I think what you're saying is quite right. I had remained somewhat confused on this subject until I read an essay by Ed Griffin. It's very concise and a useful reference when one gets involved in discussions on the subject. He arrived at basically the same conclusions as you. See:
On page 10 of the article:
"1. THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Rights are not tangible entities that can be viewed or measured. They are abstract concepts held in the human mind. They are whatever men agree they are at a given time and place.........."
and page 11:
"RIGHTS ARE WON ON THE BATTLEFIELD
In societies that have been sheltered for many generations from war and revolution, it is easy to forget that rights are secured by military power. They may be handed to the next generation as a gift, but they always are obtained on the battlefield. The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution is a classic example. The men who drafted that document were
able to do so only because they represented the thirteen states that defeated the armies of Great Britain. Had they lost the War of Independence, they would have had no opportunity to write a Bill of Rights or anything else except letters of farewell before their execution. Unfortunately, Mao Zedong was right when he said that political power grows from the barrel of a gun...."
I had better add, since I have removed this from it's context, that Ed is not advocating armed revolt. His basic philosophy is "Why fight City Hall, when you can BE City Hall.
Thanks for raising the subject. I think generally, it's poorly understood and seldom thought about.
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