Natural Law vs Natural Lawlessness

Tim DunkinWorth Reading

A little while back, I had a discussion with some libertarian-minded individuals who, at one point in the conversation, seemed to assert that "natural rights" were pretty much unlimited, and that it was illegitimate for the government to interfere with the our behavior at any point (aside, I assume, from things universally understood to be overtly wrong such as, say, murder or rape). While in modern America this is a fairly common understanding of the principle of natural rights, it nevertheless is somewhat incorrect, because it ignores the natural rights basis upon which our governing system was originally founded. Far from intending an "anything goes" system whereby man is free to do whatever he wants to or with others, even to himself, the Founders envisioned a system in which man voluntarily chose to restrain his own behavior to within certain well-understood and commonly accepted norms, norms which existed because of a basis in the greater "natural law" that the Founders saw to be the guiding structure of man's relations in society. This is why John Adams, for example, made his famous observation about our Constitution,

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