Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 20th Jul 2013 19:05 UTC
Legal "Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon. The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to 'chemical castration'." Justice.
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Pardon?
by galvanash on Sat 20th Jul 2013 22:19 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

In the US at least, a pardon is almost a celebrated act of populism, i.e. pardons are granted to criminals by people who have cultivated a certain level of political power, enough that they have been granted the special power to operate above the law in a sense. Look at a list of presidential pardons from a typical US president and for the most part is looks like a list of the people most deserving of the punishment they originally received. It is almost never about the law that was violated, it is about money, power, and connections.

It is almost never done to remove an unfair blemish from an otherwise notable life. Some people think Nixon was a great man. Maybe he was, but he was also guilty of a crime, and it was not an unjust law he violated. Same goes for virtually every recipient of a presidential pardon - it is not that the law was unjust, its that the person in question had connections. It is totally unfair to others who committed the same crime, but it is accepted by our society as a sort of perk to the issuer of the pardon - they get to play King for a day in exchange for their years of service.

Im not British, so maybe this is a cultural thing I don't understand. But this seems to me to be more of an insult that anything else... Pardon him? Of what? Breaking an unjust law? The problem was never about Alan Turing, it was about the law. How about condemning the law for what it was and reverse every conviction made under it... Pay some reparations or something, create an education fund for gay and lesbian students in need of financial aid.

Really, anything but calling it a "pardon" and applying it to one man - that seems almost smug in its complete avoidance of the actual injustice they are trying to set right.

Am I missing something?

Reply Score: 10

RE: Pardon?
by tidux on Sun 21st Jul 2013 00:48 in reply to "Pardon?"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

You're spot on. When we finally admitted the Salem Witch Trials were wrong in the 1950s, we didn't "pardon" the "witches," Congress issued a formal apology.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Pardon?
by kwan_e on Sun 21st Jul 2013 02:03 in reply to "Pardon?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

But this seems to me to be more of an insult that anything else... Pardon him? Of what? Breaking an unjust law? The problem was never about Alan Turing, it was about the law. How about condemning the law for what it was and reverse every conviction made under it... Pay some reparations or something, create an education fund for gay and lesbian students in need of financial aid.


A pardon is insulting, but "hey, I'm throwing money at you, so stop complaining" is not insulting.

Guess what, a pardon is a part of condemning the law and reversing a conviction.

Really, anything but calling it a "pardon" and applying it to one man - that seems almost smug in its complete avoidance of the actual injustice they are trying to set right.

Am I missing something?


Yes. The fact that this pardon does not in anyway say that only this man and no other person will be pardoned for this in the coming years.

People who complain about his pardon is being smug in their complete avoidance of actually trying to set things right rather than poopooing any small step towards the larger goal because they didn't get it in their first try.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Pardon?
by galvanash on Sun 21st Jul 2013 05:20 in reply to "RE: Pardon?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

A pardon is insulting, but "hey, I'm throwing money at you, so stop complaining" is not insulting.


Fair point. They are both sort of empty gestures, but what else can you do? You can't undo it...

I think the difference to me though is that a pardon is about the man, not the the unjust law. To me Turing was a victim, there is nothing to pardon him for. At least setting up an education fund would make it obvious that the wrong that is trying to be set right is the unjust law - a pardon makes it seem that the "wrong" was that Turing happened to be prosecuted under it.

Guess what, a pardon is a part of condemning the law and reversing a conviction.


No its not. A pardon is literally "forgiving" someone for an offense they committed. That is why I find this insulting - it has no relationship at all to condemning the law. If it is about the law then make it about the law, not a particular victim.

Its not about reversing a conviction either - that is a completely different concept than a pardon... That is my point really - a pardon does not in any way condemn a law, it merely forgives someone for breaking it.

People who complain about his pardon is being smug in their complete avoidance of actually trying to set things right rather than poopooing any small step towards the larger goal because they didn't get it in their first try.


I can appreciate that point of view. Really, I can. I just have trouble seeing that as a step toward a larger goal - sometimes a "small step" is so small that it seems almost an insult. I do appreciate the efforts of the people who petitioned for it though, I just wish they had gotten more is all.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Pardon?
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun 21st Jul 2013 03:25 in reply to "Pardon?"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Actually....pardons are given all the time to regular old criminals who have no political power behind them.

Reply Parent Score: 3