Edmund Burke and Aquinas’s Treatise on Law

The Edmund Burke Society studies and propagates the thought of Edmund Burke as a natural law conservatism. The Society insists that Burke’s political philosophy does not make sense without the underpinning of classical natural law crucially influenced by St Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law, but going back through the Church Fathers to Cicero, Aristotle and Plato.

As we witness in Australia the grip on politics and society by those subscribing to Marxism and its outgrowths of identity politics and postmodernism, an understanding of natural law and its application has never been more necessary. Conservatives must be able to argue the existences of objective standards, a correct understanding of society, and the prescriptive nature of settled arrangements.

For this purpose I have abridged Aquinas’s long Treatise on Law to highlight the main points of Natural Law and Human Law:

AQUINAS TREATISE ON LAW abridged

Gerard Wilson

Thomistic Natural Law and its influence on Edmund Burke

The Edmund Burke Society’s second seminar on the Natural Law took place at the RACV Club Melbourne on Tuesday 7 March. The focus was on St Thomas Aquinas’s writings on law in his Summa Theologica. The seminar was again most enjoyable lasting three hours incorporating the reading of talking points and wide-ranging discussion, between the serving and partaking of food and drink in the RACV’s Bistro.

Of course, we could only cover the surface of Thomas’s explanation and arguments as they appear in Summa Theologica, but that was enough to keep us going. The subject of the classical realist metaphysics that lay behind the treatise on law would remain for another time.

See here for the readings and talking points: Presentation Natural Law seminar2

The talking points and discussions brought us to an appreciation of Thomas’s masterly synthesis of the work of the preceding philosophers of Natural Law. There was also the crucial demonstration that unaided reason could arrive at moral and political conclusions and determinations, though those conclusions and determinations were confirmed in divine law, that is, in the Scriptures. Continue reading “Thomistic Natural Law and its influence on Edmund Burke”