Sep

3

Today's NYC Junto at the library of the mechanics institute at 7:15 pm will consist of a philosophic discussion of the film A Man for All Seasons by Doug Rasmussen, the noted libertarian philosopher. There will also be a showing of the film itself.


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4 Comments so far

  1. Christopher Tucker on September 4, 2009 6:56 pm

    I have loved this film since the first time I saw it years ago. Something about a man of so singular a character moved me tremendously. Robert Bolt’s idea of Thomas More as “a man with an adamantine sense of his own self, knew where he began and left off, what area of himself he could yield to the encroachments of his enemies, and what to the encroachments of those he loved.”

    I daresay that More was infinitely more complicated than is made out in the play or the film, but Bolt’s version of him excises in crystalline form a portion of the mans soul for us to observe and to marvel at. More is so completely unyielding to attacks against his conscience that his strength of character is nothing shy of epic. His steadfast attachement to his principles makes it inconceiveable to him to act in any other way. The thought of giving in as his counterparts did is so foreign to his way of thinking, so repugnant, that acting in a way that would betray his conscience is utterly inconceivable to him.
    I am drawn to this solidity of character as a moth to the flame. His heroism lies, for me, in his ability to maintain command of himself in such a complete manner. For me it is frequently difficult to say which of my “selves” is in command at any time, but More seems to be so well put together that he is simply impregnable to onslaughts that would make any of us not think twice about seeking compromise. We are all so fractious most of the time, it is refreshing and moving to see More give no quarter, even (especially) in the face of his King and all the pressures that a monarch can bring to bear.
    The film is wonderful in many, many respects. The portrayal of Richard Rich’s weakness and incipient corruption, the vicious manner of Cromwell, the attempts, through manipulation, nay, wholesale comandeering of the church in England to “legitamize” the Kings divorce(s). Stellar performances by Scofield, Shaw, Welles and William Hurt brought the film six acadamy awards and make it worth seeing in any season. In light of Dr. Rasmussen’s comments about the law and the self I think I will watch it a few more times this weekend.

  2. Stefan John Cheplick on September 5, 2009 2:43 am

    Victor, I am reading your book, EDUCATION OF A SPECULATOR. On page 116, of Hey All-American, you speak about a letter you wrote to one of your daughters' schools. I believe it had to do with her getting yanked from a talent show. Where can I find this letter? I am curious to read it, and maybe, someday, use it. Thanks, SJC

  3. vniederhoffer on September 6, 2009 4:07 pm

    [The letter] appeared in Bottom Line many years ago, and I became the bane of Chapin. They called me Mr. Noriega, and wouldn't accept my books at the library. Letters like it about people without self esteem who hate any others that achieve good things (because it makes them aware of their worthlessness), and egalitarianism as a force of nature and defense against insecurity appear in the letters of Ayn Rand. I will look for my letter some time in future and if you give your snail address to my assistant Linda at 203 840 0777. vic

  4. SJC on October 29, 2009 1:26 am

    Vic(tory),

    I appreciate your response. Your writing never ceases to amuse me, e.g. “The Bane of Chapin” and “Mr. Noriega”. I also agree with your statement “Letters like it about people without self esteem who hate any others that achieve good things (because it makes them aware of their worthlessness)…” I have witnessed this scenario to many times, and I find it most popular amongst Middle and high school teachers; although my Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade attitude never let it affect me.

    I will give your secretary a call before the weekend, and I am looking forward to reading the letter.

    Cheers,

    SJC

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