Wisdom, Justice, and Government

Discussion in 'History' started by PoliticalChic, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    1. Looking back several millennia, the origins of ‘justice’ can be found in Judeo-Christian beliefs.But history is a complex and curious process. While the Enlightenment may be seen as a reaction to the abuses of clerical authority, it must be remembered that the biblical imprecation that all humanity was equal, having been fashioned in the image of God, provided the template for liberty.

    a. Unlike France, thinkers in Britain and America embraced religion as an amalgamation with ‘social virture,’ in the former and ‘political liberty’, in the latter.

    b. John Locke thought that man’s duty to God to preserve mankind as part of Creation was the basic moral law of nature.


    2. But, pagan cultures also saw the universal basis for government, as well. The Founders understood that in Cicero’s books on the “Republic” and the “Laws,” could be found the essence of a society based on Natural Law. Therein lay the ingredients for their model society.

    a. Thomas Jefferson explicitly names Cicero as one of a handful of major figures who contributed to a tradition “of public right” that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence and shaped American understandings of “the common sense” basis for the right of revolution. Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to Henry Lee,” 8 May 1825, in The Political Thought of American Statesmen, eds. Morton Frisch and Richard Stevens p. 12.

    b. When the U.S. Constitution was completed, its framers looked upon it as an expression of this higher law. According to Madison, it was a product of "the transcendent law of nature." Alexander Hamilton called it "a fundamental law" and concluded that "no legislative act... contrary to the Constitution can be valid." (Federalist Papers, Nos. 43 & 78) Natural Law: The Basis of Moral Government


    3. Cicero’s view required the building of a society that combine the rules of “right conduct” with the laws of the Supreme Creator of the universe. “Men must eliminate the depravity lodged in society. We must return to the high road of Natural Law. We must obey the mandates of our Creator.” John's Essay on Principle One

    4. “Cicero had comprehended the magnificence of the first great commandment to love, respect, and obey the all-wise Creator. He put this precept on proper perspective y saying that God’s law is “right reason.” When perfectly understood it is called ‘wisdom.” When applied by government in regulating human relations it is called “justice.”
    Skousen, “The 5000-Year Leap,” p. 42



    5. “True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. …It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.”
    MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO, De Re Publica , book 3, paragraph 22.De Re Publica, De Legibus, trans. Clinton W. Keyes, p. 211 . •



    6. Hence...."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these ..."
     
  2. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    Wow talk about words that don't belong in the same sentence.
     
  3. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Link?
     
  4. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    There are four links provided.

    Read more carefully.
     
  5. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Hey, Skull...they do in the History forum....

    ...it is only the last century of progressives that make you say that.....
     
  6. Dragon
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    So Hammurabi, Solon, and Caesar had no concept of justice? How novel.

    The origins of "justice" long predate Judeo-Christian beliefs. Justice, like morality, is a universal of the human condition, a basic requisite of living in communities.

    But wait -- Cicero wasn't a Jew or a Christian! (He also had a piss-poor concept of justice, but then, he was a lawyer and a politician, so one can't expect miracles.) You do seem to be going in circles here, P.C.

    Cicero didn't believe in "the supreme creator of the universe." He was a polytheist. (And no more a deep religious thinker than he was a man who understood justice, but insofar as he had religious beliefs, they were polytheistic.)


    You're quoting Skousen here, so this is his mistake rather than yours. Still, it is a mistake. Cicero didn't believe in any all-wise Creator. None of the Romans did, until they converted to Christianity, and that was long after Cicero died.

    I'm really wondering where you're going with this. Your quote from Cicero that follows is in part a mistranslation; Cicero would not have said "Deus" (God), but rather "Dei" (the Gods), or would have used "Deus" as a generic, the way we would say "Man," without implying that there is only one.

    Incidentally, before you get too enthralled with the undeniable splendor of Cicero's magnificent oratory, I feel one should point out that this is the man who, as consul, blew up a bungling, fairly trivial conspiracy into a threat to the Republic itself, so that he could make himself out to be the savior of the country by putting it down, and in the aftermath, using emergency powers granted him by the Senate, executed Roman citizens without trial -- an act as vile and anathema among them as it is among us. This is the coward who, as a boy, was sheltered from having to fight in combat by the young Pompey, and became Pompey's adherent for life out of gratitude. This is the social climber who, hampered by a lack of noble ancestors in a society that valued ancestry to an absurd degree, hitched his star to the most aristocratic wing of the Senate, where an equally ancestorless Gaius Marius was always the champion of the people.

    I admire Cicero's wonderful command of Latin; nobody who has ever studied that language could fail to. I understand from contemporary accounts that he was even more impressive in person, hearing him speak. But I do not admire him as a man, as a thinker, or as a philosopher; he deserves no admiration for that.

    And you end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, who would have stood with Marius and with Caesar, and against Cicero, had they been contemporaries in Cicero's time, while Cicero would have stood with King George and the British nobility if they had been contemporaries in Jefferson's.

    It's still not clear where you were going with this. Perhaps you should explain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012

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