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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The precepts of the natural law

In order to understand why human law is diverse while natural law is said to be everywhere the same, we must remember that, much like how the Church offers principles rather than technical solutions, the natural law offers precepts rather than applications. And the first precept of the natural law is simply this: good is to be sought and evil avoided.[1]

Further precepts are dictated by man’s nature: he is a being, he is a living being, and he is a rational being. Corresponding to these three facts about man’s nature are three natural precepts: first, man must conserve his being, which we call the duty of “self-preservation”; further, he must reproduce himself, raise his children, etc.; and last, which is specific to man as a rational being, he is to actively seek what is good. It is only due to this last feature that man can be considered “responsible” for his decisions. Animals, being irrational and therefore unable to rationally seek conformity with the natural law, follow it automatically and without their conscious assent. Only man can consciously participate in, or revolt against, the natural law.

From these observations we can begin to see why human law is diverse. Although the precepts are everywhere the same, we should expect that, depending on time and place, people will find various means of fulfilling these precepts. Also, because some of these men will make better use of their rational faculties, the various human laws will be more or less in conformity to the natural law. All will not be equal, although all can be said to be striving after the same justice.

[1] ST I-II, q. 94, a. 2.

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