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com James How Do we Derive

Found at: 0x1bi.net:70/textfiles/file?law/natural.law

Newsgroups: alt.philosophy.objectivism,talk.philosophy.misc
From: JamesD@cup.portal.com (James A Donald)
Subject: Re: How Do we Derive Rights?
Message-ID: <76646@cup.portal.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 09:47:53 PST
Organization: The Portal System (TM)
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                       Natural law and Natural rights




A short explanation of natural law in modern language, covering two 
thousand years of philosophical debate, scientific enquiry, and bloody 


                            By James A. Donald
                           JamesD@cup.portal.com


Natural law and Natural rights follow from the nature of man and the 

Natural law has objective, external existence.  It follows from the ESS 
(evolutionary stable strategy) for the use of force that is natural for 
capacity to know good and evil, has immediate evolutionary benefits: just 
as the capacity to perceive three dimensionally tells me when I am 
tells me when my companions are liable to cut my throat.  It evolved in 
the same way, for the same straightforward and uncomplicated reasons, as 
our ability to throw rocks accurately.

Natural law is not some far away and long ago golden age myth imagined by 
Locke three hundred years ago, but a real and potent force in today's 

The opponents of natural rights often complain that the advocates of 
natural rights are not logically consistent, because we continually shift 
between inequivalent definitions of natural law.  They gleefully 
manufacture long lists of "logical contradictions".  Indeed, the 
of man and the nature of the world, they are substantially equivalent in 
magine "in principle" a world where these definitions were not
equivalent.  If humans were intelligent bees, rather than intelligent 
apes, these definitions would not be equivalent, and the concept of 
natural law would be trivial or meaningless, but we are what we are and 
the world is what it is, and these definitions, the definitions of natural 
law, are equivalent, not by some proof of pure reason, but by history, 
experience, economics, and observation.

often without indicating which definition I was using, often without 
knowing or caring which definition I was using.  Among the definitions 
that I use are:

at particular examples, as a biologist defines a species by pointing at a 

unorganized violence, in particular the law that historically existed (in 
barbarians that overran the Holy Roman Empire.

violence.  (Locke gives the example of Cain, in the absence of orderly 
not present at the crime.  Note Locke's important distinction between the 
times where there was no state power, or where the state was violently 
entirely suppress it)

Conduct which violates natural law is conduct such that, if a man were to 
use individual unorganized violence to prevent such conduct, or, in the 
absence of orderly society, use individual unorganized violence to punish 
comes from the game theory of iterated three or more player non zero sum 
lawful or unlawful, has the emotional significance that it does have, 
because this ESS for the use of force is part of our nature.

Utilitarian and relativist philosophers demand that advocates of natural 
law produce a definition of natural law that is independent of the nature 
of man and the nature of the world.  Since it is the very essence of 
natural law to reason from the nature of man and the nature of the world, 
to deduce "should" from "is", we unsurprisingly fail to meet this 

The socialists attempted to remold human nature.  Their failure is further 
evidence that the nature of man is universal and unchanging.  Man is a 
things.  He is social in the way that wolves and penguins are social, not 
for bees, a totalitarian society, is not right for people.  In the 
language of sociobiology, humans are social, but not eusocial.  Natural 
law follows from the nature of men, from the kind of animal that we are.  
because they, like us, are innately property owning animals: They rightly 
act as if ashamed when caught stealing nest building materials, and they 
are rightly enraged and rightly attack when they catch another penguin 
liberty and property, the right to defend ourselves against those who 

Law derives from our right to defend ourselves and our property, not from 
the power of the state.  If law was merely whatever the state decreed, 
then the concepts of the rule of law and of legitimacy could not have the 
meaning that they plainly do have, the idea of actions being lawful and 
unlawful would not have the emotional significance that it does have.  As 
Alkibiades argued, (Xenophon) if the Athenian assembly could decree 
The Athenian assembly promptly proceeded to prove him right by issuing 

claimed the right to create, rather than merely discover, criminal law.  
They claimed that they could make what had been lawful unlawful, and what 
and hubristic must be abused, today as it was two thousand years ago.

mathematics, though it was long ago proven that this cannot be done, 
except in mathematics, and perhaps not even there.

To draw conclusions about the world one must look both without and within.  
Like the chicken and the egg, observation requires theory and leads to 
theory, theory requires observation and leads to observation.  This is the 
core of the scientific method, in so far as the scientific method can be 
expressed in words.

Natural law derives from the nature of man and the world, just as physical 
law derives from the nature of space, time, and matter.

As a result most people who are not philosophers or lawyers accept natural 
law as the ultimate basis of all law and ethics, a view expressed most 
forcibly in recent times at the Nuremberg trials.  Philosophers, because 
they often refuse to look at external facts, are unable to draw any 
conclusions, and therefore usually come to the false conclusion that one 
cannot reach objectively true conclusions about matters of morality and 
law, mistaking self imposed ignorance for knowledge.

Although philosophers like to pretend that Newton created the law of 
foolish.  Universal gravitation was discovered, not invented.  It was 
laws of optics and the probabilities of physical forms, how it rigorously 
ts retina, nonetheless the tiger was there, outside the deer, in the
objective external world whether or not the deer correctly interpreted 
neither we nor the deer could prove its existence by formal logic.  And 
failed to recognize the tiger, it would soon be eaten.

