Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Personal Economics--Natural Law--I

Personal Economics--Natural Law
I have decided that for the next little while, I will explore the uses of economics in our personal lives, beginning with a discussion of natural law.
My boss often says that he hates stupid people. When exploring his meaning I have discovered that what he really means is that he is annoyed when people who do things that are important to him differently than he would do them. This leads to an intriguing question, "Is there always one right way to do things?" More important, "Is there a best way to behave?" The answer to both questions touches, I believe, on the question of natural law.
Of course, most men believe in natural law governing physical phenomena, that is, they acknowledge the absolute "law governing thing", but as soon as we seek out the "law governing man" there is a wide spread divergence.
Our fore-fathers believed that in the Scripture they had found the rule book of life, i. e. the natural laws governing conduct were laid out. For the most part those rules are rather strict and have never been particularly popular. As Jesus said, the way is strait and only a few bother to travel it. Those who choose self-indulgence, can usually find an excuse in the fact that many of those who profess belief do not follow the rules themselves. Or they may choose to be disbelievers. With the exceptions outlined later, disbelief itself is a form of self-indulgence, since it allows the disbeliever to pick and choose his rules, since there is no way that rules of human conduct can be derived from those governing physical phenomena.
It is a personal conviction that all understanding of real law, helps us as individuals to overcome the temptation to self-indulgence. So I will be exploring the ideas of how an understanding of economics can help us in that way. But I begin, in the next installment by looking first at a natural law philosopher who, I believe, was an important inspiration to the father of economics, Adam Smith, namely Isaac Newton.

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