A conversation for the times

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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21 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    Yeah, yeah. A Utopian who was always losing his head.Report

  2. karl says:

    Thomas More’s life and death show that just laws aren’t enough for a civil society — respect for the rule of law is what counts. The rule of law resides in those (secondarily) who execute and in those (primarily) who allow the execution of the laws.

    The abuses of power that we experience here in the USA exist because we the people allow them.Report

  3. Tod Kelly says:

    Not that this has anything to do with the reason Erik posted this quote, but…

    I like the Thomas Moore in A Man For All Seasons. But I like the Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall better.

    Wolf Hall points notes that the Thomas Moore that was willing to die for his convictions was also that Thomas Moore that slowly tortured countless people to death for not interpreting scripture the “correct” way, and that these actions sprung from the same convictions.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      And who burned English translations of the Bible, lest non-clergy read it and decide for themselves what it meant. And who was willing to recognize the divorce from Katherine of Aragon after all.

      It’s further worth looking in to what More meant when he refered to “conscience” in his motion to dismiss the criminal charges against him. More was very much a Catholic hierarchist and not an individualist as we moderns understand that word.

      With that said, yes, he was very much a victim in regards to his trial and execution. Those things should be deplored and none of More’s flaws and misdeeds exonerates Henry of the unnecessary judicial murder of a man who had been his friend, a pillar of the legal community, and a valuable member of Henry’s government.Report

    • James K in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      You the get same impression in The Tudors. It becomes abundantly clear that Thomas Moore’s humanism was vastly different from the modern version.Report

  4. ThatPirateGuy says:

    Let us not forget that he burned 5 lutherins alive.

    It seems relevant to the whole the state killing people issue.Report

  5. E.D. Kain says:

    So…yeah I know Moore was deeply flawed and horribly cruel. That aside, this exchange is still pretty good.Report

  6. James Hanley says:

    One of my favorite quotations, Erik (concerns about the character of the real Thomas More aside). Good choice.Report

  7. That exchange constantly ran back and forth in my mind during the Bush administration.

    I’ve been thinking about this play lately because the character of Richard Rich reminds me so much of Ross Douthat. It’s like he knows better, but <a href="http://community.nytimes.com/comments/douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/the-parties-of-no/?permid=4#comment4"<he just can't help himself, he has to propagandize for the GOP.Report

  8. Brandon Berg says:

    That exchange constantly ran back and forth in my mind during the Bush administration.

    But not anymore?Report

  9. jfxgillis says:


    Wow. There seems to be a sudden and severe shortage of bloodthirsty neocon warmongering commentary. So am I going to have to fill in?Report