It is human to want to keep your private life private and it is human to want to gossip about other people's private lives.
The Establishment has the first principle at its heart while the media thrives on the second. When they come into conflict - as they always have done from time to time and they always will, as no totalitarian state will survive forever - there is an almighty clash. We are witnessing one at the moment. Actually, it is several, all mixed and muddled.
There is the apparent creation of a privacy law by judges using the Human Rights Act, the battle by Max Mosley against the New of the World and the creation of and increaing use of superinjunctions. As well as the problems created by the internet and, lately, twitter.
These intertwined hot issues, providing lawyers with rich pickings and the press with much mouth-foaming material, are very much a matter of opinion and riddled with bias on both sides as well as ignorance. Yet they can and should be boiled down to one simple question: Who controls the media?
Should it be politicians? Only politicians think it should and any who tried to introduce laws regulating the press would be not brave but foolhardy.
So should it be judges? Only in extreme cases of law-breaking. Judges are deeply embedded in Establishment thinking, which should be the opposite of how the media operates.
So who? It has to be the media itself. But the media is totally irresponsible, its critics cry. Not exactly. Saying that is like saying that all polticians are venal and corrupt - some are, most aren't.
Yes, parts of the media are slightly corrupt and view their work through distorting spectacles which make the world a nasty place populated by bonking footballers and unfaithful stars of showbusiness. But most of the media isn't like that and most journalists aren't.
The alternative to journalists controlling what they do is too appalling to contemplate. We see it in many other countries and anyone who thinks that should happen here can be provided with a one-way ticket to Zimbabwe or Libya.
The press in particular has to clean up its act - not a huge or particularly irksome task. Politicians and judges can keep well away.