A Man For All Seasons

Reminds me of Gandhi – and of Bush, Blair, Rumsfield and Rice too:

Cardinal Wolsey: Let the dynasty die with Henry Vlll and we’ll have dynastic wars again. Blood-witted barons ramping the country from end to end.

Is that what you want? Very well.

England needs an heir.

Certain measures, perhaps regrettable, perhaps not, there’s much in the Church which needs reformation, Thomas.

All right, regrettable. But necessary to get us an heir.

Now, explain how you, as a councillor of England, can obstruct these measures for the sake of your own private conscience.

Sir Thomas: I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos. And we shall have my prayers to fall back on.

Cardinal Wolsey: You’d like that, wouldn’t you? To govern the country with prayers?

Sir Thomas: Yes, I should.

Cardinal Wolsey: I’d like to be there when you try.

and at the end of the interview, after further jousting:

Cardinal Wolsey: More! You should have been a cleric!

Sir Thomas: Like yourself, Your Grace?


Again, one thinks of Zia-ul-Haque and of Ayub before him and Musharraf after him. Of certain of Bhutto’s actions that ended up making Zia’s work easier. Even of Jinnah sitting in on cabinet meetings depite being the Govenor-General – and not the Prime Minister.
Also, of the Patriot Act, the drone wars and Indira Gandhi’s Emergency:

Lady More: Arrest him!

Sir Thomas: For what?

Lady More: He’s dangerous!

Roper: For libel. He’s a spy!

Meg: Father, that man’s bad!

Sir Thomas: There’s no law against that.

Roper: There is. God’s law!

Sir Thomas: Then God can arrest him.

Lady More: While you talk, he’s gone!

Sir Thomas: Go he should, if he were the Devil, until he broke the law.

Roper: So! Now you give the Devil benefit of law!

Sir Thomas: Yes, what would you do? Cut a road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes. I’d cut down every law in England to do that.

Sir Thomas: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 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 give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.

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