The varying definitions of natural law are clearly consistent on the issue of individual violence. On the topic of collective violence, the questions of what are just grounds for making war, how may a just war be conducted, and what may a just victor do with an unjust loser, the various definitions of natural law often seem cloudy and contradictory. There are two reasons for this apparent cloudiness. One is that there is no natural definition of a collective entity, so it all depends on what gives the collective entity its substance and cohesion, how the individual is a participant in the acts of the collective entity. The Nuremberg trials contain extensive discussions of this point. The other reason is that there is a large difference between what the victor should do and what the victor may lawfully do. The victor should be magnanimous and lenient, as at Nuremberg, but may lawfully be strict and harsh. On the questions that most commonly arise in practice, all the different definitions of natural law give clear, consistent and straightforward answers: The usual reason for war is that one group defines another group as enemy, and then uses organized collective violence to seize the property of the members of that group, and to enslave or kill them. In such case it is open season on the aggressor because they constitute a clear danger to their neighbors. In a just war it lawful to napalm bomb enemy civilians in a defended city, though not to intentionally target enemy civilians, unlawful to bombard an open city, and unlawful to massacre prisoners under any circumstances, though individual prisoners may be executed for broad reasons. It is sometimes lawful to refuse to take prisoners, depending on the circumstances. The contradictions usually evaporate when we ask the questions that we are actually interested in, about the kind of situations that actually occur in practice. Arguments about whether a given military action was in accordance with the laws of war usually involve appeal to the facts, and arguments about the intentions and capabilities of the combatants, rather than appeal to differing concepts of the laws of war, indicating that our uncertainty concerning the laws of war is less than other sources of uncertainty.
In many fields of academia, straying in the direction of consideration natural law is apt to make your grants dry up, perhaps natural law theory tends to delegitimize most grant giving authorities.
Therefore, Hobbes argued, the state is entitled to unlimited power, and right is whatever the state, through its laws, says is right, and wrong whatever the state says is wrong. An “unjust law” is a contradiction in terms because the will of the state is itself the standard of justice, thus the ruler can do no wrong. The ruler is answerable to God, but everyone else is answerable only to the ruler.
If the war of all against all occurs because men cannot know what use of force is just, then indeed law is a creation of the state, as Hobbes argued, and the state is above the law, as Hobbes argued, and social cohesion derives from the will of the ruler, as Hobbes implied. But if violent conflict occurs because of simple uncomplicated evil acts by evil men, then his arguments are invalid, and the arguments of Bastiat and Locke apply — law is collective self defense, thus the state must govern under law, it is not the source of law. The state cannot justly use force in ways that would be illegitimate for an individual in a state of nature. Social cohesion derives from arrangements to ensure that people apply retributive force justly and that the use of such force can be seen to be just, what nineteenth century people called “due process and the rule of law&”. Social cohesion does not derive from a single central will, contrary to Hobbes arguments and assumptions.
The best present day example of a society with strong social controls and weak government controls, a society with plurality of force, is Switzerland. (Kopel, p278- 302) In peacetime the Swiss army has no generals, no central command. Everyone is his own policeman. By no coincidence Switzerland is also the best modern example of the right to bear arms. Almost every house in Switzerland contains one or more automatic weapons, the kind of guns that the American federal government calls “assault rifles with cop killer bullets”. Switzerland has strict gun controls to keep guns out of the hands of children, lunatics and criminals, but every law abiding adult can buy any kind of weapon. Almost every adult male owns at least one gun, and most have more than one, because of social pressures and the expectation that a respectable middle class male citizen should be well armed and skillful in the use of arms. It is also no coincidence that respect for property rights in Switzerland is amongst the highest in the world, possibly the highest in the world. Switzerland also has lower tax levels than any other industrialized country.
“There is in fact a true law - namely, right reason - which is in accordance with nature, applies to all men, and is unchangeable and eternal.” (Cicero) Cicero successfully argued before a Roman court that one of the laws of Rome was unlawful, being contrary to natural law, creating a legal precedent that held throughout the western world for two thousand years. Although it was frequently violated, it was rarely openly rejected in the West until the twentieth century.
The bloody and unsuccessful experiment of Socrates disciple, Critias, showed that the rule of law, not men, was correct. This renewed the question “What law, who's law.” Not all laws are arbitrary, there must be laws universally applicable, because of the universal nature of man. Laws governing human affairs, or at least some of those laws, must derive from some objective and external reality, not subject to the arbitrary will of the ruler or the people. If this was not so, then it would be impossible to make an unlawful law. Any law duly decreed by a legitimate ruling body, such as the Athenian assembly, would necessarily be lawful, yet history shows that this was obviously false. Some laws are clearly unlawful. Proof by contradiction.
Not all things that are evil, or contrary to nature, are violations of natural law. Violations of natural law are those evils that may rightly be opposed by force, by individual unorganized violence.
The definition of natural law that I have just given is similar to that used in the middle ages, but this definition is not obviously scientific. It fails to show that natural law is legitimately part of science. To show that the study of natural law is part of science - part of sociobiology, it is necessary to restate the definition in the same value free, game theoretic, terminology that Reeve & Nonacs would use to describe the social contract in wasps.
The term “filtering” is perhaps better described as “lane filtering” and refers to the practice of motorcyclists riding between moving or stationary cars, particularly in circumstances of significant congestion. The new laws which took effect earlier this year now permit motorcyclists to move between these vehicles, but contrary to popular belief, only in a limited number of circumstances.
In fact, the law in this area differed only because of Wood's error.
In its narrowest sense, the doctrine of at-will employment onlyspeaks to an employment contract can be terminated:the contract can be terminated at-will of either party,i.e., at any time.
Hobbes claimed that in a state of nature, it is a war of all against all, and life is “poor, solitary, nasty, brutish, and short”. This of course is a direct contradiction of the usual natural law argument that man is a social animal, adapted by nature to live mostly peaceably with his fellow men, and do business with them quietly.