Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

If a government is to ‘do equal and exact justice to all men,’ it must do simply that, and nothing more. If it does more than that to any, — that is, if it gives monopolies, privileges, exemptions, bounties, or favors to any, — it can do so only by doing injustice to more or less others. It can give to one only what it takes from others; for it has nothing of its own to give to any one. The best that it can do for all, and the only honest thing it can do for any, is simply to secure to each and every one his own rights, — the rights that nature gave him, — his rights of person, and his rights of property; leaving him, then, to pursue his own interests, and secure his own welfare, by the free and full exercise of his own powers of body and mind; so long as he trespasses upon the equal rights of no other person.