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Natural Law and Inherent Virtue

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posted on Jun, 14 2015 @ 02:43 AM
If a man remarked on a budding tree in the spring time, and said : “This tree is verdant and fair”, one would assume right away that what he describes is inherent in the tree. The tree is verdant, and it is also fair. It is sweet to look at and pleasant to the eye. Is this man truly describing the tree when he says “fair”, or is he merely referencing his own feelings about it? Maybe the tree is pretty to his eye, but it is not inherently “fair”. If this is so, is anything really “fair”, or is the idea of beauty just a feeling we have?

C.S. Lewis wrote about this many years ago, and my opinion agrees with his: there is virtue inherent in all things, and the tree is indeed “beautiful”. So is music, poetry, and innumerable other facets of my life and the lives of all others.

But many today would contest this notion, in line with subjectivity and relativist thought. They would claim that beauty is relative, and that what is fair to one person may be unremarkable to another. These same folk would also say there is no clear basis for the idea of right and wrong, good and evil, virtue of character; these are cultural and societal constructs, supposedly, and they have no basis in reality. Right and wrong cannot be quantified or measured, and so they may as well not exist. Concepts like justice and free will are seen as equally subjective. One is only as free as he believes himself to be, and justice has no clear definition beyond a vague notion of reciprocity. A dangerous line of thought, and a clear path to regression in many ways. It needn't be said that there are many in the world who would seize this idea of “subjectivity” and twist it to their own ends. Just as cultural relativism helps us break down the barriers to cooperation caused by chauvinism, xenophobia, and racism, it also allows our leaders to free themselves from certain natural constraints. Constraints that should rightfully exist, constraints that are the downfall of every tyrant in history.

But I'm diverging a bit, I will get to the good bits later. For now, there is an inconsistency here, a contradiction that should be addressed. Many of these same relativists have now taken the form of secular humanists, people who elevate a certain “human” ideal that has taken on an abstract quality of it's own. According to the secular humanist, “humanity” has innate value. Humanity is something to strive for, something to defend and promote. What exactly is the basis for a human ideal? Can this human ideal be measured? Secular humanists often speak of certain actions as “promoting universal good will”, and they claim things like genocide and fascism are “inhuman”. But yet these same people fall back on relativism in their criticism of religion and traditional morality. What if humanity also means different things to different people? What if there is really no such thing as humanity? But this is tantamount to heresy, and such notions cannot be entertained.

Surely, my dear readers, you see the contradiction here.


Here I'll try to explain my interpretation of the “abolition of man”.

Freedom is that natural order of things, and the natural order of man. When presented with bondage, man's desire is to escape it, in one way or another. Contrary to what some might claim, submitting to a social order does not necessarily entail giving up one's freedoms, as long as that order is not ubiquitous and inescapable. One must make certain concessions in the name of safety and prosperity, but if the prospect of escape from that order is still there, one hasn't truly lost his freedom.

What is so damning and frightening about this era is that our prospects for escape are dwindling by the day. We may soon be faced with an inescapable order that is decidedly unnatural. What we are faced with is the attempt to truncate our internal compass and our bearings in the world.

Our desire for freedom, and our concept of justice- these notions, these qualities, are an impediment to certain powers. If we are left without a concept of free will, it's only a matter of directing our will to the desires of others. If we have no concept of justice, all manner of injuries and wrongdoings can be inflicted without recourse. So, subjectivity and relativism become an invaluable tool. “Humanity” is now the ideal, but this ideal is far less concrete than any notion of right and wrong. “Humanity” as it's used today can mean any number of things, and it can be manipulated to serve a number of masters. But concepts like justice and free will cannot be manipulated in such a way- they are inherent, and we all understand what they mean. I don't deny that ideas of justice and freedom are often fluid and blurred- but that is the fault of man and our failure to interpret them correctly. Either way, their existence is vital to our own.

This is all inextricably linked to the reign of quantity and the elevation of the material. Material prosperity has taken on an inverted religious quality, the means to all ends. But not just the means to an end- matter and “things” are now ends of their own. Our enslavement will not come in the form of martial law or overt dystopian repression. It will be decidedly subtle in it's implementation. Part of this may be some biological tampering that's thrust upon us, but it will also have strong cultural and economic aspects. Even now, the global economy takes on an abstract and pervasive significance, as though it were an entity of it's own. We live by the whims of this all-encompassing “global economy”. There is a precise reason for that, but it's a different topic and would take me many more paragraphs to explain.

The worst possible outcome is this- through some incalculably cunning method, our essence is distorted. We will have lost our concept of virtue. Under the guise of relativity and subjectivity, our elite will cut off our recognition of natural law, and so they will fasten the proverbial shackles. A disoriented mass without the internal guidance of logic and human reason. A mass that cannot recognize itself and it's significance. But the chains are not physical and they cannot be broken. They will be inherent.

edit on 14-6-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 14 2015 @ 09:21 AM
a reply to: DiggerDogg

Beautifully said!

I'm with you, but sadly, as a society we no longer even recognize -- much less appreciate! -- the virtue in natural law and natural rights as we once did. The natural law and inalienable rights our founding fathers fought to provide for and Constitutionally guarantee are all but lost. More and more it seems that our organic law is being replaced with the Queen of Hearts' organic law: "All ways are my ways."

Which is why it's so important for those of us who do know and remember to keep singing its praises, even when all seems hopeless... nay, especially when it seems hopeless! Thanks for fighting the good fight.

posted on Jun, 14 2015 @ 09:31 AM
a reply to: DiggerDogg

Very happy to read this!

"Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it's evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

-Thomas Jefferson
edit on 14-6-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 14 2015 @ 04:19 PM
Thank you for the responses.

I wish I could post this whole essay by Lewis (which gave me some of the inspiration to write the OP), but it's probably too long, so a link will have to do.

posted on Jun, 15 2015 @ 06:05 AM
a reply to: DiggerDogg

Thanks for the link to the Lewis piece.

I happen to be reading Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals which Lewis was clearly thinking about. Lewis goes further down the theistic path in his ratiocination. One of Kant's major points about "the science of freedom" was that a maxim should only be considered universal law if it is always categorical and ubiquitous to all rational beings without exception.

"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end."

-Immanuel Kant
edit on 15-6-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)

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