A determined philosopher could obstinately argue that the perception of 
the tiger was merely an interpretation of light and shadow (which is 
true), that there is no unique three dimensional interpretation of a two 
their own private and personal three dimensional interpretation (which is 
false), and would no doubt continue to argue this until also eaten.  
Something very similar to this happened to a number of philosophers in 
Cambodia a few years ago.

History

Natural law was discovered (not invented, not created, discovered) by the 
the logical problems raised by Socrates.  The doctrines of the stoics were 
Alexandrine empire and then the Roman empire) prevented a clear and 

Frequently politicians or revolutionaries use natural law theory, or some 
competing theory to create institutions.  Such cases provide a powerful 
and direct test of theories.  Advances in our understanding of natural law 
experience of the breakdown or forcible destruction of state imposed 
order.

The bloody and unsuccessful experiment of Socrates disciple, Critias, 
question "What law, who's law." Not all laws are arbitrary, there must be 
laws universally applicable, because of the universal nature of man.  Laws 
the ruler or the people.  If this was not so, then it would be impossible 
to make an unlawful law.  Any law duly decreed by a legitimate ruling 
body, such as the Athenian assembly, would necessarily be lawful, yet 
unlawful.  Proof by contradiction.  Alkibiades used this argument against 
could therefore seize whatever it pleased, and use the property as it 

"There is in fact a true law - namely, right reason - which is in 
accordance with nature, applies to all men, and is unchangeable and 
eternal." (Cicero) Cicero successfully argued before a Roman court that 
one of the laws of Rome was unlawful, being contrary to natural law, 
creating a legal precedent that held throughout the western world for two 
thousand years.  Although it was frequently violated, it was rarely openly 

The arguments and reasoning of the Stoics were generally accepted, but not 
thoroughly put into practice and therefore not vigorously tested, for over 
a thousand years.

A philosopher can choose to disbelieve in Newton's laws, but this will not 
enable him to fly.  He can disbelieve in natural law, but political and 
on false physical law will fall, just as the deer that does not notice the 
tiger gets eaten, just as the Marxist philosophers who voluntarily 
or tortured to death by the revolutionaries.  The most extreme failure in 
Cambodian Autogenocide".

During the dark ages, the knowledge of natural law, like much other 
ancient knowledge, was kept alive by the church.  This knowledge proved 
very useful.  Hordes of armed refugees wandered this way and that, thus 
tribal and customary law was often inadequate for resolving disputes.  
Sometimes a king would rise up and impose his peoples customary law on 
everyone around, but such kings came and went, and their laws and 
nstitutions faded swiftly like the spume of a breaking wave in the midst
of a vast ocean.

the law of the kings (fiat law).  Natural law was taught in the great 
Universities of Oxford, Salamanca, Prague, and Krakow, and in many other 

Revolution, the declaration of right, and the English Enlightenment.  It 
of rights, but now the US supreme court has now rejected this doctrine and 
claims that fiat law is above natural law, and that the authority of the 
constitution is not derived from natural law, and that the right to 
and that the state is above the law.

 The next major advance in our knowledge of natural law after the dark 
ages came with the Dutch republic.  The success of this experiment is 
almost as illuminating as the failure of Critias.  The failure of Critias 
Dutch Republic showed that the medieval understanding of natural law was 

The long revolution by the Dutch against Spain obliterated or gravely 
law and fiat law, and little was done to replace these institutions for 
two generations.  But it is everyone's right and duty to forcibly uphold 
natural law, thus in order to get a law enforced, or to get away with 
enforcing it oneself, ones lawyer had to argue natural law, rather than 
customary law.  Thus the Netherlands came to be governed by natural law, 

Society ran itself smoothly.  This showed that natural law was complete 
and logically consistent.  Of course since natural law is external and 
objective it has to be complete and consistent, but our understanding of 
natural law is necessarily incomplete and imperfect, so our understanding 
of it might have been dangerously incomplete, inconsistent, or plain 
understanding of natural law, the medieval theory of natural law, is 
fairly close to the truth.  If natural law was just something that 
nconsistencies would have lead to conflicts that could not be resolved
customary law to resolve them.  Incompleteness would have lead to 
unacceptable lawless behavior.  None of this happened, powerful evidence 
that natural law is not just something invented, but something external 
and objective that we are able to perceive, like the tiger, like the law 
of gravity.

For a long time people advocated natural law merely because they thought 
that if people pretended to believe it, it would lead to less bloodshed 
and other desirable consequences, and no great effort had been applied to 
the assumptions and methods of natural law theory.  Now people started to 
advocate natural law because they had convincing evidence that our 
understanding of it was true.  Thus came the English enlightenment, John 
Locke and Adam Smith.

John Locke made a major advance to our understanding of natural law, by 
emphasizing the nature of man as a maker of things, and a property owning 
animal.  This leads to a more extensive concept of natural rights than the 
the right to the rule of law, but from the right to property comes a 
multitude of like rights, such as the right to privacy "An Englishman's 
us that a ruler is legitimate so far as he upholds the law.

A ruler that violates natural law is illegitimate.  He has no right to be 
obeyed, his commands are mere force and coercion.  Rulers who act 
lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals, and should be 
nature, in other words they and their servants should be killed as the 
opportunity presents, like the dangerous animals that they are, the common 
enemies of all mankind.

