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Politics

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What is the Natural Law Party?

By Jason C. Chavis
Updated: May 17, 2024

The Natural Law Party is a political party based around the ideology and philosophy of transcendental meditation. While it is primarily one of the minor American political parties, it has representation in dozens of nations around the world. Using the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the transcendental meditation movement in the 20th century, the party focuses on the politics of change as well as certain religious values associated with the movement. Although this party unsuccessfully ran many political campaigns throughout the United States, it has gained limited success in the Maharishi's home country of India.

Founded in 1992, the Natural Law Party took root in Fairfield, Iowa. It was initially established separately from the official transcendental meditation movement, but quickly gained a reputation for coordinating between many believers of the practice and its political ambitions. Through a system of paid and volunteer members, it garnered the thousands of signatures nationwide to become a federally-recognized political party the same year, qualifying for federal campaign funds. Many of the early candidates were previously associated with the Republican Party.

In the US, the Natural Law Party gained its largest success in the late 1990s with the presidential candidate John Hagelin. He was able to gain ballot access in 48 states and received 0.12 percent of the nationwide vote in 1996. During the next cycle, it attempted to merge with the Reform Party, another small political party. When this attempt failed, it was basically disbanded on the nationwide scale in 2004.

In other countries, the Natural Law Party has made more headway in political fields. The party gained a single seat in the National Assembly of India in 1998. In the United Kingdom, numerous candidates were nominated for office throughout the late 1990s. Although none gained membership in Parliament, the Natural Law Party successfully raised millions of pounds in financing. Other nations such as Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Canada also had strong political parties during this period, but they failed to gain government seats as well.

There are many platforms which the Natural Law Party adopts, which it intends to use on a nationwide and possibly worldwide level. Among the most notable is its plan to establish yogic flyers, individuals who succeed at extensive meditation techniques that the party claims will reduce crime and poverty. It also wants to lower taxes and establish meditation in schools. In addition, it plans on banning the process of genetic engineering and moving towards an organic infrastructure for farming and food production.

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Discussion Comments
By stl156 — On Oct 18, 2011

I enjoy debating the simple fact of whether or not third parties are meaningful at all in the United States. Our political system does not allow third parties to succeed, unlike in most countries that have a multi-party state.

Parties like the Natural Law Party know that it is nearly impossible for them to get a candidate elected due to their lack of funds and influence, like the Democratic and Republican parties have. That is why they take whatever victories they can get, which can include simply being on a ticket and making sure that their political platform is well known.

It is a little ignorant to say that they have no influence, because they are an official political party and are able to run in national elections, at least until they disbanded. For most third parties to be able to run in a national election is as good as it will get and even though they only got about .12 percent of the vote in one election it still means that they obtained 60 to 70 thousand votes.

This means that tens of thousands of people liked them and agreed with their views. This may not sound like much on the large scale of things, but it still shows that they had a decent amount of influence.

By jmc88 — On Oct 17, 2011

I see the Natural Law Party as a third party that knows they will have little success in the United States trying to get people elected to office, but they know that they can try and at least get their ideas out there.

I am sure that when they lack the funds and the popularity as the Democratic and Republican parties they know that they are only running a candidate to try and make changes and to try and make a difference.

Although they may not succeed in elections I think that they're approach is something that is more in tune with what politics should be, in that they try to simply address the issues and make differences instead of simply trying to get individuals elected to office.

This party does have success in other countries where third parties are much more successful, and it is unfortunate that they are not able to do so because of the political system in the United States. It should be apparent that because of their success in other countries that they are a successful party with a large voting base and that their ideas do appeal to many people.

By matthewc23 — On Oct 17, 2011

@cardsfan27 - Although it does seems like third parties in the United States have very little influence, they are at least able to bring up their political platform and at least try and make changes for the good of the country.

Although they may be failures at getting someone elected to office, they can attract a base of voters that appeal to their ideas and ask for these changes to occur. Even some Democratic and Republican politicians may take a look at third parties, like the Natural Law Party, and like some of their ideas and adopt them as their own.

Although this party was not successful in getting people elected to office, I feel that their influence is very well known, especially considering that they do well in other countries that have a multi-party political system.

By cardsfan27 — On Oct 16, 2011

Although the Natural Law Party seems like they may have some influence, looking at election results they do not seem to be a very influential party on the national scale.

Looking at their attempted merger with the Reform Party, which for a time was the most influential third party, they were trying to gain as much influence as possible by trying to merge with a party that could only hope to get five percent of the vote in a national election.

Looking at things like this shows me how little influence they actually have in our party system. Although it may be entirely different in other countries the Natural Law Party is simply another Third Party that failed to have influence on the national level, much like almost every Third Party in the United States.

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