Thursday, August 16, 2007

Discourse on Natural Law

1. `nothing would be right by enactment if some things were not right by nature`

Not exactly. The law of man in countries where the rule of law is respected and the administration of justice is upheld takes much root from natural law where equity and justice prevail. The penal codes and the civil codes in different countries is the repository of centuries old disdain of a universal people against fraud, murder, deception, seduction, rape, theft, robbery, breaches of contract, rebellion, non-payment of debt, and many other social evils which were only encoded into the statute books. This general disdain for these social evils are perceived as inherent in the nature of man, as even the constitutional protection of the right to life, liberty and property is presumed to be taken from the need of humans to be alive, free and acquire property. Nonetheless, present enactment of laws do not simply pertain to the natural law as there are present social evils which need to be addressed which do not necessarily conform to the fundamentals of natural law. The best example of this would be the enactment of same-sex union in several states in the United States. Same-sex unions are a little short of marriage yet afford the same protection to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. While it is true that it is horribly unnatural for same-sex partners to be allowed by the states through statute and validation through jurisprudence, it is also in the state interest to protect these same-sex couples in the same manner that it protects heterosexual couples, especially insofar as property rights and basic services are concerned. While the law in this case is totally not in conformity with natural law, the state has clearly explained its purpose for such an enactment as such protections for same-sex couples are actually in fact subsumed under the natural law based constitutional protections such as the right to life, liberty and property.

2. ` ordiance of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has care of the community.`

For the most part, the statute books have always attempted to be in consonance with the natural law, especially in terms of penal statutes and civil codes. In present terms, the US Patriot Act is in force, seen by many as detrimental to civil liberties, yet in full agreement to natural law principles, especially insofar as attempting to punish persons and individuals in collusion with terrorists, as it is in the state interest to ensure the protection and preservation of life of the American people and take pre-emptive and post facto actions towards this end. The only time that the state veers away from such natural law principles is during historical epoch in American society when prior concepts have already been dismantled and a new worldview has been established. Such is what is happening now in the current legal trend of allowing same-sex unions with protections and such is what occurred in American history when slavery was abolished, segregation was dismantled and the women were allowed to vote. Prior to these events, only a few progressives and radicals of those times articulated such views, much less propose the enactment of laws towards such end. Yet, in the passage of time and the struggle of the people, such laws were passed despite the prevailing natural law concepts then that assented to the morality of slavery and the subjugation of women as inferior to men. As such, in the final analysis, while it is essential that the state conform to natural law principles in enacting laws, it is not a monolithic requisite that is not grounded on the realities of the day because, to an extent, natural law principles can be as shifting as historic processes are, for as long as such principles never compromise in the protection of life, liberty and property in all its facets and forms in legal contemplation.

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