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Does political ideology heavily influence assassination research?


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I’ve been struck by what a high percentage of those in the JFK assassination research community who accept the assassination as an elaborate conspiracy also seem to have left or far-left political leanings.

This really leaped out at me when I was reading Walt Brown’s chronology. I’m approximately the same age as Brown. It was clear that, at the time, the assassination to teenager Brown was a tragedy of epic, gut-wrenching proportions, one he still mourns deeply today (to a degree that I personally found discomforting to read about). It was also clear that his political leanings are far-left.

As I’ve paid more attention to this phenomenon, there seems to be a definite pattern going back to the earliest days of assassination research.

To teenager me, being from a completely apolitical household (I literally couldn’t tell you whether my parents were conservative or liberal, whether they voted for JFK or Nixon or at all), the assassination was interesting and exciting but nothing more than a historical event. I didn’t “mourn” it at the time and I don’t “mourn” it now. Today I view the Kennedys and the Bushes (and the Clintons, and the ... well, lots of others) as pretty much equal manifestations of Evil. I don’t attribute the current state of the country, deplorable as it may be, to the assassination of JFK. I attribute it to things like globalization, the influence of multi-national corporations, advances in technology, and the unfortunate reality that human nature is deeply flawed and money is, literally, God.

But if I did worship JFK, then and now, wouldn’t it be more difficult for me to accept that he was gunned down by a lone nut, a complete nobody or even a small group of irate Cuban exiles? Wouldn’t I psychologically need for his death to have more significance than this?

If I believed that the far-right was the biggest threat America faces today, wouldn’t I love to believe that a grand right-wing conspiracy had been responsible for the assassination and that the current state of the country was directly attributable to the assassination? Wouldn’t I love to imagine how different things would have been, what a liberal utopia we’d be living in, if JFK had lived?

Personally, I believe the assassination of JFK had some short-term significance but little long-term significance. If JFK had served eight years and been succeeded by RFK and even Teddy, I doubt the country would be much different today; and if it were, Evil would be no less rampant.

This is just an observation, which may be off-base. I do wonder, though, how much of what we are willing to accept or not accept about the assassination of JFK is heavily colored by our political ideology? I wonder how much it colors our view of the evidence, how much it accounts for the extreme emotions that seem to prevail in the assassination research community? Conspiracy Theorists are not merely venting at Lone Nutters but (as they see it) at representatives of the right-wing, gun-toting, military-worshipping mentality that killed JFK and is now destroying the country. And vice-versa for Lone Nutters railing at Conspiracy Theorists.

To quote my own blog, which I realize is kind of cheesy, “My voting record, as you might expect of an iconoclast, is a checkered one. I voted for Dubya once, but not twice. I voted for Obama twice, which can only be attributed to two separate bouts of temporary insanity. I voted for Reagan twice, or at least that’s my recollection. And so on and so forth, all the way back to the Nixon era.” I really don’t fit comfortably anywhere on the political spectrum. And – voila! – I am neither a committed Lone Nutter nor a committed Conspiracy Theorist, even though I am pretty well-acquainted with the evidence and theories.

Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but I wonder. The more JFK assassination materials I read, even those going back 35 or 45 years, the more I am struck by the notion, “This is not a perspective, these are not emotions, that can reasonably be attributed to the assassination per se. There is an underlying political ideology that is heavily coloring the author’s view of the evidence and the inferences he draws from that evidence.”

As I say, perhaps I am off-base. Or perhaps I am just stating the obvious.

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Lance, I think that it may have less to do with political ideology than with personal suspicions or even fear of government. I know a number of both liberals and conservatives who are anti-government and generally pro-conspiracy. Generally they look to conspiracy - or something on the order of deep politics - in regard to not just JFK or political assassinations but in incidents ranging from mysterious deaths and major events (from the OKC bombing through 9/11 to Sandy Hook). I'm not saying that does not translate into politics but I think it translates to both parties for different individuals.

And of course for some, it leads to virtually everything becoming a conspiracy, with hidden forces in control. That's a much broader world view than party politics.

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Lance - why do you read and post here?

