Postmodern Natural Law and The Age of Entitlement

I have added two books to my reading list. The first is “ERICH PRZYWARA AND POSTMODERN NATURAL LAW,” by Graham McAleer. My interest in Natural Law as a way to do ethical reasoning without an appeal to religious authority has been particularly stoked by Dr. Robert George of Princeton, who himself is simply presenting Aristotelian ethics and the thought of Thomas Aquinas. The rap against Natural Law theory is that it is medieval in its trappings and unappealing to the modern mind, as well as out of touch with how an appeal to a rationalistic humanism less convincing as as a method after the bloody and tumultuous 20th century. So how about a postmodern (post Enlightenment and post-rationalism) version of Natural Law? A very interesting thesis. Here is a podcast from Liberty and Law that interviews the author about his book and approach.

The other is Christopher Caldwell’s new book, “THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT: AMERICA SINCE THE SIXTIES.” He argues that the civil rights legislation of the 60s created a second Constitution. The problem that faced Americans with segregation in the South is that it seemed to have been implemented through democratic institutions and it kept being ratified by democratic institutions. The Civil Rights Act pretty much declared the democracies of the South illegitimate or at least not worthy of self-determination. They had to be overseen and surveilled by Washington. And so the Civil Rights Act gave Washington powers that it had never had before in peacetime. There were a lot of people who worried about how strong a medicine it was at the time, but Americans didn’t worry about it too much because the problem that civil rights law aimed to fix was so spectacular and so exceptional that it seemed to limit the application of those laws. But in fact, as soon as they were passed, they began to deepen. You got new measures that were meant to aid the cause of desegregation, like affirmative action and busing, but these laws soon spread to other areas of American life in a way that very few Americans had imagined and deserved to be questioned by any fair interpretation of the original Constitution. Here is an interview with the author. I commend the podcasts to you as worthy listens.