“Surely you’re not against liberty, equality, and fraternity?!” you ask. Well, no, not necessarily – depending on what you mean by those terms. The trouble is that though some of the ideas that commonly go under those labels are good, others are very bad. But the good and bad frequently get mixed together, so that it is assumed that if you accept liberty, equality, or fraternity in one sense, you have to accept them in the other senses as well.
Political authority, on the natural law conception, was originally an extension of paternal authority, with the earliest rulers being patriarchs or fathers of tribes and nations, analogous to the fathers who governed nuclear families. As nations got larger and the relationships between citizens less personal, heads of countries naturally came to seem “father”-like in only the loosest way, and the consent of and input from the governed came to play an increasingly prominent role in governance. This is perfectly appropriate given subsidiarity (again, to be discussed below). But the essentially organic nature of society, and the need for each part to be in solidarity with the others, does not change.