The logical fallacy of hasty generalization – or the mistake of drawing a conclusion from insufficient evidence – is a potent propagandistic tool wielded by the U.S. political and media establishment in their efforts to sell aggression to the American public, and the apparent push for war with Iran is a case in point. They’ll put out footage of Iranian street protests (or, in one case, a massive Bahraini demonstration passed off as an Iranian protest) or feature testimony from a handful of political dissidents in order to demonstrate that the entire country is yearning for "regime change"; all the people need, supposedly, is a little nudge from our military in order to get the ball rolling. This approach is not unlike what I observed when studying foreign media coverage of the Occupy protests several years ago; one got the impression that Americans were on the brink of a revolution (of course, the apparent objective in this case wasn’t to drum up support for a military intervention in the US, but to simply demonstrate that the emperor has no clothes).
The problem with this way of thinking can be illustrated as follows. Suppose that no more than 1% of the Iranian population were dissatisfied with the political establishment, and only 1% of that aggrieved segment called into some program on Voice of America (a US government-funded news network broadcasting to Farsi speakers around the world). In this hypothetical scenario, there would still be over 8,000 people prepared to air their grievances. Imagine just a fraction of these people calling in one by one to complain about the "regime". Would their collective testimony not give some people the impression that most of the country is prepared to overturn the political system? Yet this would be a fallacious conclusion to draw, given that it involves extrapolating from a tiny portion of the population to the whole country.
When the threat of force is your first argument that somebody should do something, you have no other. And there is no reason for Selective Service to exist, as exemplified by their tweet:
Some people don't want to register because they think "laws and government suck." But truth be told, failure to register is punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years. Also, failure to register results in a lifetime of denied benefits. #MythBusterspic.twitter.com/AeaucMeNQ3
Before discussing the Tweet, I should acknowledge that I don’t believe Selective Service should exist. Conscription is kidnapping. It’s involuntary servitude. Although we don’t have the draft today, Selective Service leaves open the possibility. It’s repugnant to the concept of a free society. It’s repugnant to the right to life.
President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal continues to backfire, as he is discovering that the other side can also exert “maximum pressure.” With the US out of the deal but still demanding a right to dictate the terms to those who remain in the deal, Iran is exercising its right within the deal to suspend abiding by the terms if other parties do the same. Where will this lead? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
As Iran exceeds limits on its stockpile of enriched nuclear material, the Trump hawks are screeching that Iran has broken the JCPOA nuclear agreement. They don’t want Americans to know that Iran’s reaction to the initial breach of agreement by the US is legal under the terms of the deal. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
President Trump made history over the weekend as the only US president to set foot in North Korean territory. After, he held talks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un for about an hour. Rather than point out the benefits of diplomacy over saber-rattling, however, Democrat leaders and candidates as well as the media slammed the president’s move. Do they have a point, or is Trump actually pursuing peace? We take a different view in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Stephen Kinzer comments on the creation of a new think tank, The Quincy Institute, committed to promoting a foreign policy of restraint and non-interventionism:
Since peaceful foreign policy was a founding principle of the United States, it’s appropriate that the name of this think tank harken back to history. It will be called the Quincy Institute, an homage to John Quincy Adams, who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on that live-and-let-live principle.
The creation of a think tank dedicated to “an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing” is very welcome news. Other than the Cato Institute, there has been nothing like this in Washington, and this tank’s focus will be entirely on foreign policy. The lack of institutional support has put advocates of peace and restraint at a disadvantage for a very long time, so it is encouraging to see that there is an effort underway to change that. The Quincy Institute represents another example of how antiwar progressives and conservatives can and should work together to change U.S. foreign policy for the better. The coalition opposed to the war on Yemen showed what Americans opposed to illegal and unnecessary war can do when they work towards a shared goal of peace and non-intervention, and this institute promises to be an important part of such efforts in the future. Considering how long the US has been waging war without end, there couldn’t be a better time for this.