Monday, February 21, 2022

A Man for All Seasons and a Trucking Convoy

I enjoyed the 1966 Academy Award winning A Man for All Seasons so much I read the play by Robert Bolt on which it is based. This dialogue between Sir Thomas More, his wife Alice, daughter Margaret, and future son-in-law William Roper comes to mind when I encounter "Friends" on Facebook who seem to want to overthrow our democratically-elected government: 

MARGARET: Father, that man's bad.

MORE: There is no law against that.

ROPER: There is! God's law!

MORE: Then God can arrest him.


ALICE: While you talk, he's gone! 

MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast—man's laws, not God's—and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.*

YouTube to the rescue, here's the Paul Scofield version:

Sir Thomas More—at least the character in Bolt's play if not also the historical figure—is my political hero. If you haven't seen the film, do yourself a favour and watch it. 

* More's speech in the play may draw on this passage from William Roper's 1556 biography of More:

"Howbeit this one thing, son, I assure thee on my faith, that if the parties will at my hands call for justice, then all-were-it my father stood on the one side, and the devil on the other, his cause being good, the devil should have right." (HT: Robert Bork)