Saturday, July 3, 2010

Natural Rights

When Men enter into Society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions, And previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.  (Source:

Surprisingly (or not) I am finding that may in Left Blogistan are embarrassingly ignorant of Natural Law or Natural Rights.

Usually, these are the same people who can recite the entire "America is Evil" catechism, from slavery and womens rights, to treatment of native American and stealing land from Mexico.

(Question.  Under which government would the current residents of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern Colorado and California rather live?  I propose a vote, with the losers sent to Mexico and thereafter eternally vowing to STFU on this tired subject.)

Natural Law -- Our Foundation

Natural Law is a philosophy, a theory.  As such, it is open to debate and question, as is Christianity and global warming.  Natural Law is the philosophical foundation of our constitutional republic, and today it stands in stark contrast to the central economic planning and social tinkering of progressives.

Jonathan  Dolhenty explains:
What do we mean by "natural law"? In its simplest definition, natural law is that "unwritten law" that is more or less the same for everyone everywhere. 

To be more exact, natural law is the concept of a body of moral principles that is common to all humankind and, as generally posited, is recognizable by human reason alone. Natural law is therefore distinguished from -- and provides a standard for -- positive law, the formal legal enactments of a particular society.

To sum it up, then, we can say that the natural law:
  • is not made by human beings;
  • is based on the structure of reality itself;
  • is the same for all human beings and at all times;
  • is an unchanging rule or pattern which is there for human beings to discover;
  • is the naturally knowable moral law
  • is a means by which human beings can rationally guide themselves to their good.  
(Source:  Radical Academy)

The Rights of the Colonists, written in 1772, shows how natural rights were understood at our nation's founding.  It is a short document that describes man's natural rights and his entering into voluntary civil society with others for the mutual protection of those rights.  It logically follows that such a society's positive  laws "should conform as far as possible, to the Law of natural reason and equity." 

Simply put, a society needs man-made laws to protect the natural laws of those who voluntarily participate. 
"The natural liberty of Men by entering into society is abridg’d or restrained so far only as is necessary for the Great end of Society the best good of the whole"
It's a balancing act, and progressives have almost turned us upside-down.  To get a better understanding, take five minutes to read the document at Vindicating the Founding Fathers.

Further Reading:
Locke's Second Treatise Of Civil Government

The Principles of Natural and Politic Law


Fredd said...

'If it feels good, do it' is included in that natural law stuff somewhere, right Silver?

tha malcontent said...

Great piece and so on the point. Should be required reading for all Americans.

Silverfiddle said...

Fredd: A free person may do whatever he wishes so long as he does not infringe the rights of others. One person's right to swing his fist stops at the next person's nose.

For this reason, Classical Liberals rebelled against coercive or mandatory religious systems imposed by the state, but when freed from that state, voluntarily participated in the church of their choice.

This is also why our founders, though God-fearing men, did not mandate religion in our constitution.

TKZ said...

The Left is afraid of the theory of natural law because they think it's a Christian idea (or that those who believe in it are somehow Christian Fascists), and because when the people know where their rights really come from it undermines their power to control them by granting them man-made "rights."

But in reality, natural law is not a Christian idea. Cicero came up with it before Christ was even born. The theory just lends itself well to the idea of a Creator, so any religion other than Atheism can grasp it.

TOM said...

Seems a right to urinate in public would be more natural than a right to own a gun.

TOM said...

Or a right to ones good health, over the giving my tax dollars to a corporation every time that corporation gets a tax break from they should fairly pay.

Endo_2011 said...

not sure there is such a thing as a "right to good health".. If so, I think that would imply people have the right to exercise and eat what they want;

Hugh Farnham said...

A most encouraging sign - Locke and Natural Law are being studied by conservatives.

These liberals have no idea what they started.

I'm going to a gun show today to celebrate Independence Day weekend. How about you?

Silverfiddle said...

I'm still laughing at Tom's comments.

The first natural right is the right to defend yourself and your property. Gun ownership is a neutral act and harms no one.

Corporations getting a tax break is the state taking money from me and giving it to someone else, spreadin' it around as Obama would say...