John Locke's writings were a call to arms, an assertion of the right and 

This provided the moral and legal basis for many great revolutions, and 
many governments.  After the American revolution the North Americans were 
thirty years.

John Locke was writing for an audience that mostly understood what natural 
law was, even those who disputed the existence and force of natural law 
knew what he was talking about, and they made valid and relevant 
criticisms.  In the nineteenth century people started to forget what 
natural law was, and today he is often criticized on grounds that are 
rrelevant, foolish, and absurd.

Today many people imagine that natural law is a code of words, like the 
code of Hammurabi, or the twelve tables, written down somewhere, on the 
they find that no such words exist, no such prophets are recorded, they 
t was.

Natural law is a method, not a code.  One does not reason from words but 
from facts.  The nearest thing to a written code of natural law is the 
vast body of natural law precedent.  But a precedent only applies to 
of the particular case, whereas natural law is universal, applying to all 
free men at all times and all places.

and "Ius Naturale".  "Ius Divinum" means, more or less, the divinely 
established customary law of nations, peoples, and states that are 

Note that "Ius Naturale" does not derive from the customs of civilized 
of God.  It provides us with a ground to judge the plausibility of claims 
of divine revelation concerning the will of God.

"Ius Naturale" is the law applicable to men in a state of nature.  It 
Naturale" does not derive directly from the will of God.  As Hugo Grotius 
f God was unreasonable or evil, the natural law would still have moral
force, and men would still spontaneously back it with physical force.

Natural law derives from the method and approach then called natural 
law is the ESS (Evolutionary Stable Strategy) for the use of force, 
employed by our species and by like species, applied by us by means of 
language, it comes from the tree of knowledge, which made us as gods.

Although natural law is an integral part of Christianity, at least of the 
Christianity of Augustine and Aquinas, Christianity is not an integral 
Government and substituted the phrase "chance and necessity" for the 
any great change in the meaning or force of his argument.

Many of the key themes of modern sociobiology first appeared in Locke's 
treatises on government, for example Second Treatise  79-81, First 
Treatise  56-57.  Some parts of the second treatise are often consciously 
or unconsciously echoed on Public Broadcasting System nature and science 
videos whenever they discuss the family lives and social interactions of 
non human animals.

Locke and the other Christian advocates of natural law believed that 
natural law was in accordance with the will of God not because they 
claimed a divine revelation concerning the will of God, but because they 
believed that the nature of man and the world reflected the will of God.

The stoics and Grotius believed in a universe governed by chance and 
necessity, as do most modern advocates of natural law.  Augustine, 
Aquinas, and Locke believed in a universe that reflected the will of God.  
the same facts and came to the same conclusions from those facts.  They 
merely used slightly different language to describe their reasoning.

Throughout most of our evolution, men have been in a state of nature, that 
s to say.  without government, hierarchically organized religion, or an
orderly and widely accepted means of resolving disputes.  For the past 
four or five million years the capacity to discern evil lurking in the 
capacity to discern tigers lurking in shadows.

The primary purpose of this capability was to guide us in who we should 
associate with, (so as to avoid having our throats cut in our sleep), who 
away, and who, to render ourselves safe, we should kill.

bad, use violence against another.  When this happened those knowing of 
this event needed to decide whether it indicated that the person using 
force was brave and honorable, hence a potentially valuable ally, or 
foolish and eager for trouble, hence someone to be avoided, or a dangerous 
criminal, hence someone to be driven out or eliminated at the first safe 
opportunity to do so.  Such decisions had to be made from time to time, 
and making them wrongly could be fatal, and often was fatal.

A secondary purpose of this capability was to guide us in our own conduct, 
to so conduct ourselves that others would be willing to associate with us, 
ally with us, do deals with us, and would refrain from driving us away or 
killing us.

The capability to perceive good and evil has the same direct, immediate 
and concrete evolutionary force behind it as the ability to throw rocks 
accurately.

Not all things that are evil, or contrary to nature, are violations of 
natural law.  Violations of natural law are those evils that may rightly 
be opposed by force, by individual unorganized violence.

The Medievals took for granted that natural law was morally and legally 
binding on freeholder, Emperor and Pope alike, and during the dark ages 
and for a little time after, men often attempted to enforce natural law 
against the Holy Roman Emperor, and these attempts were sometimes 
for debt by an ordinary butcher, locked up with the beef and mutton, and 
accepted as lawful and proper, though such actions were safer against some 
emperors than others.

The definition of natural law that I have just given is similar to that 
used in the middle ages, but this definition is not obviously scientific.  
free, game theoretic, terminology that we would use to describe a 

Here follows a definition of natural law in properly scientific terms, 
value free terms:

An act is a violation of natural law if, were a man to commit such an act 
n a state of nature, (that is to say, in the absence of an orderly and
facts and being a reasonable man, would reasonably conclude that the first 
man constituted a threat or danger to the second man, his family, or his 
man, were to observe the second man getting rid of the first man, the 
third man would not reasonably conclude that the second man constituted a 
threat or danger to third man, his family, or his property.