It's not an intellectual game for me. And of course my view of the event is informed by my world view. That doesn't make it wrong. Facts can stand on their own regardless of ones point of view. The reason that most researchers and so called conspiracy researchers come at this from a so-called leftist position is that we care. One of our own was murdered, as was his brother. I certainly could never ascribe to the notion that the Kennedy's were no better than the Bushes. I can and do imagine a better world, while being full cognizant of how unlikely that is and always has been. One can understand history and see clearly the influence of money in the modern world and still hold idealistic views.

You seem very proud of your voting record while being blissfully unaware of the deep forces who are running things. I read your post and don't see the person you see youself as - a clear thinking man swimming against the tide. I see a man who is wearing blinders.

I would suggest in the first place that you stop using left and right so glibly. The whole dual nature of our political landscape is a false dichotomy that is better seen as divide and conquer by those really in control.

Can you at least concede that JFK's murder led directly to the death of tens of thousands of mostly poor American soldiers and ultimately millions of southeast Asains? Can you feel the pain of those deaths? Does my sympathy with the plight of the poor and powerless make me a 'left winger' whose views can then be summarily dismissed as biased?

I do care what you think. If I've made unfair assumptions please straighten me out.

Edited by Paul Brancato
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If anyone needed any more evidence about Lance, here it is:

If JFK had served eight years and been succeeded by RFK and even Teddy, I doubt the country would be much different today; and if it were, Evil would be no less rampant.

What this essentially says is that there was little difference between JFK and Johnson, and even less between RFK and Nixon.

​Anyone who can write such stuff has little or no command or knowledge of the history of the sixties and early seventies. To use just one example, because of the policies of LBJ, and then RMN, about 3.5 million people perished in Indochina. Including 58,000 Americans.

In 1965, the CIA coup in Indonesia, which brought Suharto to power and consigned Sukarno to house arrest, killed anywhere from 400,000 to a half million citizens. Indonesia now became an imperial pawn of the wealthiest and most dominant American and European interests, while the mass of its citizens lived in poverty.

Lance: I don't know what your definition of "evil" is, or what your definition of "rampant" is, but they do not equate with most people who do understand these things.

And BTW, politics has little to do with this. The man who wrote what I think is the best book on the whole JFK vs LBJ and Vietnam issue is a conservative, Professor John Newman.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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If anyone needed any more evidence about Lance, here it is:

If JFK had served eight years and been succeeded by RFK and even Teddy, I doubt the country would be much different today; and if it were, Evil would be no less rampant.

What this essentially says is that there was little difference between JFK and Johnson, and even less between RFK and Nixon.

​Anyone who can write such stuff has little or no command or knowledge of the history of the sixties and early seventies. To use just one example, because of the policies of LBJ, and then RMN, about 3.5 million people perished in Indochina. Including 58,000 Americans.

In 1965, the CIA coup in Indonesia, which brought Suharto to power and consigned Sukarno to house arrest, killed anywhere from 400,000 to a half million citizens. Indonesia now became an imperial pawn of the wealthiest and most dominant American and European interests, while the mass of its citizens lived in poverty.

Lance: I don't know what your definition of "evil" is, or what your definition of "rampant" is, but they do not equate with most people who do understand these things.

And BTW, politics has little to do with this. The man who wrote what I think is the best book on the whole JFK vs LBJ issue is a conservative, Professor John Newman.

Wow, I had the same reaction as Jim. Lance clearly knows nothing about the Kennedys. Yet is reading Walt's enormous chronology. Does not compute. And I have found that leftists are not conspiracy believers.

Edited by Dawn Meredith
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Colored by my political ideology to the extent that I prefer good government and good foreign policy to bad.

How evil would the world be today without the US and its backers having encouraged it in JFK's wake, for profit?

At the level of corporate and international influence of American politics - I no longer believe we have true party politics.

Party politics do not influence my distrust of Johnson over Vietnam, the USS Liberty incident, or other crimes and misdemeanors.

Edited by David Andrews
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I have voted democrat and republican in my forty plus years voting and in my view, a conspiracy to murder JFK is not a theory, it is a fact, waiting for further explanation.

