Saturday, May 07, 2011

On the Duties of Man - To Man

This post is a continuation of the examination of Samuel Pufendorf's On the Duty of Man and Citizen (1682).  This post follows the previous section I've looked at On the Duties of Man - To God plus the overview of why this is important in Three Realms of Law.  This work by Pufendorf is, itself, an overview of a multi-volume work he had generated and thought that a primer on that work, suitable for students, would be a vital part of a teaching curricula examining Natural Law.  I will continue to do the overview of his logic and keep my usual commentary in abeyance as much as possible so as to follow Pufendorf's line of reasoning so that the outline of it is plain to see.

In the post-Westphalia tradition of Europe (and America) the concept of the 'Separation of Church and State' is one that is done for the benefit of the Church which had become a key part in State power.  The 30 Years War revolved around the question of which religion was to hold sway over Europe and the Nobles and States of that era followed differing religious beliefs and then imposed those on the people of their holdings or States.  When a realm went from Roman Catholic to Protestant, there would follow the forced change in religious outlook from the top - down.  This would include grabbing the material wealth of the religious doctrine that was in disfavor and the persecution, and often execution, of those who would not convert over to the State's new religious outlook.  With 15% of Europe dead by the end of the conflict, the Great Peace of Westphalia would impose restrictions, agreed to by treaty, upon all those taking part in the Treaty.  While the Roman Catholic Church via the Vatican did not take official part in the Treaty, Roman Catholics could and did help the formulation of it.  This treaty would break apart the links of State and Church so that States could not repress or suppress any of the three forms of Christianity then extant in Europe: Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and Calvinism.

During that conflict two major writers put forward their different conceptions of how they saw the work of Nation States and religion: Thomas Hobbes and Hugo Grotius.  Samuel Pufendorf examined their works (and many others, needless to say) and would then be the first writer in the post-Westphalian world to blend the outlooks of both Hobbes and Grotius while taking into account the Treaty which would forever change the course of Europe.  Many of the ideas formulated by Pufendorf have resonance with prior works in the Greek and Latin world, and also with those in the Anglo-Saxon tradition like Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England. From the philosophical basis of reasoned examination dating back to Plato and Socrates, then putting in the Latin and Church traditions plus those of the Protestants, and blending in examinations of laws, states and religion, Samuel Pufendorf would be one of the first to present what we would call a 'liberal' view of the world by positing that God is not enough, nor is having a State and that there is a third realm which is Creation in which we must all exist that is separate from both God's moral law and the law we create via the State.  This is Natural Law which is ever present in our mortal life, restricts us in our views, and otherwise shows the physical instantiation of God's Will.  Being part of that Creation we must take it into account as it speaks of God's Will in a way that is not contained by Scripture nor can it be dictated to by the State.  When we examine our Duties as Man and Citizen we cannot leave out this thing called Natural Law as it is a vital part of what allows us to have States so as to be Citizens.

With that, I now proceed on to our Duties to Man.


The duty of Man to oneself starts with the very simple and self-evident truth that self-love is something that we are born with.  We use our natural gifts and talents from the Creator to our own good and self-interest, thusly we care about ourselves and love ourselves to do those necessary things.  If we did not have that self-love we would assuredly perish.  There is no need to impress obligation of self-love from any other venue: you have it as a given at birth.

From the Creator also comes the self-evident truth that you do not wish your natural gifts to perish and that they must be used so as to contribute to human Society so as to seek the preservation of such gifts over time.  Having such gifts and not recognizing that you have them is your shame and loss, but when taught that you have them those doing the teaching are right to punish the pupil for not recognizing their own gifts and utilizing them  It is one thing to neglect one's gifts through ignorance, another to purposely ignore them when those willing to show the vital use of them are at hand.

We do this because we, as individuals, have two parts to us - the soul [anima] which drives and controls the physical body via the intermediary of the mind [animus] which is our direct government of our body.  It is the mind which must encompass Society, not only look after the needs of the body, and it is to that part of us that our ability to become a contributing and vital part of society is held.  Our soul directs, the mind then does the work of following those orders as best as possible within the realm of what can be done via the body.  All morals and ethics are decided upon by the mind, in accordance with the soul so as to give the body the greatest chance to survive and prosper.  With that said our physical needs cannot dictate to us as that then creates gluttony, sloth and the creation of passions not directed clearly towards our self-betterment and may actually be contrary to it and our contact with Society.  A strong spirit resists such temptations so as to become a better man, and those who give into them become less of themselves as they do not recognize the true direction of their self-evident obligations to themselves and Society.

Your life is given from the Creator and you are set for your time in life until the Creator requires you to leave it.  A man can choose a course in life that will shorten it, in doing hard labors and constantly tiring himself to the benefit of himself and Society a shorter life may ensue.  A citizen may willingly risk his life for others, so long as there is benefit to that and is not just adding to a general slaughter to no good ends.  With your life in your hands you must weigh and balance those times when sacrifice, even the ultimate sacrifice, on your part is of benefit to your Society which is the holder of those things which you have given to it in the way of yourself.  There is no obligation for such sacrifice, no words saying that you must give up your life for your fellow man, no one can decide that for you: only you can do that for yourself.

