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Leaping Back to the Founding, Part 4: I'm Not the Only One Struggling with Understanding "Natural Law"

Posted on October 28 2009 1:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Part 1: The Left Really Reveals Its Hatred of the American Idea

Part 2: Is This a Christian Nation Theory?

Part 3: If Natural Law is the Basis of America Then How Come No One Can Explain It?

Yesterday’s discussion of Natural Law featured others who, like me, struggled with the concept. Though there were numerous great thoughts — and I encourage everyone to check out the thread — this one really jumped out at me:

2009 October 27

I, too, have struggled intellectually with the concept of natural law. I think Alan and Cas are on the right track. Over time, I’ve come to the idea that natural law refers to the inevitable consequences of human behavior. The problem David outlines, that reasonable people can differ greatly in their interpretation of right and wrong, stems from a culture that has attempted through misguided “empathy” to separate man from the natural consequences of his thoughts and actions. Cas points out man’s right to self-defense, which today has become so warped that we regularly question the rights of Americans and Israelis to protect themselves from attack. In our litigious society one scarcely dares to confront a burglar in one’s own home.

However, I think the problem David articulates goes further. For the most blatant and easily reasoned example: The natural consequences of promiscuous sex include the spread of disease, unwanted pregnancies, single parenthood as well as the psychological/physiological coarsening of the self and ultimately the coarsening of civil society. Yet we celebrate promiscuous sex in our culture and then charge medical science and government to devise the means to avoid the consequences. Because this is “natural” law, we cannot in reality avoid the consequences and the more we attempt to do so, the worse things get.

By the same token, one can look to the Ten Commandments, and other precepts of major religions and find they all ban the same behaviors or types of behaviors, varying mostly in the type and severity of punishment for engaging in them. Why?

Religion and Law are entwined in that both attempt to govern individual behavior in such a way as to, in a sense, preempt natural consequences in order to create a civil society. Think about it: sloth, greed, gluttony, adultery, the killing of innocents, not “honoring” our fathers and mothers, not “honoring” others, theft, coveting, etc. all carry natural consequences beyond law or religious dictates. Yet today, we excuse all of these things out of a foolish sense of “empathy” for the “sinner.” We make it a case of supporting the “sinner” or the “victim” and forget the natural consequences of the “sin.” (one can even make the case for not worshiping any other Gods, but Beck is on in a few minutes)

Today we’ve twisted everything in such a way as to present right as wrong and wrong as right to such an extent that David and most of us are rightly confused. Natural law gets all mixed up with the notion of the Noble Savage and our inner desire to express our own Will. And so we have a whole segment of society that believes Man is evil and a pox on the earth. When in reality, Man has both an animal and god-like nature. The evils we perpetrate are most often the result of giving in to our animal nature and forgetting to be god-like and denying the responsibilities entailed.

Our founders understood this in ways I am continually discovering …

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