Solid facts, please

Voice Card  -  Volume 25  -  Larry Card Number 1  -  Sat, Jun 13, 1992 11:25 PM

This is a response to VC 24 Stuart 1 ("Coin (or out) cidence?")...

I guess the facetious (or perhaps it's now factious) nature of my listing of "solid facts," such as Kennedy and Lincoln have the same number of letters in their names, was a bit too subtle.

The whole point of my card was to mock the idea that a conspiracy theory for the Kennedy assassination is history. Really, can we claim that a conspiracy theory for the assassination of Kennedy is a candidate for serious historical research?? These conspiracy theories have been around for almost 30 years now, and as far as I know, not one shred of SOLID FACTUAL evidence to support any of these theories has been unearthed. I've spent my adult life in research, and that experience tells me that, if after thirty years, you haven't unearthed any evidence to support a theory, it's time to let go and move on to something more worthwhile.

If you want to talk about how interesting these theories are, and make a name (and money) for yourself by writing books, scripts, and articles for supermarket tabloids - fine. But, please don't try to sell it as historical research.

We have to draw a line between what is valid history and what we find interesting or appealing. My grandfather used to believe (and perhaps still does) that Kennedy was never killed, but rather, seriously brain damaged and kept alive secetly. He wasn't alone in his beliefs. Many Democrats of his generation believed this - I guess that they didn't want to admit that Kennedy was actually dead. That "theory" died out over the years - the conspiracy theories are somewhat longer lived (for some). But, I really don't think there is much difference between the two.

Stuart mentioned that it is a very small leap from being unconcerned about the conspiracy theories to denying the Holocaust. I find that somewhat contradictory. Objectively, what is the difference between the theory that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK and the white supremacist theory that the Holocaust never happened? Neither theory has evidence to support it. Evidence exists to contradict both theories. There are groups of people who fervently believe both theories. Is there any difference between the two other than what we may think is right or wrong, or what we find interesting or not interesting, or compelling or not compelling, or what we believe to be worthy or not worthy? Is it blasé to dismiss the denial of the Holocaust as a theory worthy of historical research?

To quote Stuart, "Without data (i.e., knowledge of history) how can we proceed intelligently into the present and future as a country or a people?" Exactly!!! We need data, we need evidence - and, we need to focus more of our energy and attention on issues supported by those data and that evidence. We can't afford to be waylaid and misled by seductive details.