To throw away one's life is a violation of Natural Law in all instances.  It does not matter if it be due to personal misfortune, pain and suffering, throwing oneself into a lost battle to die or putting forward an empty show of faith, they are all the same.  No one profits from your death and Society mourns the loss of skills and fortitude necessary to continue on your life for its allotted time on Earth.  We can learn fortitude and strength from the suffering of others, that it is possible to confront such pain and anguish and survive and even come out the other side of it a better man.  For those with illnesses that will have no end, their example to us of how to live with such things is far, far more important than taking the easy way out for if they can suffer and cling to life until its bitter end, then that demonstrates the power of that life and our own life can benefit from that so as to steel ourselves for lesser travails than theirs.  As horrific as suffering is, and it wouldn't be suffering if it wasn't horrific, it does have a larger context in life and as a demonstration to others of the value of such life within the context of Society.  The greatest gift of the suffering isn't to die, but to live and show us how to lead with perseverance through all lesser times in our own lives.

From this, when the acts of another man put our lives in danger we have the obligation and natural right of self-defense to put ourselves out of danger while seeking to do as little harm to those who attack us as possible.  Self-defense when another takes a risky course of action to attack us or threaten us then invokes our duty, obligation and right to life, and there is no misdeed in carrying through with such self-defense.

Exercising self-defense has the negative effect of injury or death upon your attacker, yourself or both, and this cannot be denied.  While all life is to be cherished and protected, the concept of reciprocity of civility is a requirement for social discourse.  That is that a peaceful and friendly manner is to be reciprocated between people so as to have a civil environment.  As your safety as an individual is part of that sociality, there is no law that prevents one from defending himself from harm.  When one seeks to do harm to another or harm is being perpetrated upon you, the right to self-defense becomes a bulwark of civil discourse by upholding civil standards.  To not do so is to put at peril the good things provided by nature or industry and leave them open to despoliation.  Any attempt to remove the means of self-protection of individuals would be the death of the human race.

With those things said it must always be sought to mitigate the use of force via defensive action, by securing oneself so that an attacker's fury will have had a chance to wane.  Along with this is the prudence of not taking umbrage to minor slights so as to cause them to escalate into provocation and this is to be done if at all possible.

Defense of self includes defense of one's property as any who would violate one's property have already demonstrated no restraint on their actions.  To those ends defense of your property with violent means is allowable in the natural state and in the civil state for immediate purposes.  It is also allowable to chase those who have violated your property in the immediate extent.  In the natural setting you can do so until you have tracked down the individual, while in the civil setting this requires the recourse of the Magistrate and seeking the civil means of law to track such people down.  In the natural setting you can find change of heart and repentance from the individual who has done harm to your property, and you may accept that.  In the civil instance this is for the process of law to decide guilt or innocence.  In either instance it is mandatory to take away the tools available to such individuals to do harm again: that is either on the civil or natural state, it is mandatory that those who are judged guilty or who have repented of their ways have the tools of their ways removed from them.

The right of self-defense is against both those things done by malice and those done by error, thusly there is no right to kill another and submit to being killed due to error.  If you are mistaken for another and harm comes your way, your right to defend yourself is paramount, no matter the cause of the infliction of harm.

To defend oneself from harm by putting up innocent safeguards that will protect you from harm is part of your natural duties towards yourself against your fellow man.  Arming oneself, forming alliances, erecting fences and walls to protect yourself are all parts of what nature bids us to do in our self-defense and there is no wrong in doing them.  These works cannot be used to justify attacking another to conquer them and despoil their goods by force.  This is true no matter how powerful a neighbor is.

Upon seeing that a third party intends harm against another, your first duty is to yourself, save if you have treaty with another to protect him.  Again this is man in the natural state, not the Nation State with civil government and law that is being talked about.  Still, a powerful third party that seeks to conquer or subdue a neighbor can rightly be suspected of wishing to cause you harm after subduing your neighbor.  When you see that plans are laid for violence against you by a third party, you have the right of self-defense by force and seizing the initiative before such plans come to fruition so long as there is no hope of friendly warning dissuading him from such plans.  Defense is not merely avoiding blows, avoiding harm, nor evading your capture as the right of attack in your own defense before being attacked when the plans against you are clear then allows you to stop such plans by force.

In our civil states it is not allowable to attack a government when it is planning to do harm to a third party that plans harm against a fellow citizen.  It is always to be sought to bring such potential assailant before a common Magistrate so as to have his plans addressed in common.  You are not allowed the pre-emptive attack against a third party as a citizen in the civil state, and only once attacked is your right of self-defense to be called upon.  When such violence is visited upon one in the civil state it is your self-defense that allows you to take any measures, up to killing another, to protect yourself.  When such threat is neutralized by being driven off, by the death of the assailant or by you finding safe haven, you are not to continue the engagement but to get the office of civil government involved so as to address the matter.

