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Logic & First Principles, 20: What is law?

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A good first step to understanding the ongoing failure of our civilisation is to contrast the common, positive law view of law summarised by Wikipedia (as a handy point of reference):

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as “the Science of Justice” and “the Art of Justice”. Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions . . .

. . . with Cicero’s summary of received classical views in de Legibus, c. 50 BC:

“Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” . . . . They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [–> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil.
The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

Obviously, we cannot tell truth by the calendar or clock, but by what is sound. The first of these approaches is largely about an exercise in state power, justice is almost a footnote, a disputable matter of definition. The latter, we can summarise as highest reason regarding duty and justice (i.e. the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities) for the individual and the community. Where, the first known lawful duties of the rational, responsible individual are to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, fairness and justice.

That is, the civil peace of justice must be central, not the raw exercise of rule making power. Thus, we see how law and primary, generally known duties of moral character are inextricably intertwined, tracing to our morally governed nature. Where also, due force is that which defends the civil peace of justice with proportionate means, enforcing what is lawful. Legitimate power is protective and regulated by rational and responsible principles of justice, it is not primary.

Why is such a distinction important?

Simple: unless sound reasoning i/l/o responsible, rational duty to justice is central (and so also the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities), we are establishing a system of power imposition under colour of law. That is, law becomes whatever some centre of power finds it advantageous and convenient to impose and back by force. This then reduces law to precisely what Plato warned against in describing the radical materialists of his day in The Laws, Bk X c. 360 BC:

[The materialistic sophists hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . . these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others . . .

For, if the root of nature is an arbitrary, evolving material process, there is no basis for ought, save power. The door to nihilism lies open.

The famous second paragraph of the 1776 US Declaration of Independence brings the matter to a focus:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Here, we see that law is traced to the Just Creator, the source of reality who has made man as a rational, responsible, morally governed creature. One who holds “unalienable Rights,” binding moral claims to be respected due to one’s inherent dignity and status as a human being made in God’s image. As a social creature who thrives best in community (and, community founded on sound family), that leads to the need for rules of justice and good order, thus government. The just powers of government are circumscribed by general consent informed by the in-built laws of our evident nature. Where, patently, this is not “right-wing, Christofascist, theocratic tyranny” — let us lay that needless, slanderous strawman to rest.

In that context, prudence acts to address government gone sufficiently bad that resists remonstrance and calls for reformation:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

In short, there comes a point where governments for cause lose their legitimacy: they are not merely incompetent but have become enemies of the civil peace of justice through abuse and usurpation. At that point, acting through existing or emerging representatives, the people have a collective right to replace government that has gone bad. This is of course a main function of the general election, a peaceful means of replacement.

This then allows us to refocus our understanding of law, that it is indeed a system of rules that are enforced and backed by sanctions. However, such must reflect also, the prime directive of justice, thus the innate law of our morally governed nature. Law that starts with duties to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, fairness/justice etc. Absent such integral safeguards, power and will to power acting under colour of law will pervert justice and reduce citizens to serfs.

(And one obvious case is that it is no duty of the state to impose that evolutionary materialistic scientism is the de facto established ideology and religion-substitute, able to use force to block any challenge, including in institutions of science and those of education. Truth and right reason backed by the prudence that recognises how often scientific schools of thought change, would urge restraint. Dover et al, are failures of just law. Similarly, the acts under colour of law that have enabled the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb are manifestly lawless. The state’s powers are not the final judges of justice, they are accountable before the bar of truth, right reason and the right.)

To restore our civilisation to soundness, we have to soundly reform our understanding of law. A tough challenge, given the dominance of evolutionary materialistic scientism, and one has the impression that time is beginning to run out: Mene, mene, tekel, parsin. END

PS: I should pause to draw out a few notes on the implications of moral government of our inner life and linked behaviour. For, undeniably, we know that we have duties to the truth, right reason, prudence, good and sound conscience, fairness and justice.

If one would deny or dismiss this, let him or her ponder why s/he urges us to correct our errors of thought. In short, demonstrably undeniable.

From this, we see that insofar as law is rational and responsible (again hard to deny) it cannot be severed from the moral domain. In short the notion that we cannot legislate morality is fallacious. It is better to say that absent a critical mass of support, laws on the books are unenforceable.

We must then address the IS-OUGHT gap, in a post-Hume world, where only at the root of reality can such be bridged, on pain of ungrounded ought. That is, reasoning IS, thus IS, then poof-magic, OUGHT. Oughtness must be at the root of reality or else it is nowhere (other than as a grand delusion).

We thus need to hold that the root of reality is such that it inherently is good and thus grounds ought as reflecting that ultimate goodness. From this, law in seeking to support and defend the civil peace of justice must recognise such a root of reality or it will fail, opening the door to nihilism and the chaos of might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ rights,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘logic [i.e. right reason],’ ‘justice,’ and law etc. Which absurdity, should sound ever so familiar today.

The bill to be filled is a world source capable of grounding ought through being essentially good. After centuries of debate, there is precisely one serious candidate, the God of ethical theism. That is, the inherently good and utterly wise God, a necessary and maximaly great being. One, who is worthy of our loyalty and of our reasonable and responsible service by doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

You need not agree with this, but only to face the challenge that you too need to provide an adequate alternative that does not fall into ungrounded ought and/or grand delusion: _____________ Such is far harder to do than one may at first imagine.

PPS: Similarly, we may refresh our minds on how we may now freely set out to frame how that natural moral law may be drawn out, by using a first principles approach.

Let me promote some thoughts from 97 below, on |drawing out a framework for natural law, which on this focus is both more personal and more encompassing than statutory codes, judicial rulings, administrative regulations with force of law, contracts etc. Yes, it is a rational, self-evident principles based vision of law as shaping lives, families and civilisations that is regrettably now largely unfamiliar in a world that has now been reshaped by secularist forces and linked legal positivism, In effect, the forgotten vision of law.

It is worth the while to pause, and to remind ourselves of how that Bible-thumping theocratic Christofascist fundy [–> Pagan Stoic] Cicero summarised the received view, c. 50 BC; namely, how law is:

“highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” . . . .[such that] the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice. “

This of course directly ties to how, undeniably, our responsible rational freedom is under the moral government (thus the law) of inherently known duty to truth, to right reason, to sound conscience, to prudence, to fairness, charity/benevolence and justice, etc. This then allows us to elaborate a worldviews level framework for law that then frames an agenda for rebuilding a sound culture. As in|, for instance:

1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

(This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. (That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.)

4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. If a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT — so that IS and OUGHT are inextricably fused at that level, it fails decisively.)

7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare; usurping the sword of justice to impose a ruthless policy agenda in fundamental breach of that civil peace which must ever pivot on manifest justice. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

(Thus, we see here our sense of justice for the weak, inarticulate and defenseless; starkly manifest in the difference between luring and catching a fish to become lunch and luring and despoiling then destroying a child. Such a child has not the wit nor words to plead his case, nor the strength to defeat his attacker nor yet the speed to outrun him. Where, that some take pity on the fish and will go out of their way to eat only vegetables is itself further eloquent testimony on the point. [Notice, there is no “people for the ethical treatment of fruit, root starches, grains and vegetables” movement.]

10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also,

11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

(NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

106 Replies to “Logic & First Principles, 20: What is law?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Logic & First Principles, 20: What is law?

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Blackstone’s classic passage on law:
    https://www.laits.utexas.edu/poltheory/sidgwick/elempol/elempol.c02.xr03.html

    Commentaries on the Laws of England

    Of the Nature of Laws in General

    Law, in it’s most general and comprehensive sense, signifies a rule of action; and is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of action, whether animate or inanimate, rational or irrational. Thus we say, the laws of motion, of gravitation,. of optics, or mechanics, as well as the laws of nature and of nations. And it is that rule of action, which is prescribed by some superior, and which the inferior is bound to obey.

    Thus when the Supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. When he put that matter into motion, he established certain laws of motion, to which all moveable bodies must conform. And, to descend from the greatest operations to the smallest, when a workman forms a clock, or other piece of mechanism, he establishes at his own pleasure certain arbitrary laws for it’s direction; as that the hand shall describe a given space in a given time; to which law as long as the work conforms, so long it continues in perfection, and answers the end of it’s formation.

    If we farther advance, from mere inactive matter to vegetable and animal life, we shall find them still governed by laws; more numerous indeed, but equally fixed and invariable. The whole progress of plants, from the seed to the root, and from thence to the seed again;—the method of animal nutrition, digestion, secretion, and all other branches of vital oeconomy;—are not left to chance, or the will of the creature itself, but are performed in a wondrous involuntary manner, and guided by unerring rules laid down by the great creator.

    This then is the general signification of law, a rule of action dictated by some superior being: and, in those creatures that have neither the power to think, nor to will, such laws must be invariably obeyed, so long as the creature itself subsists, for it’s existence depends on that obedience. But laws, in their more confined sense, and in which it is our present business to consider them, denote the rules, not of action in general, but of human action or conduct: that is, the precepts by which man, the noblest of all sublunary beings, a creature endowed with both reason and freewill, is commanded to make use of those faculties in the general regulation of his behaviour.

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being. A being independent of any other, has no rule to pursue, but such as he prescribes to himself; but a state of dependence will inevitably oblige the inferior to take the will of him, on whom he depends, as the rule of his conduct: not indeed in every particular, but in all those points wherein his dependence consists. This principle therefore has more or less extent and effect, in proportion as the superiority of the one and the dependence of the other is greater or less, absolute or limited. And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will.

    This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.

    Considering the creator only as a being of infinite power, he was able unquestionably to have prescribed whatever laws he pleased to his creature, man, however unjust or severe. But as he is also a being of infinite wisdom, he has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice, that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to every one his due; to which three general precepts Justinian has reduced the whole doctrine of law.

    But if the discovery of these first principles of the law of nature depended only upon the due exertion of right reason, and could not otherwise be obtained than by a chain of metaphysical disquisitions, mankind would have wanted some inducement to have quickened their inquiries, and the greater part of the world would have rested content in mental indolence, and ignorance it’s inseparable companion. As therefore the creator is a being, not only of infinite power, and wisdom, but also of infinite goodness, he has been pleased so to contrive the constitution and frame of humanity, that we should want no other prompter to inquire after and pursue the rule of right, but only our own self-love, that universal principle of action. For he has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter. In consequence of which mutual connection of justice and human felicity, he has not perplexed the law of nature with a multitude of abstracted rules and precepts, referring merely to the fitness or unfitness of things, as some have vainly surmised; but has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this on one paternal precept, “that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness”. This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law. For the several articles into which it is branched in our systems, amount to no more than demonstrating, that this or that action tends to man’s real happiness, and therefore very justly concluding that the performance of it is a part of the law of nature; or, on the other hand, that this or that action is destructive of man’s real happiness, and therefore that the law of nature forbids it.

    This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; an such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.

    But in order to apply this to the particular exigencies of each individual, it is still necessary to have recourse to reason: whose office it is to discover, as was before observed, what the law of nature directs in every circumstances of life; by considering, what method will tend the most effectually to our own substantial happiness. And if our reason were always, as in our first ancestor before his transgressions, clear and perfect, unruffled by passions, unclouded by prejudice, unimpaired by disease or intemperance, the talk would be pleasant an easy; we should need no other guide but this. But every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error.

    This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine providence; which, in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason hath been pleased, at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce it’s laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity. But we are not from thence to conclude that the knowlege of these truths was attainable by reason, in it’s present corrupted state; since we find that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wisdom of ages. As then the moral precepts of this law are indeed of the same original with those of the law of nature, so their intrinsic obligation is of equal strength and perpetuity. Yet undoubtedly the revealed law is of infinitely more authenticity than that moral system, which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the natural law. Because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority: but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.

    Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these. There are, it is true, a great number of indifferent points, in which both the divine law and the natural leave a man at his own liberty; but which are found necessary for the benefit of society to be restrained within certain limits. And herein it is that human laws have their greatest force and efficacy; for, with regard to such points as are not indifferent, human laws are only declaratory of, and act in subordination to, the former. To instance in the case of murder: this is expressly forbidden by the divine, and demonstrably by the natural law; and from these prohibitions arises the true unlawfulness of this crime. Those human laws that annex a punishment to it, do not at all increase it’s moral guilt, or superadd any fresh obligation in foro conscientiae to abstain from it’s perpetration. Nay, if any human law should allow enjoin us to commit it, we are bound to transgress that human law, or else we must offend both the natural and the divine. But with regard to matters that are in themselves indifferent, and are not commanded or forbidden by those superior laws; such, for instance, as exporting of wool into foreign countries; here the inferior legislature has scope and opportunity to interpose, and to make that action unlawful which before was not so . . .

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Scripture speaks:

    First, on the state of endarkenment with benumbed conscience:

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!

    And again, let us see how the neighbour love commandment was framed:

    Leviticus 19

    Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

    9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

    11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12 You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

    13 “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

    15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life[a] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

    17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

    And again, on ultimate law and judgement:

    Rom 2: 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    KF

  4. 4
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    A good first step to understanding the ongoing failure of our civilisation is to contrast the common, positive law view of law summarised by Wikipedia (as a handy point of reference):

    Actually, the first step should be to provide compelling evidence of the ongoing failure of civilization. Until this has been demonstrated, any attempt to understand the failure would be little more than navel gazing.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, you can shut your eyes and stop your ears all you want, the demonic chaos is blatantly on a ruinous march of folly. The very redefinition of law discussed in the OP that opens the door to will to power nihilism is a direct proof, one that is enabling not only the worst holocaust in history (a million more victims per week, Hitler would blush) but the progressive ruin of the foundations of stable society. And don’t get me started on the culpable failures and guilty secrets of too many academics, pundits, professionals and educators before the duties of truth, right reason, prudence and much more. KF

    PS: We are warned about benumbing and en-darkenment:

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: An online legal dictionary or two:

    https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/positivism

    Positivism

    A school of Jurisprudence whose advocates believe that the only legitimate sources of law are those written rules, regulations, and principles that have been expressly enacted, adopted, or recognized by a government body, including administrative, executive, legislative, and judicial bodies.

    Positivism sharply separates law and morality. It is often contrasted with Natural Law, which is based on the belief that all written laws must follow universal principles of morality, religion, and justice. Positivists concede that ethical theories of morality, religion, and justice may include aspirational principles of human conduct. However, positivists argue that such theories differ from law in that they are unenforceable and therefore should play no role in the interpretation and application of legislation. Thus, positivists conclude that as long as a written law has been duly enacted by a branch of government, it must be deemed valid and binding, regardless of whether it offends anyone’s sense of right and wrong . . .

    West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

    positivism as a theory of law, it may be summarized by saying that law may have any content. The law is what is laid down and that is an end to it. It is directly contrary to natural law theories, which tend to have some touchstone that a man-made law has to meet for its validity. Positivism faces serious problems in that it opens the way to the use of law as a means of social engineering. It is of value in giving up law’s claims to protect higher values. The rule of law and constitutions are only as strong as the individuals working with them and the political realities of the society to which they apply.
    Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

    H’mm, should we exhume the Nazi war criminals executed at Nuremberg, then and apologise: they acted under Nazi Germany’s “law” . . .

    KF

  7. 7
    daveS says:

    the demonic chaos is blatantly on a ruinous march of folly.

    Complete with literal demons, presumably.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, have you met demons in action? I have, including demonic levitation also witnessed by many others. There is more to reality than many imagine or awaken from in their worst nightmares, screaming and sweating. But that is a side-track. The emphasis, is, chaos on the march so we can simply take it as metaphor. KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: While we are at it, Justinian’s Institutes:

    TITLE I. OF JUSTICE AND LAW
    Justice is the set and constant purpose which gives to every man his due.
    1 Jurisprudence is the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and the unjust . . . .

    [Skipping interesting theories of education . . . yes the code of law has this as a built-in textbook]

    3 The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due . . . .

    TITLE II. OF THE LAW OF NATURE, THE LAW OF NATIONS, AND THE CIVIL LAW
    1 The law of nature is that which she has taught all animals; a law not peculiar to the human race, but shared by all living creatures, whether denizens of the air, the dry land, or the sea. Hence comes the union of male and female, which we call marriage; hence the procreation and rearing of children, for this is a law by the knowledge of which we see even the lower animals are distinguished. The civil law of Rome, and the law of all nations, differ from each other thus. The laws of every people governed by statutes and customs are partly peculiar to itself, partly common to all mankind. Those rules which a state enacts for its own members are peculiar to itself, and are called civil law: those rules prescribed by natural reason for all men are observed by all peoples alike, and are called the law of nations. Thus the laws of the Roman people are partly peculiar to itself, partly common to all nations; a distinction of which we shall take notice as occasion offers.

    We need to go back and start all over again at the ABC’s; that is how far wrong we have gone.

    KF

  10. 10
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I have never witnessed demonic activity, but I have always been interested in the subject for some reason. I would literally give a week’s pay to anyone who is willing to conjure one up for me. It seems there is simply no credible evidence of their existence (which is probably a good thing 🙂 ).

    IIRC, the incident you witnessed involved a person being “levitated”, but also being pinned to the ground at the same time, so it’s not clear to me why you believe anything “supernatural” was happening.

    People in an obvious dead faint do not float up above ground level with no visible means of support. But that’s enough on an ugly business. KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, this is a side track, I will only say that I do not think any prudent person will be eager to observe such a spectacle. KF

  12. 12
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, this is a side track, I will only say that I do not think any prudent person will be eager to observe such a spectacle. KF

    Perhaps not. My curiosity sometimes gets the best of me.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let’s look at where the common law system got its start with Alfred of the West Saxons and the Book of Dooms — and yes that’s the ten commandments, the golden rule and the Ac 15 AD 48/9 Jerusalem Council:

    Dooms.

    The Lord was speaking these words to Moyse [= Moses], and thus quoth;

    I am the Lord thine God. I led thee out of the Egyptians’ lands, and of their bondage

    1. Love thou not other strange gods ever me.
    2. Call not thou mine name in idleness, for that thou art not guiltless with me, if thou in idleness callest mine name.
    3. Mind that thou hallow the rest-day. Work you six days, and on the seventh rest you. For that in six days Christ wrought heavens and earth, seas, and all shapen things that in them are, and rested him on the seventh day: and for that the Lord hallowed it.
    4. Honour thine father and thine mother that the Lord gave thee : that thou be the longer living on earth.
    5. Slay thou not.
    6?. Commit thou not adultery.
    7. Steal thou not .
    8. Say thou not leasing witness.
    9. Wish not thou thy neighbour’s goods with untight.
    10. Work thou not to thyself golden gods or silvern. [–> scan not guaranteed 100%]

    11. These are the dooms that thou shalt set them . . . .

    49. These are dooms that the Almighty God himself was speaking to Moses, and bade him to hold, and, since the Lord’s onebegotten son, our God, that is, healing Christ, on middle earth came [–> “In the year of our Lord . . .” and now you know where “middle earth” comes from], he quoth that he came not these biddings to break nor to forbid, but with all good to eke them, and mild-heartedness and lowly-mindedness to learn [ –> teach, Alfred here alludes to and enfolds in the foundations, the Sermon on the Mount of Matt 5 – 7]. Then after his throes [sufferings], ere that his apostles were gone through all the earth to learn [teach], and then yet that they were together, many heathen nations they turned to God. While they all together were, they send erranddoers to Antioch and to Syria, Christ’s law to learn [teach]. When they understood that it speeded them not, then sent they an errand-writing to them. This is then that errand-writing that the apostles sent to Antioch, and to Syria, and to Cilicia, that are now from heathen nations turned to Christ.

    The apostles and the elder brethren wish you health. And we make known to you, that we have heard that some of our fellows with our words to you have come, and bade you a heavier wise [way or law] to hold, than we bade them, and have too much misled you with manifold biddings, and your souls more perverted than they have righted. Then we assembled us about that, and to us all it seemed good, that we should send Paul and Barnabas, men that will their souls sell [give] for the Lord’s name. With them we sent Judas and Silas, that they to you the ilk [same] may say. To the Holy Ghost it was thought and to us, that we none burden on you should not set, over that to you was needful to hold, that is then, that ye forbear that ye devil-gilds [idols] worship, and taste blood and things strangled, and from fornication, and that ye will that other men do not to you, do ye not that to other men. [–> Yes, the Golden Rule of Moshe, of Yeshva and of Paulo, Apostolo Mart, is right there too.]

    From this one doom a man may think that he should doom [judge] every one rightly: he need keep no other doom-book. Let him thmk [take care] that he doom to no man that he would not that he doom to him, if he sought doom over him. [–> This is essentially the point that Locke cited from “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker [in his Ecclesiastical Polity 1594+]” when in his 2nd treatise on civil gov’t, he grounded the rights – lawfulness principle at the heart of modern liberty and democracy, cf. OP and here]

    Since that, it happened that many nations took to Christ’s faith; there were many synods through all the middle earth gathered, and eke throughout the English race, they took to Christ’s faith, of holy bishops’, and eke of other exalted witan [wise men]. They then set forth, for their mild-heartedness, that Christ learned [taught], at almost every misdeed, that the worldly lords might, with their leave, without sin, at the first guilt, take their fee-boot that they then appointed; except in treason against a lord, to which they durst not declare no mild-hearted ness, for that the God Almighty doomed none to them that slighted him, nor Christ God’s son doomed none to him that sold him to death, and he bade to love a lord as himself. They then in many synods set a boot for many misdeeds of men ; and in many synod books they wrote, here, one doom, there, another.

    I then, Alfred king, gathered these together, and bade to write many of those that our foregoers held,—those that to me seemed good: and many of those that seemed not good, I set aside with mine witan’s counsel, and in other wise bade to hold them: for that I durst not venture much of mine own to set in writing, for that it was unknown to me what of this would be liking to those that were after us. But those that I met with either in Ine’s days mine kinsman, or in Offa’s, king of Mercia, or in Ethelbryte’s that first took baptism in the English race,—they that seemed to me the lightest, I gathered them herein and let alone the others.

    I then, Alfred, king of the West Saxons, shewed these to all mine witan, and they then said that that all seemed good to them to hold . . .

    KF

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: An example, from a Phil of Law course in Hong Kong that popped up on searching:

    https://philosophy.hku.hk/courses/law/Positive%20Law%20hnd.htm

    Positive Law Theory

    Natural law theory exaggerates the relation of law and morality. Positive law is a reaction against particularly that aspect of Natural law theory. It insists on a distinction between human law, which they call positive law and moral and scientific laws. Human laws are posits of human society while scientific laws are independent of what we take them to be. (You will note, sometimes, that writers refer to what I call ‘mores’ as ‘positive morality’ in contrast to ‘rational morality’.)

    The Classical version of positive law theory is John Austin’s (1797-1859)”command theory.” His model was that of a definition and his goal was to give a definition of law that removed all evaluative language.

