ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – Natural Law. Part 2. In Part 1 I explained what the Natural Law is, and that it comes from God. Natural Law was relied upon by the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution to justify their rebellion to the King of England. The Declaration of Independence states in relevant part:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Once you accept the idea that every human being has God given gifts of life and liberty, then it follows that any system of government that disregards those gifts, or tramples upon them, is morally illegitimate. Acceptance of the Natural Law also means accepting the idea that God views each individual human being as an end unto him or herself, free to pursue their destiny as they choose it to be according to their own free will. Thus the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence refers to individuals as having a “separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them”.
That separate and equal station refers to the individual, standing in equal station to each other, and to any government. It specifically rejects the idea of humanity being mere servants, or mere chattel, to a government. As Ronald Reagan once observed:
“We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth.”
The Natural Law is the basis for all human rights. The Natural Law comes from God, a higher authority than any earthly government of men. Since your rights come from God, and not from the government, the government has no true moral authority to take them away (although numerous governments do, all the time). The U.S. Constitution lays out the first government specifically formulated to give recognition to this idea. Every time some one makes a claim for human rights against an abusive regime, they are relying on a higher authority: The Natural Law. If your rights came from government, then they could be taken away in the same manner. There would be no logical basis to complain about whatever little rights your government gave you, if government were truly the only source of human rights. Fortunately for all of us, we know it is not.
The phrase “all men are created equal” is, perhaps, one of the most unfortunately worded phrases of the modern era. It is not unfortunate in the sense that it is untrue; not in the sense intended by Jefferson. Jefferson meant that all human beings are created with equal rights, and are all equally precious in the eyes of God. No, the wording of this famous phrase is unfortunate in that its meaning has been twisted by those preaching collectivism. The radical egalitarian takes the phrase “created equal” and tells you it means everyone’s outcome must be equalized. This is wrong. We all know people are born with different talents and abilities, and therefore their lives will have different outcomes in a free society. This was obvious to Jefferson and he didn’t see the need to elaborate.
One of the central principles of the Natural Law is the idea that YOU, the individual, is entitled to keep the fruit of your own labors. There is a word for laboring without being able to keep the fruits of your labor. We call it slavery.
This was acknowledged in the rallying cry of the American Revolution:
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!
Growing up, I always thought this was a rather esoteric, even academic, issue. Why did those American colonists get so worked up over it? Now I know why. Under the Natural Law, a man is entitled to keep what he creates through the sweat of his brow. A just government only takes that which is allowed by the consent of the governed. Thus, if I am taxed without representation, I am taxed without my consent. The government is unjustly taking from me, through taxes, what is mine, by right, under Natural Law. Taxation without the consent of the governed is just a form of slavery.
This has enormous implications for the present day. Just as you are entitled to keep what you produce, or earn, it means that you have no moral claim to the labor of another. This means that no matter how badly you desire what another man has, you have no right to it. This is also enshrined in the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
What does this mean, then, for the so-called “rights” demanded by the Socialist? Do you have a right to free healthcare? Free education? Free housing, clothing and food? No, you do not. With a correct understanding of the Natural Law, we know that there can never be a “right” to anything that is a man-made commodity or service. We know this because any of those things that are man-made requires the work of another. If we have a “right” to those things, then we don’t have to pay for them, we just demand them and take them. Paying for something acknowledges that you don’t have a “right” to it.
In order for you to have the “rights” the Socialist says you have, it requires some people to labor for the benefit of others, without compensation. This is the definition of slavery. True rights, such as those expressed in the Declaration of Independence, do not come from the work of men. True rights can come only from God.
“But it’s for the CHILDREN!!!” Cries the Socialist.
Yes, the Socialist is always trying to justify government taking from you by making up new, phony “rights”, and there is always some sad, sob story poster child to appeal to your emotions and to ignore your reason. It’s always some variation on the stereotypical starving single mother and her hungry child laying in the cold and snow just outside the wall of a rich man, who just happens to own a bakery.
“Why doesn’t that rich baker give her some bread?!?” says the Socialist. “He has too much bread all to himself in that bakery. And this poor widow and child NEED the bread so much!” As a crowd forms, the Socialist incites them to act as a mob: “Why, I heard he cheated and stole the grain to make the bread from the farmers.” Whispers the Socialist. “He doesn’t deserve to keep his bread. I say we take it from him. It should go to the poor!”
What the Socialist is really doing here is making excuses to do something we all know is wrong in our hearts. We all know that we don’t want to see anyone starving, but we also don’t want to see people breaking into someone’s business and stealing someone else’s food, even if they are starving. The Moral Law tells us that the ideal outcome would be for the baker to offer, as an act of his own personal charity, to give some of his bread to the widow and child.
This is exactly what Jesus urged us to do. He taught us to help those in need by our own personal choice to do so. Not because those in need have a right to the possessions of others, but because those who can help should choose to give. Jesus did not start his ministry by catching the first galley to Rome, there to organize a march on the Roman Senate to demand that Imperial Welfare Centers be opened throughout the Empire. Jesus did not demand that the Emperor Cesar Augustus impose confiscatory taxes on the wealthy, because the poor “deserved” redistributed income.
Jesus preached charity, not slavery. The Socialist preaches slavery. The Socialist champions confiscatory taxation, often passed in ways that make a mockery of consent of the governed, or political representation. The secrecy of what was in Obamacare, and the way individual Senators were bribed to pass it, are an example of this. The Socialist calls redistribution of wealth an “entitlement”, when it is actually the labor of others. To say that healthcare is a “right” either requires doctors and nurses to work for free, or that the wealth of others is taken by government to pay for the healthcare. But it is still a form of slavery, whether or not the burden is removed from the doctor to the taxpayer.
Today our government is borrowing trillions of dollars against the future earnings of citizens unborn. Could there be any more clear-cut example of taxation without representation? Social Security was signed into law in 1935, and the first payroll withholdings began in 1937. Social Security is not required to be re-authorized by each succeeding Congress. It is now widely recognized as something worse than a Ponzi Scheme. Worse, because unlike a Ponzi Scheme, none of us has a choice about participating. Is having to pay a tax passed decades before you were born, into a system that is as inherently unsustainable as a Ponzi Scheme, taxation with representation? The same can be asked of all the multi-generational social welfare programs of the Socialists passed under FDR and LBJ. They all follow the motto of the Communist: One man, one vote, one time. For everyone who comes after, the system is involuntary.
Today the American taxpayer has to work until August of each year to pay his total tax burden, Federal, State, and local. In the Middle Ages owing more than half your income to a Lord is what defined you as a Serf. We are not on the road to serfdom anymore. We are there.
We live under a Tyranny where that which is not expressly permitted, is prohibited. Government everywhere expects us to get a government permit (pay for a privilege) to do anything that our forebears understood a hundred years ago to be their Natural Rights: Want to go hunting? Get a Permit. Want to go fishing? Get a Permit. Want to build a fence on your property? Get a Permit. Want to change the hot water heater in your basement? Get a Permit. Want to raise chickens? Get a Permit. Want to get a Dog or Cat as a pet? You must “register” the animals, a.k.a. get a permit. Permits cost money. The government has turned your rights and liberties into a privilege you have to pay for, and sometimes the government just says “no”. Want to shovel the snow off your neighbor’s driveway for a few bucks? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just signed a Right to Shovel Law before the 2nd worst snow storm in history that says you don’t need a permit. This law was needed because local cops were hasselling teenagers to…you guessed it, get a permit. But little ones will still have to get a permit if they want to have a summer Lemonade Stand.
A government permit is what you get when the State steals your liberties and then sells it back to you.