Jonathan Vanakin: A Partial Answer as to ‘Why?’

‘My reaction, when I first began research assassination conspiracy theories, was probably a typical one: “Doesn’t anybody just die?” I’ve heard conspiracy theories for every dead person from J. Edgar Hoover to Lenny Bruce. My instinctive reaction was always if not to scoff, then at least to look askance. But far be it from me to dismiss any theory out of hand. I’ve only been able to study a few, and most in less then the detail I would have liked. Inevitably, when I do a little digging, I find enough strange circumstances to make me dizzy.‘The average human mind can handle a few conspiracies; the concept of conspiracies by the hundreds is harder to accept. Still there are premises; People are killed, and their deaths lead to political changes. These political changes benefit a few people at the expense of the great many. There are murky circumstances around many such deaths. The conclusion one can draw from those premises often cross the threshold of belief.‘Assassination conspiracy theories are easy to write off as fantasy conceived in trauma—the desperate imagination of disappointed idealists grasping for reasons why their dreams are as dead as their heroes. But there is an upsetting logic to those theories. The dyspepsia is worsened by the unreal quality of “official versions” usually exude. Violence, murder, war and terror have restructured America’s social and political order over the past three decades.‘Something is terribly wrong. No one can be blamed for asking what it is. We can blame only ourselves when we expect the answer to comfort us, and it does not.’-‘Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes,’ Jonathan Vanakin, Paragon House Publishers, New York, 1991, p. 156


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.