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It was not my intention to step on the toes of those to whom JFK has become a figure of near-mythical proportions. Nothing like getting assassinated at a young age to gold-plate your legacy, as the saying goes; we can forever dream of the glorious things you would have done. Not everyone agrees that JFK’s plan to withdraw from Vietnam by the end of 1965 was unequivocal; in any event, we’ll never know what actually might have happened, what unanticipated circumstances might have intervened, or what unintended consequences might have resulted. I voted for Obama the first time precisely because I expected him to fulfill promises he failed miserably at keeping. We do know that JFK and RFK were deeply flawed human beings and politicians to the nth degree. There undoubtedly were at least some short- and perhaps mid-term consequences flowing from the assassination, but, tragic as some of them were, they were blips on the radar screen of history. I’m not being glib about JFK or the assassination, and I’m certainly not pretending to be a historian, but to suggest that I “know nothing” about the Kennedys or about the sixties and seventies because I decline to regard JFK as a Savior who would have transformed the nation if he had lived is slightly over the top. If I "know nothing," there are seemingly an awful lot of respected historians and JFK contemporaries who "know nothing" along with me.

My observation is simply that there appears to be near-worship of JFK and a pretty heavy tilt toward the left within the ranks of conspiracy theorists, particularly those who lean toward elaborate, highest-levels-of-government conspiracy theories, and I am simply wondering if this may not significantly color their view of the evidence. I don’t have enough familiarity with the Lone Nut community to know whether the opposite is true. I am not criticizing those who do – or don’t – worship the memory of JFK and favor grand, high-level conspiracy theories, merely observing and wondering. The grand, high-level conspiracy theories do strike me as the most implausible and the most reliant on conjecture, but they are also the ones that conveniently mesh with the view that our nation is in the state it’s in because fundamentally the same evildoers are in control today; understand who killed JFK and you’ll understand why we need to elect Hillary, or something like that. (FWIW, I have already cast my Presidential Preference mail ballot for wacky Bernie Sanders, not that I think it makes the slightest difference who is elected President.)

Anyway, some have suggested that my observation is incorrect or is without significance even if it is correct, so we’ll let it go.

As some of you may know, within the UFO community there is quite a sizable segment that believes the "deep forces" in control of the U.S. government are, yep, alien. Fall far enough down the rabbit hole and this can start to seem plausible.

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Lance, your excuse for not keeping your promise about leaving is that people keep on addressing you.

Yet, they keep on addressing you because you keep on saying, what i think, are deliberately provocative things. Like the above.

Like, for example, your "near-JFK worship" comment. And then you end again with comparing JFK with UFO's. Completely bogus.

There is no such thing as JFK hero worship, as least as far as I am concerned. There is a long delayed recognition of who Kennedy was and what he was doing. Why is it long delayed? Because this was covered up almost to the point that the evidence of conspiracy was concealed. One example: the May 1963 Sec Def meeting in Hawaii which was not declassified until 1997--34 years after it happened. And for good reason, since it shows McNamara demanding everyone speed up their withdrawal timetable.

The two newest books on JFK's foreign policy are based upon rigorous scholarship and archival research. And I would be willing to wager you never heard of them: Betting on the Africans, and Kennedy, Johnson, and the Non Aligned World. They were written by two scholars who have no dog in the assassination fight. Both men came to the conclusion that what came after JFK, that is LBJ and RMN reversed what he did. They did not rely on anything except evidence dug up from history. And neither one dealt with Vietnam. Or Cuba.

I challenge anyone to show me the UFO connection or Hero worship in what follows:

http://www.ctka.net/2014/JFKForeignPolicy.html

LBJ and RMN systematically assaulted Kennedy's foreign policy in every way and in every area. You sir, are showing yourself to be a man who likes to make unfounded and hackneyed charges, and then when shown how wrong you are, you jump to something else.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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That's essentially what I asked - why are you here?

