Not Eudora   By Harry Welty
Published Oct. 3, 2003

Avast! Rightwing Conspiracy

The fortieth anniversary of Jack Kennedy's murder has called attention to Duluth's nationally recognized expert on JFK's assassination, Professor Fetzer.

I first met Jim seven or eight years ago when I heard that a "creation science" expert had challenged him to defend the theory of evolution before an audience of Christian fundamentalists. Having just taken a seat on the Duluth School Board I was eager to have the Professor do well. His success, I reasoned, might help insulate the school board from calls to teach creationism along with evolution.

I called him up and offered to lend him a couple of books on evolution and "biblical inerrancy." He graciously accepted my offer and we met. I recall Jim telling me about his fire and brimstone upbringing and how he tore himself away from this apocalyptic view of the world. It seemed a plausible enough story at the time. Subsequent events, however, have raised my suspicions.

The "debate" was rigged by the creationists who had already spent the previous day explaining the "science" behind their "theories" to most of the people who would constitute the next day's audience. To insure that the debate would remain purely "scientific," thus demonstrating that "creation" science had nothing to do with theology, any participant who said the word "God" during the debate would be docked five minutes of speaking time.

I couldn't help but sympathize with the Professor as he stood on the stage. He had to defend an unpopular theory to a large, skeptical audience. In short order my sympathy turned to dismay.

Rather than stick with routine lines of argument like DNA, or fossil
evidence, or proofs of the age of the universe, the Professor made himself incomprehensible with a string of fifty cent words. He was the very stereotype of an egghead with an ivory tower stuck between his ears.  Worse yet, he proceeded to use the word "God" so many times that his allotted thirty minutes shriveled to five. This left his opponent half an hour to leisurely explain the folly of Charles Darwin without rebuttal. The debate was a rout for science.

It now seems obvious that Professor Fetzer threw the debate. Looking back I can see that the good Professor gave me more than enough clues about his true motivation at our first meeting. He was raised in a fundamentalist household. He was a marine. He had attended Princeton University. He had just written a book "proving" the conspiracy behind JFK's assassination.

It's doubtful that Jim Fetzer ever abandoned his fundamentalist upbringing. Far from it he joined the Marines; America's most storied warriors, in the fight against "godless communism." After his military indoctrination he attended Princeton University home of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs. This is one of the places where America's god-fearing interventionism is espoused. (If you find this claim fantastic just do a Google search by typing the words "national defense" and "Princeton" in the subject line) While there he began his course of study in the suspicious sounding "philosophy of science."

Sometime during Fetzer's stint with the marines or at Princeton he obviously went deep undercover. The NSA or the CIA or the FBI or some other intelligence group so secret that it doesn't even have an acronym got hold of him and turned his religious conservatism to their own nefarious ends. Almost certainly they helped engineer his awarding of the Dickinson Prize and his McKnight Professorship to allay liberal doubts. Then they sent him to an innocent backwater until such time as he could be put to use. He's not been forgotten. How else would the Creation science organization have found such a willing confederate to help them discredit evolution when they could have debated a member of the Duluth School Board instead?

Fetzer threw his debate to discredit the liberally inspired science he was allegedly defending. Today he writes endlessly about a right-wing assassination plot in order to make his liberal dupes look pathetic and paranoid. Fetzer pretends to champion liberal views but in such a way as to make his acolytes look like the loony left.

Consider Fetzer's preoccupation with demonstrating that half a dozen intelligence organizations like the CIA conspired to kill Kennedy and then tampered with the evidence. Ever since Kennedy's demise liberals have longed to find a better candidate for his murder than the pro-communist Lee Oswald. Professor Fetzer's has abetted their wishful thinking by postulating that the Zapruder film is nothing more than our CIA's "Protocols of the elders of Zion." By luring liberals into an insidious web of paranoia about a vast right-wing conspiracy Professor Fetzer has effectively neutered them. And now Fetzer has extended his assassination science theories to include Senator Paul Wellstone. There is no doubt that he will lend the same credence to electromagnetic pulse research that he lent to the study of evolution. Liberals are doomed.

To those Pollyanna's who might be tempted to shrug off my suggestions as too farfetched I would remind them that the CIA depends on the public's naivety. Consider yourself warned.

Professor Fetzer claims to believe that his phones are tapped by the very agencies that he has exposed. I wonder. I wonder.

Welty was once employed by an entity of the federal government whose budget may or may not have been fully disclosed to the public.