Note that in order to define natural law in a value neutral fashion we 

This is well illustrated in the recent events in Dade county, Florida 
(September - October 1992, three months before I wrote this), where 
expectation that those guns would be used to prevent, rather than to 
facilitate, unlawful transfers of property.  To define natural law in Dade 
county you would need one looter or one corrupt official, and two home 
owners.  In value free language, one Dade county home owner and one 
corrupt official is a property dispute.  Two Dade county home owners and 
one corrupt official is natural law in action.  Two Dade county home 
owners with nobody bothering them is spontaneous order, and of course part 
of the definition of spontaneous order is that it is a stable order that 
arises spontaneously from the action of natural law.

The scientific definition is equivalent to the medieval definition because 
of the nature of man and the nature of the world.  The two definitions are 
equivalent for our kind of animal, because if someone uses violence 
"properly", and reasonably, he does not show himself to be dangerous to a 
also overwhelming historical evidence for this fact.  For example compare 
the American revolution with the Russian or Cambodian revolution.  The 
from brutal mistreatment.

The varying definitions of natural law are clearly consistent on the issue 
of individual violence.  On the topic of collective violence, the 
questions of what are just grounds for making war, how may a just war be 
conducted, and what may a just victor do with an unjust loser, the various 
two reasons for this apparent cloudiness.  One is that there is no natural 
collective entity its substance and cohesion, how the individual is a 
contain extensive discussions of this point.  The other reason is that 
there is a large difference between what the victor should do and what the 
victor may lawfully do.  The victor should be magnanimous and lenient, as 
at Nuremberg, but may lawfully be strict and harsh.  On the questions that 
most commonly arise in practice, all the different definitions of natural 
law give clear, consistent and straightforward answers: The usual reason 
for war is that one group defines another group as enemy, and then uses 
organized collective violence to seize the property of the members of that 
aggressor because they constitute a clear danger to their neighbors.  In a 
t is unlawful to massacre prisoners under any circumstances, though
ndividual prisoners may be executed for broad reasons.  It is sometimes
lawful to refuse to take prisoners, depending on the circumstances.  The 
apparent contradictions evaporate when we ask the questions that we are 
actually interested in, about the kind of situations that actually occur 
n practice.  We only get apparent contradictions when we ask artificial
natural law is logically inconsistent. 

When we apply the value free theory of iterated non zero sum two player 
concepts as trust, honor, and vengeance.  In the same way, when we apply 
the value free theory of iterated three player non zero sum games we get 

Natural law theory is a valid part of science, because any n person 
natural law statement about values can be expressed as an explicitly 
and n + 1 player game theory.  It is also a valid part of the study of law 
and economics, and the study of law and society.  However academics 
natural law, because of the threat of repercussions.  Natural law 
towards the study natural law were also often threatened with physical 
violence not too long ago, for example E.O. Wilson was repeatedly 
threatened and often physically harassed primarily because he reviewed the 
long established and overwhelming evidence that property and self defense 
are innate in human nature, something that has been known for uncounted 
centuries.

The study of law and economics is a desert, where academics debate pure 
theory without any reference to the real world, without any attempt to 
observe what actually happens in practice, because when you attempt to 
observe dispute resolution in actual practice, you start to look at cases 
measured, appropriate, and socially approved way, (Ellickson), and if you 
look at such cases too closely, you are looking at natural law in action, 
your grants are likely to dry up, and you may get a "delegation" with base 
ball bats banging on your office door.

The study of law and society is a swamp, for the same reason as the study 
of law and economics is a desert.  Whereas those who study law and 
economics carefully avoid the arduous and dangerous study what really 
law and society are drowning in a sea of meaningless and pointless 
observations, that make no sense because they dare not examine where 
are, and instead take norms as arbitrary givens, without origins or 
consequences.  These two fields have separate journals, and go to separate 
conferences, for between the two areas of study is the forbidden zone - 
natural law.  To avoid this forbidden zone the law and society people 
avoid theory, the law and economics people avoid facts.

Those academics who study sociobiology have been a little braver, perhaps 
because those who work in the hard sciences are sometimes better at 
looking after their own, or, as in the case of E.O. Wilson, they simply 
tend to be tougher, more obstinate, stubborn, and intransigent than 
fuzzies.

Hobbes Criticism of natural law

The existence and force of natural law has been continually disputed by 
those who claim that the state should exercise limitless power over 
ndividuals.

Early in the seventeenth century Thomas Hobbes argued that the nature of 
man was not such that one could deduce natural law from it.  Hobbes 
claimed that in a state of nature, it is a war of all against all, and 
life is "poor, solitary, nasty, brutish, and short".  Therefor, he argued, 
the state is entitled to unlimited power, and right is whatever the state, 
through its laws, says is right, and wrong whatever the state says is 

bloody consequences, but even a few examples of spontaneous order suffice 
to demonstrate the existence and force of natural law, just as any number 
of non tigers cannot disprove the existence of tigers, but two tigers are 
the war of all against all, as Locke pointed out.  Spontaneous order held 
much more often than it failed.  Natural law was the norm, both morally 
and in practice.  Of course was not effective all the time, but it was 
effective often enough that its existence is an indisputable fact.  Hobbes 
gnored the commonplace, and treated the dramatic events as the norm.  In
addition, those dramatic and bloody breakdowns of order that did happen 
the lawless and criminal activities of states.

