"natural law." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. [/break1]merriam-webster.com]http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (25 Jul. 2009).
Main Entry: natural law Pronunciation Guide
1 : a body of law derived from nature and binding upon human society in the absence of or in addition to institutional law: as a : the principles of justice discernible (as by the Stoics) by right reason b : JUS GENTIUM c : the part of divine law discernible (as by the Scholastics) to reason but not directly revealed d : a set of principles derived from an analysis of human societies and based (as by 18th century rationalists) principally upon certain natural rights having prior validity to institutional law e : the body of rules or customs derived from the general development of mankind and essential to the maintenance of human society
2 : a specific principle belonging to the total body of natural law
3 : LAW OF NATURE
I could go with 1e
for the purpose of defining "citizen" or with 3
for defining something outside human society, although "law of nature" is exceedingly hard to define even though I use the idea all the time. The laws of nature keep changing the more that we learn. It was not so long ago that we believed that the atom was indivisible. A bit earlier we were sure that the homunculus derived only from the male and was simply implanted in the female.
What we thought was "human nature" has varied (evolved?) across the centuries. Sometimes I think that Ursula Le Guin has more of a handle on human nature than does an entire herd of anthropologists and sociologists, because she sees far into our future with the lens of our past. In any event, it is possible and maybe desirable to view "natural law" as a purely human project, a work in progress. Incidentally, that idea of natural law as being in the process of being discovered is entirely compatible with the idea of a Creator. The idea is that we humans are in the business of learning the language of God. That view is very different from the top-down view that jedipauly takes.
Another problem with jedipauly's argument is that he sees only two forms of government, that of a monarchy and that which is something like a republic or a republican democracy. For most of human history, we have had neither kings nor republics. That was indeed a false choice that jedipauly presented us.
Well suppose you have a moral view that counts future people as being worth as much as present people. ... A human life is a human life. -- Nick Bostrom