think it to be. He views America as his “alcoholic brother”, and that he needs to take a break from this destructive brother for some time. Although I don’t agree with everything he says, I applaud his realization and his courage to share it with others. What should probably come next for Mark is some therapy, followed by learning how to re-engage this destructive brother. He also includes a YouTube clip from HBO’s Newsroom in the article.
The clip gives a Hollywood explanation of why America is not the greatest country in the world… anymore that is. The problem with that clip is it says America used to be the greatest country in the world, is not the greatest country anymore, but still can be the greatest in the future. So Hollywood doesn’t help much in overcoming self-delusional greatness. On the contrary, Hollywood many times works to reinforce this self delusion (see the book “Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy”).
I think the whole idea of “American Greatness”, “America the World Super Power”, or “American Supremacy” is a problem in itself. I’m not going to deny that there are great things in America, or deny that great things have been accomplished by Americans. But I do challenge the idea that we Americans have exclusive claim to great things. Every people and country on earth has a legitimate claim to something they view as a great thing or accomplishment. But not everyone has the same view of greatness. So on some level, everyone can lay claim to greatness. But that does not mean that one group of people can claim that they are greater than the other, or that they are the greatest in the world. A claim like this can only lead to a supremacist world view. It does not encourage humility and mutual respect of others.
There’s an inherent danger in viewing oneself as great. It can lead to thoughts and actions of supremacy over others. I’m not talking about preserving ones personal dignity and self-respect. I’m talking about crossing the line where your sense of self-worth is overly inflated leading you to insult, oppress, suppress, or even kill others who are not like you. It’s an evil trend we’re all too familiar with. And it’s not an exclusively American trend either. It’s an exclusively human trend that must be fought against.
One of the problems of the “we’re the greatest” mentality is that when strong and powerful people or countries are afflicted with it, they end up causing more harm than good. Their collective arrogance and egos blind them. They believe they’re doing something good when in reality they’re not. The fact is, Hitler didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. Neither did his followers. Most people in history who are responsible for atrocities have done so because of a self-righteous view of themselves.
Which brings me to the title of my article, American Supremacy Disorder (or ASD). This is a mental disorder that has caused a lot of death and destruction internationally, and has caused a lot of oppression and suppression nationally. The people who have it are the ones who have crossed the line in regards to perception of their greatness. Sometimes we think of those with this mental disorder as the people who foam at the mouth when they chant “USA” or “go back to your country”. But the fact is, most Americans have many of the lesser known symptoms of ASD, and are unfortunately in denial of their disorder for most of their lives. Mark Manson mentioned some symptoms in his list of “10 Things”.
I’m sure other countries have their own version of Supremacy Disorder. And religions have followers with this disorder as well. Personally, I can say that some Muslims suffer from MSD (Muslim Supremacy Disorder) and I would hope to see a Muslim scholar address this in detail. But as for ASD, I wanted to add to the list of symptoms that can help in diagnosing it. I’m sure other make-believe mental health professionals can add to the list, but here’s my 10:
- They repeatedly recite the self-delusion mantra: “We’re the greatest country in the world!”;
- They complain about local inequality while insisting on a sense of entitlement that causes global inequality;
- They justify or are indifferent to American sponsored coups, assassinations, and sabotage around the world;
- They support bombing and occupying countries that never attacked us (i.e. there were no Iraqis or Afghanis part of the 9-11 attacks);
- They think that the only 9-11 in history happened in 2001 (On 9-11-1973, America sponsored a coup in Chile that killed their democratically elected president);
- They view half a million children who died in Iraq due to American imposed sanctions, to be collateral damage that was worth it;
- They don’t consider Muslim civilians killed by American bombs and bullets as innocent;
- They confuse America’s interests with Israel’s interests to the point that any criticism of Israel (or mention of Palestinian suffering) is considered anti-semitic and unpatriotic;
- They think that the people who hate us and attack us do so because of our “freedoms” (which is code word for ‘world supremacy’);
- They say if you oppose the Patriot Act then you’re unpatriotic.
> I thought to change the name from “disorder” to “syndrome”. It might be more befitting for those afflicted with it. So it would be “American Supremacy Syndrome”, or A.S.S.