Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Dec 2012 19:11 UTC
In the News "Peers and scientists including Professor Stephen Hawking are once again pushing for an official pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing. Turing's death from cyanide poisoning in 1954 was ruled a suicide, coming after his conviction for gross indecency at a time when homosexuality was illegal." The fact that he still hasn't been pardoned is an utter disgrace.
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RE[4]: No
by kwan_e on Sun 16th Dec 2012 07:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No"
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

"People should stop using the word "famous" or "celebrity" as though Turing didn't deserve it.


Yet she wasn't using "famous" or "celebrity" as though Turing didn't deserve it. You just misread her comment/didn't understand her point.

We can all choose words which makes it looks like our arguments has more depth than it really has, so no, calling Turing "famous" or "celebrity" is not a legitimate argument.


Her argument isn't deep at all, quite the contrary, it's a very simple point that she's trying to make: no one should be given special privileges by the law. The fact that Turing deserves his fame and so much good came from his work only underscores the argument.
"

I didn't miss the point. You and her and the others miss the wider point. The wider point being is that this symbolic gesture somehow steals the attention from other people who suffered.

There is nothing about that attitude that makes sense.

Here's the wider point: all-or-nothing rhetoric tends towards the latter.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: No
by earksiinni on Sun 16th Dec 2012 08:17 in reply to "RE[4]: No"
earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

I didn't miss the point.


You claim this, but I gave a cogent exposition of how you had misread WereCatf's comment and you've now responded by shifting the focus to a different issue, which is whether or not I have understood what you claim to be your argument. These are two separate things and you still haven't addressed my comments. Until you show me where I misunderstood your response, I will continue to believe that you misunderstood the point.

You and her and the others miss the wider point. The wider point being is that this symbolic gesture somehow steals the attention from other people who suffered.

There is nothing about that attitude that makes sense.

Here's the wider point: all-or-nothing rhetoric tends towards the latter.


Case-in-point: you think that WereCatf was making an "all-or-nothing" argument. She was not. She was arguing that everyone must be treated equally before the law. You are arguing on the assumption that she was trying to say something about the ethics of the legal persecution and protection of homosexuals; meanwhile, she was actually saying something about the importance of the rule of law. See the difference? You're comparing apples and oranges.

You've also assumed that I agree with WereCatf without actually bothering to ask my opinion. Here's what I think: the real danger in this move is that it gives the impression that the government is no longer the cause of discrimination or responsible for its past crimes. If the pardon were granted, the probability of boneheaded conversations like the following would increase: "Discrimination against gays? Nonsense! Even the government just gave a pardon to Turing, didn't you hear? If anything they've got it easy!" Cf. affirmative action laws in the United States.

There may also be some important legal ramifications. If the government pardons Turing, does this mean that crime is annulled or expunged from his record? If so, then can Turing's family sue the government anymore? (Can the family bring suit against the government presently?) Why doesn't the government instead officially apologize? Because apologies can also be used as evidence of an admission of culpability. So how sincere is the government's "symbolic gesture"?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: No
by kwan_e on Sun 16th Dec 2012 08:37 in reply to "RE[5]: No"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"I didn't miss the point.


You claim this, but I gave a cogent exposition of how you had misread WereCatf's comment and you've now responded by shifting the focus to a different issue, which is whether or not I have understood what you claim to be your argument. These are two separate things and you still haven't addressed my comments. Until you show me where I misunderstood your response, I will continue to believe that you misunderstood the point.
"

You miss the point that I don't have to address the points you and WereCatf's points in their entirety because THOSE points miss the wider point from the outset any my posts were pointing to the wider picture.

Both of you could be right about each of your individual points but still be wrong in your entirety, given the social context of this action.

"You and her and the others miss the wider point. The wider point being is that this symbolic gesture somehow steals the attention from other people who suffered.

There is nothing about that attitude that makes sense.

Here's the wider point: all-or-nothing rhetoric tends towards the latter.


