Natural Law is the inbuilt, universal human understanding of the good - the true, beautiful and virtuous.
Modern people violate this, the modern state propagandises the violation of Natural Law, the violation of Natural Law is taught explicitly, and inculcated covertly, by the 'arts' and entertainment and news.
(I mean that personal experience and observation are meaningless or intrinsically mistaken, that lies are truth, and truth is hate; that beauty is kitsch and deliberately-contrived-ugliness is true beauty, and the reversed/ inverted sexual morality which forms the focus of so much modern public and personal life where what was bad becomes a subsidised and coerced good, while what was good is labelled an agent of cruelty.)
It is not because of stupidity. Everybody already knows (by its definition) Natural Law. But under Leftism people know it only to violate it. And this is evil - intentional, purposive, deliberate evil.
To put it another way, the main problem is that people are not even not-even-trying to be good; they are actually trying to be bad, because they believe (because they are told, 24/7, and punished if they disagree) that bad is good.
(But 'people' are not innocent victims of this evil propaganda - they contribute to it and profit by it and try to exploit it for their own ends; they are culpable, they are blame-worthy - they will be held to account not for that which was coerced upon them, but for their self-interested propagation of the ideology which rationalizes this coercion.)
This is why there is no atheist solution to the current problems, it is why the secular Right is of no use; and why paganism is no use - why (ultimately) only traditional devout monotheism can and will defeat Leftism.
Nothing else than monotheism has the solid transcendental core to withstand the multifaceted worldly materialism of Leftism.
In the past, before the triumph of the Left, human society would 'naturally' be regulated by Natural Law.
But we are now in a situation in which Natural Law is regarded as evil.
(Evil because a universal tyrant, an inescapable and exclusive code of behaviour, a strangling constraint on freedom of self-development; because NL makes some people suffer - suffer either absolutely, or relatively compared with what they ideally-might experience... and so on.)
Therefore reminding people of universal values is worthless, or even harmful - because modern Leftism is precisely about violating and inverting Natural Law ('subverting' is their favourite term).
Argument is useless - the Left knows the arguments anyway (since they are common sense and based on universal knowledge and experience); but they will not argue.
The Left know that their own arguments are incoherent but have chosen to embrace incoherence as a sign of their own depth of moral conviction.
In fact incoherence is a sign of enthrallment to purposive evil, reflecting that evil is incoherent (because negative, destructive by its nature - the anti-Good does not need to be coherent).
The Natural Law is perceived by the intellect but human intellect is clouded, owing to the Fall.
Thus man does not perceive Natural Law correctly and there is great confusion and disagreement on what Natural Law is.
CS Lewis has given analogy of a whole society to a telescope that perceives distant stars. To see God, the largest object there is, a an entire nation is required. Thus the Natural Law (a facet of God) is national-Europeans stress Liberty, Muslims stress Obedience, Hindus Chastity and Chinese Filial Piety.
@Gyan - I'm not sure about your analysis here - it doesn't quite ring true; but either way, my point here is NOT that we perceive NL only imperfectly, but that even when NL is uncontroversial, modern Leftists will reject it.
This knwing but rejecting is, I think, something new under the sun (I mean relatively new, some scores of years old).
As you assessed, much evil is openly condoned. Some remains forbidden, but perhaps only because it leads to a visible and immediate dissolution of civilization. That bit I am thinking of (murder, torture, explicitly violent and cruel behavior) is enjoyed in simulation daily via mass entertainment.
By growing up in American society (all Western?) the default behavior has shifted. You make the point that this is purposeful, but for most youth it is more effort - requires more purpose - to avoid the peers. Default acceptance of your peer group and their behavior defaults evil. To avoid it usually results in some degree of isolation/ostracization.
I wonder too about a second aspect.
The obvious natural explanation for almost every sinful activity is that is destructive to society in mass scale. If you steal once, maybe it seems not bad - but if everyone steals, society falls apart. If you cheat on your wife, you may be cause another woman to cheat on her husband and also your wife could do the same - again society as a whole suffers.
