Contrary to popular opinion, we can legislate morality. Those who repeat the notion that we cannot legislate morality reveal their ignorance of the law’s function in society. Fortunately, our founders understood the law and the role it plays in a free and self-governing society. In fact, they built this nation on the belief that, unless it is founded in morality, there is no law. Instead, what we get is lawlessness and tyranny. The founders even had a name for this lawless tyranny. they called it ‘the rule of man,’ and they fought a revolution to free themselves from it. So how is it that we, a people who pride themselves on being the most advanced civilization in history, has not only forgotten this truth, but now advances the opposite notion: that law must be based on ‘fairness?’
It might help if we were as educated as we like to think we are but, sadly, we are not so much educated as indoctrinated. We are told what to think and — more importantly — how to react to anyone who says anything contrary to our programming. Inevitably, we are taught to attack anyone opposing our programing. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible to undo this indoctrination once it is in place. Make no mistake, the ignorance of this nation is intentional, and its origins can be traced (read: CONNECTING THE DOTS: The Origins of the ‘Anti-Christian” Agenda). At the same time, this indoctrination has been very effective. The lawlessness produced by this indoctrination has been so complete, even the laws governing our language are no longer recognized. I beg your indulgence but, this is why I feel compelled to spend the majority of this post dealing with things we should have all learned by middle school: simple definitions and common sense.
First, we need to set a few common understandings. When I refer to ‘the law,’ I do not mean the statutes and ordinances that are currently on the books. I mean the ideal of what the law should be as defined by the function it is supposed to play in a free and self-governing society. To be a law, a piece of legislation must fall within these limits. If it does not, then it is not a law, it is lawlessness: it is man forcing his will on other men.
Second, when I say that a law ‘must‘ or ‘can’t‘ do something, I am not talking in the literal sense. Naturally we can write a piece of legislation making anything legal or illegal, but this does not mean that legislation is a law. When I say a law ‘must‘ or ‘can’t,’ I am referring to it in a definitional sense. In other words, it must do something to be a legitimate law, or it cannot do something or it is not a legitimate law.
Finally, to help avoid confusion, I will refer to ‘the law’ as ‘just law,’ and those statutes and ordinances that are not just as ‘man’s law.’ By this, I mean that ‘just law‘ is a law based in morality, and ‘man’s law‘ is a statute or ordinance based in tyranny. In this case, ‘tyranny‘ is understood as the arbitrary use of force by one person or group to force another person or group to do something against their will. I will also assume that ‘tyranny‘ is understood to be lawless, and may even use the two terms interchangeably.
Unfortunately, we are not finished with our definitions. Now we need to understand what we mean by the terms ‘morality,’ ‘justice‘ and ‘fairness.’ Morality deals with right and wrong actions between individuals. Morality is a universal, eternal concept based on the free will of the individual. Justice is the principle or ideal of determining whether or not an action was moral or immoral, right or wrong. Fairness is an arbitrary notion that has more to do with personal opinion or desire than an objective measure of right or wrong. It has no place in morality of justice. In fact, ‘fairness’ often negates morality and justice. Unfortunately, most of society has been taught the opposite. Today, a majority of people think justice and morality are driven by ‘fairness.’ As we will see, this notion is actually lawless: a tool of tyrants.
There is a universal moral law. It governs the interaction of all moral agents (individuals of conscience). Animals are not moral agents. We do not think in terms of ‘murder’ when a lion kills a zebra, but we do think that way when one person kills another. Justice is the process by which actions are evaluated as to whether or not they were moral or not, and guilt is assigned to those individuals who committed a wrong against another. Punishment is also a part of justice. Because morality is universal, and justice is the process of determine and enforcing this universal moral law, every individual can claim rights under a system of just law. This is the essence of Natural law, of which, just law is an inherent part.
However, the concept of fairness is different for everyone, so it cannot form the basis for morality or justice. When someone argues that something is not fair, they are really throwing an intellectual temper tantrum. If something is wrong, then we should say it is immoral. If a ruling is wrong, then we should say it is unjust. If a law is not aligned with these principles, we should say it is lawless. But the moment we argue that something is unfair, we throw morality and justice out the window. From that point on, man’s law is in play, and man’s law is based on who is strong enough to force their will on another. In other words, man’s law is the law of ‘might-makes-right.’
Now, if we accept fairness as the basis of morality and justice, we will have no recourse if we feel harmed by someone who has the ability to force their will on us. All they are doing is applying the same measure we are advocating against us, only they would be better at it. In this sense, fairness is usually defined by the victor, and unfairness by the one who is vanquished. Fairness could never have made the moral argument against slavery, or theft, or even rape. So long as someone is strong enough to force their will on others, or smart enough to deceive others into surrendering to their will, then what is fair will be and is defined by that person, and what is unfair will always be defined by the person who is on the bottom of the pile. This is why Natural Law is necessary to a free and self-governing society: because the only authority that can establish a universal moral law and and system of justice is the Creator. This is why the Creator is a necessary fallacy.
Now that I have brought you through all of that, and assuming you are still with me, I can use common sense to explain why all just law is a legislation of morality. And I can do it by illustrating several simple and easy to understand points. I have chosen extremes to help make sure they are clear and easy to understand.
