@Gav and Gordon 11
OK - I take your point re rights on a pragmatic basis. Let's substitute the word "freedom" for "rights".
In a totally anarchic (proper meaning thereof) world/country/state, I would be free to strangle those who piss me off, as there is no authority to stop me, but it could not be said that I had the "right" so to do, as the lack of authority means there is no-one in a position to define or confer those freedoms as a "right".
Societies historically develop as a group of like-minded individuals coming together with a consensus regarding which "freedoms" are to be surrendered, which "freedoms" are to be protected (i.e. become 'rights') and to define those areas where the common good has a higher priority than individual good. These rules become known as "the law".
Human nature being what it is, societies have found it necessary to allot to some people the purpose of ensuring that the society members abide by the agreed (i.e. consensus) rules. These are police/law enforcement - call it what you like. Then there are those whose allotted function is to administer the mechanics of the society:- i.e. civil service, local council etc., etc.
The larger and more complex the society, the greater the need for (and numbers needed) of specialists in a specific are. The real danger is - and we see this worldwide - when a group of specialists, such as law enforcers, or rule administrators decide that for reasons of self-interest, they will subtly amend the rules or even re-interpret them to their own benefit. This would also include receiving corrupt inducement to do the same for the benefit of another minority self-interested pressure group.
Societies have also varied in their intrinsic make-up: the continental norm tending towards "Everything is forbidden except that which is expressly permitted" whereas in Great Britain, the subtle but vital difference has been our rules are more based upon "Everything is permitted except that which is expressly forbidden."
Many of my freedoms have been conferred as rights by documents such as Magna Carta in 1215, Habeas Corpus Act 1679, the Bill of Rights in 1689 and others.
Society is - or rather should be - for the benefit of the individuals who comprise it. It is emphatically not for the benefit of a small clique who confer upon themselves the "right" to treat the other members as little more than tax-fodder or milch cows, which is unfortunately the situation towards which we have drifted for far too long.
end of rant!