Stories by Colin Burke

Burke to Basics


Several, or more, articles on the natural law in issues of The New Oxford Review during 2012, written by learned persons with academic degrees, utterly overlooked the two or three self-evident principles which one can clearly see upon reflection as upholding almost the entire framework of traditional morals: Persons deserve the effects of what they do; No one can be judge in his own case; and The servant is not greater than his master. One might feel inclined to say also it is self-evident that no process can be more important than its purpose, but attending to a well-founded protest can dissuade one from thus dogmatically adding to the list. However that may be, whether we hold that our existence ought to serve a good purpose or that our pursuing a purpose mainly serves to make us good, the purpose of human existence, so far as natural reason can discover it, seems to be that beings made of matter should see realities not made of matter and reflect them fittingly in matter to ennoble matter itself through its own performance of justice, so that the material creation should in at least a part of it deserve to be conscious of deserving to enjoy what is good – or else to endure what it must incur if rejecting what is good.

Rational application of those simple principles will in every instance uphold the whole framework of traditional morality. Men’s not being allowed to judge themselves worthy to marry requires us to submit to the judgement of a woman. Anyone’s desire to be a parent must be submitted to the judgement of another, who will be required to take up parental responsibilities on which a prospective spouse may default. People who do what makes people parents deserve to be parents and to incur all the duties, including keeping their children alive, to which their doing what makes people parents will naturally give rise.

Get all 14 essays …