Yet another proof, if another one was required, to prove that the nation is not and can never be the state. Contemplate Summa Theologica Question 95. Human Law Article 4.
Article 4. Whether Isidore’s division of human laws is appropriate?
It would seem that Isidore
wrongly divided human
statutes or human law
(Etym. v, 4, seqq.). For under this law
he includes the “law
,” so called, because, as he says, “nearly all nations use it.” But as he says, “natural law
is that which is common to all nations
.” Therefore the law
of nations is not contained under positive human law
, but rather under natural law
Further, those laws which have the same force, seem to differ not formally but only materially. But “statutes, decrees of the commonalty, senatorial decrees,” and the like which he mentions (Etym. v, 9), all have the same force. Therefore they do not differ, except materially. But art takes no notice of such a distinction: since it may go on to infinity
. Therefore this division of human
laws is not appropriate.
Further, just as, in the state, there are princes, priests
and soldiers, so are there other human
offices. Therefore it seems that, as this division includes “military law
,” and “public law
,” referring to priests
and magistrates; so also it should include other laws pertaining to other offices of the state.
Further, those things that are accidental
should be passed over. But it is accidental
that it be framed by this or that man
. Therefore it is unreasonable to divide laws according to the names of lawgivers, so that one be called the “Cornelian” law
, another the “Falcidian” law
On the contrary,
The authority of Isidore
(Objection 1) suffices.
I answer that,
A thing can of itself be divided in respect of something contained in the notion of that thing. Thus a soul
either rational or irrational is contained in the notion of animal: and therefore animal is divided properly and of itself in respect of its being rational or irrational; but not in the point of its being white or black, which are entirely beside the notion of animal. Now, in the notion of human law
, many things are contained, in respect of any of which human law
can be divided properly and of itself. For in the first place it belongs to the notion of human law
, to be derived from the law of nature
, as explained above (Article 2
). In this respect positive law
is divided into the “law
” and “civil law”
, according to the two ways in which something may be derived from the law of nature
, as stated above (Article 2
). Because, to the law
of nations belong those things which are derived from the law of nature
, as conclusions from premises, e.g. just buyings and sellings, and the like, without which men cannot live together, which is a point of the law of nature
, since man
is by nature
a social animal, as is proved
in Polit. i, 2. But those things which are derived from the law of nature
by way of particular determination, belong to the civil law
, according as each state decides on what is best for itself.
Secondly, it belongs to the notion of human law
, to be ordained to the common good
of the state. In this respect human law
may be divided according to the different kinds of men
who work in a special way for the common good
: e.g. priests
, by praying
for the people; princes, by governing the people; soldiers, by fighting for the safety of the people. Wherefore certain special kinds of law
are adapted to these men.
Thirdly, it belongs to the notion of human law
, to be framed by that one who governs the community of the state, as shown above (I-II:90:3
). In this respect, there are various human
laws according to the various forms of government. Of these, according to the Philosopher
(Polit. iii, 10) one is “monarchy,” i.e. when the state is governed by one; and then we have “Royal Ordinances.” Another form is “aristocracy,” i.e. government by the best men or men of highest rank; and then we have the “Authoritative legal opinions” [Responsa Prudentum] and “Decrees of the Senate” [Senatus consulta]. Another form is “oligarchy,” i.e. government by a few rich and powerful men; and then we have “Praetorian,” also called “Honorary,” law
. Another form of government is that of the people, which is called “democracy,” and there we have “Decrees of the commonalty” [Plebiscita]. There is also tyrannical government, which is altogether corrupt, which, therefore, has no corresponding law
. Finally, there is a form of government made up of all these, and which is the best: and in this respect we have law
sanctioned by the “Lords and Commons,” as stated by Isidore
(Etym. v, 4, seqq.).
Fourthly, it belongs to the notion of human law
to direct human
actions. In this respect, according to the various matters of which the law
treats, there are various kinds of laws, which are sometimes named after their authors: thus we have the “Lex Julia” about adultery
, the “Lex Cornelia” concerning assassins, and so on, differentiated in this way, not on account of the authors, but on account of the matters to which they refer.
Reply to Objection 1.
of nations is indeed, in some way, natural
, in so far as he is a reasonable being, because it is derived from the natural law
by way of a conclusion that is not very remote from its premises. Wherefore men easily agreed thereto. Nevertheless it is distinct from the natural law
, especially it is distinct from the natural law
which is common to all animals.
The Replies to the other Objections are evident from what has been said.
Consider this: if the nation was the state, there would be no need for the construction “nation-state” to ever have been created. Furthermore, there would have been no need for economists to make the change from “Gross National Product”, which sums the economic activity of an entire nation regardless of the geographic location of the nationals, to “Gross Domestic Product”, which sums the economic activity of all the people within a specified geographic location.