There is no obligation to always seek the milder form of self-defense as, when one is attacked, the mental turmoil that ensues will change the evaluations of what is, exactly, to be done.  One might leave a place of safety to confront an attacker, one might not run when they are in open sight of an aggressor as to turn and flee is to invite falling or being attacked in the back.  Thus, even if there is relative safety with neighbors nearby, the mental state may not allow that to be an option.  One may also appear in public when they know that they are at risk of attack, the right of self-defense still holds in that case as well.  In the case of duels, however, there is no safe haven to self-defense as it is a purposeful event chosen by the individuals involved, thus the innocence of self-defense cannot be brought into play.

In defense of his limbs a man is allowed the same as in defending his life.

In addition female virtue is also guaranteed the same capability as self-defense.  No greater offense against a woman can be imagined than to take her against her will and force her to raise the child of her own blood for an enemy.

As property is a necessary part of living, those who attack our property are attacking our life in a very real sense.  We cannot preserve our life without our worldly goods, and those seeking to deprive you of them are attacking your life.  In the state of nature we can repel and hunt down such people, while in the civil state we appeal to the civil government for help of recovery but retain the right of self-defense against burglars and robbers of all sorts.

To move on from self-defense are those who have attacked others.  They are barred from self-defense until critical conditions are first met.  He must be repent of the harm he has caused others and give guarantee that he shall do no future harm to others.  That being offered such repentance if he shows savagery in his heart by refusing such and obtaining vengeance at his own hand.

Self-preservation is so high a natural duty that is seen as exempt from the common laws. 'Necessity knows no laws'.  There is no power, no authority, not God nor civil government that can impose an edict so strict upon us as to compel us to face death for them.  Because of this we give exception to laws that have put individuals in danger by following them and recognize that there is no compelling reason for a man to follow a law, no matter how well intentioned, that forces him not to obey self-preservation.

As examples a man may sacrifice an infected limb to save his life.

-On a lifeboat we draw lots if there is not enough food to go around, and those that will not abide by this are tossed overboard instead of letting common fate decide the ends of each.

-If thrown into a hole with deep water and you can swim and the other cannot, and he clings to you and drags you down, then you are within the right of self-defense to release yourself from his grasp.

-If shipwrecked and you find a plank or means to save yourself, but not another, and proceed to do so, and the other swims out to you threatening your survival, you may repel him.

-If an enemy chases two with intent to kill both and the only means of escape requires destroying the means to get to you, even if that means the other is killed, then you are to do so as your life would be forfeit otherwise.

It is also permissible by necessity to cause injury to another to escape death.  If pursued by a stronger man intent on harming you, and you flee down a confined alleyway and another person, innocent of the conflict, blocks the way, you are allowed to knock them down if they do not take the warning of your action or words as proof of your necessity.  You may very well cause harm to this person, but necessity allows such to save your own.  If that person blocking your way was an innocent or cripple, then at least the pursuer would  have the necessity of jumping over them and exposing himself, briefly, to the pursued.  And if the blocker is doing so wilfully, then he may be knocked down and flattened directly as they have courted their own disaster.

The poorest beggar, who has nothing left to sell, cannot sell his works or be hired, who gets no recompense from begging nor friends to succor him may seek to gain sustenance from those who have an overabundance without committing the crime of robbery, so long as there is intent to pay back such sustenance to those it is taken from.  From that it follows that the wealthy are by the limits of humanity, to help the poor and destitute as they are his fellow man.  Still a man is to try all other ways so as to sustain himself then falls under not only necessity but the perfection of obligation of doing no harm.  It can only be done to those not liable to fall into similar dire straits due to that loss and the obligation to make amends via full restitution is perfect and must be done.  If they cannot make a free gift of aid due to their circumstances, then your obligation is not to put them into the same peril you are now in.

Finally the necessity of destroying the property of others to save our own may only be done if there is no way to save the other's property and its value, to the other, is less than the value of your property to you.  In attempting to move or otherwise find means to save the property of another due to the imminent destruction of your own, when that loss is made you are to seek to give restitution to the one who has lost property.  If both properties are at risk and sacrificing some of another's will save yours from perishing, then the loss you are to make up is pro rata as you have saved both from ultimate harm by doing injury to another's property.  That is the basis of maritime law, and it serves on land as well as at sea for such events.

* * *

As with the previous section, I will not be commenting upon this section, save to say that the basis of what we understand our obligation to ourselves to be from natural law, and then under civil law, is something that is obvious and cannot be denied.  This is not due to the nature of civil society, but due to the nature of man, and as man is a being of Natural Law, and always will be no matter where we are in this mortal realm we are within the mortal realm and thus not transcendent of it.

After this comes the duty of every man to every man.

No comments: