Nor could any man in the state of nature, have a right to violate the property of another; that is, what another had acquired by his act or labor; or to interrupt him in his industry and enjoyments, as long as he himself was not injured by that industry and those enjoyments. No man therefore could transfer to the magistrate that right which he had not himself.

—John Trenchard. Cato’s Letters No. 60, All government proved to be instituted by men, and only to intend the general good of men, Saturday, January 6, 1722.

Socialists in democratic countries claim that what they do is legitimate and fair because a majority of voters authorized it. The problem is that forms of government that violate property lack moral legitimacy. When legal fictions are created that attempt to clothe the violation of property in legitimacy, they fail in the eyes of the natural law. For an act of government to be legitimate, it must not violate the basic tenets of natural law. The natural law is not a concoction of mankind—capable of being rewritten to justify our actions—it is as much a revelation of our reason as the discovery that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove