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How would you respond to this?

Dan Stevenson

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I can only go by my own experience on the subject of conspiracy and paranoia.

In my youth I accepted the Warren Commission findings because that was what the government said happened. This was America and we had to trust our leaders. Even when I had watched Ruby shoot Oswald on TV, the idea of a conspiracy didn’t even cross my mind. As best as I can recall, I thought that Oswald got what he deserved. Thanks, Jack.

Was I paranoid yet? No, I was a sheep.

I remember reading a review of Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment in Time Magazine. The book sounded interesting, but Time basically poo-pooed it, so I figured Time had it right. I mean, it was Time Magazine!

Was I paranoid yet? No, it was Mark Lane who was sick.

Fast forward to the HSCA report, concluding that there was probably a conspiracy. I thought, well, it looks like Oswald may have had someone help him. It’s too bad that the guy got away.

Was I paranoid yet? No, I was still grazing contentedly in the government’s pasture.

Now to the 1980s. I was a librarian, and my library got a copy of David Lifton’s Best Evidence. The subtitle about “Disguise and Deception” clearly suggested conspiracy surrounding the assassination and autopsy. I refused to read it. The book was thick and why should I waste my time? This Lifton had clearly concocted a bunch of crap to make a lot of money.

Was I paranoid yet? No, I was now a middle-aged SHEEP.

I think the first conspiracy book I read was Jim Marrs’s Crossfire, and only because my brother recommended it. It was only then that I sat down and read Best Evidence and other books on the subject. So did paranoia lead me to believe in conspiracy? No, my belief was the result of sitting down and reading the obvious evidence for conspiracy for the first time in my sheepish life.

Am I paranoid now? You bet, that’s what truth will do to you, It poisons the mind. I’m now just as sick as anyone else here.

Excellent post, Ron.

I started getting "sick" while I was in law school and happened to see Oliver Stone's somewhat fictionalized JFK which motivated me to start reading Crossfire and Best Evidence and a couple of other books, as well.

Haven't been the same since.

Thanks for sharing.

--Tommy :sun

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  • 2 years later...


You certainly raised an interesting issue. Is it normal to see a conspiracy in the case which the government concluded was not a conspiracy? It means to go against the leaders of own country. What a despicable thing is to question the legitimacy of the post-assassination governments. Why would anyone do this? My point is that it is not easy  to be a conspiracy researcher because some residual feelings of guilt and fear are always invoked by the conspiracy standpoint. To this, we have the paranoia view of the world which appears to be heavily represented among the conspiracy researchers. However,  paranoia is actually an evolutionary device helping to anticipate potentially threatening actions of potential enemies. Paranoia type of thinking was behind the arm race during the Cold war - each side suspected that the other party might  attack them and increased its investments into weapons. I am sure that many outstanding scientist have quite a good endowment for paranoia thinking. This helps them to see subtle, sub-threshold cues which cues are otherwise deemed inconspicuous by the less paranoia thinking people.

The paranoia type of thinking among the conspiracy researchers varies and it is important to be aware of its consequences. A too eager paranoia thinker will consider every testimony and every photograph as false or altered. In more serious cases, a "researcher" would design his/her own story which appears completely plausible but it just cannot be supported by one single piece of evidence.

The JFK researchers appear to be prone to be addicted to their research. It is interesting to see how Jim Garrison in the JFK movie stopped to attend the family events and steered all his activities towards one goal, costing him his family life. It would be a serious blow to some JFK researchers if the case was suddenly solved e.g., by the soon to occur release of new documents, because it appears that the case has absorbed their entire lives. A detachment from the case and periods of abstinence are important to avoid the risk to be swallowed by the JFK case. 

So, where does the truth start and where does our paranoia thinking alter the reality? Sticking to the facts, verifying the facts, being aware of own conspiracy thinking, checking "natural" explanations in the first place, being moderate in expressions, always allow a space for doubt or error, some level of detachment, and tolerance to opposing views, are maybe the tools to use. 


Edited by Andrej Stancak
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On 3/28/2017 at 2:58 AM, Kirk Gallaway said:

I find this interesting Dan. I see I'm going to need more than those 2 paragraphs to get a good understanding of your direction, but I'm unable to open that link. Maybe tomorrow.

Here is a link to a Harpers Magazine printing with a PDF option.




Edited by Michael Clark
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