    Sounds nice, neutral and “scientific,” but this shuts the door to justice as a prime constitutive object of law and opens the door instead to will to power nihilism.

    KF

  15. 15
    Brother Brian says:

    Dover et al, are failures of just law.

    In your mind, perhaps. But not in the minds of many others. So, in that case, who decides?

    Similarly, the acts under colour of law that have enabled the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb are manifestly lawless. The state’s powers are not the final judges of justice, they are accountable before the bar of truth, right reason and the right.)

    Again, this is in your opinion, but not everybody agrees with this.

    To restore our civilisation to soundness…

    You have still failed to clearly demonstrate that our civilization is unsound. This is not a claim that you can make by fiat. We no longer turn a blind eye or condone the persecution of people based on gender, race, religion, sexual attraction, who they marry, etc. Rates of violence continue to decline, although there are some trends towards increased violence against LGBT people. We no longer make children work. Employers must create a safe work environment. Our water and air (at least in western countries) is cleaner than it was in the past. Women are no longer second class citizens that can be legally raped by their husbands. There is still much room for improvement, but I would say that our civilization is sound and standing on firm footing.

    And again, if you can provide a couple very clear examples of how same sex marriage has eroded the institution of marriage for others, I would love to hear it. But until I do, I can only conclude that your opposition to it is irrational and not evidence based.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    The fundamental error you keep on making is the resort to Leff’s fallacy, the grand sez who.

    This shows a breakdown of recognition of truth as what accurately describes reality, compounded by failure to acknowledge that right reason can and in many cases does deliver sound warrant. So, neither in law nor in science nor in policy and economics nor in management nor in history nor in core worldview issues etc are we reduced to might and manipulation. On the focal issue here, positivism fails in law by opening the door to nihilism. By contrast, as we find ourselves undeniably under moral government starting with intellectual duties to truth, right reason, prudence, soundness, sound conscience, justice etc, that points to our being under a law of our nature as rational, responsible, significantly free creatures.

    Since there are common myths on the topic, I note in passing that there is a reason why I may freely hold Dover a failure of just law, a slanderous miscarriage of justice that is a classic of lawfare and irresponsible or outright deceitful media manipulation.

    Next, that our laws have been warped, enabling the slaughter of upwards of 800 millions over 40+ years and mounting at a further million per week is readily established. The very fact that right now proponents of this holocaust cannot admit that from a fairly early stage (IIRC, 6 wks) the unborn child has a beating heart speaks volumes. We are a civilisation that has destroyed half a generation in the womb, something that is demonically insane.

    Your denial and attempts to reduce truths to opinions with intent to dismiss have no bearing on the truth.

    The very fact of prevalence of an unsound base for law already speaks to how unsound our civilisation is. The further fact that this has enabled mass slaughter of innocent human life is a further indictment. The further fact that major institutions, professions, media and more are complicit is a third count. Where, given that benumbed blood-guilt riddled consciences undermine proper moral government of reasoning readily explains warping of marriage and individuality under colour of law. We could go on and on but it is manifest that many are in denial that something is deeply wrong.

    I do not need to provide further examples beyond the deleterious impact of legal positivism creating the notion that two men or two women can marry and setting out through agit prop and lawfare to destabilise the keystone institution of society, family, to make my point on grave harm being done under false colour of law.

    But that is secondary, it is clear that there is an underlying corruption of the very meaning of law itself. In service to nihilism.

    Which, if it does not trip warning flags, is a further sign of how the rot benumbs us.

    KF

    PS: We have a grim warning from history, the collapse of the first significant democracy, Athens:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    Sound history was paid for in blood and tears. Those who neglect or dismiss its lessons doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over and over again.

  17. 17
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    We could go on and on but it is manifest that many are in denial that something is deeply wrong.

    Disagree and denial are not the same thing.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, the manifest reality is plain. It has been outlined, starting with the killing of half a generation in the womb. KF

  19. 19
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, the manifest reality is plain. It has been outlined, starting with the killing of half a generation in the womb.

    Yet the population is strongly divided on your manifest reality. Seems to me that it isn’t so manifestly real.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, Leff’s grand sez who fallacy again. It is an objective fact that in 40+ years 800+ million (and arguably ~ 1400 millions) of our living posterity in the womb have been killed. Further, this has been enabled through entrenching positivist type approaches to law that demonstrably open the door to the principle, will to power. This indicts us as a generation. KF

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    Hm. If someone says I’m calling a tail a leg, can I simply reply that they are committing the sez you fallacy? 🤔

  22. 22
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, Leff’s grand sez who fallacy again.

    I am not arguing the numbers. Although they are certainly up for discussion. I am arguing against your characterization of abortion. If your opinion about it were manifestly real, it would be shared by more that 50% of the population.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    the objective facts and linked logic prevail. A leg and a tail simply do not have the same characteristics so hold distinct identity.

    And yes, principle of identity is again pivotal.

    BB,

    It is UN-Guttmacher numbers that give about 50 million abortions per year currently. A 40 year ramp to that level gets us to the 800 mn value easily and there is evidence of a plateau at roughly this level for 20 + years, hence the higher number.

    There is no doubt that the unborn child in the womb is human, and that s/he has a different genetic package than his mother or father, indeed half the time the child is of a different sex than his mother.

    What we have done and/or enabled will not bear scrutiny.

    Which is precisely why there has been an enabling campaign that has used techniques that can only be termed questionable. We do not tell truth or right by numbers or the clock, or by power but by sound warrant.

    The unprecedented mass slaughter of our living posterity in the womb is actual and it is inexcusable.

    In turn, that has pivoted on a distortion of how we understand law, and it has opened the way for onward questionable moves.

    KF

    PS: A 2013 global picture of opinions shows that it is in societies that have been heavily influenced by evolutionary materialistic scientism that abortion has large direct support or is viewed as a non-moral issue. This worldview directly supports the positivist view of law, and since Plato it has been known that it is itself inherently unable to bear the weight of ought, opening the door to nihilism. It is of course also self referentially incoherent and self-falsifying. This is again, direct evidence of the damage being done to our civilisation.

    PPS: A similar global snapshot across various issues shows that in fact for example the majority see abortion as unacceptable morally, on a global basis. Notice the global picture on other questions also.

  24. 24
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Good, I guess if anyone actually calls a literal tail a leg, then that problem has been solved.

  25. 25
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    There is no doubt that the unborn child in the womb is human,

    If by human you mean it has human DNA, then I agree.

    and that s/he has a different genetic package than his mother or father,

    So do sperm cells and ova. I am familiar with biology and genetics.

    indeed half the time the child is of a different sex than his mother.

    You keep calling it a child. Even in the days when abortion was a crime, the terms fetus and embryo were used to distinguish it from a breathing, crying, pooping baby. And this was even when the doctors and scientists were opposed to abortion.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, nobody is arguing that abortion is a good thing. For the woman it is not an easy decision. And I am happy when they decide not to have one. But to claim that the rights of a fetus in the first couple months is equal to the rights of the woman is manifest nonsense.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, Abraham Lincoln used this as an analogical example to address the problem of word magic. It is reality that prevails, not opinions and clever redefinitions. Truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, the unborn child, from the moment of conception, eight days before implantation, is a distinct human life embarking on a process that we know and term life. The attempt to distance from that reality is telling. The rhetoric just used by Ms Milano et al fails: an ovum or a sperm cell are not a complete new human being. The proper term for an unborn child is just that, as may be readily ascertained, resort to distancing words such as conceptus, embryo or fetus inadvertently exposes the cognitive dissonance at work. The sordid tale of Haeckel, his drawings and the recapitulation icon in this context, we only mention. KF

    PS: By the time a woman would typically be aware we already have a recognisable human body with a beating heart. Both have a right to life, the first of all rights. Denial of rights and dehumanisation are signs of what has gone wrong.

  28. 28
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    It is reality that prevails, not opinions and clever redefinitions. Truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. KF

    I agree. We don’t call a baby an adult. We don’t call an adult a baby (except when warranted 🙂 ). We don’t call a sperm cell a human. Then why do you insist on calling a fetus a child?

    The argument that it is appropriate because it has the potential to become a child is moronic. I had the potential to be a Nobel winning neurosurgeon, but nobody is calling me a doctor.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, the unborn child is just that, and I need not go on in further loops of rhetoric with someone who has shown the fallacies he intends to cling to. Whether an unborn child, a newborn, a toddler, a teen, an adult or a golden ager, we are dealing with human lives, each of quasi-infinite worth and each with a right to life. Using different labels to obfuscate this is word magic in service to mass killing. All of this fits directly in with the will to power mentality of the positivist view on law, which has already been exposed. As they say the higher the monkey climbs, the more exposed it is. Thwack, monkey stew for lunch. KF

  30. 30
    hazel says:

    kf writes, “Truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. ”

    And maybe BB is telling you the truth.

  31. 31
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    As they say the higher the monkey climbs, the more exposed it is. Thwack, monkey stew for lunch.

    But the important question is, who is the monkey? The person claiming equal rights for a mass of cells with no brain while, at the same time, denying rights to people simply because of the person they love, or me? Hint, I’m not good at climbing.

  32. 32
    Ed George says:

    This discussion has degraded into a name calling excercuse on both sides. Both sides should feel shame.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    the impact of positive law and dehumanisation of the unborn child are clear, that is enough.

    H,

    The truth is that a human life has just one beginning, conception.

    EG,

    Your attempt to set up and knock over a strawman caricature to project blame and name-calling is unfounded. I have specifically spoken to ideologies and arguments not personalities. Fail,

    KF

  34. 34
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Your attempt to set up and knock over a strawman caricature to project blame and name-calling is unfounded.

    There is no strawman. The bad behavior on both sides is there for all to see.

    I have specifically spoken to ideologies and arguments not personalities. Fail,

    If you have tried to avoid attacking personalities, you have failed. I don’t say this lightly. For some reason you react to BB and Hazel in a tone that their comments do not warrant.

  35. 35
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    the impact of positive law and dehumanisation of the unborn child are clear, that is enough.

    No it’s not. You first have to explain why a fertilized ovum has the same rights as the mother. Or why a six week old fetus has the same rights as the woman.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    doubling down on the fail.

    BB

    Dehumanisation.

    KF

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: it is clear that the usual objectors cannot directly address the substantial matter in the OP. So, keep your eye on the ball, that positivism in law undermines the necessary focus on justice. I add, that’s where the reformation will have to start from, fixing our understanding of what law is; which implies addressing the reality of moral government. KF

    PS: Those who implicitly reduce a human being to a clump of biomass, need to realise that something is being missed. Similar to those who used to calculate that the net worth of the masses of elements in our bodies was a few dollars. Soo, why worry about reducing such a clump of mostly water with some organic gels and minerals to ashes and fertiliser, in effect. Something big is being missed.

  38. 38
    Eugen says:

    Brother Brian

    In #15 you mention achievements of the modern civilization like respecting minority rights, no more child labor, safe work environment.
    Don’t forget that the same “amazing” civilization just transfered many negative things to another area of the world like Asia or Africa. There child labour is producing things for us in unsafe work environment and certain groups (some religious) are badly oppressed. So we shouldn’t feel good about ourselves but rather admit there are still huge problems in the world.

  39. 39
    EDTA says:

    BB @ 22,
    > If your opinion about it were manifestly real, it would be shared by more that 50% of the population.
    Um, are you sure that is the criteria for truth?

