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Thursday, June 23, 2016

“I’d Give the Devil Benefit of Law, for My Own Safety’s Sake!”

A perennially relevant scene from A Man for All Seasons.

Presented for your consideration, in light of recent attacks upon due process and the rule of law, a scene from the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons, about the famed English lawyer Sir Thomas More.

ALICE MORE: Arrest him!


ALICE: He’s dangerous!

WILLIAM ROPER: For libel, he’s a spy!

MARGARET MORE: Father, that man’s bad.

MOREThere 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 were 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: Yes! 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 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!

  • Daniel Bier is the executive editor of The Skeptical Libertarian.