Natural v. Positive Law

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When an average person is asked ‘what is morally correct?’ most respond with an answer that requires each person to follow the laws of the country in which they are living. This is at least the case in modern American society, where your “moral standing” depends ultimately on whether or not you conform to the laws outlined by the government. Regardless of what one’s individual beliefs are, religious or not, morality is judged on how well you blend into your specific societies definition of what is good, evil and indifferent, while law is just a bunch of rules and regulations to divide up power amongst the people in order to predict the future and keep civil peace.

The difference between Positive Law and Natural Law is fairly simple. Positive Law focuses on the man-made laws that either give or take away specific privileges of the individual in each society. For example, the right to bare arms in the U.S. constitution is man-made in order place freedoms and restrictions on an individual who wants to carry around a firearm. On the other hand, Natural Law focuses on the god given, inherent rights of the individual and are not created by an act of legislation.

Natural laws are universal and apply to everyone, no matter what society you belong to. For example, everyone has the universal right to breath air in order to stay alive. Although natural and positive law have two different meanings, they both rely on the assumption that in order to have civil peace each individual must have the promise of a reward for whatever is deemed as “good” behavior.

The main argument that circles natural law and positive law is whether or not morality can be distinguished from law, and if it can is it then justifiable to criminalize those who are...

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... function to its full potential the individuals need to be regulated so that mass chaos doesn’t happen; but there also needs to be an equal amount of individual freedom so that every has the chance to meet their fullest extent of happiness.

There is a delicate balance between Natural and Positive law. Both are equally important in order to have a thriving society. I believe that lawmakers and enforcers need to take each situation one step at a time. If a society becomes too engulfed in Natural law then there is higher potential for chaos, however if the same society becomes too heavily involved in Positive law then there would be far too much government control. I think that the government should be there to protect the natural rights of the individual as well as provide a set of enforced rules to keep the individuals from violating the natural rights of others.
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