by Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub
“Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fearmongering to dupe average people into accepting–or even demanding–their own enslavement.”
― Larken Rose
In 1973 Niles Berejot coined the term “Stockholm Syndrome” to explain the reaction hostages displayed as they developed positive relations with their captors. This “syndrome” is an emotional response to a situation that normally fades over time. It is not a diagnosis of a medical or psychological condition requiring permanent long-term care.
As a former army Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) trainer and briefer, this syndrome was something we trained people to recognize and expect in a captivity situation. Knowledge of this syndrome is valuable to all who deal with people coming out of a captivity situation, and it applies to children and adults.
This opinion piece is not a treatise on the psychology of Stockholm Syndrome. Instead, it is written to explain how this syndrome not only applies to individuals but can also apply to groups and societies. Let us look at some of the conditions that can lead to a greater likelihood to develop this syndrome and compare those conditions to American society at large.
- Captives are often dehumanized for the captor to be able to subject them to often brutal treatment. If a captive is not dehumanized, the connection between the captor and captive can become almost amicable.
- A captive becomes reliant on the captor for basic needs. This creates a bond based on the desire to survive.
- At times, the captor and captive both survive in harsh conditions. This creates an environment of shared experience and a form of understanding between the two.
- Heightened emotional experiences over a long time draw the two together.
There is much more that could be discussed regarding this type of relationship. Children with abusive parents or coaches, human trafficking situations, and many others can develop the same connections.
America today is displaying a form of Stockholm Syndrome on a societal scale, and I would be willing to bet many inside our government agencies want that. Read the four conditions again, and I will show why I believe that in the case of the first two this assessment is accurate for most of America today.
It is a lot easier for a government to abuse the people of a nation when they have convinced themselves
“those people” are less than human. This is common in multiple types of captivity scenarios – from forced slavery to kidnapping and even in an abusive marriage. To make a person less than human is a necessary step to brutalizing them. In America, there are many forms of dehumanizing people.
- The abortion industry turns babies into a “clump of cells” easily discarded.
- The people of a nation are no longer treated as individuals but instead as “the masses.”
- Vaccines are mandated despite severe health consequences for so many. This is an example of collectivism over individualism. America was built on the fact that we are individuals first.
- Masks are also mandated for all, though they have no medical value for most of the population.
- Schoolchildren are indoctrinated in government schools to hate their society and divide people into tribes rather than learn how to work with people based on individual circumstances or merit. It is easier to dehumanize a group than an individual.
- Social media accomplishes this by turning individual humans into names to attack without consequence and without the need to engage in rational argumentation.
The number of people reliant on government handouts is far too many. I am not calling into question the earned retirement of those who worked faithfully and in good conscience for years. I instead refer to the type of reliance created by the numerous forms of support coming out of government today. Here are only a couple of examples.
- People are put into welfare or other forms of government dependency for income and basic needs including housing. These same people will tolerate many forms of abuse to ensure basic needs are met.
- The American reservation system. For those of us living in states with extensive reservation systems, we see what government dependency looks like at its worst.
The reasons leading to this situation are legion, but the result is the same – a people reliant on a government that is more than happy to keep people dependent and reduce the power of the individual. The same government is content to force people into forms of captivity and create division rather than unity and maintain power and control over them as a result.
America suffers from Stockholm Syndrome as a society. Those who refuse to take part are marginalized and turned into the enemy. Too many feel a strong sense of emotional connection to their captor, and it will take time to sever that connection.
Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub is a Co-founder of Restore Liberty, an international military strategist, and foreign policy analyst, an executive leadership coach, and serves on the boards of multiple volunteer national and state level organizations. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or its components.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.