can explain how something that is by definition a thermodynamic quantity could have nothing to do with the laws of thermodynamics
That is easy: simply read up the laws of thermodynamics.
Joule is a measure for energy. It does not matter what kind of energy.
The enthalpy you get is for the whole "mass" participating in the reaction, not for single bonds. If you want to calculate the enthalpy per bond, that does not make the single bond a thing which is covered by thermodynamics.
The fact that you either have to add heat (endothermic) or gain heat (exothermic) does not make anything covered by "laws of thermodynamics", just because the dreaded term "thermo" is in it.
That wasn't a pun. If you can find something that forms polymers without having to have energy added to the system in any way, shape, Who said this? I did not. I only said: this is not thermodynamics. Which it is not.
and give me a citation from a peer-reviewed journal to verify it, I'll be impressed. I am not, however, going to do the search for you. search your self, no one claimed such nonsense.
It's not anywhere near the area of chemistry I chose to specialize in. No problem: thermodynamics is pure physics (not chemistry) and has nothing to do below or above of molecule level of idealized gases, oops! It has nothing to do with breaking up any molecules, or the forming of any, oops again!
The laws of thermodynamics come into account e.g. if you burn gasoline in an engine. The enthalpy of the reaction results in heated H2O and CO2 (this was chemistry) and unburned nitrogen and oxygen. The total _heat_ produced will _expand_ the gas mixture, or in other words, in the confined chamber of the engine, the heat of the gas mixture will correspond to a certain _pressure_, which will lead to expansion and pushing the piston (this was physics): this is what thermodynamics is about: heat, pressure, volume of gases and the usefulness of either of them in heat engines.
A bond consists in its simplest cases of electron pairs (or simply an ionic bond): they neither have heat, nor pressure nor any conceivable volume, hence: they are not covered by "the laws of thermodynamics".