Before we start, it is important, first to distinguish what a “right” is. Without a concept of what rights are, it is easy to attach them with things like; health care, education, housing etc. Those are not rights, as a right is not something that requires the implementation from others. Can we not see what position it puts those in who are the ones to provide those services? They become serfs.
A right is a moral principle, that comes about not because our emotions tell us that they should, but arises during a rational inquiry into mans nature. Such questions as; “What is mans means of survival?” “How is he to pursue the values required to sustain life his life?”
The answer: his rational faculty – the fundamental difference between man and all other living organisms.
In order to sustain life, we as humans, must use our minds. We have no claws, no fangs, no great strength relative to the majority of living creatures in the world. To obtain food we must hunt or grow it. Both require tools and a process of thought to make those tools. Even these basic necessities cannot be achieved by mere instinct. It is the reasoning mind that allowed man to build the first stone tools and the ipod. Man, not men. There is a distinct difference here – there is no such thing as a collective brain.
This leads us back to mans nature – and the nature of rights. Man must be free to use his own mind to dispose of his resources the way he and only he sees fit. No other man has the right to initiate force against others – depriving them of their means of survival. Rights are inalienable, which means nobody can violate the rights of others or possess rights that supersede someone else’s rights, which is why rights are granted to and only to the individual, not a group (men, women, gays, whites, blacks, asians).
Rights are only necessary in a social context, since that is what man is – a social animal. A man who values rights and wishes to respect the rights of others, uses reason to trade with other men, to increase the value of his life. Animals, on the other hand, only use force to sustain life. This is an important point to note – that the men who wished to live by the non-agression principle and respect rights, where the first men to start a rational society.
Applying rights to animals would be a contradiction and here is why; If a man kills another man, he has violated his rights and will be reprimanded accordingly. If a lion kills a zebra, that lion will not face the jungle judge and jury, since force is his means of survival, not reason. When men or groups of men (read: government) use force to make others act incongruent with their own judgment, it is the equivalent of declawing the lion and expecting him and all other animals to deal with one another by mutual agreement. We can see the logically fallacy plainly here, as force is an animals nature, therefore they have no concept of rights.
Rights are natural, not gifts from your political overlords, to be dispersed at whatever whim one wishes. They are unconditional, except for one instance – they are conditional only to man. Just as man needs a clear nervous system, proper food, movement and a reasoning mind to live a life by design – so to he needs rights, to pursue those ends by his choice only.