The origins of Natural Law?

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by MrConservative, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. MrConservative

    MrConservative Active Member

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    Where did this idea come from? Ancient Rome?

    - natural law- or universal divine law derived from right reason. The Romans came to view their law of nations as derived from or identical to this natural law, thus giving Roman jurists a philosophical justification for systematizing Roman law according to basic principles.

    Source: Western Civilization Volume I: To 1715 Eigth Ed. Jackson J. Spielvogel

    Is it all that surprising that the same civilization that gave us the separation of powers also gave us our legal system and the concept of natural law?

    Is it all that surprising that around that time Rome came up with the idea of natural rights, Roman Emperor Caracalla made every free citizen in the Empire a Roman citizen?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    While the roots of "natural Rights" go back into history they were best addressed by individuals like John Locke in the 17th Century. The specific issue of "all men are created equal" is a logical deduction, as are all natural Rights, because there is no difference between one baby taking it's first breath of life and another. The parents maybe different and the situation into which the child is born maybe different but there is no difference in the child.

    I would highly suggest a reading of John Locke's papers and philosophy which was a dominate influence in the founding of America. Understanding the difference between natural rights and legal rights is very important in understanding the ideals of America. The ideals of America are the goal of the United States and we should keep our focus upon protecting them under the law. Natural Rights need to be protected as legal Rights.
     
  3. Panzerkampfwagen

    Panzerkampfwagen New Member

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    Well, we disagree somewhat with the Romans. It's generally considered illegal to even own slaves, let alone kill them.
     
  4. rachelhan1981

    rachelhan1981 New Member

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    :):):):) Agree..but romans are different........
     
  5. Lex Naturalis

    Lex Naturalis New Member

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    Cicero is the father of stoic natural law, or, Lex Naturalis. (Latin for Natural Law)
     
  6. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    The roots can actually be traced back to Plato and Aristotle as well but certainly there where others such and Cicero that expanded on the general principles of natural law. What is important is that it continues to expand today as it is based upon logical deduction so it develops and expands over time.
     
  7. Lex Naturalis

    Lex Naturalis New Member

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    Yes. That why I made the destination of "stoic natural law".
     
  8. LU6FER

    LU6FER New Member

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    I think that NATURAL LAWS don't need to quote any of the old brains who enlighted their own times : we have the same nature datas to oberve and understand, to be able to place our own human position among the realm of living things .
    The cold ingeener vision is only necessary , to forget our self satisfying sight of the affair , after so many god jokes concerning our place on the ladder.
    We are mammals , we must never forget this base . What more do we have ?
    It's so thin that it is the point which asks for a strong honnest appreciation.
    So thin but , as so , so important to understand it .
    All what led us out of caves must be taken carefully , and understood .
    It's the only way .
     
  9. Margot

    Margot Account closed, not banned

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    Natural Law is just the law of nature. Natural law is not necessarily Common Law.
     
  10. Lex Naturalis

    Lex Naturalis New Member

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    freaking ipad correcting the wrong word for me.
     
  11. Lex Naturalis

    Lex Naturalis New Member

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    Did anyone claim otherwise?
     
  12. Freya

    Freya Banned

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    It is well known that based on pure regulation hypothesis, which often keeps that morality is usually a perform connected with people character along with reason can certainly discover logical meaningful principles by means of investigating the character connected with the human race in society, the content connected with positive regulation can not be identified devoid of many mention of the pure regulation.
     
  13. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    What people need to understand that "natural law" is based upon logical deduction and, as will all logical deduction, it expands over time. Critical to considering "natural law" is that it relates to "natural rights" which are those rights inherent in the individual as a sovereign independent person. Natural law cannot volate the natural rights of the individual. A natural right cannot be dependent upon another person nor can it infringe upon the rights of another person. These are all simple concepts that establish the foundation for natural rights as well as natural law.
     
  14. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Natural law came and derived from the DIVINE, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

    GOD's LAWS are written on our hearts.
     
  15. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    False. Natural law and natural (inalienable) rights are not derived from religious myths nor are they based upon subjective individual opinion. They are based upon logical argument which often contradicts subjective individual opinion. Even the most religious of individuals must disregard their religious beliefs if they are to address natural rights and natural law because religious dogma does not establish a foundation for either.

    Case in point is "punishment" for a crime which is an act of revenge. No individual has a Right of Revenge and therefore it's not supported under natural law. Incarceration based upon natural law is about providing protection for society and not about punishment because no individual has a Right of Revenge.
     
  16. Heroclitus

    Heroclitus Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with this. But it is interesting that the point you refute here calims natural law to be from God. I think this gives some confusion in an American context and I would like to udnerstand the contradictions a bit more here. As far as I know the great struggle in England between the people and the monarch was expressed in legal terms as the ongoing struggle between common law (that Margot mentioned) and natural law. Natural law to the monarch was the underpinning of the Divine Right of Kings. The common law held that law should be based on the tradition and precedent of what common people did and thought.

