Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Greg Burnham

Fetzer and guilt by association

Recommended Posts

As most of you know, Jim Fetzer and I were once very close friends. This friendship began nearly two decades ago because we both were involved in several JFK seminars and conferences together. We remained close until I began to notice a pattern of disturbing behavior. While Jim has never been very accepting of the dissenting opinions of others, until recently he wasn't willing to abandon critical thinking in order to prove his point or best an opponent. Sure, sometimes he'd stretch it pretty thin, but not abandon it. However, that show of self-restraint apparently had been dwindling for quite some time. I missed its decline because I had not been visiting the forums for over 2 years and I wasn't a member of Lancer, the Education Forum (EF), or the Deep Politics Forum (DPF) where he regularly contributed.

When I joined EF at Jim's request, in order to share my impression of (and report the content of my interview with) Judyth Vary Baker, I witnessed a continuing pattern of disturbing behavior, namely: a growing disregard and indeed disdain for fellow researchers with whom he disagreed, irrespective of the good faith shown by select opposing researcher(s). I addressed this behavior in several private emails and telephone conversations with Jim to no avail. Eventually, we had a semi-public meltdown on this forum, as I, like others before me, increasingly became a target of his ire.

Today, as the result not only of the personally insulting manner in which I was treated, but more importantly, due to his apparent complete disregard for the "rules of engagement" to which he once pledged allegiance, we have no contact at all beyond an occasional group email that he carbon copies to me. Having said that, I still wish him the best.

My current concern has to do with the health of the research community. Every once in a while an individual comes along that has a tremendous amount to offer toward the discovery of truth in the JFK assassination case. These rare individuals are able to help to bring about a unification of efforts between practitioners of disparate disciplines. Such leadership has the potential to ultimately yield corroborative results and profound discoveries. Jim Fetzer is, or at least once was, one such individual. His knowledge of the facts of the case is nearly encyclopedic in scope, his analytical ability second to none, and his ability to articulate the salient points is unmatched. His past contribution has been nothing less than outstanding. Emphasis on the word: past. It is for this reason that I am gravely concerned when I read the volumes of his recent writings.

I have rejected the unfounded claim by many in the mainstream media that those of us who study the history and politics of conspiracy are therefore conspiracy theorists. A conspiracy theorist offers speculation, a “theory” if you will, as to what happened. The authors of conspiracy theories share a universal trait: They are absolutely convinced of their theory to the exclusion of all else notwithstanding the discovery of evidence to the contrary. In the world of science and of law such a self-centered predilection is counterintuitive to the discovery of the truth.

Many of us in the research community have taken considerable care and have exerted great attention to this detail. It is all too easy to fall in love with one’s own pet theory in a narcissistically delusional and ultimately self-defeating exercise in futility. Because we do not know exactly what happened, we should not claim to know exactly what happened. However, we DO know what did NOT happen. This is an important distinction. When it is demonstrable that not only is the official story false, but that the officials themselves knew that the story was false and continued to promote it: That is a deep political conspiracy—with no “theory” involved.

I am not suggesting that a degree of healthy exploration is unwarranted. Indeed, go to where the evidence leads, but remain open minded. As a rule of thumb, a great researcher does not fall in love with the image of their conspiracy theory to the exclusion of compelling evidence to the contrary. Rather, compelling evidence--contrary or otherwise--should appropriately modify our beliefs. The most recent work by Jim Fetzer reflects his lack of willingness to consider evidence that runs contrary to his thesis. Instead, he dismisses inconvenient facts out of hand.

As the 50th anniversary rapidly approaches I regret that I find myself in the awkward position of having to publically denounce the recent work of Jim Fetzer in order to distance myself from it and not be unduly associated with it. This especially includes his: “Oswald was in the doorway after all!” … And much more.

I do not wish to trample on my former friend’s reputation. I simply will not be associated with it or him any longer.

Greg Burnham

November 4, 2012

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As most of you know, Jim Fetzer and I were once very close friends. This friendship began nearly two decades ago because we both were involved in several JFK seminars and conferences together. We remained close until I began to notice a pattern of disturbing behavior. While Jim has never been very accepting of the dissenting opinions of others, until recently he wasn't willing to abandon critical thinking in order to prove his point or best an opponent. Sure, sometimes he'd stretch it pretty thin, but not abandon it. However, that show of self-restraint apparently had been dwindling for quite some time. I missed its decline because I had not been visiting the forums for over 2 years and I wasn't a member of Lancer, the Education Forum (EF), or the Deep Politics Forum (DPF) where he regularly contributed.

[...]

I do not wish to trample on my former friend’s reputation. I simply will not be associated with it or him any longer.

Greg Burnham

November 4, 2012

Ironic I was attacked for making similar observations about him a few years back.

Edited by Len Colby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much of Burnham's post is solid. I would suggest, though, that Fetzer has done enough genuinely valuable work (OK, or he has PROMOTED enough valuable work!) that it is still well worth listening to what he has to say. Obviously, what anyone puts out there needs to be evaluated using a decent methodology. Condemning everything that a person says going forward because of past issues is no good. Read it, analyze it, and either integrate it into a useful perspective, or toss it in the trashcan. But don't immediately discount it because the name "Fetzer" precedes it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...