Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Natural Law Right to Work - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4
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The Natural Law Right to Work - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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The Natural Law Right to Work
“The Right to Work—A Constitutional and Natural Law Perspective.” The Journal of Social and Political Affairs 1 (July 1976): 215–243.
The natural law approach can illuminate the legal status of work in a free society. The conclusions reached are: (1) A natural-law right to work does exist. (2) The United States Constitution was designed to protect natural-law rights, including the right to work. (3) Currently, the natural right to work suffers from fallacious consitutional interpretation. The right to work is treated as the right to engage in voluntary work (i.e., no one should prevent one's working nor ought anyone be forced to employ another).
The natural law defines an ethical system that deduces its norms of human conduct from the nature of man. Under natural law, the good for man is to seek his perfection by living his life consistent with his natural essence. Deducing natural-law rights from man's essential attributes, we focus on man's life, action, rationality, free will, autonomy, sociability, individuality, and metaphysical equality.
Two necessary corollaries of man's essential attributes are his self-ownership and his right to freedom from aggression. The natural right of self-ownership entitles us to do anything we choose except violate another person's right of self-ownership through aggression. Aggressive acts include the unjustified use of force or fraud against another's person or legitimate property. Natural law considers when it is permissible for individuals to resort to force. In effect, to claim a natural-law right to do something is to assert that we are morally entitled to use force against anyone who would interfere with our freedom to do that very thing.
Work, within a natural law context, is a natural right almost by definition. Work means those actions we perform to maximize our existence as humans. Since everyone has the natural right to perfect his own natural essence, it follows that work is a natural right. Work includes using previously owned resources, exchanging such justly acquired resources or property, and exchanging one's services in an employment relationship.
The American Constitution, influenced by such natural rights philosophers as John Locke, guaranteed such freedoms through the Bill of Rights which protects property and the right to labor in the above defined sense. However, legal protection of the natural-law right to work has been violated repeatedly in America through occupational registration, job licensure, state regulation of employment contracts, state and federal labor laws, and prohibitions of contracts in which employers forbid employees from joining unions. The root of these violations of a natural-law right to work is the fallacy behind government police powers that aggress against individual rights in the name of the common good.