Monday, May 01, 2006

Natural Law

I made a passing reference to Natural Law the other day, and I wanted to come back to this for a discussion. Natural Law states that certain things are as they are, simply because that is how they are. In English and American tradition, Natural Law expresses that rights are inherent, and come from the Creator. This isn't a subject open for debate. Our Founders, who declared independence, created our Constitution, and formed this system of government, all drew on Natural Law philosophers in the early years of this Republic.

Aware of it or not, most Americans ascribe to the philosophy of Natural Law, and to prove it, here's a test. Q: Do most people think slavery is good or bad? Now, there are probably a few despotic regimes that would accept human slavery, but most of the human race acknowledges the evil of such an institution. But why? Most people would just say that it is wrong. But, again, why?

Natural Law supposes that people have a right to their person; and that this right comes from God. This right existed before there were governments, and that right expressed in a distinctly American way is found in our premier founding document, the Declaration of Independence.

Furthermore, if a person has a right to their person - and this right cannot be usurped - a person also has a right to the products of their person; in other words, the fruits of their labor. The fruits of one's labor are rightly called property, and this, too, cannot be taken from someone justly (property may be given, and this is called charity).

Life, liberty, property. These three things are sacrosanct. In our American tradition, we hold these truths to be self-evident - to require no explanation - that all men... well, let's just go to the text, shall we?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

This is the beginning of understanding what we call American Federalism. That the government we have today bears less and less resemblance to the government we had is a result of a jaded and cynical citizenry, who have been mis-instructed in the principles of republican government and falsely convinced that the stewards they have elected are acting in the interest of the people within the bounds of the Constitution.

I am sublimely confident that as the national discussion becomes one of such things - Americanism, Federalism, Natural Law, the rights of man, and the proper role of self-government - we will witness a return to the principles upon which this Republic was founded.

Update: I'm also looking forward to inviting my fellow contributors to the blog, hopefully soon. I can't wait for them to begin their contributions to this space.

I remain, your obedient and faithful servant,
A. Hamilton, aka The Monarchist

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