True law is right reason in agreement with nature – Cicero’s idea of natural law summed up in one sentence. During the time of the founding of the republic, this simple and elegant, yet profound idea formed the basis for our Bill of Rights and Constitution and our very way of life. Today, the tradition of natural law is carried on in the hearts and minds of libertarian thinkers around the world, though in practice it may seem lost.
To provide some explanation for those who may not be familiar with the concept of natural law, we can look back to some ideas expressed by Marcus T. Cicero (paraphrased):
-The purpose of the legislature is not to create law but to discover what law exists in nature.
-The greatest bond we have is the bond of justice as revealed by nature.
-Only by discovering human nature, will we discover law.
-Law is a power of nature itself.
Though I like to talk about Cicero because I feel he was great at expressing these ideas, please note that the basis for these ideas was discovered, passed on, and built upon by many great thinkers throughout history from Heraclitus, Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, to Zeno, to Virgil and Cicero, and so on down the line in this incredible and unrivaled lineage of thinkers, writers, and poets who seemed to notice this pattern in nature, and the truth inherent in all mankind.
In my study of natural law, what has struck me most is its simplicity and elegance as a solution to how humankind should be governed… but that is nature. The workings of nature manifest across all fields of study, one of the most interesting of which is the study of physics. After his work for which he is most famous; the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein began the search for what he called Unified Field Theory, but death found Einstein in 1955 before he found his theory. It goes without saying that Einstein was ahead of his time: today among physicists there is no denying the need for a single simple and elegant unifying equation, perhaps one inch in length, much like Einstein’s famous E=mc2, but which can describe the nature of the physical universe in its entirety.
“In terms of the universe, we have the world of the very small and the world of the very big. The world of the very small is called the Quantum Theory; the theory of electrons, neutrons, and protons. But we also have the theory of the very big, the Theory of Relativity; the theory of Einstein, the theory of big bangs and black holes and curved space-time. The problem is, and this is a fundamental problem in all physics, the left hand and the right hand don’t coordinate. They don’t like each other. They’re based on different physical principles. They’re based on different mathematics. They’re not compatible. Think of taking an aardvark, a whale, and a platypus, and Scotch taping them together, and declaring that to be nature’s most elegant product of evolution. You would laugh. This animal, held together with Scotch tape could barely walk. Well, that’s the standard model; the Quantum Theory.”
-Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist
Big Thinkers (TV Series)
In their study of the very physical fabric of nature, these physicists have discovered a truth: the way to gain understanding is to observe nature, and the understanding gained from the observance of nature is always characterized by simplicity and elegance. As such, the search for this Unified Field Theory, this theory of everything has become the quest for the holy grail, so to speak, of the scientific community.
Natural law is the unified theory of the philosophy of governance and of the nature of man. Our path to peace, prosperity, and personal liberty is found here. This is the sword we must wield against the powers of collectivism, fascism, democracy, socialism, communism, or any other authoritarian system. We must remember that these authoritarian systems are the intellectual equivalent of Michio Kaku’s taped-together aardvark-whale-platypus. When we are faced with a specific question regarding law, we must step back from the circumstances, out of place and time, and look to that which is beyond ourselves, to the universal truths, first principles, right reason.