Monday, September 23, 2013

1945's choices : the Modern exclusionary values that gave us Auschwitz or the post Modern values that gave us 'Public Domain' penicillin ?

In early 1945, two Manhattan doctors had dueling visions of the possible world ahead.

The prominent one, Foster Kennedy ,  wanted to kill all babies with developmental issues.

The unknown other, Henry Dawson, wanted all babies in the world to have access to cheap, abundant (Public Domain) penicillin.

By the end of 1945, the unknown Dawson was dead but - perhaps surprisingly - his idea lived on after him.

Because, with the beginnings of  public revulsion over the revelations of Auschwitz doctors and children coming out of the Nuremberg trials, it was clear that Dawson had won most of the educated public over to his vision.

And this only a few years after public polls indicated that the majority of the educated public favoured Foster Kennedy's murderous proposals instead.

Dawson's unstinting efforts to make wartime penicillin truly inclusive had greatly shortened his life, but clearly they hadn't been totally in vain ....

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