Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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steepholm steepholm
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Enigma Variations
Gosh, I had no idea that Randolph Quirk was either alive or a lord. My mother remembers him as one of the more frighteningly intellectual of her peers at university, and to me he's the author of the University Grammar of English, which stood me in good stead for my linguistics exams as an undergraduate. But up he popped yesterday, arguing that Alan Turing should be given a pardon - or rather, that the Government should be asking his pardon.

Good point - but why this is truer of Turing than of any of the other 49,000 men convicted for similar offences is beyond me. If Turing deserves a pardon, why not them? If his crime wasn't a crime after all, why is the same not true of theirs? On the other hand, if outstanding service to the country is enough to wipe out what would otherwise be a lawful conviction, then don't many thousands of patriotic criminals have a similar claim? Solve a cipher, invent a clever machine, do enough charity work, and no court can touch you.

It makes about as much sense as getting time off purgatory by following the Pope on Twitter. Oh, wait....

If Turing deserves a pardon, why not them? If his crime wasn't a crime after all, why is the same not true of theirs?

I just had this conversation!

Honoring Turing is awesome. I am all for it. I try to contribute. If the government really thinks it was unjust to convict anyone of gross indecency for all those years, apologize to everybody and overturn all the convictions.

Yes, I can't see why this would be harder than making an exception for him.

Good point.

Indeed, I agree with what you said. At the time Turing was convicted, he broke the law. We can't alter that fact, however wrong we may now think that law was. There is no reason to treat one person differently. It would have to be all or none.

Hear hear!

Nine

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