    To the other question of our decline, I offer the following broad categories of things necessary for a vibrant society:
    Moral unity – necessary to prevent fragmentation; in decline.
    Political diversity/division not too great for us to function – necessary to allow problems to be solved; getting worse.
    Vision – necessary so that we have common goals to work towards as a nation; haven’t really had a national one in several decades.
    Cultural continuity – necessary so that good aspects are not simply lost in one generation; in tatters.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Justinian’s Institutes, Title II Sec 11:

    11 But the laws of nature, which are observed by all nations alike, are established, as it were, by divine providence, and remain ever fixed and immutable: but the municipal laws of each individual state are subject to frequent change, either by the tacit consent of the people, or by the subsequent enactment of another statute

    Positive law approaches tend to create an ever growing, voluminous corpus of statute laws and softer laws that easily become incoherent. If justice is lost sight of, such approaches become oppressive, especially in an increasingly polarised, faction-ridden state where power agendas and selfish ambition prevail over prudence and justice. Constitutions are intended to be a regulatory law on law but experience is showing that positivist, activist judges will by incremental precedents warp and even contradict the intent. A current case I am monitoring has a judge trying to overturn specific, natural law based Constitutional provisions by effectively claiming that courts can rewrite Constitutions. To do so, he has twisted specific provisions regarding discrimination and has ignored the Constitutionally stated option of recommending amendment.

    Such trends point to an undermining of constitutional, parliamentary democracies. A suggestion on the table is that precisely because they are unelected and unaccountable, judges who flout Constitutions should be subject to impeachment for contempt of Constitution (thus, parliament and people).

    Of course, the underlying challenge of the mutinous ship of state is there, too: a manipulated public can fall prey to political, financial and ideological operators, embarking on voyages of ruinous folly. Ac 27 is a microcosm.

    Ours is a perilous time.

    KF

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, well said. KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    Eugen, you have put your finger on the very mixed character of our civilisation. We find good and bad together and the latter is very stubborn. It also opens the door to the cultural marxist oppression thesis, meant to disqualify and dismiss objections to their agenda by pushing them outside the pale of the Overton window. Mix that with the positivist separation of power and justice in law (Marxism being inherently amoral, ironically) and we soon see how the latest power claim is imposed and how the new Kulaks are robbed of their due and are turned into deplorable targets of the daily two minute hate [–> err, news]. This is where we need to go back to core civilisational basics, including the import of our inescapably being under moral government. Starting, with that our life of the mind is and must be governed by duties to truth, right reason, prudence, justice and more; which then points through the IS-OUGHT gap to the only place it can be bridged, the root of reality. That is, either we acknowledge the inherently good, utterly wise creator God (a necessary, maximally great being worthy of our loyalty and of our reasonable service i/l/o our manifest nature) or else even rationality itself — much less community, rights, justice, law, government etc — falls into chaos. In short, the guilty secret of our radically secularist age tells, tells in cognitive dissonance-driven ways that all too powerfully explain our ongoing polarisation, disintegration of unifying centres, enabling of gross evils and perversities under colour of rights; thus, too, our slide towards the cliff’s edge. KF

  43. 43
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, Abraham Lincoln used this as an analogical example to address the problem of word magic. It is reality that prevails, not opinions and clever redefinitions. Truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. KF

    My point is that unless we’re talking about actual tails and legs, then we have to decide if there is “word magic” involved.

    When I compare my relationship with my wife to a lesbian friends’ relationship with her partner, I don’t see any reason to say that I am married and she is not. Apart from some physical differences, we’re doing the same thing. Therefore I am not calling a tail a leg (metaphorically). That is very clear to me, despite your quasi-logical arguments to the contrary.

  44. 44
    asauber says:

    daveS,

    “we’re doing the same thing”

    You’ve obviously been befuddled if you think that a lesbian relationship and a man and a woman in marriage are “doing the same thing.” Different types, different equipment, different behaviors, different relations, different results, different consequences.

    Andrew

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, There is an issue of reality that settles what we talk about. If we speak truth, we accurately describe reality. That you are evidently blind to obvious differences is interesting psychologically but it does not change the reality and its implications given the dominance of the ruinous approach to law, positivism; which turns on dismissing our morally governed nature, thus dismissing the way rationality is governed as well as as part of that, duty to justice, the heart of law properly understood. Which, is the actual focus for this thread, for cause. KF

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, in short, A is A, given its essential characteristics, precisely what Abraham Lincoln was getting at. When two things X and Y have different core characteristics, they are different, period. In that context to try to say a square is a circle is at best confused. When this confusion is then mixed with an approach to law that sees it only through the lens of power to impose rules with no room for justice as key to all law for morally governed creatures, this sets up destructive, ruinous impositions. Which is exactly what we are seeing. Including, as I noted, a Judge imagining that from his bench he can unilaterally rewrite a Constitution as he sees fit. Sorry, the days of Caesar as Dictator are over. KF

  47. 47
    asauber says:

    KF,

    “this sets up destructive, ruinous impositions”

    Yes, it does. And sadly, the supposedly open-minded among us refuse to open their minds and acknowledge it.

    Andrew

  48. 48
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, There is an issue of reality that settles what we talk about. If we speak truth, we accurately describe reality. That you are evidently blind to obvious differences is interesting psychologically but it does not change the reality and its implications given the dominance of the ruinous approach to law, positivism; which turns on dismissing our morally governed nature, thus dismissing the way rationality is governed as well as as part of that, duty to justice, the heart of law properly understood. Which, is the actual focus for this thread, for cause. KF

    It’s not that I’m blind to differences, but rather I don’t think these differences are important in deciding whether a couple should be allowed to marry or not.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, you insist on the word magic of imagining that marriage is a simple civil contract that — per the standard anti-civilisation narrative of cultural marxism and fellow travellers — certain parties have somehow been “unjustly” denied and discriminated against due to oh so oppressive backward traditions and religions etc; where of course the underlying legal positivism is playing at manipulative rhetoric here as it explicitly dismisses justice in favour of whoever has taken power imposing rules as they wish regardless of the centrality of moral government for creatures such as we are. But that is an error, marriage is a covenant tied to manifest laws of our nature tied to requisites of reproduction, child nurture and complementarity of the sexes — in turn, linked to issues commonly suppressed due to the guilty secret of our civilisation. Those factors form a cluster of defining characteristics that we trifle with at peril, as is unfolding as we speak . . a civilisation in growing chaos and cacophony. And again, this is a thread about the nature of law i/l/o the threat of positivism, not about tangential rhetorical exchanges save insofar as they illustrate the main point. Do you recognise that there is such a thing as legal positivism, as described? If so, what are the potential consequences of its dominance? Are we seeing such, and where does this point given the cumulative, accelerating nature of precedent in law? If you think not, why, i.e. on what warrant? KF

    F/N: As a reminder, George, Girgis and Anderson wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy that:

    “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman [–> complementarity of the two opposite, genetically stamped sexes factor] who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other [–> stability factor] of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together [–> reproduction unit factor, tied to stability requisites of child nurture]. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit [–> act of marital union factor, also properly defining sexual intercourse in the teeth of positivist distortions]. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity [–> child nurture, social stability and personal maturation/virtue factors]. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good [–> community stability factor, including productively channelling, civilising and taming young men] and why the state should recognize and regulate it.”[–> Legitimate state interest vs positivist subversion; note also, RECOGNISE, not constitute, marriage is antecedent to state, civilisation and society] [“What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34 No. 1, p. 246.]

    We may compare the hitherto global consensus tradition now being targetted by positivist activists:

    Matt 19:4 He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female [–> Gen 1 – 2, note the identified, naturally obvious case of two distinct, reproductively complementary sexes, here anchored to creation order for the human race], 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother [–> implying the successive generations of families built on man + woman + faithful commitment –> well-nurtured children] and hold fast to his wife [–> fidelity propagates from one generation to the next, how much more so infidelity], and the two [= husband (male) + wife (female)] shall become one flesh’ [–> through the act of marital, procreative union, naturally leading to children]? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. [–> ponder how the child reflects that union] What therefore God has joined together [–> Adam and Eve and their successors in one flesh union], let not man separate [–> including, how much more, by violating the nature of marital union: Adam + Steve, Eve + Mary, Either + fido, or a robot etc].”

  50. 50
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I’ll have to respond fully later, but as to this:

    DS, you insist on the word magic of imagining that marriage is a simple civil contract that certain parties have somehow been “unjustly” denied and discriminated against due to oh so oppressive backward traditions and religions etc;

    I’m definitely not blaming “oppressive backward traditions and religions” for anything here. I’m trying not to assign blame at all. Rather, I’m comparing my own experience with marriage with that of others (for example gays and lesbians). So far I haven’t found any coherent rationale to deny them the choice to marry.

  51. 51
    Brother Brian says:

    EDTA

    Um, are you sure that is the criteria for truth?

    Of course not. Majority agreement does not always indicate that something is true. But I was responding to KF’s claim that his assertions about the abortion issue are manifestly real. And if something is manifestly real (i.e., “clear or obvious to the eye or mind”) I would think, by definition, that it would be clear to more than 50% of people.

    To the other question of our decline, I offer the following broad categories of things necessary for a vibrant society:
    Moral unity – necessary to prevent fragmentation; in decline.

    But, to be fair, has there ever been a time when a civilization has had moral unity? And with respect to homosexuality and same sex marriage, I would argue that we are getting closer and closer to unity on our acceptance of them. Does that mean that our society is on the ascendency?

    Political diversity/division not too great for us to function – necessary to allow problems to be solved;

    If there was no political diversity/division, would there be any need for a democracy? I think that political diversity/division is critical for a vibrant society. Our problem is the two-party system. In other countries that have three or more parties (e.g., Canada) you often have minority governments where the different parties are forced to come to common ground.

    Vision – necessary so that we have common goals to work towards as a nation.

    Yes, this is important. And I believe that we do have a national vision. Where the disagreements come into play is in how we achieve this vision.

    Cultural continuity – necessary so that good aspects are not simply lost in one generation.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. Are you referring to cultural homogeneity (e.g., everyone with shared Christian values)? If that is the case, I would argue that a civilization is more vibrant with a diversity of cultures.

  52. 52
    Brother Brian says:

    Eugen

    There child labour is producing things for us in unsafe work environment and certain groups (some religious) are badly oppressed. So we shouldn’t feel good about ourselves but rather admit there are still huge problems in the world.

    I agree that this is a big problem. But the best solution to that is to make people aware of these conditions and what companies are taking advantage of it. There are many companies with plants in China or other countries because labor costs are low, which is not necessarily a problem. And many of these companies require their plant managers to implement similar working conditions to what is legislated here, and they frequently audit them for compliance. No company wants to be in the headlines for using child labor or for chaining shut fire exits.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, you may not be but those leading the positivist lawfare charge most definitely are; that is part of the ruling I am monitoring. KF

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, your rejection of patent facts and the fact that millions have been indoctrinated with the most pernicious principles of dehumanising our living posterity in the womb (the better to freely put them to death under colour of law) does not change the facts. A is still A, i/l/o core characteristics. The child in the womb is human from conception on, s/he has a particular genetic complement distinct from parents, which is permanent, and so to kill the child in the womb is to kill innocent human life, where abortion is a deliberate act. That alone should give us serious pause as we reflect on why in all justice, life is the first right, without which there are no other rights. But then, we see the spreading effects of corrosive worldview doctrines that have led to the dominance of positivist law: “positivism as a theory of law, it may be summarized by saying that law may have any content. The law is what is laid down and that is an end to it” — Collins Dict of Law & “positivists conclude that as long as a written law has been duly enacted by a branch of government, it must be deemed valid and binding, regardless of whether it offends anyone’s sense of right and wrong” — West’s. A warning, not a progress. KF

  55. 55
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Do you recognise that there is such a thing as legal positivism, as described?

