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From this history of natural law, follow the debates about positivism and whether positivism is tenable.

  Reply To Judge Richard A. Posner on The Inseparability of Law and Morality

Natural law is not easily accepted. The reason for this "non-acceptance" is because we do not choose to go where natural law arguments lead. We keep our guard up.

Ninth Circuit Disconnect from Natural Law. Apparently, the ninth circuit court has not kept this in mind, nor are they dimly aware of the consequences of attempting to flout natural law the way they have with their latest insane position they've taken about self-defense being only a collective right. That's right! "Insane" is the operative word, here, and I will attempt to connect sanity with natural law so I can eventually expose the reality of the ninth circuit's collective mental illness which precludes a basic understanding of individual rights and which has them flying in the face of the American Way.

A Law Professor's Guide to Natural Law and Natural Rights 20 HARVARD JOURNAL OF LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY 655 (1997)

 ...When one mentions "natural law," some ask, "where are these natural laws?" Are they "out there" somewhere? Yet we do not speak of the humanly-developed principles of engineering or agriculture as being "out there," though these principles must be respected if bridges are to stand and crops to grow. The "principles of society" ... are of the same status. They must be respected if people are to pursue happiness, peace, and prosperity while living in society with one another.

Americans at the founding of the United States well-accepted the idea that the world, including worldly governments, is governed by laws or principles that dictate how society ought to be structured, in the very same way that such natural laws dictate how buildings ought to be built or how crops ought to be planted8. Consider this passage from a sermon delivered by Pastor Elizur Goodrich (1734-1797) to the governor and general assembly of Connecticut on the eve of the Constitutional Convention:

The principles of society are the laws, which Almighty God has established in the moral world, and made necessary to be observed by mankind; in order to promote their true happiness, in their transactions and intercourse. These laws may be considered as principles, in respect of their fixedness and operation; and as maxims, since by the knowledge of them, we discover those rules of conduct, which direct mankind to the highest perfection, and supreme happiness of their nature. They are as fixed and unchangeable as the laws which operate in the natural world.
Human art in order to produce certain effects, must conform to the principles and laws, which the Almighty Creator has established in the natural world. He who neglects the cultivation of his field, and the proper time of sowing, may not expect a harvest. He, who would assist mankind in raising weights, and overcoming obstacles, depends on certain rules, derived from the knowledge of mechanical principles applied to the construction of machines, in order to give the most useful effect to the smallest force: And every builder should well understand the best position of firmness and strength, when he is about to erect an edifice. For he, who attempts these things, on other principles, than those of nature, attempts to make a new world; and his aim will prove absurd and his labour lost. No more can mankind be conducted to happiness; or civil societies united, and enjoy peace and prosperity, without observing the moral principles and connections, which the same Almighty Creator has established for the government of the moral world.9

Notice that, although Goodrich identifies God as the original source of the laws that govern in the moral world, so too does he identify God as the source of the laws that govern agriculture engineering and architecture. With both types of principles and laws, once established by a divine power they become part of the world in which we find ourselves and are discoverable by human reason. Thus today one can no more disparage the idea of natural law (or natural rights) because eighteenth-century thinkers attributed their origin to a divine power than one can disparage the laws of physics because eighteenth-century scientists believed that such laws were also established by God.


If I understand its notion of the pure will in Allah and its effect on secondary causes, I do not think one can have a Muslim notion of natural law. But Muslims in Western countries are beginning to realize that, in order to talk to others, they have to have some notion of public life that is not just an appeal to the Quran.

 Islamic Law & its Challenge To Western Civilization

Most people in the West believe that Islam is a religion in the traditional sense of the word. However, this is a fateful misconception. Islam is not just a religion. It is much more than a religion. Muslims themselves describe their faith by saying, Islam is a Complete Way of Life. This is certainly a more apt description, because Islam is a religious, social, economics, educational, health, political, and philosophic way of life. In fact, Islam is an all-embracing socio-politico-religious utopian ideology that encompasses every field of human endeavor.

The Western view of religion is that a religion is a narrow aspect of life. It does not encompass all human affairs. Religion stands beside economic, politics, and other human institutions. Westerners may differ on matters of religious faith, but they can works together in social, state, and economic affairs. The reason for this is that their respective religions don't claim divine authority over the institutions of governance and economics. Their faiths may differ regarding the salvation of the soul, life after death, and religious rituals, but they don't claim to have divine insight into the institutions of human government and its particular laws.

Islam is different from other religions in that it is not limited to the spiritual aspects of life. It engulfs all aspects of life from the cradle to the grave. Islam claims to have a divine mandate over everyone, and this includes non-Muslims too. While non-Muslims may not be required to observe the religious rituals of Islam, they must recognize the supremacy of Islamic rule over them. As an ideology, Islam promises an economic, political, social, and religious utopian world when the world finally submits to Allah and the rule of Shari'a law. The Islamic objective is to have all aspects a nation's culture and institutions undergo gradual Islamization to yield an Islamic state obeying Shari'a Law.

