I was having a debate with a friend of mine on whether or not human rights exist and if they do, where they come from. He argued that human rights do not exist and that they are artificial constructs that are created by governments. He argued that our rights are created by the government and without the government to protect said rights, they would not exist.
Conversely, I argued that our rights are natural and exist regardless of whether or not a particular government protects or disrespects these rights. As examples, I cited human sociology, namely natural self-preservation. This eventually led to me posing a philosophical question to him, which I would like to pose to you all as well.
Food for Thought
Have you considered that rather than being entities which grant freedoms, governments are instead entities that infringe upon them? Some governments have chosen to take precautions in order to best ensure that some rights are never infringed upon, a prime example being the United States Constitution.
While some argue that government isn't a natural body, let's assume for a minute that it is. Let's assume that the government is a natural organ that develops out of sapient societies, be this the United States or an African tribe, there is a system of organization, a government, if you will.
So I ask you, what is the natural purpose of this organ? Is it to control the people and constantly restrict them under the auspices of "keeping us safe" and/or people being "too stupid" to make their own decisions? Or does this organ exist solely to perform the necessary functions in order to ensure those who violate the three basic rights (life, liberty and property) are punished?
Feel free to pose any additional questions and/or statements on the role of government, whether or not it is natural or an artificial construct, etc.