June 15, 2016

Warning: 2017 mythmaking and conspiracy thinking just around the corner

Next year will have two major anniversaries, either centennial or multicentennial.

Both will be focused around people around whom there's been a heavy accumulation of myth, conspiracy thinking, or both.

The first is John F. Kennedy, born in 1917. I'm sure there's going to be a rash of nutbar new conspiracy thinking books about his assassination coming out. The conspiracy thinking will be peddled in part because of myths that he was, or was going to do, one or more of the following:
1. A true liberal on civil rights;
2. A true moderate on the Cold War;
3. Going to get us out of Vietnam.

On civil rights, the best thing Jack Kennedy ever did, period, was get himself assassinated so LBJ could use him as a martyr to get Congress to pass a far stronger civil rights bill than Kennedy had ever proposed.

On the Cold War, and Vietnam? Tosh.

Let's not forget Kennedy's backing of the Diem coup, then the lame excuse that he didn't think Diem was going to be killed. Let's not forget the coup against Trujillo, contra his Alliance for Progress, to maintain American hegemony in the Caribbean — a coup that had Trujillo assassinated, directly removing the "I didn't think that" excuse.

Let's not forget he had an election to win in 1964 and falling poll numbers, with any honeymoon period long over. No way he could look like a dove on Vietnam; he would have sent more troops in 1964. Maybe not as many more as LBJ (who had no idea that Kennedy had swapped our Jupiter missiles for the Soviet ones in Cuba, and thus thought Kennedy was tougher than he really was), but he would have increased troop numbers as deemed politically necessary.

Indeed, Wikipedia quotes Kennedy (link on site):
"We don't have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can't give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me."

And, given that in the actual world, Bobby Kennedy was relatively late to the antiwar movement, and presuming Jack wanted his brother elected in 1968, again, while JFK probably wouldn't have used the same troop numbers as LBJ, he would have continued to increase troops as necessary up to Bobby's election bid.

Stuff like this takes 30 seconds to find.

If one accepts the actual truth about Jack Kennedy, one knows there was no reason for the CIA or the "Deep State" to assassinate him. And, yes, Bobby as AG might be a bit problematic, but the Mafia was too pragmatic to assassinate a president. Castro? Likewise.

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The other anniversary?

In 1517, Martin Luther allegedly nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Electoral Saxony.

There's no conspiracy thinking about his death that I'm aware of.

But, there's PLENTY of myth, much of it peddled by the conservative, quasi-fundamentalist (it IS, family members) branch of American Lutheranism.

That includes where Luther placed those theses. Oh, he wrote them — and sent them to the bishop. They weren't nailed on any church door.

Nor did he say "Here I stand" at the Diet of Worms four years later.

He did, though, write "Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants" during the Peasants' War of 1524-25. And, frustrated that the Jews hadn't miraculously seen the new light of Reformation Christianity, freed from Catholic detritus, as salvation, he did write "The Jews and Their Lies" and call for their synagogues to be burned. (And, while Hitler would have been an anti-Semite on his own, the Nazis did reference Luther.)

I'll be addressing both of these myths further in the coming months, I have no doubt.

Technically, since Luther wasn't considered divine, I probably should call it legend-mongering rather than mythmaking, but people know what the latter means. That said, the modern "urban legend" idea works perfectly as a tag for this post.

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