Monday, September 7, 2015

Winning the ideological war against Hitler required a "coalition of all possible talents" believed Dawson

In the Fall of 1940, Dr Henry Dawson felt the Allies needed to enlist the widest possible diversity of humans and nature, if they were going to win the ideological and military war against the then very attractive* ideologies and very formidable armies of the Fascists + Nazis + Communists and their fellow travelling ilk.

(* See Anne Morrow Lindbergh's October 1940 bestseller, Wave of the Future, for proof of that claim.)

For in late 1940, the German-led coalition really included not just Germany itself together with Italy, Japan and Russia but also had silent supporters and fellow travellers in many nominally neutral fascist-leaning countries in Europe, South America and elsewhere.

(Yes Russia : for we must never forget (or forgive) the fact that if that country had acted to defend Poland in September 1939, instead of helping the Nazis invade and kill the Poles, there'd be no WWII.

Why Russia isn't paying war reparations to Europe and the Allied nations for this act , beats me.)

About all that this very diverse group had in common was that they were not just talking about killing off unwanted and unneeded groups in their societies but had a track record of actually doing so.

The western democracies also had a large body of elite opinion who favoured 'gassing the unfit' but so far that opinion had remained just that : talk.

That Fall, Dawson saw many of those in the American medical-scientific community who had been unwilling to intervene to help Europe's weakest now using the new talk of 'war preparation' as the excuse to do what they always had just talked about.

That is, abandoning the least fit in society, its 4Fs, to focus medical resources on its most fit, the 1As.

As it happens, (accurate) rumours were rife that Hitler had used the same 'war preparation' excuse to do the same thing.

Albeit, Hitler was actively killing the weakest in his society rather than just denying them proper medical care.

Dawson felt the Allies would never assemble a big enough coalition from the empathetic portions of world population that they needed to militarily win against Hitler's team, if they descended to his moral depths on issues like this.

And beyond moral issues, he felt a winning coalition couldn't be assembled if the Allies matched Hitler in draining the potential coalition gene pool down to only the pure and fit.

A coalition of all possible talents, fit and unfit, human and natural, would be needed to defeat Hitler.

That is why Dawson's Manhattan small penicillin Project wasn't really focused on penicillin per say.

walking up the rough side of the Penicillin mountain

With penicillin, Dawson always deliberately chose to walk up 'the rough side of the mountain'.

In 1940, the heavy money was betting it would be a lot easier to synthesize penicillin than try to grow masses of the tiny penicillium, but Dawson chose to focus upon them because he really wanted to make the wider point that even the weakest of beings could be pretty clever chemists.

(And how right he turned out to be !)

And if Dawson had merely wanted to make penicillin a quick public success, he would have focused on acutely ill pre-teen children for several reasons.

To begin with, these kids need far less penicillin than adults, weighting as they do about a fifth as much.

And if they have been generally healthy and then suddenly get acutely ill, they can look extremely terribly ill on photographs but ironically recover quickly within days or weeks, a bonus of their very healthy young immune systems, and then photograph the very picture of health.

Headlines like "Miracle of innocent child plucked from death's door ---- we have exclusive fore & after pictures as proof", are catnip to mass circulation newspapers, as Dawson well knew from earlier media sensations around children recovering thanks to insulin and the sulfa drugs.

Instead Dawson focused on the very unclimbable Mount Everest of all infections, young adults dying from then invariably fatal SBE (endocarditis of the heart valves), building a long lonely wall to bang his head against.

As well as visiting a part of medicine well beyond his demonstrated area of expertise.

But again he had another and wider point to make - he suspected (again amazingly correctly) that the SBEs would be the group of patients chosen to be abandoned to a certain death when the Allied death panels began to pick and choose who got heavily rationed lifesaving medicine.

Dawson wanted to make the point that a Nazi winning coalition needed to enlist all the talents, not cut down most of them, as the Axis were doing.

And he wanted to make the point that a Nazi-busting coalition had to be seen as being very different from Hitler's gang in their treatment of society's weakest.

Particularly in wartime, when this highly moral stance might extract heavy costs, visibly proving the sentiment was genuine and not just a 'cheap round'.

By 1945 and his early death, Dawson had won his secondary point, as the Allies rushed to supply small microbe made penicillin to the small infected as well as the big infected, all over the world.

But it was not till 1985-1995 that he won his main point, that this world is very unpredictable and for Humanity to survive in it, they need to build a coalition of all possible human and biological talents and to maintain the widest possible diversity in their biological portfolio ...

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