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We have *so* lost our appreciation of this…

October 20, 2012

I am convinced, the older I get, that the reason so many things that are wrong are being taught as right is that we have lost our appreciation for the Natural Law. Now, don’t get me wrong: I didn’t learn it, either, and I was vapidly following the herd mentality of “If it feels good, do it!” like everyone else. But when compared to first principles of Natural Law, mainly, that good must be done, and evil must be avoided, that advice from the culture doesn’t hold up.

This article, however, from The Catholic Thing, does a great job of explaining those first principles. I thought this line was telling:

If we equate natural law merely with what Aquinas calls the “first principle” of natural law – i.e., good is to be done, evil is to be avoided – the world understandably. . .yawns, and goes on its merry way.

The author goes on to explain:

The three “precepts” of the natural law that follow from this basic principle are what give “teeth” and specificity to the natural law, and rescue it from being the merely vague and abstract idea of “conformity to nature,” which elicits dismissal by critics.

The article explains those three precepts in a way I, a mere mortal, found accessible. The Kantian Categorical Imperative, Jeremy Bentham’ utilitarianism, and other 19th century philosophical frameworks all fail in one way or another to take into account the special nature of Man, and thus fail to acknowledge what John Paul II termed the Personalistic Norm: a person’s a person, no matter how small (ok, that’s Dr. Seuss and Horton Hears a Who, but that’s the gist of it).

I think it’s interesting how our moving away from a strong basis in philosophy in our teaching methods has wounded our ability to think. I hope you find the article helpful!

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