Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Physically small but Morally big

Despite its nickname, the other ("Big Tent") Manhattan Project was actually physically quite small, but morally as big as could be.

That was because Dr Dawson had set it up convinced that 'The Bigger the Tent, the Faster (and less Costly) the Victory'.

That concept should become our maxim today, as we work to stop man-made Sixth Extinction, in a way it unfortunately never truly became during WWII.

Lost opportunities in coalition building meant needless loss of millions of lives

In December 1943, FDR flatly told a startled press conference that 'Dr New Deal' was dead and he was now 'Dr Win the War'.

But like Winston Churchill earlier, FDR really meant by this that he wanted to win the war as fast as possible, but only enlisting the greatest powers (like communist Russia) and the greatest corporations (like capitalist GM) inside this 'small tent' effort.

After the military victory, he and Churchill would then partake in planning a post-war world international organization that would involve small as well as big nations and would protect the individual rights of the small as well as the big.

It was a tremendously flawed decision on the part of both men.

They schemed more as how the US and UK could remain on top in the postwar world than they did in sharing the drive to victory if that meant giving more power to the small nations and to the small within their own nations.

Millions died needlessly as the quick victory in fact took six deadly years to win through.

Put simply (and put tragically) at a time of supreme crisis for all humanity, the all-powerful FDR's and Churchill's grasping natures far exceeded their reduced moral reach.

By contrast, the dying Dr Dawson and his tiny self-funded team was a tent that physically had a very small King Pole but morally tried to spread its tent pegs over a very wide radius indeed.

Quite deliberately, Dawson chose for his tiny wartime team a reach that seemed guaranteed to exceed its grasp, by seeking to 'save the unsavable (SBEs) with the help of the unspeakable (penicillium slime)'.

Perhaps in his reach exceeding his grasp, Dawson secretly hoped to embarrass not just the Allied medical elite but ultimately all the Allies to put their 110% into the war effort.

Embarrass them into meeting him halfway, by opening up their 'small tent' to include more of the world's small and the powerless, nowhere as far along as Dawson was willing to go, but a good start anyway.

But by ironies of ironies, in the end Dawson succeeded in grasping his furtherest reach and well beyond.

1945 : Churchill is defeated - by penicillin

Thanks to Dawson, Dante Colitti and Pfizer's John L Smith the Allies were forced, under extreme public pressure, to reverse their heartless policy on wartime penicillin.

The remaining New Dealers in America in particular had sweet revenge on the turncoat FDR by making the flying of penicillin to save children all around the world a key part of the Allies' coalition building efforts, giving America a postwar Pax Penicillia.

And Churchill ?

Already riding high because of it standing all alone against the Axis Blitz, Britain, which had first discovered penicillin could have easily secured a postwar Pax Britannica.

If only it had then been the first to mass produce wartime penicillin enough to see that its planes, not America's, were flying the stuff all around the world to dying kids.

But Churchill, with his famous green pen, personally indicated a sharply limited use of the British niggardly production of wartime penicillin, restricting it only to aiding in the recovery of lightly wounded men thought capable to return to frontline combat.

In his 1945 General Election defeat, he fully paid the price, for public health issues dominated the voters' worries, with recent newspaper stories over inadequate penicillin unevenly distributed first among them.

I know it is not Christian to gloat.

But even Christians have off days.....

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