Take, for example, the sections in George's book about marriage and homosexuality, about what is right about the marital act. It is a stunning discussion. He explains what is wrong with a homosexual act. He has the essential issue down quite clearly, as does Janet Smith, in her chapter in Common Truths: New Perspectives on Natural Law (ISI Books, 2002). Another related book is Jennifer Roback Morse's Love and Economics (Spence, 2000, reviewed in the Claremont Review of Books). Morse had a column in the November 24, 2002 National Catholic Register called "An Economist-Mum Discovers the Real World." It is the best article about the essence of motherhood I have seen in a long time.


The Howard Center

The Natural Family

The best definition of the natural family we know of (because we helped to craft it) comes from the second World Congress of Families gathering.

"The natural family is a man and woman bound in a lifelong covenant of marriage for the purposes of:

Our use of the term "natural family" is significant in many respects.

  1. The term signifies a natural order to family structures that is common across cultures, historical, and overwhelmingly self-evident.
  2. The term signifies a wholly defensible expression. "Natural" is not "nuclear," which would limit its scope, nor is it "traditional," which would burden its utility in public discourse. It is what it is, a totally self-evident expression.
  3. The term "natural" precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members.
  4. The "natural family" is a positive expression. It does not require a discussion of negative incompatibilities to define itself.

Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-One Conclusions from the Social Sciences. was produced by a politically diverse and interdisciplinary group of leading family scholars, including psychologist John Gottman, best selling author of books about marriage and relationships, Linda Waite, coauthor of The Case for Marriage, Norval Glenn and Steven Nock, two of the top family social scientists in the country, William Galston, a Clinton Administration domestic policy advisor, and Judith Wallerstein, author of the national bestseller The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. This is the first time leading family scholars have issued a definitive joint report based on a steadily accumulating and by now very large body of social science evidence about the consequences of marriage and its absence.


There was a lead article in the Post the other day that said something like half of the new jobs in the United States are taken by immigrants, that is, by someone else's children. What does that mean? It means that the whole structure of society is changing right before our eyes and we fail to acknowledge the "culture of death" as a major cause. Even more so is this happening in Europe, because the Europeans do not assimilate new peoples easily. We tend to think, perhaps optimistically, that it is normal to assimilate immigrants. The point is that our immigrants in the United States, up until this time, have been mostly from the same broad culture. They are not anymore, except for the Latin Americans.

The Death of the West In this chilling book, the conservative pundit and presidential candidate zeroes in on unrestricted immigration, legal abortion, and the contempt for all that is Western that has become almost universal since the Sixties.

But once we claim that our sin a "right," a natural thing to do, instead of saying what it is, a sin, then we involve ourselves in an attack on the Church itself, or better, on the right order of things. Once we say that homosexual acts are, as such, an expression of love and devotion, that they have nothing intrinsically wrong with them, and that there is no disorder in the act itself, then we intimate that the only "disorder" is found in the discrimination of people speaking or acting against those practicing such acts. Once we arrive that position, then the whole notion of what one is doing deflects us from the issue itself.

St. Paul's Argument From Nature Against Homosexuality (Romans 1)

Romans 1:26-27

[26] For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, [27] and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

St. Paul mentions "dishonorable passions." To what does he refer? The next word "for" implies that what follows is an example of what Paul calls "dishonorable." So what does he present as an example?:

For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,

Paul is saying, then, that there is such a thing as "natural sexual relations" and its contrary, "unnatural [sexual relations]." This brings it down to the matter of natural law and God's created order, and all that that entails. Some things are natural, some are not.

Explaining the Argument for Design and Purpose
While gay couples may adopt children (or have then through artificial indemination), a same-sex relationship is incapable of providing balanced gender modelling. Gay parenting is also inherently unable to provide the model of man-woman relationships that the child will need for building a future marriage.

When human design and purpose is thwarted, we can expect to see a higher level of emotional and physical problems. Dr. Budziszewski points out some of those problems--particularly, widespread promiscuity (even in "committed" gay relationships) and the bodily damage that is the byproduct of sexual practices that are incompatible with one's anatomy. "It's hard to see what is loving," Dr. Budziszewki notes, "about sexual acts that cause tearing, stretching, bleeding, choking, death, disease and pain."

1 posted on 12/27/2002 3:13:38 PM PST by Remedy
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To: Remedy
read later
2 posted on 12/27/2002 3:53:23 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Remedy
Commentary on Aristotle: ERIC VOEGELIN: What is Right by Nature
4 posted on 12/27/2002 4:09:08 PM PST by cornelis
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To: Remedy
"It's hard to see what is loving," Dr. Budziszewki notes, "about sexual acts that cause tearing, stretching, bleeding, choking, death, disease and pain."

I plodded thru this entire post, and this is the most important thing to me.

Granted, I'm a neanderthal when it comes to this kind of writing, but I do know in my my own small mind and my own small world what is natural...other than that, I know little.

Thanks for the post.



9 posted on 12/27/2002 4:57:00 PM PST by nothingnew
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To: Remedy
Thank you very much for posting this. I've always enjoyed Schall's thought.

You might also be interested in this thread: The Reappearance of Natural Law

13 posted on 12/28/2002 11:10:34 AM PST by Dumb_Ox
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