8. President Kennedy was not going to expose a conspiracy before he died.

Some continue to believe that President Kennedy was murdered by a massive, ruthless, and super-secret conspiracy of hidden power players that he was trying to expose. There are several false memes floating around to that effect.

It is true that JFK once gave a speech about an international conspiracy but that was on April 27, 1961, not seven days before his assassination on November 22, 1963. More importantly, that speech was given to the American Newspaper Publishers Association and the conspiracy he was discussing was the very well known threat of World Communism.

Sometimes conspiracy theorists will cite actual passages from this speech, like these often repeated lines: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.” Besides suggesting that Kennedy was discussing an unnamed conspiracy here, people who cite these lines like to make it seem as if the President was opposed to all secrets, which is why they ignore other parts of the speech, like, “I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country’s peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of ‘clear and present danger,’ the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public’s need for national security.”

JFK understood what the conspiracy nuts and government haters do not, that society is made up of competing interests and values. Secrecy is dangerous to a free society but so to is transparency. Both have potential benefits and pitfalls. Kennedy also knew that both government officials and the news media had to continually balance out competing ideals and pragmatic necessities. We would never be at some perfect point where everything simply works right without considerable effort. That’s just the nature of freedom and democracy.

This view of reality is very different from the paranoid mentality of conspiracy theorists, who like to pretend that Kennedy was their champion, standing up against the unnamed forces looking to “enslave” us all, and once he was gone, all hope was lost. I believe it is safe to say that JFK would be embarrassed to find that his legacy is so closely linked to conspiracy nonsense in the minds of millions of people today.

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Return to the complete list of 55 reasons to accept that Oswald acted alone.

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