    Yes, it exists, but it has no bearing on my views of this subject. For me, the question is what coherent rationale there is for preventing same-sex couples from marrying, while I am allowed to. I haven’t found one yet.

  56. 56
    ScuzzaMan says:

    I don’t think these differences are important in deciding whether a couple should be allowed to marry or not

    First, DS, “I don’t think … etc” is not really an argument. WHY do you not think so? What reason or logic or compelling network of facts and logical implications leads to this conclusion?
    Secondly, IF the definition of marriage is one man and one woman then no amount of liberal disinterest in the question can allow two women to marry. Hence, in recent times, the ongoing efforts to re-define the concept.
    In law.
    Which brings us to the third point: that what is described in the OP is the ascendance of man to god-hood. “I AM the Law!” as the saying goes, neatly co-opting and perverting simultaneously God’s self-description, “I AM that I AM“.
    But there remains this fundamental difference between man’s laws and God’s law: the first is an ever-growing set of arbitrary constraints imposed externally by force and the threat of force, while the latter is the underlying reality on which (or of which, if you prefer) our apparent reality is built.
    The former is avoidable by a number of means, the latter is not, not by any means.
    This is why Paul said to “owe no man any thing” – because in having not paid what is owed you are in breach with the moral nature of existence and reality WILL work itself out in such a way that every equation is perfectly balanced, every debt ultimately settled, every wrong action meeting at last with its equal and opposite reaction.
    In attempting to marry, two women are harming themselves every bit as much as if they stood at the edge of the roof of the Empire State building and stepped off, attempting to fly. It is not necessary for anyone to detect this attempted breach, seek out the criminals, and punish them. The consequences of their actions, the reactions, will occur as a matter of course and as a function of the design principles of our existence.
    As a codicil, those who call both these equally harmful attempts “good” and encourage the unlearned to experiment with them, in callous disregard to the consequences, also stand in breach of the moral nature of existence, and therefore also stand in debt to the law.
    Finally, those of us who apprehend the moral nature of existence are by it duty-bound to call attention to these errors, lest we also find ourselves in similar straits. It is our duty to plainly identify error and to call attention to its consequences, in the hope that we can help others to avoid these consequences by the simple means of avoiding the actions that give rise to them.
    You may, as is the wont of some who comment here, characterise these warnings as hate-speech – God knows there is no shortage of believers guilty of that error – but there is no warrant for accusing KF of that. There is simply no evidence that he has any object in mind other than to spare other people the painful consequences of error.

    I highly recommend to all readers Emerson’s insightful essay on this topic, entitled “Compensation“. It is worthy of repeated contemplation and can be found freely on the ‘net.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, again, what you may personally think is one thing, the evidence of what is driving the lawfare and agit prop is another. KF

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    Regarding the sort of collectively suicidal factionalism EDTA has in mind, you may consider Plato’s parable of the ship of state, which reflects on the failure of Athens through and in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian war. This failure of democracy was a major shaping factor on political thinking all the way to C20. Indeed, it is why the USA is specifically a Constitutional Republic and severely checks democratic elements (e.g. the Electoral College):

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

    There can be a polarisation and disintegration that becomes suicidal. Wiemar Germany is another, more current case. One could argue, this happened with Venezuela, compounded by socialist political messianism. There are others.

    KF

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    SM, thanks for some thoughtful words. And yes, my motivation is that I lived through the foolish self-ruin of my homeland that ended in a low intensity civil war and an utterly wrecked economy. One of the victims was a beloved “Auntie,” murdered through a radical’s invitation to vigilantism on national radio 39 years ago this month. We see a civilisation in serious trouble and heading for a cliff, with many caught up in clever ideological agendas including agit prop, media amplified street theatre, lawfare, promotion of anti-civilisational agendas and more. I am very aware that momentum like we are seeing is hard to turn around (one reason why misleaders are so sternly warned about causing others to stumble in more than one Dominical saying). I see a guilty secret. The question is whether we can wake up before it is too late, before we hit rock bottom hard, very hard. Of that, I am actually pessimistic but there is a duty of warning. As for the damage ever so many are doing to their souls, the guilty secret of our civilisation speaks volumes. KF

  60. 60
    daveS says:

    SM,

    First, DS, “I don’t think … etc” is not really an argument. WHY do you not think so? What reason or logic or compelling network of facts and logical implications leads to this conclusion?

    I don’t think so because no one has presented me with an argument which compels me to believe these differences are important.

    Just like I don’t think aliens have landed on Earth because I have not run across any compelling evidence indicating they have.

    I will add that at this point, we do have some empirical evidence—several countries have had same-sex marriage for some time with no apparent ill effects.

  61. 61
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, again, what you may personally think is one thing, the evidence of what is driving the lawfare and agit prop is another. KF

    That’s not a rationale for preventing same-sex couples from marrying. You can fight all these agit-prop battles if you like, but kindly leave my neighbors 3 doors down out of it.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, evidently it has not registered with you that, given what a marriage and a family inherently are, marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Marriage is not a standard form contract of the fill in the blanks variety that any two individuals can fill in, absent some dubious religious theocratic discrimination or the like. We are dealing with the core institution of stable society and with predictable destabilising consequences of abusing the colour of law to try to push into it what is inherently not of the same nature. Already, we can see that individual identity based on being born as male or female is being similarly destabilised and much more. You can grab the word marriage, paste it on to a contract form, seize state power and decree that Adam and Steve, or Eve and Mary, or Sue and Fido or Sam and his robot are “married,” but such acts under colour of law are by the nature of the case simply unable to be what marriage is as to its core nature and identity, which are what drive its foundational social functionality, significance and effects. Of course, this is just one of several such damaging exercises that are now in progress. No magic of words and power games with positivist approaches to law or cultural marxist oppression narratives are going to change what is in the end something that is a law of our nature. All that will result from the attempt is chaos and damage to our civilisation. Likely with terrible, lingering consequences; similar to the now failed socialist experiments of the past century. KF

    PS: Let me again put up, what George, Girgis and Anderson wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy that:

    “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman [–> complementarity of the two opposite, genetically stamped sexes factor] who make a permanent and exclusive commitment [–> stability factor] to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together [–> reproduction unit factor, tied to stability requisites of child nurture]. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit [–> act of marital union factor, also properly defining sexual intercourse in the teeth of positivist distortions]. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity [–> child nurture, social stability and personal maturation/virtue factors]. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good [–> community stability factor, including productively channelling, civilising and taming young men] and why the state should recognize and regulate it.”[–> Legitimate state interest vs positivist subversion; note also, RECOGNISE, not constitute, marriage is antecedent to state, civilisation and society] [“What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34 No. 1, p. 246.]

    That is a little glimpse of what I am talking about.

  63. 63
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, evidently it has not registered with you that, given what a marriage and a family inherently are, marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.

    You are correct, sir. As far as I can tell, two people of the same sex can marry and form a family just as I did. And I have seen this with my own eyes.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I have shown you why your opinion is wrong and why the attempt to force it on our civilisation under colour of law is liable to have destructive consequences. In short, word magic — not even when done under colour of law through legal positivism’s rejection of our morally governed nature — cannot change actual realities, as the socialists learned the hard way, at a cost exceeding 100 million lives. KF

    PS: For a roll the tape cat out of the bag statement by Russian-Australian activist Masha Gessen on what the radicals intend (fully parallel to Lewontin in NYRB), cf here. Money-shot remark — which was applauded — “the institution of marriage should not exist.” Let me clip:

    Ms. Gessen’s comments on the subject seem to contradict the pro-gay-marriage party lines.

    Gessen shared her views on the subject and very specifically stated;

    “Gay marriage is a lie.”
    “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there.”
    “It’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.” (This statement is met with very loud applause.)

    As mentioned above, Gessen also talked about redefining the traditional family. This may have something to do with the fact that she has “three children with five parents”:

    “I don’t see why they (her children) shouldn’t have five parents legally. I don’t see why we should choose two of those parents and make them a sanctioned couple.”

    Ms Gessen is frank, and we must thank her for that.

    Now, we cannot say that we do not know or did not have access to knowing.

    Which means, we have to think, soberly discuss then do something principled and effective about this.

  65. 65
    Brother Brian says:

    DaveS

    I will add that at this point, we do have some empirical evidence—several countries have had same-sex marriage for some time with no apparent ill effects.

    You just have to look north of the border for an example.

    I agree, I have never heard any compelling arguments as to why same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry. As far as I can tell they simply boil down to religious arguments. But I can think of several reasons to allow it.

  66. 66
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I don’t know what you hope to achieve by posting statements by this Russian-Australian activist. I am speaking of the issue of same-sex couples in the US (such as my neighbors, non-activists who would simply like to live their lives). Do you think their freedom to marry should be curtailed because of foreign “radicals”?

  67. 67
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    DS, I have shown you why your opinion is wrong…

    No you haven’t. You have expressed your opinion and DaveS and I (and the majority of others) disagree with you. Calling everything you disagree with lawfare does not detract from the moral a legal right for same sex couples to marry.

    …and why the attempt to force it on our civilisation under colour of law is liable to have destructive consequences.

    It is not being forced on civilization. It has been requested and civilization has found no reason why it should not be allowed. And the destructive consequences you keep talking about simply haven’t materialized.

  68. 68
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    Money-shot remark

    Am I the only one who is laughing at KF’s use of the term “money shot” (a term he has often used) when we are talking about human sexuality? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  69. 69
    daveS says:

    nm

  70. 70
    Brother Brian says:

    DaveS@69, I saw what you did there. 🙂

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    Enough has been put on the table to show how some side issues illustrate the main challenge. The reason why I am pessimistic should be clear enough, we likely will insist on going over the cliff so it is rock bottom that will have to teach us. Again.

  72. 72
    Brother Brian says:

    KF, I know I have given you a hard time over same sex marriage, and I apologize if it has gotten personal, but you still have not provided a rational reason, other than “my religion says so”, why two people of the same sex should be denied what my wife and I enjoy.

    Marriage is a legal contract. It is a promise in front of others. There have been too many examples of long term same sex couples who are separated when one gets sick because they are not related to their loved one and their partner’s family is homophobic. Or when one dies and the survivor is not protected by the same laws that protect opposite sex couples. Or when a person’s Employer’s health plan covers the spouse, but not the person they have lived with for decades

    Whether or not they can have children together is irrelevant. We don’t deny marriage to elderly couples, or to couples who can’t have children. We don’t deny marriage to couples who are physically incapable of having sex.

    But you are willing to deny marriage to couples simply because you are disgusted by where they put their penises. Would you also deny marriage to opposite sex couples who engage in anal sex? At some point we have to keep the government and the church out of our bedrooms.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: An interesting clip from a discussion on natural law:

    Natural Law Theory of Law
    Legal systems have a function— to secure justice. Grossly unjust laws . . . are not really laws at all, but a perversion of law or mere violence. As St. Augustine put it, lex injustia non est lex. Aquinas’s way of stating this point: positive law has as its purpose the common good of the community. Any positive law which conflicts/is inconsistent with either natural law or divine law is not really law at all. Hence, not only is there no moral obligation to obey it, but there is no legal obligation to obey it, either. Augustine, Aquinas, and Martin Luther King are supporters of this view. Lon Fuller argued there is some necessary overlap between legality and justice, because it’s impossible to have a legal system without fidelity to the rule of law and formal justice. (Fuller would probably have cited Iraq under Saddam Hussein as a good example of a society that violated the rule of law so much that it really had no genuine legal system at all). But Fuller does not go as far as Augustine or Aquinas, because he admits that a society can have a genuine legal system that satisfies the demands of formal justice (“like cases must be treated alike”) yet still have particular laws that are unjust.