Now the common explanation for sinful activity appears to be "everyone is doing it, so I should." If you don't participate, you may be afraid to appear a fool (like an idiot who believes an obvious lie) or you miss out (get stolen from, but you don't steal in return). Certainly the idea of "Karma" plays out on the scale of society as a whole in the constant downward push and disintegration of values.
We can naturally tolerate some degree of destructive (to use the body metaphor, unhealthy) behavior, but when our immune (moral system / justice system?) fails, decline and death is inevitable. The longer it takes though the more the infection seems to spread to everyone. If it was a isolated failing, the destructive behavior would remain obvious to some who could keep a functioning society alive - but when nothing exists but the destructive behavior there may be none left who realize a healthy option exists.
@ Anon - please use a pseudonym - I don't usually publish Anonymous comments.
@ CG - what is particularly apparent in the UK is the way in which law-abiding people are actively punished for defending themselves - self help groups ('vigilantes') are regarded as *much* worse than criminals, mobs or gangs and harshly suppressed; (unless the vigilantes are non-native, when they are applauded).
Ha! That's an easy one. Genesis 3:1-5. Violating the law makes you like God.
You know my take on this. People don't feel the same same sentiments and have the same intutions as they used to. They are incapable of even seeing transcendendental goods. If you try to start conversations about them, you are met with total incomprehension. The only goods they are capable of seeing are utility and fairness. So to say that people know the good and are perversely going against it is false. They can't see what you and I see.
@Thursday - of course people have the same intuitions as ever; but these are overwhelmed by the mass media and the saturation propaganda and multi-micro-distraction they enable. Take away the mass media, and humanity swiftly reverts.
Thursday - I am tempted to agre with BGC. The propaganda is so prevelant and overwhelming - self perpetuating when enough participate - that you don't even realize its extent until you try to porpusefuly avoid it. Tough perhaps this propagandized mind is fooled into thinking evil is "what is really good" and the healthy behavior is heretical and looked down upon.
As a Christian I believe in natural law as you describe, but I often wonder about the objections to it. Certainly there is abundant evidence for universal human behaviors, which imply universal human values, and we could argue that this forms the empirical basis for Natural Law. But there is also evidence for great variation in behavior and values, and the trouble is that some of what traditional Christian teaching claims to be universal natural law falls into the latter category.
The traditional Christian explanation for this, of course, is that other nations became corrupted and fell away from the truth, but I think this begs the question of what the truth is (I'm speaking from the pagan's perspective). If strict monogamy, say, is not universally observed in humans, on what grounds does the Church claim that it is monogamy rather than polygamy that is the "natural" form of marriage? As far as I know, this teaching is based on a single assertion of Our Lord that it is so, which is enough for Christians, but I don't see how it can convince a pagan, and your criticism of the modern denial of Natural Law seems primarily aimed at pagans.
@jgress - but of course a pagan cannot be convinced of anything on the authority of Christ! Christian arguments don't convince non-Christians; you have to be Christian *first*.
36The iron law of nature would appear to be that it favours ONLY power and strength, NOT weakness and disability
@jackdaw - either I misunderstand you, or you misunderstand what I mean by Natural Law.
I'm sorry, but I really don't understand the logic of this argument. You begin with a tautology that "Natural Law is the inbuilt, universal human understanding of the good" but then say that "personal experience and observation are meaningless or intrinsically mistaken." This strikes me as a contradiction. Surely the human laws (whether natural or not) require some form of observation or experience. Otherwise these laws would serve no purpose.
Then you make ad hominem attacks against anyone who doesn't believe in Natural law by creating generalizations of how 'immoral' modern society. It disturbs me that you make no reference to any kind of sociological or psychological data to support this argument. (Authors Robert Wright and Steven Pinker have actually written books about how societies are becoming more moral.)
Though many cultures share similar moral foundations (see the work of Jon Haidt), there is great diversity of social laws and mores. Even in the Christian community there are myriad views of morality ranging from Amish communities to the Vatican to Messianic Jews. Thus there are valid reasons to question what exactly Natural law entails. I would never say the idea of Natural law is evil (in and of itself), but it does appear to be unfalsifiable dogma.
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