Individual rights: A "right" is a moral concept that connotes an individual's freedom in a social setting. Since life requires self-sustaining action, and since without life nothing else is possible, then one's ownership of one's own life is the fundamental right from which all other rights stem.

The right to life means that one must be free to act according to one's judgment to sustain one's life. Notice that this right (like any legitimate right) imposes no obligation on other people. Your right to life doesn't obligate your neighbor to put food in your mouth or slap clothes on your body.

The function of rights is to keep society from riding roughshod over the individual. For example, even if 99.9% of the people believe that you should not own your house--it's still your house. You have property rights, no matter what "the people" say. But notice that your right to own property is a right to take action--i.e., to earn property and to keep it. It doesn't force anyone else to provide you with any particular object.

Individual rights are inalienable--which means, they were not  transferred to you by anyone or any government. The state didn't give you rights nor can they, morally, take them away (except for someone who violates another person's rights, i.e., a criminal).

America's Founding Fathers, unfortunately, tied individual rights to their own belief in a creator. But human beings have rights due to their nature as rational entities, regardless of whether they were created or evolved. One need not believe in the supernatural to derive the concept of rights (in fact, a belief in the supernatural tends to undermine rights).

There are no rights to specific things that others produce, only the right to take action. You do not, for example, have the "right to a job," which is term bandied about by politicians. If you did have such a right, that would impose an obligation on someone else to provide you a job (since they don't grow on trees), meaning that some employer just lost his right to liberty. You do have the right to look for a job (an action) and to ask someone to hire you (an action) and to accept or decline (actions) any terms you may be offered. But all that falls under the heading of your right to liberty, not the right to a job.
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Read: 'Man's Rights' in "The Virtue of Selfishness"
Essay: "Brother's Keeper: The Wrong Defense of Rights."
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