Legal Chaos

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” Charles de Montesquieu

Throughout our nation’s history law has been anchored in reasonable and ancient foundations that provide consensus for an ordered society.  However, issues like abortion, gun control, gay and transgender rights have now broken these foundations and imposed “alien rules” through judicial activism.  Law has come to reflect those who interpret it, issuing coercive decisions that force people to do that which they cannot accept.  

For a long time, constitutional protections were strong enough to safeguard the rights of citizens, even the unborn.  However, the progressive erosion of legal concepts has led to laws that defy the norms of reason, which law should reflect.  Today, law has “evolved” to suit human passions, not reality.

New “rights” are found and morality discarded in favor of liberating aberrations that only masquerade as freedoms, leaving society without guiding principles to establish immutable safeguards that will uphold citizen rights. Our present state of legal confusion will only become worse since it will enshrine chaos, not justice, into our judicial system.

The only way out of our constitutional crisis is to return to the higher law tradition upon which our legal system is based.  This higher law tradition is found in Common Law that reaches back over 900 years and is based on human nature, not the fickle will of activists.  Such law is not defined by might or partisan politics, but immutable principles.

What made our law so binding and unchanging was the fact that a sacred trust bound it to a higher law. It was conceived in the conviction that the source of all law, in all its forms,  was God and His eternal law.

That is not to say that law was part of religion or its practice. It merely affirms that God placed in everyone an objective moral compass called natural law that makes social order possible.  Its principles are the same for all peoples, places, and times; although it’s concrete expressions might vary. Social harmony is the result when people follow natural law; evils such as killing, lying, and stealing are universally recognized as wrong because they are contrary to human nature.

Proof of the universal character of natural law can be found in Cicero’s expressions of “natural law, inborn or unwritten law.”  Indeed, Saint Paul says everyone naturally knows this law since it is written upon our hearts (See Rom. 2:15). It can be perceived in society by unaided reason, although it is well summarized in the Ten Commandments.

America’s attachment to this higher law dates back before our independence as can be seen in the 1796 reference from the renowned English jurist Sir William Blackstone:  “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…”  It is only this higher law tradition that can explain America’s past order and stability . . . a rebuke to its present descent into legal chaos.

Only when all people are bound together in an objective legal order can there be ample protection against injustice and unjust laws denounced.   By appealing to a higher law, anyone can claim the right of opposition to unjust laws or edicts. Moreover, both those who govern and are governed are equally subject to this higher order and can appeal to its precepts.

Only under natural law criteria can the maxim, “lex injusta non est lex” (unjust law is not law) be determined and come to be regarded as universally obligatory and binding in conscience.  

Modern law has largely abandoned the natural law tradition in favor of judicial activism.  Materialistic notions of society, for example, have reduced law to guidelines determined by the evolution of social forces, dealing with nothing metaphysical while excluding the idea of immortal souls. 

People need certainties.  We must return to natural law as the most secure way to fight against the legal chaos that has destroyed the rule of law.  We must explore natural law notions of self-defense, private property and even national sovereignty.  These crucial issues encompass the common good and will direct us to God, who made both us and the natural law.

Returning to our natural law tradition is the way out of the chaos that threatens to engulf us.

Source:  Natural Law and Our Constitutional Crisis by John Horvat, vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, published in The Imaginative Conservative; Judicial Tyranny, Judicial Review Is Not A Constitutional Power, FranklinCountyVAPatriots

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