    This development in history then bumped up against Enlightenment philosophy and there was a synthesizing (first in England) of natural law and what the common people demanded (the demands in the Putney Debates which went on to become the US Constitution). The common law (which was at odds with codified Roman law) relied on tradition and precedent which in theory was contrary to natural law. But in practice common law did far more to underpin liberty - English law for example never allowed slavery in England, whilst natural law in America allowed it. How could this be? How could a judge agree with an argument that "the air of England is too pure for any slave to breathe" at the same time as there was a global slave trade? Surely custom and practice would have allowed it. In fact the common law enshrines more natural rights in practice than codified Roman law systems ever have. It is for this reason that the common law systems of England and the USA are superior to those of continental Europe which follow the Roman model.
     
  17. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    Natural law did not support slavery as slavery violated the inalienable (natural) Rights of the Individual. Independent individual sovereignty was the founation for natural (inalienable) Rights which natural law addresses.

    Please note that the "common law" is established by court precedent absent statutory laws which address conflict. Normally the common law is based upon logical deduction by the courts but that doesn't make it natural law as a court can be biased in it's decision making process. I would cite the example of Reynolds v United States which addressed the Right of the Individual to exercise their religious beliefs in marriage. It is the precedent in this decision that established the separation of church and state in this decision which is the "common law" of the United States. Unfortunately in the final decision it was based exclusively upon the common and statutory laws established by the Christian religion in Europe so the final decision was based upon religions and not on natural law. The court established that laws cannot be based upon religious beliefs and then made it's decision based upon religious beliefs. It violated the very precedent it established.

    There are overlapping "laws" that are both reigious in origin as well as based upon compelling arguments of logic which underpins natural Rights and natural law. We can see the differences in action if we address the prior prohibitions against inter-racial marriages and today's same-gender marriage. Both of these prohibitions originated from religious dogma and both violate the Right of Soveriegn Individuals to establish personal/financial partnerships of their own choosing with other consenting adults and their Right to receive equal protection under the law. There are no compelling arguments that support the prohibitions against inter-racial marriage, inter-religious marriage, same-gender marriage, polygamous marriage or even incestuous marriage so long as it's between consenting adults. All of the prohibitions, past and present, relate to religious dogma and are not based upon natural law.

    Religious dogma does not require compelling argument but natural law does and that is a fundatmental difference.
     
  18. Heroclitus

    Heroclitus Well-Known Member

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    But how Shiva did a nation based on natural law (albeit with an element of common law tradition) end up permitting slavery when a nation where common law prevailed (England) always outlawed it.

    You point out the paradox of common law but is there not also a paradox regarding natural law. At the end of the day what are inalienable universal rights are what someone thinks. And that someone, if they are in power, writes that down and that becomes the law. Thus Roman Law became a term for codified law. When the King decided that the natural order was the divine right of Kings, or a bunch of Founding Fathers decided to allow slavery and the concept of a black man as less than a human being, this became the codified "natural" law (ie the US Constitution in the case of codfying racism). On the other hand the common law of England, being the traditional wisdom of the community, despite its Man Made nature was the basis for the struggle against the King and paradoxically again the demands that the King should recognize "rights". In the end common law is superior to Roman Law systems because common law represents the will of the commonwealth, is frequently at odds with the subjective view of the ruler, and organically, by just muddling through, ends uip far more aligned with permanent notions of "natural law" than any enlightened Prince's musings.
     
  19. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    I would merely cite the fact that ideals were established in America but rarely are ideals ever realized. Our laws are not entirely based upon natural law nor have they ever been based exclusively on natural law. As I've noted previously we have moved forward in that regard but the influence of religious dogma remains a constant problem. For example in 1970 we had no laws that expressly prohibited same-sex (gender) marriage in the United States. Now about 3/4ths of the State have created laws that prohibit same-sex (gender) marriage based upon Christian religious beliefs. These laws violate natural law and the natural rights of the individual but they exist nonetheless.

    We're constantly dealing with two steps forward and one step back when it comes to realizing the ideals upon which America was founded. It's always been the case as there is an inherent conflict between the ideals of natural law and the will of the people based upon dogmatic beliefs regardless of whether those dogmatic beliefs are based upon religion or any other form of ignorance.

    One of the great criticisms I have of our education system is that it doesn't teach us about natural (inalienable) rights and natural law very well. It gives lip service to the terms but never educates our population about the criteria for them so that people become informed on the issue. We basically end up with an uneducated electorate which makes it more difficult for our ideals to ever be met. If we had an educated electorate, using a prior example, there would be no laws prohibiting marriage between any consenting adults.
     
  20. Hoosier8

    Hoosier8 Banned Donor

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    There is no conflict with Natural Law, what you state is a compromise to create a nation which, using Natural Law and the Constitution derived from it was eventually corrected.

    With Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality. Since it is derived from The Creator, it cannot be repealed, cannot be altered, and cannot be abandoned by the legislators or the people even though they may try to do so. As Cicero said, "Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst punishment." It's basic principles are comprehensible to the human mind, totally correct and morally right in it's general operation.

    Our unalienable rights come from Natural Law and nowhere else.

    William Blackstone wrote, "Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal law to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to forfeiture."

    The Founders did not list all of the unalienable rights since they already exist in nature and outlined in the Declaration of Independence, which must be understood as the meaning behind the Constitution which outlines the role of government. It says, "with certain unalienable rights, that AMONG these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    What are some other natural rights derived from natural law?

    The right to free conscience, the right to choose a mate, the right to choose a profession, to assemble, to petition, free press, free speech, to be able to provide self protection, and the list goes on. All things you can do without government and without infringing on other's natural rights.
     

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