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Wrye Sententia's Letter to the Editor
RE: The Quest to Forget

By Robin Marantz Henig

Published: April 4, 2004



Blocking out History

“The Quest to Forget” is about much more than what we can or can’t remember. It is about who is to decide whether or not we have a right to forget.  Will it be doctors?  Government-appointed ethicists? NYT Magazine missed an important point in the debate: the selective erasure of collective memory.  Their article closes with a quote from William May “a former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics” obliquely referencing the recent shakedown of Council members that resulted in the firing of William May and Elizabeth Blackburn.  Both were guilty of gelling 'bad memories' for the Council and were summarily dismissed. It is ironic that the Council has opted for its own historical mind-wipe while at the same argues that individuals should buck up to their past. Policy guidance informed by intentional, selective erasure of divergent views is social trauma in the making.

Wrye Sententia
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics