Alan Turing, the intellectual godfather of modern computing and artificial intelligence and a genuine war hero, was gay when it was illegal to be so. His life was ruined by the laws of the country he had helped save during the war, driving him to suicide.
The British government has apologized to Turing, but last week the House of Lords refused to formally pardon him. Heather Cox Richardson makes a strong case that pardoning Turing would be inappropriate.
He doesn’t need a pardon; the society that made him a criminal does….Some things can never be put right. Pardoning a dead victim for the crime of being hated is a gift to the present, not the past. It lets modern-day people off the hook. They can be comfortable in their own righteousness, concluding that today’s injustices have nothing to do with such right-thinking people as they are. But they do….It’s way too late to pardon Alan Turing. And it’s way too early to pardon ourselves.