Most Americans don't even realize that we have been propagandized to the point that when certain words are mentioned, we automatically display a negative or a positive response. Psychologists call this, a semantic reaction. For example, when we hear someone talking about Communism, Islam, Iran, ISIS, etc. we are expected to go ugh, accompanied by a dour expression. When we hear terms like patriotism, military service, freedom, capitalism, etc. we are conditioned to involuntarily puff up with pride. We are continually being trained to react favorably or unfavorably—even if we know or care little or nothing about the subject mentioned.
How does this happen in a "free-thinking" society where people pride themselves on living in the greatest country on Earth? Perhaps it's because we aren't really free-thinkers after all.
The uproar about the recent proposed nuclear agreement with Iran has the TV pundits in a dither. You can hardly turn on a political program without being assaulted by streams of rhetoric about this proposed treaty. After listening for a while, an unbiased observer might reasonably have a number of questions that, strangely, aren't being asked. We are told to take the arguments presented about the "untrustworthy" Iranians at face value—no proof required.
The anti-treaty folks seem to have fallen in love with the "straw man" logical fallacy. The first line of defense is that Iran could use nuclear weapons to attack Israel (even though this would be national suicide). Also, Iran could transfer these weapons to a hostile third party. Or they could use them to invade one of its neighbors. Or allow it to increase its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Everyone would respond to these concerns with a rousing NO because these are so hypothetically extreme that anybody in their right mind would reflexively reject them.
One could ask why the same anti-Iran arguments do not apply to all members of the atomic weapons club. Does the US have a right to nukes because we are the "good guys," and would only use them responsibly (as if there is such a thing)? Is a nuclear-tipped Iran, who has not invaded any country since 1798, really the dangerous player in this scenario? Why do these discussions not also bring into question Israel's right to have such weapons? This last issue seems to be off limits for discussion by any of our esteemed pundits.
Finally, the argument is posited that an Iran with nuclear weapons would remain a persistent source of instability in the Middle East. Apparently Israel's and Pakistan's nukes do not give rise to the same concern. Why, Iran could resort to coercive diplomacy (and behave like guess who?).
Unfortunately, the public position of many of our legislators—along with the requisite amount chest-thumping--is to display hostility to any treaty with Iran. In effect, they believe that the public has been fed enough fear that it will not question their conclusion: Such a treaty is a bad idea.
Lost in the rush to knock these straw men down, is any rational discussion about eliminating nuclear weapons altogether. This country club wants to retain its monopoly and doesn't want any new members.