Not only does natural law exist but as it pertains to human beings, is inseparable from their very lives. It is the collection of those abilities, rights and privileges to which every person is entitled due to their living, separate, corporeal states. “[I]nalienable,” as stated, if not fully outlined, in the Declaration of Independence. Contemplation of natural law inspired written law. St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes but more notably William Blackstone laid the intellectual foundation for codification of natural law in English law. Overseas, a short time later and after intense debate, the Framers found it necessary to include mention of natural law in the Constitution: specifics include Amendment I especially but also, if not more directly in Amendment II, the right to self-defense. Moreover, English law served to form the basis of legal jurisprudence in the United States.
Our brains function to operate our bodies but more spectacularly, we are born with the ability to form thoughts that can run one spectrum from mundane, routine and simple to quite complex, and another (spectrum) that includes emotions, plans, calculations, past and future movements, trials and errors, etc. They are not shared with any other person; they are ours, individually. In silence, at any given time no one knows what another is thinking, any more than one knows how another’s brain is operating his or her body. When a person decides to speak, it is the result of his or her individual will, thought process and physical ability; he or she needs no authorization from another person or group of people, such as a government. We have the freedom of speech: we can say what we wish without government sanction, so long as we respect the rights of all others. Often, this prerequisite to freedom, unfortunately, is treated as fluid – applied to varying degrees at different times - by governments in order to execute an agenda after having lost sight of the best interests of the majority of the citizenry.
All living things seek shelter but as individuals, we naturally do not seek to live indiscriminately. We all choose specific geographic locations, types of shelters in and the other persons with whom we reside and we retain the right and ability to do so. These choices may be limited by artificial means, such as zoning laws, borders, armies and man-made laws but by and large, they are not dictated by governments. Within some constraints, each of us makes our own decision.
In the same fashion, it is a person’s natural right to choose with whom and whom not he and/or she will associate. If one decides, for example, that a workplace is undesirable, one may engage another (or none at all!) for terms of employment. A baker who decides he or she will not fulfill a potential customer’s request is choosing non-association with that customer, simultaneously laying him- or herself open to the will of the market - more likely to his or her detriment. The Congressional Black Caucus is another example of a legitimate freedom of association. The members of the CBC retain their right to exclusivity because they are people – they may decide their activities without any need for government permission.
Were there no natural law, there’d have been no need for hundreds and hundreds of legal cases such as Roe v. Wade; while it should have been unnecessary, it places in writing a woman’s natural right to make her own health decisions – the issue of abortion aside, something that she does every day. Natural laws are not all written on paper but nonetheless exist, whether on paper or not. No one has ever been or will ever be entitled to take another’s natural rights without his or her permission, notwithstanding that historically worldwide, this has been and continues to be done. It remains illegitimate in nature. Immoral, too.
Whenever doubt as to the existence of natural law arises, it can be allayed by a simple look in the mirror. The one looking back is a natural phenomenon that retains its own right of self-determination.