Your Little Phones
Piers Morgan has been making news in the US for his views on the Constitution's Second Amendment. In a recent debate on the air, he made it clear that he considers himself knowledgeable on the subject.
MORGAN: -- on the American constitution and the second amendment. It's exactly what you've tried to do. You come in, you brandish your little book, as if I don't know what's in there --
SHAPIRO: My little book? That's the constitution of the United States. It's our founding document, Piers.
MORGAN: I know what its your constitution.
SHAPIRO: Do you really?
MORGAN: I have been debating this for a long time.
But Morgan's real claim to fame rests on his actions in his native Britain where he is being accused of improperly abetting what might be called unethical journalistic practices, most notably the hacking of celebrity phones by journalists working for him. The inquiries against Morgan are doubtless going to be used by the British government to more strictly regulate the UK press.
Bureaucrats are salivating at the prospect of using a journalistic Sandy Hook of the sort Morgan is accused of to impose more word control. Those who are manifesting fake outrage over Morgan's supposed violations are probably not particularly concerned about privacy. But they will never let a crisis go to waste when it presents them with an excuse to grab power.
With that side of the Atlantic uncomfortably hot, Morgan may find things much more conducive in America, where such press regulation is harder to impose than in Britain, due to a provision in the reviled "little book", the one which comes before the Second. Maybe Morgan likes the odd numbered provisions in the Bill of Rights more than the even.
However that may be, once press controls have become legitimized in a Western European country it sets a bad precedent which sooner or later will get imported by Americans seeking to do the same thing. Eventually British press regulations may chase Morgan to America and he will be hoist on his own petard. In the end Morgan may wind up doing more damage to the First Amendment then to the Second, even without intending to and contrary to his own interests.
Don't you hate it when things boomerang on you?
The problem with exercising power over others is that when eventually the Wheel of Karma turns your enemies wind up wielding power over you. The fox is now chasing the hound in the UK. And that's the way things go.
Everybody winds up on the receiving end sometimes and therefore it behooves him to respect the framework which shelters others because one day he may need it also. Part of the reason the Constitution exists is to protect Piers Morgan from people like himself. Robert Bolt put it eloquently in his screenplay for the Man for All Seasons.
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!
It's easy to think you won't need the Constitution when you're up. But wait till you're down. Rule by virtue of privilege, position and fame is fundamentally dangerous for the aristocracy. They are much better served ruling through the provisions of "your little book". Who knows but they may need it themselves some day?