America was founded upon the principles of Natural Law. The Progressives led us into the realms of Legal Positivism. The vast government apparatus they have constructed has progressed into a dystopian fantasy land beyond law where faceless bureaucrats in an alphabet soup of departments create regulations with the force of law from thin air. Such is the journey from tyranny to tyranny in ten generations. Such is the journey from law to anti-law.
We built this Republic on the foundation of Natural Law:
The opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence is unarguably the most famous. Countless American students have memorized it, regurgitated it for exams, and many can still recite it many years later.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
While many will point to this preamble as a statement of why the Declaration was made few in our present generation can define what Thomas Jefferson was referring to, which was a common term and a common understanding at the time of its composition, “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
In his book, The Five Thousand Year Leap, by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen,he points out that “…the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the writings of the Founders reflect a far broader knowledge of religious, political, historical, economic, and philosophical studies.” He also states, “The thinking of Polybius, Cicero, Thomas Hooker, Coke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, John Locke, and Adam Smith salt-and-peppered their writings and their conversations. They were also careful students of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and even though some did not belong to any Christian denomination, the teachings of Jesus were held in universal, respect and admiration.”
The ancient Roman Cicero was a victim of turbulent power politics and eventually killed for writing against the dictatorship of Caesar, but in his writings On the Republic and On the Laws he spoke about Natural Law. He spoke of it as True Law or Right Law. “True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting;…It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people…one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law,…”
Introduced in 1766, Blackstone’s became the law book of the Founding Fathers. In fact, political scientists have shown that Blackstone was one of two most frequently invoked political authorities of the Founders. Like Cicero more than a thousand years before Blackstone recognized Natural Law as the sure foundation of human society when he stated, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation (the law of nature’s God), depend all the human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”
In essence what all this means is that there are laws greater than any laws man can make therefore there are areas which are beyond legislation. In America we attempted to safeguard those areas such as individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic opportunity with a constitution. This Constitution was written to limit the power of government to those powers and only those powers which had been specifically delegated to it.