    Here we see the general framework of justice as motivating law and giving it legitimacy, with specific statutes supporting good order and community thriving. Where, if competent authorities can be seen as having such duties, failure on their part to do due diligence to apply wisdom towards good order is negligence, a form of injustice.

    Much can be articulated on such a basis.

    KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, good enough reason has been put on the table many times, but I doubt that mere argument will be enough at this stage: the socialist economies and politics had to collapse before reformation could begin, at least national identities were on the whole preserved; I am not sure that will happen this time around, I especially doubt the long term viability of the US. And such quaint notions as liberty? Forget it, we are headed for very hard times when the most we can hope for is lawful rather than utterly autocratic successor states. More generally, if a crooked yardstick is made the standard of length, straightness and uprightness, then what is actually so cannot pass the test of crookedness. This is why it is so vital to get plumb-line self-evident truths (including moral ones) on the table that are naturally straight and upright. But if that is rejected then there only remains going over the cliff and hitting hard on rock bottom. That is where it seems our civilisation is. Sad, but there is not much that can be done to reverse sufficiently strong destructive momentum. KF

  75. 75
    Eugen says:

    I’m not sure why BB and DS are steering this thread into discussion about homosexual marriage. What’s there to say about it other than it’s unnatural, nonsensical and it’s around ONLY because of sexual revolution program being pushed on people for decades.

    Kairos

    I think pendulum will swing the other way. I see a big pro life grassroots movement developing in otherwise docile Canada. It’s happening by people simply not backing down when confronted by pro abortion activists. It’s back to basics like you mention above. It’s important that pro life supporters don’t get scared or intimidated by usually loud opponents who lack of arguments supplement with shouting slogans and name calling. It takes practice but it’s doable

  76. 76
    Brother Brian says:

    KF@74, if a same sex couple marrying is enough to bring civilization to ruin then civilization was doomed anyway.

    You keep claiming to have put sufficient reason on the table why same sex marriage will bring ruin to civilization, but that simply is not true. You have done little more than the equivalent of wearing a sandwich board with “ The End Is Nigh” on it. Can you provide a single concrete negative to same sex marriage. A negative that you have evidence demonstrating it.

  77. 77
    daveS says:

    Eugen,

    I’m not sure why BB and DS are steering this thread into discussion about homosexual marriage. What’s there to say about it other than it’s unnatural, nonsensical and it’s around ONLY because of sexual revolution program being pushed on people for decades.

    It always seems to come up in these threads about the collapse of civilization.

    I sort of get the resistance to it from some communities, but fortunately it seems people are adjusting to it quickly.

    I predict that in a few decades, people will look back on the time when gay marriage was not legal (in the US, Canada, etc) much like we look back on “white” and “colored” drinking fountains.

  78. 78
    Eugen says:

    Dave

    Resistance comes from most rudimentary understanding of nature, common sense , simple logical reasoning and easily triggered gag reflex. Like I said pendulum may swing the other way as people realize they don’t have to submit to continuous brainwashing and bullying from liberal activists, media and politicians.

  79. 79
    GCS says:

    BB (#72) – It all depends on the definition of marriage.
    One argument by homosexuals in Vermont to go from civil unions to gay marriage was that marriage was the “Gold Standard”. If even they admit marriage was a standard, nay even the highest standard, then marriage must mean something more than just a contract. The highest standard of marriage is found in the Catholic understanding.
    Marriage is a permanent union of one man and one woman.
    Three words explain marriage: Free, Full, and Fruitful. Fulfill all three and you have the Gold Standard. Only the Catholic definition of marriage fills these three requirements. Any other relationship violates one or more of these three qualities.
    Interestingly these three qualities can be used to judge sexual activity. Again, only the Catholic sexual morality meets these three requirements. Every other sexual relationship violates one or more of the qualities.
    If we need to protect other relationships then do that, but do not pretend they are the same as marriage.
    Thank You and God Bless

  80. 80
    Brother Brian says:

    GCS

    The highest standard of marriage is found in the Catholic understanding. …
    Three words explain marriage: Free, Full, and Fruitful.

    And explain to me how a same sex couple can’t have a marriage that is free, full and fruitful. And before you raise the red herring that they can’t be fruitful because they can’t have children of their own, please start advocating for the banning of marriage between elderly couples, sterile couples and couples who are physically incapable of having sex.

  81. 81
    EDTA says:

    BB @ uh, I forgot the number,

    >But you are willing to deny marriage to couples simply because you are disgusted by where they put their [reproductive organ name deleted].
    We can always count on BB for a frank statement about what he thinks we think!

    >But, to be fair, has there ever been a time when a civilization has had moral unity?
    I would say in the US’ past, we had greater moral unity than we do now. Never completely unanimous of course, but today we have a somewhat stable core of traditional morals, and a Left that keeps moving further and further away from that core. That seems like increasing disunity to me.

    >If there was no political diversity/division, would there be any need for a democracy?
    Again, some division can lead to multiple solutions to choose from. Too much and there’s trouble.

    >And I believe that we do have a national vision.
    What on earth is it? Social democracy and liberalism/progressivism? Not terribly inspiring to a large chunk of the population.

    >I’m not sure what you mean by [cultural continuity].
    I mean the ability of a culture to pass its good aspects reliably to successive generations. In the absence of this, culture can go in literally any direction, and rapidly. How do you reliably know where the sexual revolution (for instance) will stop?

    >Are you referring to cultural homogeneity?
    No.

    >I would argue that a civilization is more vibrant with a diversity of cultures.
    Seems like the classic progressive position. You might not be aware that sociological research has shown that an increase in cultural diversity eventually results in a decrease in interpersonal trust, which is essential for a smoothly operating society. Some diversity is good; too much, not so good.

    But all of this will make no sense to some…as further evidence of the growing divide.

  82. 82
    EDTA says:

    P.S. Don’t forget that I’m part of the “diversity” that some people say they value so much! If I changed my mind on issues, the amount of cultural diversity in the nation would go down, and we certainly can’t have that! 😎

  83. 83
    Brother Brian says:

    EDTA

    [reproductive organ name deleted].
    We can always count on BB for a frank statement about what he thinks we think!

    It’s OK to say penis. And let’s be honest, KF has already talked about being repulsed by homosexuality. Which involves the use of penises.

    I would say in the US’ past, we had greater moral unity than we do now.

    When was this? During slavery? Before women got the vote? When blacks were being lynched? When interracial marriage was still illegal in many states? When homosexual acts were grounds for jail time? When people lost their jobs for being homosexual? I concede your point. There were times in the past when there was more moral unity than now.

    What on earth is it? [national vision]

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Some [cultural] diversity is good; too much, not so good.

    For who?

  84. 84
    hazel says:

    Not all homosexuality involves penises: have you all forgotten about women?

  85. 85
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    Not all homosexuality involves penises: have you all forgotten about women?

    My wife won’t let me. 🙂

    But seriously, and I say this as a man, I don’t understand why all women aren’t lesbians. Who would want to sleep with a guy?

  86. 86
    kairosfocus says:

    Dear Invisible Remnant,

    Recalling,

    This thread, at core is about an underlying legal philosophy that sets up the nihilistic will to power abuse of law, legal positivism. A philosophy, which includes how those with judicial or legislative power now routinely imagine that such power gives them opportunity to impose their wishes and agendas under colour of law. That’s a wake-up call that it is obvious that those determined to side-track this thread (and to promote agendas in the teeth of correction and calls to refocus they insist on ignoring) do not hear. A pity.

    So, let us remind ourselves:

    WEST’S: positivists conclude that as long as a written law has been duly enacted by a branch of government, it must be deemed valid and binding, regardless of whether it offends anyone’s sense of right and wrong . . .

    COLLINS: positivism as a theory of law, it may be summarized by saying that law may have any content. The law is what is laid down and that is an end to it. It is directly contrary to natural law theories, which tend to have some touchstone that a man-made law has to meet for its validity. Positivism faces serious problems in that it opens the way to the use of law as a means of social engineering.

    The radical secularist hostility to God, to religious heritage and to morality, often dressed up in “neutrality” or “science,” is manifest. The apostasy of our civilisation, in the teeth of a guilty secret, counts . . . and opens the door to nihilistic, will to power driven chaos. As we are beginning to see all around.

    It is therefore unsurprising to see a clear resistance by distractions in this thread and others that point out how our civilisation is losing its way and is headed down a path to ruin. It seems it is only going over a cliff’s edge and having a hard impact with rock bottom that will wake many up. But then, that is nothing new, it is a major point of the parable of the rebellious prodigal son who demanded his inheritance even before his father passed away and proceeded to squander his inheritance on his pleasures in utter disregard for prudence. He only woke up to reality when he was reduced to feeding pigs.

    From these things, we can see how a philosophy has been promoted that robs law of its connexion to justice, squandering the inheritance of our civilisation.

    Further, it turns attention away from the longstanding observation that we are morally governed creatures, manifesting a higher in-built law (attested to by sound conscience) that starts with our own known duties of care to truth — accurate description of reality, to right reason, to prudence, to justice and more. Where of course once such are discarded and conscience is benumbed, mind and our common community life alike will be en-darkened in the name of progress and enlightenment.

    By contrast,

    We may put on the table a recognition of the in-built natural law (starting with truth, right reason, prudence, conscience, justice etc) and develop a framework for law that is based on the civil peace of justice. As Cicero noted c. 50 BC. For, law, first and foremost, is:

    highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” . . . .[such that] the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    A test, we are blatantly failing today.

    However, we can turn around, refocussing:

    Legal systems have a function— to secure justice. Grossly unjust laws . . . are not really laws at all, but a perversion of law or mere violence. As St. Augustine put it, lex injustia non est lex. Aquinas’s way of stating this point: positive law has as its purpose the common good of the community. Any positive law which conflicts/is inconsistent with either natural law or divine law is not really law at all. Hence, not only is there no moral obligation to obey it, but there is no legal obligation to obey it, either. Augustine, Aquinas, and Martin Luther King are supporters of this view. Lon Fuller argued there is some necessary overlap between legality and justice, because it’s impossible to have a legal system without fidelity to the rule of law and formal justice. (Fuller would probably have cited Iraq under Saddam Hussein as a good example of a society that violated the rule of law so much that it really had no genuine legal system at all). But Fuller does not go as far as Augustine or Aquinas, because he admits that a society can have a genuine legal system that satisfies the demands of formal justice (“like cases must be treated alike”) yet still have particular laws that are unjust.

    In such a mixed context, the typical case, we may embark on sound reform through laws premised on restoring good order and making corrections towards sound justice. Where, “if competent authorities can be seen as having such duties, failure on their part to do due diligence to apply wisdom towards good order is negligence, a form of injustice.”

    This outlines a genuine way forward, exposing the worldviews root, its consequence in the legal ideology of positivism which opens the door to clever but ultimately ruinously nihilistic, chaotic imposition under colour of law, and showing how we may restore soundness.

    Of course, in a sense this is addressed to Nock’s invisible remnant, with an eye to the way forward after we hit rock bottom, having heedlessly squandered much good that was our birthright.

    What of the repeatedly asserted claims about the novelty, that marriage is a legal fiction, a standard form contract that somehow for thousands of years was denied men or women wishing to marry others of the same sex and the like?

