The Human Cost of Prejudice – Genius Alan Turing Pardoned 60 Yrs After Suicide

There’s no end to the stupid, says the cynical side of me. Although we evolve and grow, I am afeared that as we grow past some destructive forms of stupid, we just develop bright shiny new forms of stupid and it’s a zero sum game with the bottom line for humans being immense stupid with intermittent and rare relief through love. The stupid may change but it carries on and can rarely be fixed afterward. 

Nearly 60 years after his death, Alan Turing, the British mathematician regarded as one of the central figures in the development of the computer, received a formal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II on Monday for his conviction in 1952 on charges of homosexuality, at the time a criminal offense in Britain.

NYT Article on Turing Pardon

60 years ago Alan Turing ate cyanide after being convicted of the crime of gross indecency and chemically castrated by the British government because he was homosexual. The gross indecency was on the part of the British authorities and given Turing’s groundbreaking work in computers and code we may well have all lost out because if it. This man was a huge part of our victory over Hitler’s army in WWII because he broke the unbreakable Enigma code. And he was repaid by judgment, ridicule and torture. 

The biggest joke is that just last year the British government denied a pardon for Turing and only did it now because of a petition and worldwide pressure by scientists. Under the rules of pardons he was not actually eligible and thus the massive stupid perpetrated by the authorities just went on without apology for 60 years.

How much greatness and love has been snuffed out by the stupid is truly incalculable.

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