Are you against all of this or do you selectively choose?

TOM said...

Natural does not mean some weapon made by man.
I should have a right to not have my tax dollars given to corporations to subsidize their profits.
I'll be cleaning my S&W 38 while I watch 1776.

Silverfiddle said...

Tom: The rights are natural, but they can obviously be defended by modern means.

You also have a natural right to not have your property confiscated. All of us have entered into a voluntary contract with the government, and the government has a duty to keep such confiscations to a bare minimum.

That's what this quote means:

"The natural liberty of Men by entering into society is abridg’d or restrained so far only as is necessary for the Great end of Society the best good of the whole"

I recommend you do some reading and research so you don't embarrass yourself. This is Right Blogistan, where we use logic and appeals to the great thinkers and their philosophies.

It's a discussion and debating of ideas.

Id-driven rants won't take you too far here.

TOM said...

Having read some of the delusional shit you write, I'm doing just fine. At least I know the FACTS about how and who created the mess we are in now.

Canadian Pragmatist said...

What you're talking about is more like Mill's "On Liberty" than any natural law theory.

Being allowed to own a gun is no more a principle in any serious moral or political philosophy than is being allowed to own an atom-bomb.

Canadian Pragmatist said...

Also, the problem with natural law is that there is nothing about nature which actually suggests any laws with necessity.

I mean... dogs have four leg, therefore... what? Aristotle actually thought that nature was purposeful (without any real evidence). He thought things like... rain falls so that it can nourish plants, etc... He was the first natural law theorist, and nowadays we know he was wrong.

Canadian Pragmatist said...

"The natural liberty of Men by entering into society is abridg’d or restrained so far only as is necessary for the Great end of Society the best good of the whole"

This doesn't imply anything. Obviously progressives think that not allowing people to have easy access to deadly weapons is good for the whole of society, and that insuring that people don't die of chicken-pox b/c they can't afford health insurance is good for the whole of society.

Bastiatarian said...

Well, Statist Maple Leaf, the fact that something is good for society does not mean that it is good or moral for individuals to be forced to participate in it or support it. Society would be MUCH better off if there were no idiots. According to your shoddy reasoning, the correct course of action would be to eradicate them (which would, of course, mean killing them).

You will never, in all eternity, be able to justify stealing. Therefore, you will never, in all eternity, be able to justify forcing me to pay for the health care of any individual for whom I have not voluntarily assumed legal responsibility.

Further, you miss the point about guns. The natural right is for an individual to have the ability to choose and use whatever means is necessary to protect his life, liberty, and property.

On a practical basis, how do you propose to defend yourself if an individual twice your size and strength decides that it would be a rather charming idea to rape you? Remember that the police almost never arrive in time to prevent a crime, of course. They always arrive to clean up, take your statement, and refer you to counseling. (Naturally, they work diligently to find the perpetrator, often at great personal risk, but that does not make you any less raped.)

Trestin said...

I think this is the flaw with the major flaw with the left. The right is focused on the rights of the individual (natural law). The left is focused on the good of the collective (artificial law). What they fail to understand is that protecting the rights of the individual is ultimatly what is best for the collective. This is why America has been prosperous, while communist countries fail.

Canadian Pragmatist said...

Silverfiddle quoted the wrong guy then. What'd you want me to do? I know there are no intelligent people who agree with you. The only way John Adams or John Locke wrote something you agree with is that you've misinterpreted it.

Silverfiddle said...

Pretty weak, CP...

Anonymous said...

Trolls, you can disagree with the theory of natural law all you want. That is your natural right under natural law, and we won't argue with you on that fact. But it also makes you look naturally incompetant to assert that the natural state of man is a collective one in which what's best for him is to be controlled by a master other than himself.

Canadian Pragmatist said...

Obviously that's not natural. It's natural to hit women over the head drag them to my cave and rape them. Does that make it right?

You don't seem to understand how ridiculous it is to think that there are "natural" laws. What about nature seems moral to you?

Bastiatarian said...

>It's natural to hit women over the head drag them to my cave and rape them.

If you think that's natural, I would suggest some intensive psychological therapy.


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