We have seen a rise in legal battles where one business is forced to act in a way contrary to the beliefs of its owners, yet another business is permitted to act in a way that tramples on the Natural Rights of the public, in general. This is just one of the latest examples of what Woodrow Wilson would have considered ‘The failure of law to keep up with social change.’ Wilson used this supposed flaw in our system to justify throwing away the Constitution and establishing and elected dictatorship, but this is not the best way to handle these issues. There is another way to handle these sort of issues — a way that is in harmony with Natural Law — and that is to simply apply Natural Law to the issue. However, before we can do this, we have to understand Natural Law and how it works.
Let’s start with a few examples of what we’re discussing:
Natural Law (not to mention civil law) is broken in every one of the above stories. This not only causes confusion, which leads to discord within society, it undermines the rule of law. But this does not have to be. If we understand and then properly apply the principles of Natural Law, each of these cases can be easily and quickly resolved, and with a minimum of new legislation.
Under Natural Law, the ‘Corporation’ has no rights! This is because it is not a person; it does not exist in the State of Nature. The ‘Corporation’ is actually a legal structure constructed by the public, through their legislative representatives, to make it easier to run large co-operative operations. Therefore, in its simplest form, the ‘Corporation’ is a law. As a law, the ‘Corporation’ not a person, nor is it ‘private,’ either. It is a creation of the People and, as such, remains under the control of the People.
So, how does this help us? Simple:
In the case of the bakery, if the bakery is a sole proprietorship or a private partnership, then the bakery is free to deny service to anyone for any reason — period! This is because the private citizen, being a real person, has the Natural Right to Contract. Inherent in the Natural Right to Contract is the notion of free will. Therefore, for any business conducted by the bakery to be ‘legal’ under Natural Law, it has to be conducted freely by all Parties involved. If the customer wants the bakery to make them a wedding cake, but the owner(s) of the bakery does not wish to do so, the owner(s) of the bakery retain their Natural Right to refuse and the customer has no recourse. They cannot sue because, to do so, they would have to trample on the Natural Rights of the owner(s). This then means the Courts have no say in the matter, either.
However, in the case of Hobby Lobby, the People have authority over the business because it is a corporation. Without the law that allows it to exist, Hobby Lobby could not exist — not as we know it. But this does not give the People or their government authority to force Hobby Lobby to provide contraception. This is because Hobby Lobby is claiming a Natural Right — that of Conscience (i.e. freedom of religion). Remember, the People cannot demand the government pass a law that is contrary to Natural Law. In this case, that means the Government cannot write law demanding Hobby Lobby surrender the Natural Rights of the stock holders and their board. And, if there can be no law mandating such an action by Hobby Lobby, then the Courts can have no authority to rule on the issue.
Finally, in the case of Citigroup, the Corporation is breaking the law. Under Natural Law, no one — least of all an artificial entity such as a ‘Corporation’ — can trample on the rights of another person. Therefore, Citigroup has no authority to deny services to people who are exercising their Natural Rights. In this case, that is the Natural Right to self-defense. Now, if Citigroup were a privately owned business, this would be different. But Citigroup is not private. It is the result of a public action (i.e. a law) and, therefor, must comply with the restrictions by which that public action draws its authority. In this case, that would be the Social Contract we call the U.S. Constitution. In turn, the Constitution draws its authority from the Declaration, and the Declaration from natural Law. Thus, by logical extension, Citigroup is restrained from doing anything that would unjustly trample the Natural Rights of any citizen — period. And this is because the People cannot make law (through their representatives) that tramples the rights of any individual.
We have a tendency to think that the world has out-grown the Constitution: to believe that modern society is too complicated for such an antiquated document. But the reality is that we are the ones that no longer function properly, not the Constitution or the principles upon which it is built. If we still understood and embraced the principles of Natural Law, our society would not appear so complicated. Nor would it be as confused as it is. But then, this confusion is the result of intentional actions designed to convince us to abandon the Constitution and Natural Law. This way, the path to tyranny will lay open and, rather than resist it, we will charge down that path cheering and welcoming the chains of our own slavery.