Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Preserving the Moral Law in Civic Law, part II

In the last post, we examined the mostly theoretical argument for preserving the Moral Law in Civic law.  In this post, we'll examine the practical reasons to do so.  There are several, and I may not touch all that exist.  So, with no further ado, let's get down to brass tacks.

One: Someone is going to legislate their morality, so we may as well legislate the one all people hold commonly.
This serves both as reason for the Moral Law itself, and as defense against a specifically Christian Moral Law.  There are certain things we all know are morally wrong.  Murder, theft, and fraud are among these.  We can examine the reasons we know that these acts are immoral, but those reasons are beside the point: we all know it to be true.  Just in the last post, I posited a world where specific murders were not prosecuted, but booze was outlawed.  I'm pretty sure your mind rebelled against such a hypothetical- mine certainly did.  They did because we know that such a stance would not be moral.

Whenever we legislate, we are saying that one thing is Wrong and its opposite is Right.  That is, no matter what the law, we are asserting a Moral position.  Now, that position may be in keeping with the True Moral Law, or it may not.  As long as the Moral Law is our guide, we know that things which should be allowed will be, and things that are actually immoral- and generally accepted as such- will be prohibited.  This protects society from immoral behavior, while also protecting the citizenry from a capricious Government.

Two: The Moral Law informs and upholds our "Natural Rights."
The Moral Law, coming as it does from the nature of the Creator, is not just one about the immorality of theft and murder, but also about our Natural Rights.  We derive our Natural Rights from the same source as the Moral Law, so it stands to reason that they are related.  Indeed, when we begin to look at the philosophical ideas behind the Moral Law, we see that the two are directly linked.  Theft is wrong because it deprives someone of their property.  Murder is wrong because it deprives them of their life.  Slavery is wrong because it deprives them of the liberty.

By upholding the Moral Law in the Civic Law, we actually strengthen our hold on those Natural Rights, and we provide them better security.  Life, Liberty, and Property are protected because the Moral Law demands it.  Simultaneously, protecting those through Civic Law limits the government (this was the whole point of the Constitution), and therefore protects the citizenry.

Three: A culture which behaves Morally is more likely to be sound fiscally.
We'll get deeper into this in a later post, but the short version is this:  Among the near-universal morals are those of thrift, industry, and self-support.  When we uphold the Moral Law generally, we encourage the modes of behavior that Moral Law encourages.  This, in turn, encourages individuals towards behavior which is moral, but not specifically legislated.  A man who lives in a society that upholds the ideals of Personal Property, and Liberty is one that will encourage thrifty, industrious behavior.

For these reasons, and more besides, social conservatives should not flinch from the charge of "legislating morality," but rather should defend the process, explaining that without that same morality being enshrined into law, the accuser has no security for the same rights he believes are being infringed.

That's box 8.  Next we'll tackle box 9: The Moral Law is not the same as Religious Law.


  1. Good article Allen, I agree.

  2. Thanks Allen. I always enjoy.
    Like I said on Ace, you are getting better everyday.

  3. Thanks, Maddogg & Pecos, for the kind words.