The one Right men naturally possess and will willingly cede to government is the Right of Self-Defense, what Locke called the “Executive Power.”
In the absence of government, men possess the moral power to
(1) prevent violations of their lives, liberties and possessions,
(2) punish offenders, and
(3) obtain restitution for inflicted injuries.
To avoid the anarchy of a beastly jungle, men agree not to take the law into their own hands, but to rely on a firm rule of law to settle all disputes and right all wrongs. This turns government into a protector.
Government can exceed their morally permissible authority by switching roles from protector to provider, why is that? Because whenever Congress confers special benefits on SOME it necessarily denies equal protection under the law to ALL. From a Constitutional perspective, government can promote the “General Welfare” only insofar as it provides for the “Common Defense.” Otherwise, the general welfare, aside, it merely helps some and harms others.
From a fuller Lockean perspective, it can be said: where there is Socialist redistribution, there is a deprivation of Liberty and Property. Where there is Welfare (corporate subsidies or social entitlements), there is Socialism. Is the U. S. a working, Lockean republic? Since over 75¢ of every federal dollar Washington spends serves purely redistributive purposes, as a Protector Washington is merely moonlighting.