The right to bear arms

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries natural law was accepted 
n men's heads and in courts of law, as it always has been accepted in
men's hearts.  The advocates of absolutism were defeated, first 
ntellectually, then politically, and then by force of arms.  Kings who
claimed to rule by divine right were killed or forced to flee.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 guaranteed an Englishman's right to bear 
arms (a right now lost), and more importantly, prohibited the state from 
using what we would now call a police force.  The people were armed, state 
force, which derives from the absolutists, notably Hobbes

order.  Often it was a source of disorder.  The Glorious Revolution 
eliminated its role in enforcement for about two hundred years, while 
legitimizing its role in judgment.

law, and hence for natural rights, is essential to avoid strife and civil 
use of force, because people obviously have the right to defend their 
monopoly of force to ensure that the state will have the necessary power 
to crush peoples rights and to sacrifice individuals, groups, and 
categories of people for "the greater good".  Conversely a monopoly of 
force leads to the denial of natural rights (by making it safe, and 
conflict.

For a society where there is plurality of force to work peaceably and 
law.

A yeoman was the lowest rank of landowner, one who worked his own land or 
a sharecropper, a farmer with no land of his own.  Naturally yeomen had a 
little to gain from the breakdown in the rule of law.  Villains had little 
to gain, but less to lose.  People acted in accordance with their 
nterests, and so the word yeoman came to mean a man who uses force in a
brave and honorable manner, in accordance with his duty and the law, and 
villain came to mean a man who uses force lawlessly, to rob and destroy.

force, the most notable and important examples being seventeenth century 
England and eighteenth century North America.  England, in the late 
of liberty under law, and Kingly rule under law.  In the English speaking 
fifty years after they introduced a police force, about the time that 
law

The best present day example of a society with strong social controls and 
Switzerland.  (Kopel) In peacetime the Swiss army has no generals, no 
central command.  Everyone is his own policeman.  By no coincidence 
Switzerland is also the best modern example of the right to bear arms.  
Almost every house in Switzerland contains one or more automatic weapons, 
the kind of guns that the American federal government calls "assault 
keep guns out of the hands of children, lunatics and criminals, but every 
law abiding adult can buy any kind of weapon, from handguns to bazookas, 
cannons, and howitzers.  Almost every adult male owns at least one gun, 
and most have more than one, because of social pressures and the 
expectation that a respectable middle class male citizen should be well 
armed and skillful in the use of arms.  It is also no coincidence that 
levels than any other industrialized country.

Today the state is losing cohesion and its ability and willingness to 
maintain order and enforce the law is visibly diminishing.  We can once 
again expect to see armed conflict between the modern equivalent of 
villains and yeomen.  Indeed we are already seeing it.  The recent LA 
as a race riot, and to some extent they were.  Yet there was as much 
violence by unpropertied Mexicans attacking Mexicans possessing small 
businesses, as there was violence by unpropertied blacks attacking Koreans 
burnt by blacks in the same way as Korean shop owners had their shops 
looted and burnt by blacks.  This was an attack by villains on yeomen, 
caused by the flight of the police, not a black versus Korean race riot.

Civil Society and the State

At the time that Locke wrote, natural law was about to become customary 
law, because the state was disarmed and the people armed.  For the most 
law, but on some matters judges had to perform contortions to render the 
form of common law consistent with the substance of natural law.  Much 
common law came from Roman law, and the law of the late roman empire was 
often quite contrary to natural law.  Freedom of association is a right 
under natural law, a crime under Roman law.  Under the law of the roman 
empire any association not compulsory was forbidden.  In order to avoid 
of the holy roman emperor still lives on in America, in the form of the 
concession theory, which holds that a corporation is a part of the state, 
a portion of state power in private hands.  This bizarre and convoluted 
legal fiction is highly inconvenient for businessmen, vastly lucrative for 
lawyers, and is a dangerously potent weapon in the hands of irresponsible 
bureaucrats and lawless judges.

Under the code of Justinian a corporation is a fictitious person created 
by the fiat of the holy roman emperor.  Under natural law a trust is 
created by the promises that the officers of the trust make to it.  (In 
the latin of the early dark age "trustis" meant "band of comrades".)

Hobbes argued that what we would now call civil society was nonexistent, 
or should not exist, or existed only by the fiat of the state.  He argued 
that voluntary and private associations should be suppressed, as a threat 
to the power of the state, and hence a threat to order, or should only 
exist as part of the apparatus of the state.

Locke argued that the legitimate authority of the state was granted to it 
by civil society, that the state existed by the power of civil society, 
that this was its source of power morally and in actual fact.

