Morality, Not Civility, Is the Basis of the Social Order

I would like to propose a hypothesis: "If a society loses its belief in God and Judeo-Christian morality, it will go down the drain faster than you can flush a wad of toilet paper."  We shall test this hypothesis in a laboratory.

We shall have two teams of rats in cages.  In each cage, there will be four rats and two pieces of cheese.  In cage A, the rats will be allowed to fight over the cheese. In cage B, the rats are allowed to fight over the cheese but are required to say "please" before grabbing the cheese.  If our hypothesis is correct, the rats in cage A will kill each other for the cheese faster than the rats in cage B.

America is now more like cage B.  There is a minimal form of civility attempting to pass as morality.  Thus, we remain intact somewhat longer than other societies.  But the civility we mistakenly call morality is still such a futile exercise and devoid of spiritual power and enlightenment that mutual destruction is assured even if delayed.

This belief that common courtesy is the equivalent of morality is supplemented by a belief that the law – our written statutes and legal system – defines social order when civility fails, such as when there are rape-murders or, in civil cases, when construction companies are paid but do not do the job they were contracted to do.  The adjudications that arise in these and a myriad of other criminal and civil conflicts restore the fairness or equilibrium that is otherwise lacking.  Egregious harm to others, while sometimes called "evil," is evil not in some religious or dogmatic sense, but in that it is far from a norm of civility that has replaced Judeo-Christian morality.

Although "evil" appears as an absolute term, it is now used in a relative sense. It is only relatively absolute.  From a logical point of view, of course "relatively absolute" makes no more sense than saying "truthful lie," but in our fluid and bereft consciousness, this seems to be where we are.

Unlike our present hybrid or false morality (secular from beginning to end), true morality insists that right and wrong are God-given, that the ethical rules of life precede all life, that those rules are known only through supernatural revelation, and that the social order exists not so we all can get along with each other.  Rather, society exists and must cohere so that we may become more worthy of the God who created us, and, through following His rules, we may glorify His eternal and Holy Name.  These rules must be intelligible and enforced.  Holy Scripture states, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these [the means of sustenance and personal growth] will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

The above view of morality and law is considered by various pundits to be relegated to the backwater of history and thus is sometimes called "a traditional view of morality."  Likewise, our legal system is now treated in most law schools as having its own integrity and not founded on any principles (eternal in nature) outside that law.  This was not always the case.  The foundation of our law can be understood more readily if we consider the work of the founder of modern English Law philosophy, William Blackstone.  He understood that the law originated in an order of the universe, including a moral as well as physical order, that preceded the creation of law, and on which law was based.  For Blackstone, there were six types of law, but for our purposes, here are three of the six:

1. Law as a rule of human action. '... the precepts by which man, the noblest of all sublunary beings, a creature endowed with both reason and free will, is commanded to make use of those faculties in the general regulation of his behavior.

2. Law of nature. 'These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions.'

3. Revealed law. 'The doctrines ... delivered [by an immediate and direct revelation] we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures[.] ... Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.'

Reflecting on the above, we see that we are creatures "endowed" with free will and reason.  Neither of these incredible gifts originated in ourselves.  They are not biological in origin, nor are they a result of evolution.  Rather, they inhere in the creation of humanity by a Creator who created us in His image.  Further, the laws of good and evil are immutable, meaning they are not sociological constructs subject to variability according to time and place.  Thus, when the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche envisages a "transvaluation of values," where – under his "God is dead" scenario – what is good may be considered bad and what is bad may be considered good based on the valuations of an evolved übermensch ("superman"), he is expressing a highly intellectual wish, not a reality.  The universe, being immutable, cannot by using free will reverse good and evil.  In the same way, the flight of planes can take place, whereby the planes do not fall back to Earth, but their flight in no way changes the law of gravity, nor does it disprove the law of gravity.  Eventually, airplanes must return to earth.

Blackstone's "revealed law" poses the greatest obstacle to our law professors and to humanity in the English-speaking world, including America.  That view, which elevates the moral law of the Old and New Testaments to the highest level, a level not to suffer contradiction, is untenable for non-Christian religionists, but most especially for the modern breed of left-wing cultural Marxists and secular humanists.  Homosexuality, adultery, abortion (infanticide), lewdness, fornication, incest, and debauchery are just as wrong today as they were 3,500 years ago.  The modern atheists want the Hustler-Playboy philosophy of human sexuality but are in such conflict with eternal moral values that they are surprised and appalled when those values produce a long list of public figures who have mistreated women.   

Thus, we are facing a corrupt reductio.  Post-Judeo-Christian morality is replaced by civility, and the eternal, immutable moral law is replaced by our very mutable legal system.  The legality of the legal system is defined by that system itself, and even conservative jurists refer to themselves as original textualists and not as natural law advocates.  Without the immutable, Scripture-based moral law, how long will it be before anarchy overtakes us?

Jeffrey Ludwig is a regular contributor to AmericanThinker and other conservative websites.  His recent interview on The Hagmann Report can be viewed here.

