With Independence Day just around the corner, I was reminded at the recent Coastal Community Association annual meeting of the difference between Natural Law and statutes.
The prompt was a discussion about an exception to the general restrictions of the very much-needed May 2015 Leave No Trace (LNT) ordinance.
Within the LNT is an exception to the general rule of not leaving umbrellas, coolers, folding chairs and such on the beach overnight. For a $100 permit, beachgoers may leave these items and more on the beach for up to a week. The idea was to accommodate tents and equipage for larger events like weddings and family reunions.
Well, a gulf front property owner at the meeting didn’t think this was “right.” He used the word, “prostitution,” as in prostitution of the law. It was wrong, said he, that $100 bought a way around the law. If the law was right, it should apply equally to all, always.
Like any statute, LNT is designed to promote the general welfare, the better good of the community. Without it, our beaches would be piled high with discarded beach toys and equipment. The trash was getting out of control and represented a safety hazard to man and nesting sea turtles alike before Gulf County Commissioners stepped up and dealt with the problem.
Also, like any law, the LNT was a compromise. Some commissioners were advised against passage, while the constituents of another were disappointed with its laxity.
The larger point is that “right,” or “wrong” has nothing to do with LNT, or its $100 permit for week-long staging of equipment for special events. Like the rest of the law, the permit provision is merely another compromise, and a reasonable one that provides an exception to the general rule.
The overall intent of law remains, and the permit holder must remove beach gear by the end of the permit term. The beach is for the use of all, and the duty of Gulf County Commissioners is to set the envelope for reasonable use.
When we use the word, “right,” we imply laws superior to man-made statutes. Our Founders recognized these laws as the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. Being all equal before Him, it naturally follows that no one may unjustly take the life of another, deprive anyone of liberty, or interfere in the pursuit of anyone’s happiness.
When laws made by citizens deprive fellow citizens of the protection of God’s laws, well, bad things happen. Just ask King George III. Such laws are unjust, they are “wrong,” and have no place in the statute-books of any government.
So, while I understand the gulf-front property owner’s point, neither the $100 permit, nor the rest of the LNT infringes the Laws of Nature or Nature’s God; as such, the LNT as written cannot be wrong.
Port St. Joe