Until the twentieth century Locke's position was widely accepted as self 
evident.  When the state was unarmed and the people armed, as in 
eighteenth century England and America, it was indeed self evident.  
During the nineteenth century the utilitarians and the absolutists (then 
calling themselves political romantics) argued that the state derived its 
order to impose the greater good on reluctant groups and individuals the 
therefore argued that the power and authority of the state came from force 
alone, and should come from force alone, that the state did not derive its 
voluntary associations in reality derived their cohesion from the power of 
the state, and therefore the state could and should remake them as it 
not from the honor of the parties to the contract, and therefore the state 
could decide what contracts were permissible, and had the power and the 

to believe that civil society only existed by fiat of the state, that the 
unarmed, that the state existed by force.  Even people who loved freedom, 

 During decolonization the UN created governments in accordance with this 
false idea, the idea that all a state required to exist was firepower 
could create a civil society, if needed, by fiat.  The newly created 

As a result of this false idea, in the third world and in the former 
collapse.  Leviathan derives his cohesion from civil society, Without a 
each grabbing whatever he can, and destroying whatever he cannot.  It is 
civil society that holds the state together.  The state does not hold 
civil society together.  Society is not a creation of the state.  The 

Locke has been proven right, Hobbes proven wrong, by an experiment much 
vaster and bloodier than that of Critias, but equally clear and decisive.

Many states have attempted to use something other than the civil society 
to provide the glue that hold them together, to provide them with the 
cohesion they need.  Some have succeeded for a time, usually by using 
Those rulers that succeeded in using these substitutes put very great 
effort into their substitutes, showing that they were conscious of the 
they were conscious that the state cannot hold itself together.  It must 
be held together by something external to itself.  It cannot give order to 
the rest of society, it must be given order by something outside itself.

Rulers that use something other than civil society to provide cohesion for 
their states are in practice a danger to their neighbors, and an even 
only legitimate material from which a state may be made.  A state based on 
for the most part they have sought, to undermine, subvert, corrupt, and 
that not only was Locke correct factually, he was also correct morally.  
Not only are states normally based on civil society, they should based on 
civil society.

The soviet empire used the religion of communism to give their state 
cohesion, while the state obliterated civil society and physically 
exterminated the kulaks (the Russian equivalent of the English yeoman).  
When the rulers had faith, they were a danger to their neighbors.  When 
they lost their faith their empire eventually fell, and their statist 
liberty is worthless and unworkable, whilst Chile, Taiwan and Thailand 
because most natural rights are derived from the right to property.  A 
civil society can only exist if there is a reasonable degree of economic 
freedom, if property rights are respected.

Modern opposition to natural law and natural rights.

During the nineteenth century the advocates of limitless state power made 
a comeback with new rhetoric, (the utilitarians) or the same old rhetoric 
century they were politically successful, but militarily unsuccessful.

The absolutists keep adopting new names as each old name starts to stink, 
but in the nineteenth century, the time when they were intellectually most 
themselves with the then fashionably artistic and cultural movement, 
although most of the political "romantics" were as talented at poetry or 
totally disappeared, mostly calling themselves relativists.  The name 
exterminated, and they are changing it yet again.  Since the extermination 
camps set up again, in what used to be Yugoslavia, relativists have almost 
they will all be Post Modernists.  The seventeenth century absolutists 
argued that to deduce natural law and natural rights from the nature of 
man was wrong, because the nature of men was wicked.  The romantics argued 
that there was no such thing as a universal and constant nature of man, 
that every nation had its own nature, and it was therefore right for each 
nation to do as its own particular nature required, the relativists argued 
that man had no innate nature, and the post modernists claim that 
everything exists by convention alone, having no external objective 
existence, and that such conventions can be changed by arbitrary power.

Regardless of the name, and regardless of the rhetorical flourishes used 
to make the doctrine sound different from what it is, their doctrine 
the law is whatever the nation says it is.  This is the doctrine of 
absolutism, and anyone who advocates this doctrine is an absolutist, no 
matter how many names he thinks up for himself.  Because these ideas 
acquired a bad odor in the seventeenth century, people are always finding 
new and different ways to express these ideas, so that they sound 

The doctrine called relativism is the same as seventeenth century 
absolutism, but the rhetoric that the "relativists" used to defend it 
absolutism, just as the name sounds as if they are opponents of 
absolutism.  In particular, the "relativists" aped John Locke's Letter 
concerning Toleration, but where Lock was arguing for the liberty of the 
citizen, the "relativists" used similar sounding language to argue for the 
license of nations.  Clearly the choice of name was dishonest and 
ntentionally misleading.  "Absolutist" was a well defined and well known
Locke, while draping themselves in Lockean symbols.

claim that to examine modern doctrines and compare them to medieval 
that one should not compare the current doctrines of "Post Modernists" 
meaningless and irrelevant references to the latest fashions and newest 
music stars, so as to give the sound and appearance that these doctrines 
and arguments are brand new, and absolutely unconnected to earlier 

The absolutists/ romantics/ relativists/ post modernists continually 
change their name and plumage in a vain effort to escape their past, but 
the stink of piles rotting dead lingers on them.

The utilitarians have a more plausible and attractive appearance.  They 
f it aims for the greatest good of the greatest number.  Sounds pleasant
and reasonable, does it not? Such a doctrine would be sound if the world 
ntelligent bees instead of intelligent apes, but we are not, and it is
not.

Utilitarianism has two serious problems, problems that most utilitarians, 
especially communists, regard as advantages.  The idea of the greatest 
liberty, and life, for the greater good.  It also assumes that a persons 
Since any one person is expendable, then there can be no such thing as 
envisage themselves as being in charge of deciding what is good for other 

Many people have attempted to construct utilitarian arguments for limiting 
the authority of the state, most notably John Stuart Mill, but their 
arguments are always feeble, implausible, strained, and forced.  It is 
even difficult to make a convincing utilitarian argument that rape is 
unlawful.  Feminist utilitarians who attempt to construct utilitarian 
arguments against rape have been forced to make unreasonable assumptions 
about males and male sexuality.  The "rights" deduced by these convoluted, 
elaborate, and unconvincing rationalizations are not rights at all, but 
are akin to what the utilitarians call "positive rights".

