Thursday, October 26, 2006

Classical Natural Law Theory - Abstracts

According to Aquinas, law is a rule or measure of action in virtue of which one is led to perform certain actions and restrained from the performance of others. But the rule and measure of human action is reason. It is reason which directs action to its appropriate end. Reason has power to move to action from the will. But will, if it is to have power or authority, must be regulated by reason when it commands. It follows that the law must have as its proper object the well-being of the whole community. The first principle object is the ordering of the common good. A private person has no authority to compel right living. He may only advise; but if his advise is not accepted he has no power of compulsion. But the power of compulsion belongs either to the community as a whole or to its official representative. Men, unlike other animals, has the weapon of reason with which to exploit his base desire and cruelty.

"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is enemy to every man, the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall." (Thomas Hobbes; Leviathan 1651).

"Every one has a right to punish the trangressors of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation". (John Locke; Tow Treaties of Government).

"The law has the force of law only when it is promulgated." (J. Maritain; Man and the State 1951)


"Whether or not morality can exist without society, it is certain that politics cannot." (M MacDonald; Natural Rights 1948).

"To command what cannot be done is not to make law; it is to unmake law, for a command that cannot be obeyed serves no end but confusion, fear and chaos. A law that changes everyday is no law at all. Increasingly, the principle object of government seems to be, not that of giving the citizen rules by which to shape their conduct, but to frighten him into impotence. A mere respect for constituted authority must not be confused with fidelity to law." (Ron Fuller; The Morality of Law 1969),

1 comment:

Elmina Kenley said...

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