Does Natural Law Matter? [Introduction to Common Law] [No. 86]
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Does Natural Law Matter? [Introduction to Common Law] [No. 86]


One of the common views today is that all
the principles of natural law are largely irrelevant to legal discourse. Uh, this is a radical shift from the views
of law that were taken for thousands of years, and which natural law was thought to be the
foundation. What one means by natural law is that there
is certain kinds of features of the world which are so common, and so powerful, that
any legal system that tries to put things together in ignorance of those things will
always fail. Natural law has been defined from the beginning
of time as involving the following three principles. One is this a certain kind of natural reason,
i.e the kinds of rules that allows human beings to flourish, and that you try to understand
this by both observation and deduction. Uh, the second has to do with customs that
are observed across different cultures, and the theory is that if everybody is doing more
or less the same thing, it has a certain of kinds of survival value. And the third has to do with the survival
of a particular kind of practices within a given culture, and it’s the same kind of argument. Uh, long term practices only survive if they
work for the benefit of people who have them. One of the ways that you understand the power
of natural law is the observation of commonality across legal systems. And so every legal system will have to have
rules developed to deal with marriage, but the formality associated with marriage will
differ. Every legal system has rules that would make
sure that you can certify who owns things, but the rules of first possession will nonetheless
will remain constant. Every legal system will have to have rules
that allow for the transfer of property by a sale, but the formalities, whether they
are in writing or whether or not there’s some other special kind of oath that must be, say
may well differ. And so what you see throughout legal systems
is that the underlying social relationships having to do with cooperation, marriage, sales,
hire and so forth are all the same across time and across places, and it’s that universality
which leads to the notion of natural law. In dealing with simple rules and with natural
law, reference is often made to the state of nature. And essentially this is both historical and
an analytical concept. What it means basically historically is that
the world begins long before the state is formed. And so when people have to figure out what
their relationships are with one another, they must do so under circumstances where
there is no central power to tell them what is going on. And what natural law says is in this particular
state of the world the following rights and duties will essentially improve the welfare
of the individuals in question, and that immediately gets you back to the universals that we talked
about: individual autonomy, the acquisition of property, the need for voluntary transactions,
and the need to constrain uh the use of threat or force.

9 Comments

  • Shane Lackey

    As is with the Separation of the Church and State so too is the separation of The Law and the State .
    320 million end users , The Law is and always will be what they are willing to accept as common .

    This is why there's no Central Bank in the Founders Vision .
    First our Rights , then our Law and finally the power purse was left to the people … the inhabitants , Us .
    That was Stolen from us by Edict in 1913 . Time Will return us to our birthright but we must be ready to receive it or the opportunity will pass and our chains will be our children's Children's Children entire existance .

    The Federal Reserve is a Fraud . We've got to Balance the Budget without it and we're back on Track .
    Rule of Law
    and
    Rule by Law
    Are separate things ,
    Distinguishable by the presence or Absence of a Central bank ( Fiat Currency).
    The Central Bank bares nothing but the fruits of Central planning . Tyranny , through subjectivity .

    We are the Final Arbiters of the Law . Look into it for yourself .

    Valid Authority , start there .

  • LaLa Land

    Those are man-made natural law principles and can fall into the trap of moral relativism, true?  Has anyone heard of and considered adhering to the sacred (capital letter) Natural Law principles which universally govern the consequences of human behavior?  My thesis is that our species is at high risk of extinction relatively soon unless they are learned, adhered to, and taught en masse.

  • Vidyanand Bapat

    Every individual is always and entirely entitled to the fruits of his own labour to the extent that he can burn it away. Period.

  • Thefaceoftheword crook and flail

    It does not matter what man believes as far MSN’s laws superseding natural law its irrelevant. The US will be ground zero for a pouring out of the universes response to the violations of Natural laws. Every right that has been violated the universe will now give its response too. Those who lie deceive to gain power to attempt to steal freedoms will be crushed by the consequences

  • John Ellis

    REAL ISSUE:  If life is an unalienable right that we deserve, than we have a right to amass wealth.  On the other hand, if life is a free gift that we do not deserve, if global warming means that death is all that we deserve, than the one billion humans slowly starving to death, this is due to seven billion sinners refusing to feed them.

  • John Ellis

    If we have a right to own wealth, meaning to own more property than needed to have a comfortable life, than we have a right to do harm and humanity is domed to suffer extinction by global warming. On the other hand, if our wealth belongs to those suffering hunger, than humanity has some chance to survive.

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