Comment: Mental Construct

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Mental Construct

I believe it behooves us to first recognize that "rights" are merely a construct of the mind (which requires the ability to conceptualize). Without the ability to conceive, there are no such things as rights (civil, natural, or otherwise).
I believe "natural right" might be considered as existing by natural logical deductive reasoning, stemming from the auspices of "fairness / equality / respect". Meaning, if we accept that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights, then invariably you will end up with our human/natural rights. Take away the premiss of fairness / equality / respect, and you have no rights at all... only privileges granted by those with power (biggest gun wins / law of the jungle).
As somebody said so well below, rights are only as good as our ability to defend them... individually or collectively. The union of people (a state/nation/band/society) exist for the purpose of enforcing the respect of each others rights. An anarchist environment does not enforce the respecting of rights, in which case the concept of rights may just as well not exist.
As for animals, IMO, humans could assign them privileges, and call them rights (color of right). But unless they can conceive of, and collectively work to protect this concept of rights, they simply don't have any...