Human law … is derived from eternal law … lacking its true nature it is rather a kind of violence.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologiae

+ + +

We are not a particularly wise nation.  We do little good now as stewards of our past, guardians of the fundamental truths that are the foundation of Western Civilization.  Yes, we are lousy students. We have learned little; those who “lead” often blunder and undue.

Case in point, in the 6th century B.C., Solon the Athenian noted that law made thing smooth, that it held in check inordinate desires and diminished wanton pride, and curtailed nascent wild delusions, that it made crooked judgments straight and softened arrogant behavior.  He knew that law was intended to promote wisdom and sanity.

We, on the contrary, do not understand that if law can make conduct illegitimate, it can also make some errant conduct legitimate.  Consider the easing of the divorce laws to a “no fault” posture. Betray your spouse – no problem, we simply divide the property in half.  Don’t bother with contraception, no problem we’ll help you kill the child.

Truth is we demonstrate that bad laws and injudicious government de-legitimize society, undue a people and a nation.  Such is our squandering of our heritage. We now live in a time in which we are dismantling the West and making our much weaker enemies strong and emboldened.

Yes, misuse law and a nation dies.

The law ignored promotes lawlessness.  On the federal level we elect to honor some laws and not others which do not meet our political whim or ideological fancy.  In contrast, constitutionally protected interests like free speech, religious freedom and the right of citizens to bear arms are constantly assaulted and trimmed when possible.

Law can either reaffirm and validate or undue.  It can either solidify a people and their required shared conduct and history or it can promote anarchy and division.

Law that is not connected to human flourishing destroys, it does violence to human beings.

We would be wise to recall the words of the 5th century Stoic philosopher Heraclitus:

All human laws are fed by one Divine law; it prevails as far as it listeth, and suffices for all, and survives all.

We act to establish convincingly that we are poor stewards of our heritage and are as apt in law to bring violence than wisdom and guidance.

Shalom.

Advertisements