If we cannot legislate morality, then how can we argue against slavery? If the law is not connected to moral right or wrong, then how can we argue against institutional slavery? The only thing we can resort to is force, and force is tyranny.
If we can’t legislate morality, than how can we make murder illegal? If the law has nothing to do with moral right or wrongs, then how can we argue against murder? The only thing we can do is use force to defend ourselves, and force is lawlessness.
If the law has nothing to do with morality, then how can we make rape illegal? In fact, if fairness is the measure of the law, and it is ‘unfair’ to refuse service to gays, then why isn’t it ‘unfair’ to refuse to allow anyone who wishes to have sex with you? If morality has nothing to do with the law, then a case can be made that it is unfair to refuse to let others have your body. After all, if I can force you to use your body to make me a cake, there is no difference — in principle — if I force you to share your body with me for sex. All I have to do is write the law to stipulate that condoms must be used, this way, you are not harmed and have no justification to object.
I trust you will see the absurdity in these examples. But before you go looking for exceptions, let me stop you so I can remind you that a community has the right to decide its own standards. If the Quakers want to live by a strict understanding of Scripture, which is within Natural law, then they have a Natural Right to do so (association and contract). At the same time, if a community such as San Fransisco wishes to live a libertine lifestyle, they have that right, but they must accept the consequences. In this case, they are giving up all pretense of just law for man’s law. More simply put, they would be agreeing to live by force. The consequences of this are, if a man gives you a right, that same man can take it away and you have no grounds to object. Your only choices are to stay in a favored group, remain in the majority (assuming you live under a democratic system of governance) or to move away.
The simple truth is this: all laws are based in universal morality. That universal moral law is an inherent part of Natural law. If a statute or regulation violates Natural law, it is not a law, but lawlessness. Those statutes we find on our books today that seem to contradict the notion of justice are just examples of lawlessness. They indicate that we do not live under a system of just law, but under a system of man’s law, and man’s law is always tyranny. the only question is how hard or soft the tyranny is, but it is still tyranny. In the same way, statutes and regulations designed to prevent something are lawless. Just law can only deal with something after it happens. If an action is addressed before it actually happens, then the person assuming that action will happen is forcing their will on a person who has done nothing wrong. Remember, morality is based on actions between individuals, not ‘what ifs’ between individuals. Also, any statute or regulation that treats an artificial entity as a person is lawless. Morality deals with moral agents, and an artificial entity is not a moral agent.
If we only understood this, and embraced and sustained it, we would have far fewer problems in our world.
9 thoughts on “FUNDAMENTALS OF NATURAL LAW: You CAN Legislate Morality”
Joe – I just wanted to thank you for your ongoing essays. I really like the way you are progressing through your analysis. I’m finding they help me stretch and explore my own understandings of Natural Law and for that I’m very grateful. Keep up the great work!
I want to publicly thank you for this comment. I’ll be honest: I had been thinking about ending this and my other blog. I want to share what I have been learning, but it has caused me more than a little bit of a feeling of despair. I see what is happening in the world and why so clearly. I can predict things now with great accuracy, and I am NO prophet. But it seems so few want to listen, and even fewer are willing to follow up on their own. It all just makes me feel as though my time would be better spent with family and friends.
HOWEVER, the Lord slapped me for thinking this way. It has been made clear to me that I am doing this for Him, and it is not for me to worry about who I am writing to or why. I just want to be an obedient servant, so I will continue to do what God tells me to do. Still, it is a great comfort to hear that I am actually helping someone else. Whether you see it or not, God sent you to make this comment tonight because He knew I needed to hear it. So thank you, for being obedient and for blessing me in the process. 🙂
You have no idea how much impact these blogs have had, are having, and will have in me and others. Keep the faith. Despair not. Your job here is not to influence the masses, the sheep. It is to influence the influencers, the sheep dogs.
These writings are spot on for our times, and I can’t help but draw analogies to the Federalist papers and other influential writings of that era. This blog is a very rare and special opportunity for me to experience and participate in, so I hope you continue expanded exploration of Liberty through your writings.
Just a couple years ago, I would have accepted your compliments without hesitation. But today…
Thank you, my friend, but you are placing me too near to men much greater and much better than I.
Just discovered your website, and have been reading your articles for 2 days. They articulate for me, what I have intuitively thought, about so much of our Founding. You words clarify for me ideas that I could not follow to their logical conclusion. Sometimes you make my head hurt, and I have to reread several times. Still, when away from your page, I find it difficult to explain in my own words what you say about Natural Rights and Natural Law, in different situations, but I am learning. Thanks for your efforts to educate those like me, who are less clear about our Constitutional Rights, and Social Contract under the Constitution, but know that what is happening now is lawlessness.
Thank you for your kind words. I am grateful that I have been able to help you. I know I have been away from this blog for a while, but — Lord willing — things may change soon. I may even be adding short video clips to my posts — to cover the main points in a format that can be easily understood and shared.
We need to teach people what we, as a nation, have forgotten before it is too late (if it isn’t already).