    It should be obvious, first, how this reflects the pattern of imposition and manipulation to enable it that we have highlighted, and it is further obvious that it is being pushed heedless of the consequences of destabilising a keystone component of a stable society. But, when a tide of ideology rises and rages, God help those who try to steer the ship of state aright, or who counsel prudence.

    The course of this thread, is demonstration enough, but let us review as a lesson in how we discard moral government starting with conscience-guided minds at peril.

    I have pointed out. Others have pointed out, but in the heady rush of an ideology, prudence and correction will be brushed aside.

    For instance, I have already noted above, only to see how such is studiously ignored, the better to push talking points:

    given what a marriage and a family inherently are, marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Marriage is not a standard form contract of the fill in the blanks variety that any two individuals can fill in, absent some dubious religious theocratic discrimination or the like. We are dealing with the core institution of stable society and with predictable destabilising consequences of abusing the colour of law to try to push into it what is inherently not of the same nature. Already, we can see that individual identity based on being born as male or female is being similarly destabilised and much more. You can grab the word marriage, paste it on to a contract form, seize state power and decree that Adam and Steve, or Eve and Mary, or Sue and Fido or Sam and his robot are “married,” but such acts under colour of law are by the nature of the case simply unable to be what marriage is as to its core nature and identity, which are what drive its foundational social functionality, significance and effects. Of course, this is just one of several such damaging exercises that are now in progress. No magic of words and power games with positivist approaches to law or cultural marxist oppression narratives are going to change what is in the end something that is a law of our nature. All that will result from the attempt is chaos and damage to our civilisation. Likely with terrible, lingering consequences; similar to the now failed socialist experiments of the past century.

    The inconvenient, cat out of the bag, from the horse’s mouth comments by Gessen (which expose the anti-civilisational agenda), were similarly brushed aside:

    Ms. Gessen’s comments on the subject seem to contradict the pro-gay-marriage party lines.

    Gessen shared her views on the subject and very specifically stated;

    “Gay marriage is a lie.”
    “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there.”
    “It’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.” (This statement is met with very loud applause.)

    As mentioned above, Gessen also talked about redefining the traditional family. This may have something to do with the fact that she has “three children with five parents”:

    “I don’t see why they (her children) shouldn’t have five parents legally. I don’t see why we should choose two of those parents and make them a sanctioned couple.”

    Ms Gessen is frank, and we must thank her for that.

    Now, we cannot say that we do not know or did not have access to knowing.

    Which means, we have to think, soberly discuss then do something principled and effective about this.

    In short, we here see the power of big lie agit prop when backed by powerful forces. Precisely the same factor that drives legal positivism: when courts of justice and legislatures charged to do justice pass will to power under false colour of law and are trumpeted by media houses and education systems betraying duty to truth, many will predictably be misled.

    That is how marches of folly get started.

    And once enough momentum is there, it will be very hard to turn back even as the deluded community heads over the cliff.

    The lessons of sound history were paid for with blood and tears. Those who neglect or deny or dismiss such, doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over and over again.

    For shame!

    KF

  87. 87
    daveS says:

    KF,

    The inconvenient, cat out of the bag, from the horse’s mouth comments by Gessen (which expose the anti-civilisational agenda), were similarly brushed aside:

    I did brush it aside because you have apparently attempted to associate this person’s statements with the community of same-sex marriage proponents at large (sort of like how you seem to hold all atheists accountable for the statements of Alex Rosenberg. Search for “horse’s mouth” on UD and you will find a number of matches, including this one).

    In the case of the Gessen quotes, this certainly looks like an attempt to deny freedoms to a group via guilt by association.

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the agenda is working on the ground. We can already see the pernicious effects of playing word magic games under colour of law with marriage. (I add: this may be a live example. Ideologically related, i/l/o cultural marxist oppression narratives . . . and yes, this last must-read to believe is from The Nation Magazine, as is say, this bit of new-speak coupled to turnabout accusation linked to obvious lawfare intent. All of that and much more, in the context of the guilty secret. See also in that light, here, here, here, here and here.) KF

  89. 89
    GCS says:

    BB. Thank you for your question. (#80)

    Free, Full, Fruitful

    Free – I agree that a same-sex relationship can be freely entered. Free meaning there are no significant outside forces or coercions. Unfortunately, too many relationships are based on coercion.

    Full – To fully give yourself to a relationship means that you give all of you for life to one person. You also have to receive fully all that the other person has. Concerning your question – male on male sex or female on female sex can never involve that total sharing of each others sexual organs and sexuality. There seems to be an intrinsic compatibility of the male and female sex organs. The sex organs are designed (oh that horrible word again) to fit together and make babies. Deliberate ejaculation outside of a vagina is just an attempt to have sexual pleasure without the possible responsibility for children – you are denying your partner the full gift of your full sexuality. Pleasuring the vagina with no intention of receiving ejaculation fits those same conditions.

    Fruitful – This is the primarily (but not totally) openness to children. Obviously, a couple who by their nature could never have children without the intervention of a third person (or technology) can never qualify. Note – Involving the third person (or technology) also weakens the Fullness of the exclusive nature of the relationship. You may find it interesting that the Church considers impotence an impediment for a man to be married. The elderly situation is just understanding that we all grow old. The Church would point to the situation of Abraham and Sarah that age itself is not an impediment. Accidental sterility does not change the underlying nature of the man or woman. Intentional sterility, if the person is repentant, also does not change the underlying nature of the man or woman.

    I just want to emphasize that it was homosexual people who said marriage is the “gold standard”. To be a gold standard it must somehow be above other relationships. I ask you to provide a definition of marriage that covers all the people you want covered while being specific enough not to include any and all relationships.

    Thank You and God Bless

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Food for thought from SEP on Natural Law approaches:

    Natural law theory accepts that law can be considered and spoken of both as a sheer social fact of power and practice, and as a set of reasons for action that can be and often are sound as reasons and therefore normative [–> duties to truth, right reason, prudence, justice etc pop up here] for reasonable people addressed by them. This dual character of positive law [–> laws as explicitly issued by a competent authority] is presupposed by the well-known slogan “Unjust laws are not laws.” Properly understood, that slogan indicates why—unless based upon some skeptical denial that there are any sound reasons for action (a denial which can be set aside because defending it is self-refuting)—positivist [–> note the distinction from positive law] opposition to natural law theories is pointless, that is redundant: what positivists characteristically see as realities to be affirmed are already affirmed by natural law theory, and what they characteristically see as illusions to be dispelled are no part of natural law theory. But because legal theories conceived of by their authors as positivist are, by and large, dominant in the milieux of those likely to be reading this entry, it seems appropriate to refer to those theories along the way, in the hope of overcoming misunderstandings that (while stimulating certain clarifications and improvements of natural law theorizing) have generated some needless debate.

    The point made in the preceding paragraph is made in another way by Orrego (Orrego 2007). When the accounts of adjudication and judicial reasoning proposed by contemporary mainstream legal theories are added to those theories’ accounts of (the concept of) law, it becomes clear that, at the level of propositions (as distinct from names, words and formulations), those theories share (though not always without self-contradiction) the principal theses about law which are proposed by classic natural law theorists such as Aquinas: (i) that law establishes reasons for action, (ii) that its rules can and presumptively (defeasibly) do create moral obligations that did not as such exist prior to the positing of the rules, (iii) that that kind of legal-moral obligation is defeated by a posited rule’s serious immorality (injustice), and (iv) that judicial and other paradigmatically legal deliberation, reasoning and judgment includes, concurrently, both natural (moral) law and (purely) positive law. Orrego’s point seems to be confirmed by, e.g., the adjacent entry on Legal Positivism (Green 2003). Contemporary “positivist” theories are, it seems, natural law theories, distinguished from the main body of natural law theory (a) by their denial that the theory of law (as distinct from the theory or theories of adjudication, judicial duty, citizens’ allegiance, etc.) necessarily or most appropriately tackles the related matters just listed, and accordingly (b) by the incompleteness of their theories of law, that is, the absence from them (and usually, though not always, from their accounts of those related matters) of systematic critical attention to the foundations of the moral and other normative claims that they make or presuppose.

    In short: a natural law theory of (the nature of) law seeks both to give an account of the facticity of law and to answer questions that remain central to understanding law. As listed by Green 2003 (having observed that “No legal philosopher can be only a legal positivist”), these further questions (which “legal positivism does not aspire to answer”) are: What kinds of things could possibly count as merits of law? What role should law play in adjudication? What claim has law on our obedience? What laws should we have? And should we have law at all?

    We need to do some serious thinking on the underpinnings of law and today’s dominant trends of thought (which are positivist) as first steps to sound reformation. Of course, if it is not too late.

    KF

  91. 91
  92. 92
    daveS says:

    Brother Brian,

    Looks like ~28 countries.

  93. 93
    Eugen says:

    I hope happy couples go to Brunei for honeymoon

    Are you guys trolling because I don’t see any arguments

  94. 94
    daveS says:

    Eugen,

    I hope happy couples go to Brunei for honeymoon

    I don’t think you really mean that.

    Anyway, apparently they have come to their senses and will not be stoning gay people to death.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    DS & BB:

    It is quite clear from the course of the thread that you have little interest in the focal topic for this thread, which is of civilisation level importance. The insistent tangentiality above is itself an indicator of what is at stake.

    Further, fair comment on issues you have raised will show little or no actual cogent substantial engagement, rather than assertions and talking points tied to dismissiveness. That is itself instructive, in an inadvertent way, as it illustrates how our thinking has been led in a thought-world dominated by a guilty secret. It is clear that our known, undeniable first intellectual duties to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, justice etc are being flouted, and the onward implication that through such duties we live in a world that has in its roots adequate grounding for such moral government starting with our thought-life is also being flouted — a second guilty secret. None of this portends good for our civilisation.

    That also tells us much about the consequences of radical secular humanism (with underlying self-referentially incoherent and irretrievably amoral evolutionary materialistic scientism), linked cultural marxism (with its oppression thesis used as a battering ram to discredit the heritage of our civilisation . . . including implication that all the radicalisms effectively mutually reinforce) and legal positivism opening the door to will to power nihilistic lawfare. So, when we see marriage and family in the cross-hairs and “freedom” abused as a battering ram to dismiss issues of inherent, manifest laws of our morally governed nature — which is precisely where we can recognise that we are responsible, rational, significantly free, morally governed creatures with mutual duties of care — as well as linked personal identity and moral nurture, social stability, law and the state, some serious alarm bells start to ring. The net effect of these is to show, precisely, the central importance of a sound understanding of law as:

    “highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” . . . .[such that] the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice. “

    We neglect this 2000+ year old insight at our peril.

    KF

    PS: I note the triumphalism of announcing that 25 – 30 jurisdictions out of 200+ have imposed homosexualisation of marriage under colour of law (which opens up a wedge of much more to follow through power of precedent and the importance of will to power nihilism implicit in legal positivism). In answer, I again highlight the way marriage is built in in our nature as creatures with two complementary sexes:

    “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman [–> complementarity of the two opposite, genetically stamped sexes factor] who make a permanent and exclusive commitment [–> stability factor] to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together [–> reproduction unit factor, tied to stability requisites of child nurture]. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit [–> act of marital union factor, also properly defining sexual intercourse in the teeth of positivist distortions]. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity [–> child nurture, social stability and personal maturation/virtue factors]. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good [–> community stability factor, including productively channelling, civilising and taming young men] and why the state should recognize and regulate it.”[–> Legitimate state interest vs positivist subversion; note also, RECOGNISE, not constitute, marriage is antecedent to state, civilisation and society] [“What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34 No. 1, p. 246.]

