The American radical individualist legal theorist and abolitionist Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) argued in his pamphlet on Natural Law (1882) that:
The science of mine and thine —– the science of justice —– is the science of all human rights; of all a man’s rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person. It is the science of peace; and the only science of peace; since it is the science which alone can tell us on what conditions mankind can live in peace, or ought to live in peace, with each other.
About this Quotation:
Spooner’s distinction between natural law and legislation brings to mind two other theorists. Before Spooner began writing there was Thomas Hodgskin (1787-1869) who made the distinction between “natural and artificial rights”, the latter being created by government usually to favour special interests. After Spooner there was Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992), the Nobel Prize winning Austrian economist, who distinguished between “law” and “legislation” – the former with some approval, the latter with distain and warnings.