Moral Law and the Just Regime

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St. Augustine and Aquinas reasoned that the just city would also be a moral city. The city would assist in the physical and spiritual salvation of men. Their ideas of a just city would necessarily require moral laws. Laws required punishment when broken. Their ideas of a just regime could easily bring about a religious tyranny. However, reasonable people recognize that modern tyrannies, which may use religious concepts for their basis of a just regime or a purely immoral, evil regime, which is only interested in power or wealth, are about coercion and oppression. St. Augustine recognized that because of the Fall of man freedom was lost and “coercion is apparent in the most typical institutions of civil society” and can be explained “by man’s present inability to live according to the dictates of reason” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 183). A just city must also be a city of liberty. Failure to comprehend this can lead to religious tyranny if the regime is designed with religious morals at its foundation. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas both envisioned the use of philosophical concepts coupled with religion when they tried to discover the best ideas of justice and the just regime. In order to accomplish this they meshed, more or less successfully, their Christian beliefs and reason, which is philosophical in nature. St. Augustine employed philosophy to supply “knowledge and guidance in areas concerning which revelation is either silent or incomplete” (Strauss and Cropsey 1987, 177). Aquinas recognized, similar to Aristotle, that man is a social animal and is different from other animals because man can reason, or philosophize. “Civil society is natural to him, not as something given by nature, but as something to wh... ... middle of paper ... ...on of the individual. Through reason, they tried to discover the just regime and what justice is. They based their reasoning on divine revelation but failed to recognize that liberty and choice is vital to the salvation of the individual. There can be, however, no just regime that is based on the collective, which is typically the type of regime that modern totalitarian leaders use. Works Cited Gellately, Robert. Lenin, Stalin and Hitler. New York: Vintage Books, 2007. Maxfield, M. Richard, K. DeLynn Cook, and W. Cleon Skousen. The Real Thomas Jefferson. Malta: National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2008. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2011. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/republic?show=0&t=1301784412 (accessed March 31, 2011). Strauss, Leo, and Joseph Cropsey. History of Political Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
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