I don't believe in natural rights; that is, I don't believe in any conception of natural rights that I've heard thus far.
What is your conception of natural rights, and what is the basis of that conception?
I hope you don't mind that I joined your group.
Why do I believe in natural rights? The idea of natural rights came out of the philosophical discussion of natural law. Natural law differs from legislation because it is not fabricated but discovered. It exists as part of the universe, just as the physical laws of gravity, etc, exist. Natural laws differ from physical laws in that they relate to human interaction. And, as far as I can tell, they provide the basis for a peaceful human society. They identify natural human inclinations, such as the desire to control things. Natural rights identify human rights that, when recognized as belonging to every human person, enable society to function in a more peaceful way.
So, for example, there are various natural rights that address property. These rights identify the ways that allow persons to own their own lives, persons, and goods. They provide the guidelines for peaceful interactions, such as buying, selling, bartering, giving, etc. Those laws that lead to peace are called moral, while those that lead to conflict are called immoral.
If human society, or some portion of it, does not recognize these human rights which are natural and not manmade, peaceful interaction becomes impossible. Then we have a society that is animal, where there is no morality, but only brute force.
Sketpik, I'm glad you brought up this question. I've never really actually THOUGHT about the question, because I always figured it was something that just made sense; something inarguable, like 2 + 2 equaling four. But perhaps I should start thinking about this.
I'd say in my limited amount of thinking about this question, that humans by nature pursue their self interests - It is in one's self-interest to pursue their interests in such a manner that benefits other parties that are involved (exchange) in order to increase quality of life for all. When intervention (through labor abuses, theft, crime, murder, government) occurs, these rights are taken away, and it turns into a zero-sum game. Such violations tend to be corrected over time by the preferences and values of others involved, however when further intervention takes place, such preferences cannot correct the problem, and even more problems erupt.
By the way, what is the argument behind not believing in natural rights?
All rights are property rights: