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I’ll explain why I’m asking the question, and why I think it’s relevant to Objectivism and Objectivists. First, I considered framing this question like “Who believes (or doesn’t believe) that Lee Oswald was the lone assassin of JFK?” But after much study and thought, I don’t think there’s a single book out there that diligently and comprehensively addresses the evidence—and more importantly, the implications—like this one.

From the Amazon summary of the book: At the height of the Cold War, JFK risked committing the greatest crime in human history: starting a nuclear war. Horrified by the specter of nuclear annihilation, Kennedy gradually turned away from his long-held Cold Warrior beliefs and toward a policy of lasting peace. But to the military and intelligence agencies in the United States, who were committed to winning the Cold War at any cost, Kennedy’s change of heart was a direct threat to their power and influence. Once these dark "Unspeakable" forces recognized that Kennedy’s interests were in direct opposition to their own, they tagged him as a dangerous traitor, plotted his assassination, and orchestrated the subsequent cover-up.

This question is not an attempt to start a debate about particular pieces of evidence or conspiracy theories. Usually those debates don’t last long until they move into debating the implications. Such as, “the implications are just too outrageous and implausible…how could so many people keep the secret and aid in the coverup…it’s never been presented by a credible person…they only fill isolated gaps of knowledge...they don't integrate with existing evidence into a consistent theory...” In the case of JFK, this book answers and convincingly disputes all of those normally rational responses and many more. The one historical fact I found most convincing to check my premises was Operation Northwoods, which was proposed to Kennedy himself, and which he refused to authorize. I don't think most people know about that serious, authentic proposal to attack innocent Americans and blame it on Cuba as a pretext for war.

What’s the relevance to us here? For one thing, it challenges us to consider the burden of proof and of certainty, for claims that run so far counter to established “facts”, conclusions and assumptions. Objectivists have an excellent track record of questioning conventional wisdom in many respects (e.g. religion, ethics, politics). What about history? Specfically, modern US history? Secondly, when taken in full context, it means the “unspeakable” forces that killed JFK are still in existence and at work. I don’t think it’s too hard to understand that that would be a major consideration for anyone who cares about politics and government’s use of force today (which are only two of many topics important to Objectivism and Objectivists, albeit two important ones). If we care about knowing and understanding reality (what is “A” when talking about foreign policy, for instance?) then isn’t it vital to know and understand the geo-political world in which we all live? Finally, for those of us who are US citizens and vote or are active in political discourse, an essential requirement for that is being accurately informed about US history and integrating it with our knowledge and judgment on current issues. The geo-political/military actions of the US undoubtably affect the lives of all of us, as they determine the future standing and security of our country.

asked Jan 05 '11 at 22:54

QEDbyBrett's gravatar image

QEDbyBrett ♦

QEDbyBrett: This isn't a discussion board. Can you please frame this as an answerable question, rather than a topic for meandering discussion?

(Jan 05 '11 at 23:02) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

In light of this question, and the one about 9/11 Truthers, and the one about Birthers, I'd like to make a general point. Objectivism is a philosophy, and qua philosophy, it cannot dictate specific positions on controversies that hinge upon some particular claim of fact, such as the validity of a specific document or historical account. The most that Objectivism can do is to demand the use of reason, and the rejection of faith or arbitrary claims.

(Jan 06 '11 at 20:25) Andrew Dalton ♦ Andrew%20Dalton's gravatar image

That's a helpful point, Andrew, thanks. I am still searching for the right questions to myself and others here to help resolve certain issues, as you can tell. Maybe it does come down to individuals' different knowledge of particular facts and not any different philosophical principles or applications of them. Maybe it's something else...I'm ok closing this question here while I ponder a better forum and/or question. If we can keep it to serve as an example for others, that seems valuable. (I could imagine this referenced again.)

(Jan 07 '11 at 01:14) QEDbyBrett ♦ QEDbyBrett's gravatar image

I think, QEDbyBrett, you are assuming "we" have never considered the matter. You ought to assume we have, and are generally well-informed.

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:19) Mindy Newton ♦ Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Interesting question; unfortunately, seems off-topic for this site. There are some good Objectivist forums (and some bad ones, too...); maybe you should try joining one of those.

(Jan 30 '11 at 18:47) javert ♦ javert's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 05 '11 at 22:54

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Last updated: Jan 30 '11 at 18:47