I would like to propose a hypothesis: "If a society loses its belief in God and Judeo-Christian morality, it will go down the drain faster than you can flush a wad of toilet paper."  We shall test this hypothesis in a laboratory.

We shall have two teams of rats in cages.  In each cage, there will be four rats and two pieces of cheese.  In cage A, the rats will be allowed to fight over the cheese. In cage B, the rats are allowed to fight over the cheese but are required to say "please" before grabbing the cheese.  If our hypothesis is correct, the rats in cage A will kill each other for the cheese faster than the rats in cage B.

America is now more like cage B.  There is a minimal form of civility attempting to pass as morality.  Thus, we remain intact somewhat longer than other societies.  But the civility we mistakenly call morality is still such a futile exercise and devoid of spiritual power and enlightenment that mutual destruction is assured even if delayed.

This belief that common courtesy is the equivalent of morality is supplemented by a belief that the law – our written statutes and legal system – defines social order when civility fails, such as when there are rape-murders or, in civil cases, when construction companies are paid but do not do the job they were contracted to do.  The adjudications that arise in these and a myriad of other criminal and civil conflicts restore the fairness or equilibrium that is otherwise lacking.  Egregious harm to others, while sometimes called "evil," is evil not in some religious or dogmatic sense, but in that it is far from a norm of civility that has replaced Judeo-Christian morality.

Although "evil" appears as an absolute term, it is now used in a relative sense. It is only relatively absolute.  From a logical point of view, of course "relatively absolute" makes no more sense than saying "truthful lie," but in our fluid and bereft consciousness, this seems to be where we are.

Unlike our present hybrid or false morality (secular from beginning to end), true morality insists that right and wrong are God-given, that the ethical rules of life precede all life, that those rules are known only through supernatural revelation, and that the social order exists not so we all can get along with each other.  Rather, society exists and must cohere so that we may become more worthy of the God who created us, and, through following His rules, we may glorify His eternal and Holy Name.  These rules must be intelligible and enforced.  Holy Scripture states, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these [the means of sustenance and personal growth] will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

The above view of morality and law is considered by various pundits to be relegated to the backwater of history and thus is sometimes called "a traditional view of morality."  Likewise, our legal system is now treated in most law schools as having its own integrity and not founded on any principles (eternal in nature) outside that law.  This was not always the case.  The foundation of our law can be understood more readily if we consider the work of the founder of modern English Law philosophy, William Blackstone.  He understood that the law originated in an order of the universe, including a moral as well as physical order, that preceded the creation of law, and on which law was based.  For Blackstone, there were six types of law, but for our purposes, here are three of the six:

1. Law as a rule of human action. '... the precepts by which man, the noblest of all sublunary beings, a creature endowed with both reason and free will, is commanded to make use of those faculties in the general regulation of his behavior.

2. Law of nature. 'These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions.'

3. Revealed law. 'The doctrines ... delivered [by an immediate and direct revelation] we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures[.] ... Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.'

Reflecting on the above, we see that we are creatures "endowed" with free will and reason.  Neither of these incredible gifts originated in ourselves.  They are not biological in origin, nor are they a result of evolution.  Rather, they inhere in the creation of humanity by a Creator who created us in His image.  Further, the laws of good and evil are immutable, meaning they are not sociological constructs subject to variability according to time and place.  Thus, when the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche envisages a "transvaluation of values," where – under his "God is dead" scenario – what is good may be considered bad and what is bad may be considered good based on the valuations of an evolved übermensch ("superman"), he is expressing a highly intellectual wish, not a reality.  The universe, being immutable, cannot by using free will reverse good and evil.  In the same way, the flight of planes can take place, whereby the planes do not fall back to Earth, but their flight in no way changes the law of gravity, nor does it disprove the law of gravity.  Eventually, airplanes must return to earth.

Blackstone's "revealed law" poses the greatest obstacle to our law professors and to humanity in the English-speaking world, including America.  That view, which elevates the moral law of the Old and New Testaments to the highest level, a level not to suffer contradiction, is untenable for non-Christian religionists, but most especially for the modern breed of left-wing cultural Marxists and secular humanists.  Homosexuality, adultery, abortion (infanticide), lewdness, fornication, incest, and debauchery are just as wrong today as they were 3,500 years ago.  The modern atheists want the Hustler-Playboy philosophy of human sexuality but are in such conflict with eternal moral values that they are surprised and appalled when those values produce a long list of public figures who have mistreated women.   

Thus, we are facing a corrupt reductio.  Post-Judeo-Christian morality is replaced by civility, and the eternal, immutable moral law is replaced by our very mutable legal system.  The legality of the legal system is defined by that system itself, and even conservative jurists refer to themselves as original textualists and not as natural law advocates.  Without the immutable, Scripture-based moral law, how long will it be before anarchy overtakes us?

Jeffrey Ludwig is a regular contributor to AmericanThinker and other conservative websites.  His recent interview on The Hagmann Report can be viewed here.