Douglas Wilson adds some helpful thoughts to the discussion of natural law. They intersect nicely with our recent offering on the topic. The point of natural law is not to set up a rationalistic set of assumptions, nor necessarily to “find common ground” with others, though it should be able to do that. The point is to establish an objective and public basis for morality. It explains the universal rationale behind morality – or rather, it explains why such a rationale doesn’t need much explaining. Justice is hardwired into our existence.
This doesn’t provide specific laws, of course. That’s partly the point. Positive law is always a human enterprise, and it must be carried out by politicians, who ought therefore to be schooled in philosophy and jurisprudence. Hey, stop laughing. I’m talking about the ought, not the is. Specifics will always vary, and they will always depend on all sorts of other factors. Still, they ought to be fundamentally just, and for that to be even a sensible conviction, we have to know what justice is, and that it is. There’s much more to say about all of this, but it’s encouraging to see the conversation continue.
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