This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Eternal law

 “Eternal law is the plan of government in the Chief Governor, all the plans of government in the inferior governors must be derived from the eternal law. But these plans of inferior governors are all other laws besides the eternal law. Therefore all laws, in so far as they partake of right reason, are derived from the eternal law. Hence Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 6) that ‘in temporal law there is nothing just and lawful, but what man has drawn from the eternal law.’…

“Human law has the nature of law in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it deviates from reason, it is called an unjust law, and has the nature, not of law but of violence.

~ St. Thomas Aquinas[1]

When the various humanisms of the Enlightenment era made man the measure of reality, they also reduced law itself to an expression of man’s opinion; and where it was not man’s opinion that made the law, it was a disfigured form of “natural” law that degraded man by equating his laws with those of biology. Before all these transformations, there was Divine Law.

Divine law was the legal superstructure of all other forms of justice. All other levels of justice, all other types of law, had to make reference to divine law in order to remain legitimate, in order not to deteriorate into nothing more than a “form of violence.”

Because in the traditional world it was taken for granted that eternal law was the “given” standard to which human law must conform, any ruler, in order to remain legitimate, had to at least pretend that his law was derived from the divine one. He may have been able to abuse his power, but he could only go so far. He had built-in accountability. This is the primary difference between divine sovereignty and popular sovereignty—that while the former makes absolutism impossible, the latter is by nature absolutist, since it answers to nothing but itself.

[1] ST, I-II, q. 93, a. 3.

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