Our world is controlled by two forces. The natural law and the human law. The natural law controls our world by its own derivation from Nature. If I jump outside the window then I would die. This is natural law. It is a control on me. I cannot fly, this is also part of the natural law, it restricts me from doing something that I want to do. There is also the human law, it is a restriction imposed by other people. If a person wants to kill another person, another person or several other people would go after the attempted murderer and prevent him or at least try to prevent him from killing the innocent person. There is no natural law that would prevent one person from killing another but there is a human law that interferes with such an action. A major mistake that I have noticed that many people make is that they think (perhaps without even realizing) that human law can triumph over natural law. This is not true, human laws cannot change natural laws. Any attempt to do so would end up in failure.
The function of human law is to seek justice. We cannot rely on Nature because it is neither malevolent nor benevolent. But whenever we want to pass a law to attain justice we need to ask a question of whether it is in accordance with the natural law or not. If the law that we are passing is not in accordance with the natural law then the human law would be a failure. I will give two examples of what I mean.
Consider murder and a human law against murder. A large majority of people believe that without laws we would be killing ourselves. I admit I used to have the same view also when I was younger. Back here I wrote about how religions devalue human beings. Religion sees man as a terrible creature that would do anything evil if he can get away with it. What is also sad and devaluing of people is the belief that without laws people would be going around and killing each other. This is simply not true, in that link I demonstrated that human nature is mostly good. The sad thing is that a large majority of people all over the world actually believe that laws is what makes man good. Suppose that we get rid of all laws tomorrow. Would people be going in the streets and killing each other? No, of course not, that is a slippery slope. And to anyone who disagrees with me, I have a question for you. If there was no law tomorrow, would you be going around the street killing, pillaging, raping, and stealing? Of course not (what is also sad is that many atheists believe in that laws make people good, even though they are the first ones to say that humans do not need God's laws to be good). I do not deny that there would be an increase in crime, that will certainly happen, but nonetheless it will not be chaos all over the streets for the simple reason that human nature is not to do these things. My point of all of this is to explain why human laws against murder are successful (at least to a big degree). A law against murder in society is not contradicted by human nature, human nature is not to murder so when humans pass a law against murder they are not violating the natural law since it is not part of the natural law for humans to murder.
Now consider sex and a human law against sex. Assume that there is a country that decides to pass a law against people having sex before they are 21 years old. Unlike murder which is not part of the natural law, sex is part of the natural law. Humans are sex machines. It is part of human nature to have sex as much as they can. A human law against the natural law of humans having sex before 21 years old would be a complete failure. Human laws against sex would never work for they will always be contradicted by the natural law. This law would be the most failed law in all of history. Whenever a human law is passed we need to ask a question to whether or not this law is contradicted by the natural law. Do not misunderstand me I am not saying that if a human law is consistent with the natural law then it would be a just or a successful law, I am not saying that. I am saying the inverse of the statement, that is, I am saying that if a law is contradicted by the natural law then the human law is doomed to fail no matter what its just intentions even are. This would explain why the prohibition period that was present here in the United States during the 1920's was such a failure. Humans like themselves some alcohol, it is now part of the natural law for people to drink it, to pass a human law against that would not change human nature. It cannot undo what the natural law already dictated. This is why prohibition was a failure, and why crime arouse to supply the demand that people had.
We need to keep the distinction between the natural law and the human law in mind. Sometimes it is hard to see how a human law is contradicted by a natural law, I gave two simple examples above to make my point but I want to give a much more complicated example. This is something that would make a lot of people uncomfortable but as I said a free minded person will investigate this question even if it means being disliked by the masses. I am talking about child labor laws. I am opposed to child labor laws. Not because I support child labor but because I realize that any human attempt to prevent child labor would be contradicted by the natural law for the need to have child labor. Nearly everyone is against child labor. The rationale that people use is that child labor is wrong so we need to have laws against it. I certainly agree that child labor is not a pleasant condition. But the problem with "it is wrong so let us ban it" is that it not a very deep intellectual statement. No one ever asks the question of why the children are working in the first place. People just say that child labor is wrong and the discussion is over. But we need to ask more, we need to ask why children are working. Once we can understand that we would understand why child labor laws are a failure. What would ever make a family send their children to work in a factory? The answer is that the family (in these regions of the world which have child labor) is so unproductive, so poor, that their children working is the only way that they can make a small profit for themselves. There is a simple principle about human action which is very important to understand. If a person has several choices this person will choose what he thinks is the best for himself. Apply this principle to children working in factories. The family has at least two choices, either their children work in factories or their children do not work in factories. The fact that many poor families in this part of the world make the choice that their children should work implies that this is the better out of the choices that are available to them. Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying it is a good choice, I am saying it is the best from the bad choices that they have. The point that is being made is that child labor is part of the natural law. Thus, any human law passed against it is doomed to fail. Indeed, that is the case, laws against child labor has either made many families starve or made them go into child prostitution. As bad a working in a factory is I am sure we can agree that child prostitution is worse. Therefore, when a human law was passed to intervene with a natural law, it failed, and misdirected child labor elsewhere. The reason why we have no child labor here in the United States is not because we have laws against it as many people wrongly believe, but because there is no need for them. There is no natural law to have them. Our economy is productive enough that parents can support their children, and their children can play and do what children do. But if our economy was to collapse one day to an extremely low point then child labor would appear in the United States. It will happen regardless if there are child labor laws or not, these human laws would be all unsuccessful against the natural law.