The Irish Crimean:Anti-Historicism and America’s Mythical Exceptionalism


July 28, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Op-ed by Padraig Joseph McGrath – “The Irish Crimean”

A certain aspect of America’s essentially psychotic attitude to the rest of the world can be traced back to the simplified version of the Enlightenment absorbed by the founding fathers, and to the United States’ foundation-myth.

Try to put yourself inside the founding fathers’ mentality. So you constitute a new republic, and you tell yourself that this republic is special, because it is the first polis ever to entirely transcend the process of human history. No more sectarian wars, no more shitty feudal landlords, no more history – just perfected, ideologically neutral political institutions to mediate everything. Accordingly, you base your entire sense of patriotism on the design of your political institutions.

But this is all so utopian that it inevitably serves as the basis for a dehumanizing superiority-complex in relation to any other nation or people who still have a historically constituted sense of identity, a “Gewesenheit” (“having-been-ness”). Any cultural group of people whose patriotism is conceptualized through cultural rather than political institutions, any cultural group of people who don’t agree to get steamrolled and homogenized by the pseudo-neutrality of Big Capital and Big Science, any cultural group of people who still see religion and politics as mutually complimentary spheres of social life – THEY ARE ALL BACKWARD. THEY ARE ALL PRIMITIVE.

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Therefore, we are justified in dehumanizing them and claiming their natural resources. Their natural resources should serve our post-historical enlightenment, precisely because it is enlightenment….

Usually, the central developmental problem of the psychopath and/or the pathological narcissist (and there’s a lot of overlap between these two groups) is atrophied or incomplete ego-formation, perhaps due to dissociative experiences during early development. Owing to this basic lack of self-awareness, pathological narcissists and psychopaths are usually incapable of understanding other people as distinct selves, as distinct loci of subjectivity. This makes the pathological narcissist and the psychopath essentially incapable of empathy.

Isn’t cultural and political dehistoricization a kind of dissociative experience? What kind of ego-formation is possible in a historical vacuum? In such a historical vacuum, from where does the ego glean its content? And wouldn’t this kind of extreme, ideologically mandated “Ungewesenheit” (“un-having-been-ness”) be a huge cognitive barrier to empathy in relation to ANY cultural group which still has a “Gewesenheit?” Wouldn’t it inevitably lead you to have a dehumanizing attitude toward ANY people who still had a history?

In short, it is partially the ideologically mandated self-image of “Ungewesenheit” which is built into America’s political foundation-myth which leads it to have an essentially psychotic relationship with the rest of the world. American post-historical utopianism (which has been part of the American dream since the age of Enlightenment) is essentially psychotic.

Padraig McGrath was born in the Republic of Ireland in 1973. He has lived in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has published journalism and commentary on social and philosophical issues for a number of media for 15 years. He moved to Simferopol, Crimea in December 2013, 3 months before Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, and still lives there.

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