Why when someone ignores the rules do we say he “turned a blind eye”?

In 1801, while second in command of a British fleet near Copenhagen, Horatio Nelson was told that his commander had sent up flags ordering a retreat. Nelson lifted his spyglass to his previously blinded eye and said he couldn’t see the order, and then he ordered and led a successful attack. Nelson’s insubordination became legend and gave us the expression “turn a blind eye.”

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