“Because man is a composite of body and soul, and hence a person who is responsible [§53.7] for his own conduct, the society he forms is, unlike other unities, unified by an intrinsic principle, the self-binding will of its members. In this specific sense society is a unity resulting from an actualized moral order, a unitas ordinis. Nevertheless society rests also on an extrinsic formative principle that adds to the note of order one of organization. The reason for this is not only that the self-binding will of its members is to some extent defective, but also that the concrete demands of society’s extrinsic ends are not fully recognizable by all its members, and furthermore, that the lasting realization of the social end from one generation to another can be secured only by organizational means that are legal or administrative.” (The Elements of Philosophy by Father William A. Wallace, O.P.; PART II. // CHAPTER 13. SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY // [Section] §76. SOCIETY // [paragraph] 3 // [page] 235)
Obiter Dicta: In a democratic or republic form of government all free citizens of sound mind who acquire a certain age are allowed to vote. This fact presents a problem, which is highlighted by Father Wallace’s statement “…the concrete demands of society’s extrinsic ends are not fully recognizable by all its members…”. If members are unable to understand the “concrete demands” and “ends” (purposes/goals) of society, it then is dangerous to give these person the power of voting. They are too easily swayed by demagogues who have motives other than the well being of society and its members. Nevertheless, all are allowed to vote. The remedy for this danger is education. Citizens and citizens-to-be must receive moral education, in addition to history, science, art, geography, mathematics, and citizenship.
Persons who believe and make statements such as “don’t legislate morality” and “keep your laws off my body” are ignorant of the “concrete demands” and “ends” of civil society. They are unaware that each and every law is moral by nature. Every law attempts to protect and nurture what some person or group believes to be good. Aiming at and supporting what is good is a definition of morality. Society through its laws seeks to display and foster what is good for human beings. The human being is a “composite of soul and body”. Properly speaking, human beings are animate bodies; an indivisible unity of body and soul. Because body is an essential aspect of the human being, human beings seek what is good for their animate bodies. Seeking what is good for human animate bodies is a definition of morality. Within a society, law is a tool used to identify and protect those goods. Laws created and enforced by a just and learned lawgiver, seek what is good for animate bodies. Such laws, by their very nature are incapable of not addressing the needs of animate bodies. In its lawgiving and enforcement, society seeks to identify and promulgate laws which best serve the human needs of their animate bodies.
Key: For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy: Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy: Preface (8)”.