Utilitarianism contains false implicit assumptions about the nature of man 
and the nature of society, and these false assumptions lead utilitarians 
to the absurd conclusion that a good government should create and enforce 
a form of society that in practice requires extreme coercion and intrusive 

Today instead of frankly arguing that human rights are nonsense, as 
Bentham did, modern utilitarians use elaborate euphemisms, such as 
"positive rights" and "positive freedom".  Utilitarians now call natural 
s the right to be left alone, for example "An Englishman's home is his
castle", "freedom of speech".  A "positive right" is, in practice, a 
your own good, for example the "right to employment", of which Marxists 
are so fond.  (Or used to be fond back in the days when Marxists existed 
outside American universities.) You will notice that the "right to 
employment" enjoyed by the workers on Cuban sugar plantations is in 
they were slaves on those plantations.  If they run away from the 
employment that the benevolent state has so kindly assigned to them, they 
again.  In the same way the "right to employment" enjoyed by the workers 
on Russian collective farms was very similar to the "right to employment" 
that they enjoyed on these farms when they were serfs.  Of course these 
modern slaves also have the "right" to a guaranteed fair wage, and so 
forth.  Unfortunately they are not guaranteed that there will be anything 
n the shops for them to buy with their guaranteed fair wages.  Indeed in
are not permitted to go to the shops that the elite goes to, and they are 
not permitted to travel any significant distance from their place of 
employment, rendering their "salaries" utterly meaningless.  "Positive 

Since the fall of communism we have heard less talk about positive rights 
and positive freedoms.  A right is only a right if, as with the rights to 
life, liberty, and property, you can rightfully use necessary and 
exercise of that right.  A right is no right at all if it is granted to 
you by the benevolence of your masters.  Nonetheless the utilitarians 
continue their assault on the language.  

The utilitarians started by trying to transform the meaning of "good", and 
they have continued to try, with some success, to change the meaning of 
legitimacy and authority of the state.  They have partially succeeded with 
"law", They are having some success with the word "right".  Thus in 
America civil rights now means almost the opposite of natural right.  For 
example being for "gay rights" now means that you are opposed to freedom 
of association.  Being in favor of freedom of association is now 
understood to mean that you are against the right of privacy.  It is 
to accept homosexuality, nor use force to suppress homosexuality.  It is 
now difficult to express the idea that sexuality is not the proper 
business of the state, that morality should be neither forbidden nor 
compulsory, that force and violence is the proper business of the state, 
not sin or social exclusion.  This perversion of the word "rights" makes 
everything the business of the state, directly contrary to the normal 
meaning of "right".  Similarly most people today find it very difficult to 
comprehend the meaning of the ninth amendment, because the language has 
been so perverted as to make such subversive ideas inexpressible.

The utilitarians have constructed an artificial language in which it is 
mpossible to express such concepts "the rule of law", "natural rights",
or any idea or fact that would reject the limitless, absolute, lawless and 
capricious power of the state, and they seek to impose that language on 
the world.  They condemn and reject as meaningless nonsense any words 
capable of expressing these ideas.  In an effort to control peoples 
language they have gone beyond the usual academic tactics of censorship, 
vicious personal abuse, and career threats, and have on some occasions 
threatened actual physical violence against people who persistently use 
language potentially capable of expressing subversive ideas.

How could one express in utilitarian speak the idea that the condemnation 
orders issued by the government against home owners in Dade county 
September 1992 were unlawful, that the home owners had the right and the 
effective and successful resistance was lawful regardless of what pieces 
of paper the government manufactured? If I attempted to say this in 
utilitarian speak I would end up saying that the government had not done 
ts paper work correctly, or that government reallocation of land would be

Those of us who seek to protect and restore freedom must avoid using the 
trap is to use the language of natural law, the language with which a free 
killed and died.  If we submit to using words that prevent us from 
expressing the thought of limits to government power and authority, then 
there will be no limits to government power and authority.

Words carry with them systems of ideas.  The only system of ideas capable 
of repudiating limitless and absolute state power is natural law.  It is 
mpossible to speak about limits to the power and authority of the state
except in the language with which such ideas were originally expressed.  
No other language is available.

s not interested in using words as a medium of communication.  He is
merely using them as a method of control.  It is pointless to attempt to 
communicate with such a person.

Utilitarians have repeatedly attacked the US constitution and the bill of 
that the limits on popular sovereignty, were designed to ensure that those 
"rich white males" remained wealthy and powerful.  The utilitarians have 
fifth amendment (no taking of private property) by denouncing them as a 
meaning of the words.

certainly is not knowable in practice.  In practice, whenever any 
organization makes a serious attempt to ascertain the greater good it is 
of paper it strangles everything it touches in red tape.  It unavoidably 
finds itself imposing, by increasingly lawless violence, a procrustean and 
arbitrary concept of the good.  If I take a slight detour on my way to 

The most dramatic and devastating demonstration of the difficulty of 
knowing the greater good, and the most famous and best known, was of 
course the attempt of the Cambodian government to increase the rice 
led to wetland rice being planted on land that remained dry, dry land rice 
being planted on land that became submerged, and so on and so forth.  The 
contrary to the decrees of their masters.  Their masters imagined 
themselves to be responsible for feeding the peasants, so they were 
for the sake of the greater good they were forced to maim and break those 
they loved with crude agricultural implements, for the sake of the greater 

Similar, though less extreme, events have occurred throughout the vast 
majority of the third world.  Cambodia was merely the most monstrous of 
these of these events, but there have been many others, smaller in scale 
but equal in horror and depravity.  In countries where people live close 
to hunger, most of the third world, state intervention to improve people 
lives has invariably resulted in mass starvation, these catastrophes being 
most photogenic in Africa.  This mass starvation has often resulted in 
extraordinarily brutal terror and torture, to extort continued submission 
to government aid.  Especially entertaining is the suffering of the 
unfortunate recipients of government to government aid.  One notable 
example is the World Bank resettlement program in Ethiopia, where hundreds 
of thousands of people who failed to appreciate the generous aid their 
Marxist government provided them were resettled in extermination camps 
built by the World Bank, and shipped to those camps in cattle trucks 
example of your taxes at work providing the greatest good for the greatest 
number was the World Bank's Akosombo dam project (Bovard, Lappe 35 37).  
Most attempts to determine the greatest good for the greatest number have 
consequences are less flagrant, less brutally obvious.  In a poor society 
an attempt to provide for the greatest good for the greatest number 
usually results in starvation, death, torture, and maiming.  In an 
affluent society it merely produces poverty, fatherless children, 

Even if it were possible in principle to determine the good of others, and 
mpose that good on them by force, history shows us that it is not
to laugh, so as to avoid weeping.

Whereas the absolutists produce mere hills of corpses, and then 
lampshades, the utilitarians produce them in mountains, but the 
utilitarians shake the stench more easily, blandly professing their good 
ntentions and casually waving away the tens of millions of murdered women
and children.

Whenever the ugly ideas of the absolutists are put into practice the 
absolutists change their name and rhetoric, from absolutist to romantic to 
are put into practice, the utilitarians shrug their shoulders and say, 
"but that is not what we intended, it was all a mistake, and anyway it is 
all the fault of the greedy capitalists, if our ideas were put into action 
outweigh any number of foul deeds.  By their fruit you will know them.  
Since the Cambodian irrigation project and the World Bank African 
assistance program the utilitarians have been unable to shake the stink 
quite so easily, and some utilitarian factions are now trying out new 
names.  The phrase "the greater good" is at last starting to sound like a 


deas, with a lag of roughly one human lifetime between the idea and the
believed.  The professors can fail students who disagree with them, but 
they can no longer convince.  One can now endorse natural law in a 
university without facing physical danger, which was not the case ten 
years ago.

The state commands and spends ever more wealth, intrudes into our lives in 
only declared illegal a few years ago, while at the same time the states 
capacity to coerce, to collect taxes, and to generate legitimacy continues 
to decline at an ever accelerating rate.  Ever fewer people listen to 
are less inclined to imagine that voting can make any difference, less 
nclined to believe that legislation or courts possess moral authority.
Both trends are driven by simple and powerful forces that are easy to 
understand.  Numerous books, both serious (public choice theory) and 
these forces and why they are unstoppable.  These two trends will 
nevitably collide in the not very distant future, are already beginning
to collide.  The states every increasing use of lawless coercion will 
collide, is already colliding, with its ever decreasing capacity to 
coerce.  Dade County, the citizens militia in the LA riots, the tax revolt 
n Italy, all foreshadow the coming collision.  The citizens of California
noticed that the only Koreans who were killed in the LA riots were 
unarmed.  There were no casualties amongst those Koreans who defended 
their property with gunfire.  Gun sales have risen accordingly.  If all 
t issues worthless.

This collision will recreate, over several decades, a situation where 
there is plurality of force.  Free societies have only arisen where there 
s plurality of force.  Of course plurality of force does not guarantee a
free society.  It merely makes it possible.  Social collapse is also 
unlawfully, and must act accordingly, we must discriminate between those 
accordingly.  If we do that then we will have a functioning civil society.

The statists are a string of sand.  The Greeks, in their war with the 
adherence to the rule of law is more powerful than the appearance of unity 
that comes from common submission to centralized authority



Bandow, Doug. (1989) "What is still wrong with the world bank?" Orbis 
(Winter): 73 - 89

Bovard, James (1988). "The World Bank vs. the World's Poor." The Freeman 
(May): 184 - 187

Ellickson, Robert C., (1991). "Order without Law, How Neighbors Settle 
Disputes" Harvard University Press.

Keyes, Alan. (1986). "Ethiopia: The UN's Role." Statement by the Assistant 
Secretary for International Organization Affairs before the Subcommittee 
on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington 
D. C., US. Department of State, Current Policy No. 803 (March 16): 2

Kopel, David B. (1992) "The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy" 278 -373

Locke, John Two Treatises of Government

Lappe, David et al. (1981). Aid as an Obstacle San Francisco Institute for 
Food and Development Policy.





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