Natural Law in a Nutshell

Natural Law

Natural Law is the source of your rights. It does not depend on humankind, and it is universally valid. It cannot be voided or amended by kings, constitutions, or legislatures. It is the universe in harmony with reason.

It’s not a new idea. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, and many others have taught it in one form or another.

So what is natural law? In a nutshell, it is this:
1. You own your consciousness, and by extension, your body, and your labor. This is sometimes described as rights to life, liberty, and property.
2. All humans having those same rights, it is unjust for anyone to violate the life, liberty, or property of another. This is known in libertarian circles as the Non-Aggression Principle, or NAP for short.
3. Everyone has the right to defend life, liberty, and property from aggression.

Every right humans have is simply an extension of this law of nature.

Natural law is the baseline for moral behavior, but it is not the highest form of law. Higher, spiritual forms of law also exist, and are practiced by those who seek to overcome the physical cosmos and transcend to higher states of consciousness. Jesus summarized the higher law as love demonstrated through service to others.

Some have tried to claim that coercive government is a legitimate tool to secure their rights. Ironically, the very idea of coercive government is against natural law. One obvious example is that taxation is simply legalized extortion, and violates your right to your labor.

That being said, organization, cooperation, and persuasion are in perfect harmony with natural (and higher) law. It is perfectly right and good for people to organize around common goals, cooperate in endeavors of mutual interest, and peacefully persuade one another. Indeed, this is the very basis for civilized society.

8 thoughts on “Natural Law in a Nutshell

  1. LaVoy Finicum

    Thank you for your disortation on natural law. Questions: When is it just to resist a government that is trampling on our natural rights? If legislatures can not violate them why do we consent to pay taxes with a portion of them used to fund abortion? When will the individual American stand up? Is there no courage left? I am standing, my friend Cliven Bundy is standing and there are a few others.

    If you believe what you have written please follow what we ranchers are doing here in the west. Study the underlying principles of the Constitution upon which we are standing. We are putting all we have on the line even our very lives to resist the tyranny of the Federal government.

    Website: One Cowboy’s Stand for Freedom. Book: Only by Blood and Suffering, regaining lost freedom, on Amazon.

    Once you have studied and if you believe in where we stand, please put this out to your circle of friends.

    Most sincerely, LaVoy Finicum

    • admin Post author

      LaVoy,

      Thanks for your comment. Here are my answers to your questions and comments:

      1. “When is it just to resist a government that is trampling on our natural rights?”

      It is just to resist anyone (including federal, state, or local government) trampling on your natural rights at any time. See point 3 in the original post above.

      2. “If legislatures can not violate them why do we consent to pay taxes with a portion of them used to fund abortion?”

      I said that legislatures cannot void or amend natural rights. Legislatures most certainly do violate natural rights.

      The answer to your question about why “we” consent to pay taxes is a personal one. If you’re asking me personally, I avoid them when possible because I am an agorist. I pay extortionists (including the IRS) when I consider it prudent to do so, which I believe is in line with Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5:25-26. That being said, I don’t pretend that taxes are legitimate, as you can see.

      How you personally choose to resist aggression and violation of your rights is a choice you make, and I think that choice should take into account wisdom, and not just unbridled zeal. While it’s a bit of a tangent, I understand your point about abortion.

      3. “When will the individual American stand up? Is there no courage left?”

      The average person will stand up when they feel it is safe or necessary to do so. There is still courage, but there is also confusion, dependency, distraction, and ignorance. Rather than just complain or despair that people are not thinking and behaving with reason and courage, I think it is more effective to teach truth clearly, become as independent as possible, and focus attention on efforts that people are prepared to handle.

      4. “I am standing, my friend Cliven Bundy is standing and there are a few others. If you believe what you have written please follow what we ranchers are doing here in the west. Study the underlying principles of the Constitution upon which we are standing. We are putting all we have on the line even our very lives to resist the tyranny of the Federal government.”

      I am somewhat familiar with the basics of what Cliven Bundy and others are up against, but I am not an expert on the details. I thought that Cliven’s issues were related to use of property the government claims to own. I watched your YouTube video to get more detail, and I’m still not completely clear.

      Either way, I think it’s great that you are willing to stand for your rights. I would hope that you can do it in ways that don’t jeopardize your life unnecessarily, as it looks like you have a beautiful family that can greatly benefit from your examples of honest work, respect for others, and quest for understanding and justice.

      Rob

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  5. Katja

    Can you help me understand the conflation you’re making between property and labor? It seems to me that some forms of property (like clothes) are the fruits of your labor, but other forms of property (like land) are only yours once you announce they’re yours. Certainly you could build a house on land and the house would be the fruit of your labor, or you could cultivate a garden and the garden would be the fruit of your labor, but the land you labor on is not the same as your labor. It’s property, and its borders must be enforced by persuasion or by force.

    • admin Post author

      Sure, Katja.

      You may find answers to questions like this by reading my post on this blog entitled Property and Ownership (also linked to the word “property” in this post).

      As I mention there, all ownership claims (including to the hypothetical clothes from your example, and indeed to your own body) are subject to dispute. Whether you’re talking about dirt, plants, animals, or any of the various products that can be derived from physical matter, you’re talking about property.

      Persuasion (another topic I have covered on this blog) does play a role in civilized society in determining who has a higher claim to property. Property norms are a matter of convention, which means that they take the form of agreement between people on how to best recognize and apply ownership claims.

      You’re right that force is sometimes required to defend property. I am not against the use of defensive force; I’m against the use of aggressive force. As point three in this post says, you have a natural right to defense, not aggression.

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