Lance - this is really simple. You voted for Obama the first time but were so disappointed with his first term. What don't you get about Republican obstructionism? Are you blind? And btw no use pointing out that Dems controlled the Senate for the first two years. It meant next to nothing. One guy defected. Democrats are less party line animals than Republicans. A majority of one means nothing when big money controls the votes of our elected officials.

Jim is right about something else - your opinions have not been formed by reading great books, but rather what you consider a common sense approach. If you read John Newman you will no longer question JFK's aim not to intervene militarily in Vietnam, or any other country trying to overcome the shackles of colonialism. He made that abundantly clear. If you read Douglass you will see that JFK wanted to end the Cold War and was taking steps to do so. You will see in these books facts proving that 'Camelot' was not a myth to be dispelled by clearer thinkers, but rather a reality deliberately hidden from all of us. Time has slowly revealed that our suspicions were correct, and not the product of wishful thinking or slanted political leanings.

So get on board. You're here. Read some good books with up to date information gleaned from the efforts of determined researchers who gave slowly extracted relevant hidden documents from the purposefully secretive government archives. This is no myth. This is reality.

Another thing - I doubt anyone here is dreaming about a Hilary Clinton presidency saving us from evil.

Dawn is correct that party line left wingers are not generally conspiracy minded. Most conspiracy media comes from the right wing fringe by the way. But hey, now I'm using those damned false dichotomies again. Left right and center - what nonsense. Truth is what I care about, and even if it's elusive I still search for it, whether in my personal life or in political and social life.

Edited by Paul Brancato
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Lance - As Jim and others (on other threads) have shown, partly through research, partly through recommending books and documents, President Kennedy implemented, tried to implement, and wanted to implement foreign policy and domestic policy changes that were radically different from US policy of this century and from his post-WWII predecessors and the system they worked in. No president has done as much since. Do the reading and you'll have a deeper sense of Kennedy's idealism and pragmatism.

I know exactly how flawed Kennedy was personally, know what compromises he made over Cuba and in domestic areas because of the Cold War and our political-economic tendencies. We haven't gotten a better man in the office since JFK. His compatriots were Lincoln and FDR, each also flawed and working under compromises.

Edited by David Andrews
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Lance - why do you read and post here?

It's not an intellectual game for me. And of course my view of the event is informed by my world view. That doesn't make it wrong. Facts can stand on their own regardless of ones point of view. The reason that most researchers and so called conspiracy researchers come at this from a so-called leftist position is that we care. One of our own was murdered, as was his brother. I certainly could never ascribe to the notion that the Kennedy's were no better than the Bushes. I can and do imagine a better world, while being full cognizant of how unlikely that is and always has been. One can understand history and see clearly the influence of money in the modern world and still hold idealistic views.

You seem very proud of your voting record while being blissfully unaware of the deep forces who are running things. I read your post and don't see the person you see youself as - a clear thinking man swimming against the tide. I see a man who is wearing blinders.

I would suggest in the first place that you stop using left and right so glibly. The whole dual nature of our political landscape is a false dichotomy that is better seen as divide and conquer by those really in control.

Can you at least concede that JFK's murder led directly to the death of tens of thousands of mostly poor American soldiers and ultimately millions of southeast Asains? Can you feel the pain of those deaths? Does my sympathy with the plight of the poor and powerless make me a 'left winger' whose views can then be summarily dismissed as biased?

I do care what you think. If I've made unfair assumptions please straighten me out.

Paul,
Thanks for your well-written post here. It's how I feel about 11/22 and beyond as well. On the JFK Library Facebook page, they recently posted a photo of the three brothers. I commented:
"The thing I've always loved about the Kennedys is despite their vast wealth, they always wanted to give something back for the common good - the Peace Corps and attempts at universal health care to name a few. With the current state of America's affairs, I don't think there will ever be a family like they were ever again."
I still do believe that. John Kennedy was beholden to no one and I think he was doing his job the best way he thought he could for the good of the country. And I could never imagine seeing a photo of him holding hands with - and kissing the cheek of - the leader of a country that holds weekly beheadings at noon in their town square. I know this may sound "political" but it's really not. It's just an illustration of two wealthy families who have held the office of president, and their interpretation of what that office bestows.
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