    That is the substantial built-in framework that transcends whatever may be done under colour of law.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    Dear Invisible Remnant,

    I find some remarks on a recent book on scriptural approaches to natural law (which complement the sorts of insights Cicero et al put on the table) are illuminating on how our thought-life is being undermined:

    Natural law theory is controversial today because it presumes that there is a stable ‘human nature’ that is subject to a ‘law.’ How do we know that ‘human nature’ is stable and not ever-evolving? How can we expect ‘law’ not to constrict human freedom and potential? Furthermore if there is a ‘law,’ there must be a lawgiver . . .

    The former is one of the many destructive consequences of the evolutionary materialistic picture: there is no stable cluster of core characteristics that form a basis for common identity of human beings, which of course historically opened the door to social darwinism, to racist dismissal and marginalisation of allegedly inferiour breeds, and to eugenics etc to eliminate the perceived weaker breeds. That history is already a warning, and when we multiply by the inherent amorality [it has no world-root level IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT], it is unsurprising that such destructive trends continue under new guises — a root will keep on pushing up shoots. Which, these days, seem to take ever more bizarre forms that manifest a root of utter irrationality.

    Similarly, of course, duties to truth, right reason, soundness, prudence, conscience, justice and the like are radically undermined: there are no genuine duties, just delusions tossed up by accidents of cumulative survival of the fittest. (And yes, Rosenberg and Crick or Gessen et al only openly admit the truth, letting the cat out of the bag . . . the problem is inherent to the worldview.)

    We can see that if our civilisation is to turn back from a crumbling cliff’s edge (and I am pessimistic), we need a radically different, sound framework.

    A start point is a counter to the undermining of our distinct identity as human beings.

    We are recognisably of a common kind of thing, rational, responsible, significantly free, morally governed creatures — we have an intelligible, distinct common core identity pointing to a shared nature amidst undeniable diversity: A is A i/l/o its core characteristics . . . here, including conscience attested, morally governed rationality. In turn, that moral government starts with the credibility of the life of the mind: we are undeniably regulated by known duties to truth, right reason, sound conscience, prudence, justice etc. Even those who object to moral government are forced to implicitly appeal to our knowledge of such, in order for their arguments to have any convincing, persuasive power.

    And if they cynically seek to manipulate what to them is little more than a delusion, not only is that cynicism a red warning flag but the projection of grand, pervasive delusion radically undermines rationality, including their own. That is, the line of thought that rejects such moral government of our intellectual life is self-referential and self-falsifying. It is self-defeating.

    As the PS to the studiously ignored OP points out:

    undeniably, we know that we have duties to the truth, right reason, prudence, good and sound conscience, fairness and justice.

    If one would deny or dismiss this, let him or her ponder why s/he urges us to correct our errors of thought. In short, demonstrably undeniable.

    From this, we see that insofar as law is rational and responsible (again hard to deny) it cannot be severed from the moral domain. In short the notion that we cannot legislate morality is fallacious. It is better to say that absent a critical mass of support, laws on the books are unenforceable.

    We must then address the IS-OUGHT gap, in a post-Hume world, where only at the root of reality can such be bridged, on pain of ungrounded ought. That is, reasoning IS, thus IS, then poof-magic, OUGHT. Oughtness must be at the root of reality or else it is nowhere (other than as a grand delusion).

    We thus need to hold that the root of reality is such that it inherently is good and thus grounds ought as reflecting that ultimate goodness. From this, law in seeking to support and defend the civil peace of justice must recognise such a root of reality or it will fail, opening the door to nihilism and the chaos of might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ rights,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘logic [i.e. right reason],’ ‘justice,’ and law etc. Which absurdity, should sound ever so familiar today.

    The bill to be filled is a world source capable of grounding ought through being essentially good. After centuries of debate, there is precisely one serious candidate, the God of ethical theism. That is, the inherently good and utterly wise God, a necessary and maximaly great being. One, who is worthy of our loyalty and of our reasonable and responsible service by doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

    You need not agree with this, but only to face the challenge that you too need to provide an adequate alternative that does not fall into ungrounded ought and/or grand delusion: _____________ Such is far harder to do than one may at first imagine.

    In this context, of course law restricts “freedom” and “potential,” as manifestly, such can be abused to create ruinous chaos. Therefore, there is a place for regulatory government that guides our freedom to the good and helps to restrain the forces of chaos. And, by first setting this in the context of our minds, we are able to see the positive functionality of such moral government more clearly than when our minds are clouded and our consciences are benumbed. And yes, in a world of the guilty secret, that does point to a counsel of scripture:

    Eph 4:17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.

    19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].

    20 But you did not learn Christ in this way! [AMP]

    Sobering words, a warning that it is unsurprising to see clouded reasoning and warped moral thought when cultures turn their backs on the core, manifest truths that point to the root of moral government.

    Let us turn back from the brink of ruin.

    KF

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    Dear Invisible Remnant,

    Kindly, note the chain of argument in the PS to the OP, on drawing out a framework for natural law, which on this focus is both more personal and more encompassing than statutory codes, judicial rulings, administrative regulations with force of law, contracts etc. Yes, it is a rational, self-evident principles based vision of law as shaping lives, families and civilisations that is regrettably now largely unfamiliar in a world that has now been reshaped by secularist forces and linked legal positivism, In effect, the forgotten vision of law.

    It is worth the while to pause, and to remind ourselves of how that Bible-thumping theocratic Christofascist fundy [–> Pagan Stoic] Cicero summarised the received view, c. 50 BC; namely, how law is:

    “highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” . . . .[such that] the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice. “

    This of course directly ties to how, undeniably, our responsible rational freedom is under the moral government (thus the law) of inherently known duty to truth, to right reason, to sound conscience, to prudence, to fairness, charity/benevolence and justice, etc. This then allows us to elaborate a worldviews level framework for law that then frames an agenda for rebuilding a sound culture. As in:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. (That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.)

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. If a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT — so that IS and OUGHT are inextricably fused at that level, it fails decisively.)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare; usurping the sword of justice to impose a ruthless policy agenda in fundamental breach of that civil peace which must ever pivot on manifest justice. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    (Thus, we see here our sense of justice for the weak, inarticulate and defenseless; starkly manifest in the difference between luring and catching a fish to become lunch and luring and despoiling then destroying a child. Such a child has not the wit nor words to plead his case, nor the strength to defeat his attacker nor yet the speed to outrun him. Where, that some take pity on the fish and will go out of their way to eat only vegetables is itself further eloquent testimony on the point. [Notice, there is no “people for the ethical treatment of fruit, root starches, grains and vegetables” movement.]

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    Let us now turn to how our civilisation could turn back from the brink, i/l/o the above. This, we shall ponder onward.

    KF

    PS: I’ll bet that those out there who were trained as lawyers have by and large not heard of such a way to conceive of law, or else were taught in such a way as to frame ideas such as the above for dismissal. Likely, with a significant helping of the cultural marxist oppression thesis so often used to discredit our inheritance as a civilisation. The, the imperfect past equals a past with nothing to teach us thesis fails. Fails, as it is a counsel to dismiss the lessons of sound history that were bought with blood and tears . . . including, of course the many bloody failures of radicalism since 1789. Those who refuse to learn the sobering lessons of sound history doom themselves to pay the same coin of blood and tears over and over and over again.

  98. 98
    daveS says:

    KF,

    It is quite clear from the course of the thread that you have little interest in the focal topic for this thread, which is of civilisation level importance. The insistent tangentiality above is itself an indicator of what is at stake.

    I am very interested in the thread topic as it applies in specific contexts, especially those where there is conflict. That’s why I ask how all this applies to same-sex marriage.

    You have offered various rationales for denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. I have found none to be persuasive. Scary agendas, Russian radicals, rates of STD’s, the connection between marriage and reproduction, etc.

    PS: I note the triumphalism of announcing that 25 – 30 jurisdictions out of 200+ have imposed homosexualisation of marriage under colour of law (which opens up a wedge of much more to follow through power of precedent and the importance of will to power nihilism implicit in legal positivism).

    Those on “my side” would likely agree that it’s too early to declare victory, but we can celebrate what we see as positive steps. Unfortunately Brunei, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran (pretty much all Muslim countries) are still living in a brutal dark age.

  99. 99
    Brother Brian says:

    DaveS

    Looks like ~28 countries.

    And it is the first Asian country to do so. I find it interesting that the initial push for same sex marriage came from countries who’s societies were Christian in origin. Either Christianity did a poor job at getting their anti-homosexual message out, or they were very good at getting the “judge not lest you be judged” message out. I take heart in the fact that an increasing number of Christian denominations are acknowledging the validity of same sex marriage.

  100. 100
    Brother Brian says:

    Eugen

    Are you guys trolling because I don’t see any arguments

    We have made plenty of arguments. They centre along the lines of their being no valid reason to deny a loving committed couple from enjoying the protections, pleasures and responsibilities that the rest of us do. It is the counter arguments that are extremely weak, unless the people who want to prevent SSM also want to prevent elderly couples from marrying, impotent couples, sterile couples or couples who have no intention to have children.

  101. 101
    Eugen says:

    Dave, Brian

    This is not an argument: if you can have something then I should have that same. Else you’re bigot. For example you are a short person but you see a tall basketball player and you demand to be tall, too. You can’t, nature decided that you are not fit for basketball game.

    My limited understanding is that it’s seems hard to apply natural law to homosexual “marriage” because it’s simply unnatural! It’s as nonsensical as inter species “marriage” . This is just simple reasoning.

  102. 102
    daveS says:

    Brother Brian,

    I find it interesting that the initial push for same sex marriage came from countries who’s societies were Christian in origin.

    That is interesting food for thought.

    Edit: If I were to try and “explain” why this happened, perhaps I would start with Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.

  103. 103
    daveS says:

    Eugen,

    This is not an argument: if you can have something then I should have that same.

    We have the 14th amendment to our constitution, which pretty much says just that (in the context of legal protection from the state).

  104. 104
    Brother Brian says:

    Eugen

    This is not an argument: if you can have something then I should have that same.

    No, if you have something, and you have no rational reason for denying me the opportunity of the same, then I should not be denied that possibility. Not guarantee, but possibility. What has not been provided is a rational argument why a same sex couple should be denied the possibility of marriage. All I have heard are things like inability to have children, incomparable sex organs, higher rates of STDs and the like. All of which some opposite sex couples have, and we don’t deny them marriage. In short, the arguments against SSM are little more than religious arguments being masked as something more legitimate. But since churches are not forced to preside over a SSM, and the institution of marriage is not owned by religion, there is no valid reason for a blanket ban on SSM.

    It’s as nonsensical as inter species “marriage” . This is just simple reasoning.

    If you want to marry a sheep, and the sheep can demonstrate that it is doing so with informed consent, understanding the legal responsibilities and obligations, I would fully support it. But until that time comes, your analogy is farcical.

  105. 105
    Brother Brian says:

    On a totally unrelated topic, does anyone know what happened to ET? I don’t miss his pointless and repetitive comments, but I do hope that nothing bad has happened to him

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    x

    At this point, I again point out that commenting is a privilege, not a right.

    I have no intent to keep on monitoring and trying to bring back a thread to a focal topic in the face of persistent side tracking and what seems to be obsessive behaviour.

    Enough has been said to substantiate the framework of the OP, on law. Enough has been said on side tracks to provide correctives and to establish that we are not seeing serious discussion, by and large from those caught up in aspects of various radical secularist agendas.

    I have no need to go into yet another loop.

    I will re-open comments on threads I own when I am satisfied that the message has got through.

    KF, Owner

    x

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