A blupete Essay

Rule Of Law & Natural Law, Part 15 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Government"

The subject of legal philosophy is a subject for old men at law schools, and, if you have come this far with me, I do not want to lose you now; but, for any thinking citizen, some basic concepts must be considered.

First off, let me quickly touch on the Rule of Law: The law, whatever that maybe, is there for all to obey, including those in government. The rule of law is a doctrine which is derived from theories of natural law (the next following subject). In English law, the rule of law is a concept which has been used as a mechanism to control government power; it is a tool used exclusively by the courts.

And now, more generally we ask, "What is the law." It has been, and continues to be, a much studied subject, but a quick, short and authoritative definition is this: law is "a rule of conduct imposed by authority." Normally, we think of this authority to be a person or persons, but it need not be. There do exist laws of an unearthly authority; laws which one might attribute to God, or more simply to nature. These laws exist entirely independent of man; they were around before man came on the scene and will be around long after he takes his ignoble exit. "That part of God's Law which bindes alwayes, bound before it was written and that is the law of nature." (John Donne.) I write of scientific laws, such as those that were discovered by the likes of Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, etc. From brilliant human minds, through the reasoning process, came descriptions of natural relationships, natural laws.29 Scientists do not create a thing, they describe that which exists. So, a natural law is descriptive, and, I should not have to add, cannot be broken by man. The fact is that natural law, to the extent possible, must be brought into account for all calculations; one must proceed in harmony with it or suffer the consequences. Natural law has neither been brought into force by human beings, nor can it be enforced by them; it has automatically brought them to the state in which they exist. Now, while natural law is not something that any one of us thinks about too much, we all pretty well live in accordance with it. One must eat to live. One must grow or hunt for food. As part of this process, one must plan ahead and one must work. "Self-preservation is the very first and fundamental law of nature." (Berkeley.)


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Peter Landry

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