From my other blog, The Road to Concord:
DEDUCTIVE vs INDUCTIVE NATURAL LAW
One of the most common objections to the notion of Natural Law I have encountered is the complaint that, if one cannot see the enforcement or consequences of Natural Law then it must not exist. To put it another way: people see the consequences of breaking a human law, such as theft. You get caught, you go to jail. However, if I violate a supposed Natural Law governing the Social Contract, for example, I do not see any consequence. Therefore, these people argue, since there is no observable consequence for violating the Natural Law governing the Social Contract, there must not be such a thing as the Social Contract. On the surface, this may seem a rational objection, but it is deeply flawed, and here’s why.
Natural Law includes the laws of physics. Jump off a cliff without any means of breaking your fall and you will see a consequence for challenging the Natural Laws governing gravity and motion (most notably, the laws concerning differential speed). Most Natural Laws connected to the material world (i.e. physics) have an immediate consequence. This makes them deductive laws: you learn them by observing a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Therefore, very few people challenge them. But there are other Natural Laws where the consequences are not immediately appreciated. These laws are usually found in the area of Morality. This is the area where we usually find people rejecting the existence of Natural Law. But morality is different. It deals with human interaction, not physics. So we should not expect it to have immediate consequences.
We are moral agents. This means we are more than just a collection of matter. While our bodies may be subject to the Natural Laws governing matter, that part of us which makes us a moral agent is not. It is subject to the Natural Laws governing morality — universal right and wrong. These laws are meant to teach us how we should behave toward and treat each other. Consequently, they are designed to allow us time to learn from our mistakes before the consequences of our actions finally bring about correction. That is why we do not always see the consequences of violating the Natural Laws governing morality: because they are often delayed for our benefit. This makes them inductive laws: you learn them by observing an indirect cause-and-effect relationship.
The area of morality includes many things that we may not immediately connect to the notion of universal right and wrong. For example: economics. There is a moral aspect to the Natural Laws governing economics. If a society allows for un-just economic practices, such as socialism, then that society violates the Natural Law governing the moral aspect of economics. Socialism is built on theft. It takes from those who have earned and gives to those who have not. If allowed to grow large enough, or exist long enough, Natural law eventually kicks in and corrects the injustice. Look to any Socialist economy in history. It eventually fails — period! There are no exceptions! This is indirect evidence of the moral connection between economics and morality, as well as the Natural Laws governing the two.
Now, let’s go back to the Social Contract. If a society agrees to live by a certain set of laws and moral norms, it is functioning under a Social Contract. Now, if a minority within that society starts to subvert it by violating those moral norms and by perverting the laws, it has violated the Social Contract. At this point, that society has the right to defend itself from this minority. However, if the society does not do so and the minority is allowed to continue its subversive actions, eventually, there will come a point when a majority within that society no longer wishes to live according to the Social Contract which created that society. At that point, society breaks down into civil war. It is at that point that we see the consequences of violating the Social Contract: at the point where the Natural Right to self-defense over-rides any commitment to the Social Contract. We saw this in the American Civil War and we are seeing it repeat today in America where a large ‘Progressive’ minority is pushing a ‘politically correct’ agenda on a small majority. If this situation continues, we will see the consequences of violating the Social Contract we call the U.S. Constitution.
So, the take-away from this post is that, just because we do not see an immediate consequence for violating the Natural Laws governing morality, we should not take that as ‘proof’ that they do not exist. What we should do instead is broaden our view of history to look for patterns. Once we do that, we will notice that history tends to repeat? Why? Because there is a Natural Law governing morality. Those repeating patterns are the consequences for violating this moral law. They are the ‘proof’ which so many who reject the notion of Natural Law demand, yet do not see (mostly because they refuse to see).
[NOTE: I no longer think of my voice as anything special. There was a time when I believed I had something important to say, but not so much these days. I write now because I feel driven to do so. Something inside me will not let me rest until I post the pages you just read. I’d just as soon not bother anymore. It all seems like no one is listening and I do more harm than good. So I have come to trust that whatever it is driving me has all this under control. Personally, I believe it is God, but others may not. All I ask is that, if anything I write helps you, or you think it might help others in any way, please, share this page. Re-blog it, share it on FB or send the link to your friends. So long as you feel it will do more good than harm, then please, use this page however you wish. Thank you.]
2 thoughts on “DEDUCTIVE vs INDUCTIVE NATURAL LAW”
I suggest last phrase above should be (mostly because they refuse to see).
Once again, thanks. Blogging has helped me understand why writers have editors. Even when I try to edit my own work, I miss things — probably because I am too close to it to see what I did wrong. 😦