Russel Norman
A man for all seasons

Watched A Man for All Seasons the other night. Has one of my favourite quotes in it about rule of law:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas 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 is 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, do 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!

8 thoughts on “A man for all seasons

  1. your point..?

    is this your justification for your poxy election finance bill..?

    in your mind..is the exclusive brethren standing in for the devil..?

    are you ‘saving us from the devil..?..are you russel..?

    are you attempting to add misguided demagogue to your resume..?

    and about those other questions you said you’d answer..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  2. Um. Question.

    Why go to all this trouble to support Labour in framing this misguided attempt at reforming our Electoral Laws and thereby seriously restricting our democratic rights of free speech, when you can just take the Exclusive Brethren to court for defamation? Don’t you accusing the Exclusive Brethren of misrepresenting the Green Party in spreading those pamphlets? So why make such a unpopular decision that may end in your collective political suicides?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  3. Alice: Arrest him!
    More: Why, what has he done?
    Margaret:: He’s bad!
    More: There is no law against that.
    Roper: There is! God’s law!
    More: Then God can arrest him.
    Roper: Sophistication upon sophistication.
    More: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what’s legal, not what’s right. And I’ll stick to what’s legal.
    Roper: Then you set man’s law above God’s!
    More: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact — I’m not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can’t navigate. I’m no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I’m a forester.I doubt if there’s a man alive who could follow me there, thank God.
    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 — do 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.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/A_Man_for_All_Seasons

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  4. phil, surely no-one can view this quote as as an attempt to argue that “the ends justify the means”, surely this is obviously an argument that the ends never justify the means, and as such is criticism of those who give up ethical and legal behaviour to try and achieve their aims, e.g. invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo.

    but like you I don’t understand why Russel has chosen to post the quote here and now.

    Sleepy, I think maybe the Green Party doesn’t have the resources to be able to go to the courts, it would be extremely expensive?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. stuey..that all depends if he’s relating to more..or to roper..

    and i’m leaning towards thinking he’s identifying with roper..

    with the exclusive brethren as his ‘devil’..

    btw..stuey..how do you feel about this bill..?

    is there any internal debate within the greens about this..

    (as someone else has noted..should greenpeace decide to spend up large on getting out the green vote..next year..

    this legislation will stop them from doing that..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. You know, the quote doesn’t necessarily have to apply to anything in the current political situation. It just might be a favourite quote that he’s sharing. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. It’s always been one of my favourite exchanges from one of my favourite plays/films.

    I’m impressed to see it posted under Russel’s name. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>