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Review - Natural Law (Wright) - natural law the...

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Wright's last word is that "natural law, in its essence, is the attempt to solve the insolvable." And that, indeed, it is. It is the projected validation of an "ought," itself the sanctification of a wish. The validation is procured by the mere attachment of the concepts "natural" or "'divine." In early New England, "divine law" was the potent thing. But as religion lost its grip, "natural" became the word of spell. Natural law and more especially natural rights were fine sanctions for the human wants which motivated the colonial revolutionists. But the doctrine of natural rights was equally convenient for the abolitionists--and for suffragettes. And when the pro-slavery men defended their case by
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Unformatted text preview: natural law, the term "natural" was bound to fall into disrepute. Besides, there was little need for it, politically, after the Civil War. But it was taken over and cherished by the judiciary, though with a new terminology; e.g., freedom of contract, due process of law, and so forth. The point has been made--and is given approval by Wright--that the concept of natural law has been and is a good tool, inasmuch as it distinguishes an "Ought," or "Ideal," from the "Is." But surely freedom from the shackles of "Isness" does not presuppose hallucinations....
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