Case-in-point: you think that WereCatf was making an "all-or-nothing" argument. She was not. She was arguing that everyone must be treated equally before the law. You are arguing on the assumption that she was trying to say something about the ethics of the legal persecution and protection of homosexuals; meanwhile, she was actually saying something about the importance of the rule of law. See the difference? You're comparing apples and oranges.
"

If she was saying something about the importance of the rule of law then she is wrong because the law was obviously not perfect.

So even if you're right you're still wrong.

You've also assumed that I agree with WereCatf without actually bothering to ask my opinion. Here's what I think: the real danger in this move is that it gives the impression that the government is no longer the cause of discrimination or responsible for its past crimes. If the pardon were granted, the probability of boneheaded conversations like the following would increase: "Discrimination against gays? Nonsense! Even the government just gave a pardon to Turing, didn't you hear? If anything they've got it easy!" Cf. affirmative action laws in the United States.

There may also be some important legal ramifications. If the government pardons Turing, does this mean that crime is annulled or expunged from his record? If so, then can Turing's family sue the government anymore? (Can the family bring suit against the government presently?) Why doesn't the government instead officially apologize? Because apologies can also be used as evidence of an admission of culpability. So how sincere is the government's "symbolic gesture"?


Sorry, but this is just paranoia and a much less likely scenario than the one I proposed of Turing being made the figurehead of a movement to improve the standing of homosexuals in the law and in society.

If the pardon were granted, it would be because We The People wanted to grant the pardon, making it clear that the people will not stand for government granted oppression, because we don't forget. At least that's the theory.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: No
by kwan_e on Sun 16th Dec 2012 09:02 in reply to "RE[5]: No"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I just noticed this:

Case-in-point: you think that WereCatf was making an "all-or-nothing" argument. She was not.


Direct quotes from WereCatf herself:

Either call for pardoning for all the people prosecuted under the homosexuality-is-illegal law or none.


Either seek for pardon for them all and fail at that, or don't seek pardon for any of them.


Forget Turing, I think I deserve an apology. Or am I not famous enough for you?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: No
by Alfman on Sun 16th Dec 2012 08:52 in reply to "RE[4]: No"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"I didn't miss the point. You and her and the others miss the wider point. The wider point being is that this symbolic gesture somehow steals the attention from other people who suffered. There is nothing about that attitude that makes sense."

I think everyone here gets everyone else's point.

The thing is, when one individual is given recognition above others, it *does* steal attention from others. But it still might be for the greater good if people can rally around specific icons to draw greater overall awareness. It's easier to make an emotional connection to specific individuals than a group.

I realise what your saying is intended to give respect the whole group, but if a major event happened and a celebrity happened to have been involved, would you be annoyed that the media inevitably focuses on the celebrity over everyone else? Because that's kind of how things play out in the world.

I think he should be pardoned symbolically, but I'm also well aware that the main motivation for pardoning him individually is his fame, most persecutions will not be high profile enough to garner much attention and may even be forgotten as individuals.

Edited 2012-12-16 08:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: No
by kwan_e on Sun 16th Dec 2012 08:59 in reply to "RE[5]: No"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I realise what your saying is intended to give respect the whole group, but if a major event happened and a celebrity happened to have been involved, would you be annoyed that the media inevitably focuses on the celebrity over everyone else? Because that's kind of how things play out in the world.

I think he should be pardoned symbolically, but I'm also well aware that the main motivation for pardoning him individually is his fame, most similar cases will not be high profile enough to garner much attention and may even be forgotten.


Yes, that's why we should use this as an opportunity to get attention to those who suffered like Turing. The way to go is not to chuck a sour-grapes tantrum and deny this motion because we don't get what we want - which is what several people have actually said.

The main motivation is what the people make it, not just the spokesperson's motivation. But Alan Turing is still a good figurehead because of his achievements.

Reply Parent Score: 3