The long red carpet is being rolled out from Tehran, and we should all hope that what strolls out is copious amounts of pistachios, fancy rugs, and caviar. And oil… oh boy the oil! Yes, the big Iran Deal appears to have been pulled off, and like a man walking out into the sunlight after being in a pitch-black room for a few days, there is some heavy blinking going on. Freedom can be really exciting at first. For those of us who are “Non-Aggression Principle” libertarians, we applaud. When the principles of liberty gain some ground, we find the urge to dance, even when it’s in the middle of a terrible republic in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, U.S. neoconservatives aren’t so happy, and one has to wonder why. I know it sounds absurd to say that because we do know why the neocons aren’t happy about the Deal, but we ought to step back and look at the field, as it were, because this is really remarkable. The neocons are supposedly the freedom fighters of the world, and will use any means available to shove democracy down anybody’s throat. War is perhaps their favorite means, and any formal Just War Theory is replaced with a nebulous strategy of trying to out-guess Russia or protect Zionist interests. There could be other examples, but the bottom line is that these strategies are cooked up in that revolving door that connects the White House, Wall Street, and the military industries. These strategies are defended by appealing to freedom-minded ideas, and it is the countries that we occupy, invade, bomb, etc. that are the unfortunate pawns.
But here is what is remarkable about the Iran Deal. Foreign Policy issues have most often centered on political philosophies and ideologies that are at war. This has meant that US citizens have been at the mercy of their “expert” politicians who decide foreign policy actions. The common citizen doesn’t and can’t have all the intel that these sorts of decisions require, we are told. With the Iran Deal, however, objective science is the big elephant in the middle of the room (even though the neocons and the Israel lobbies have spent every lie possible to distract us into the corners). And this is not controversial science that we are talking about. This is not two respectable weathermen having a disagreement over global warming models. This is simple verification of facts. This is Sesame Street kind of easy. The question is: Does Iran have a nuclear weapons program, or not? No, they don’t. Okay, let’s move on to meddling somewhere else in the world then. No, wait a minute…
All of my neocon friends insist, “How do you know that Iran isn’t hiding a nuclear weapon facility somewhere? We can’t afford to trust the Iranians! They scream ‘Death to America,’ and ‘Death to Israel!’” Any chance of hidden Iranian nuclear weapons facilities has been adequately debunked, but they are not concerned with facts. They are not concerned with science. None of my friends have read the JCPOA, and very few of my friends could tell me the difference between fission and fusion, or even what an isotope is. At the end of the day, they will think whatever Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tell them to think about the Iran Deal. They could spend one hour in front of Google researching the objective facts about Iran, but the tickling of ears from the mouth of the likes of Cruz, Rubio, Hannity, et al is sufficient.
This is how partisan politics thrives: blindly accepting whatever your favorite politicians tell you and which is automatically the opposite view of the opposing political party. Hey, I am a recovering Rush Limbaugh-ite. A “ditto-er” I guess you could have called me, so I know how this works. But one of the first steps I took away from American conservatism was the realization that virtually every thing Limbaugh stood for was automatically opposed to the Democrat stance. Automatic. Same goes for Fox News today. It doesn’t matter what policy is being looked at, people love the game of politics, and naturally love to choose sides. This is a very sad thing.
When the science of the Iran Deal is explained, the subject is often turned by the neocons. They ask, “What will this do to our domestic oil industry? What about the interests of Californian pistachio growers?” “What of them?” I return. What, you neocons think it is morally justifiable to impose economic warfare on the innocent people of Iran so that our good ol’ boys at home can ensure their profits? You would enslave innocent people in one place in order to protect your twisted idea of freedom somewhere else? Yes, the neocons reply. And just as it is with war, principles mean nothing. Morality is subjective.
In closing, let me drive home the audacity of the neocon position on the Iran Deal. The deal is not based on a disagreement of ideologies, on something that cannot be easily grabbed on to intellectually. The deal is based on real-life, flesh and blood, on-the ground facts. Because this is so, those who have opposed the Iran Deal are not just your typical political liars. They are staring into your eyes, six inches from your face, and telling you that white is black.
Jeremy Bunch works in the field (literally and figuratively) of agricultural research, and moonlights as a blogger, writing on a diversity of subjects including libertarianism, whiskey, and culture. His twitter feed is at @jerbunch. Visit his website.