Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
"True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero
Women in Iran don't have as many "rights" as they do in the USA... why? It is a societal concept, that is why. Women there certainly have the "ability" to not wear veils, but they don't have the "right" to not wear one, if they had that right, they would not be persecuted when they didn't wear one, for example.
People have the right to live, to remain free and to own property. People do not have the right to take any of those away, in the USA. They can and do, but, as you said, there is a consequence. That does not mean that they have the "right" to take them away, they are simply acting in accordance with the State of Nature. They are not evolved enough to comply with the Social Contract. They react against the concept of rights of man.
If there is no society, then there is no law. If you build a house in ancient Siberia and a group comes along and kills you and takes your house, that is that. You had the right to build it, but not the "right", or the backing, to maintain and preserve it against those that might take it. Without government, or societal back-up, there are no "rights".
That is my take on it...
If so, it simply cannot be a social construct.
Even if consequences are rendered for engaging in the right, it does not negate the existence of said right. Primarily because the ability to exercise the right will still exist. It will just have consequences.
I would say that the "entitlement" aspect is what rights can be freely exercised. Certain rights are deemed by a specific society to be ones where people are entitled to freely exercise those rights.
The confusing aspect is that there are rights and then there are "rights". Rights can be associated with rights and wrongs, more or less... but "rights", what we are discussing, to the best of my understanding, are social constructs. We all have the right to do anything within our ability, but we do not have the "right" to engage in hate speech. We can, and many do, but the infringe on others "rights" and they face consequences.
While his language is....colorful George Carlin said it best I think when it came to peoples "rights". Before ou play this video...Beware! Foul language is in it! Do not let your kids watch it if you care about language!
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E"]YouTube - YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS - George Carlin[/ame]
I have an answer for everything...you may not like the answer or it may not satisfy your curiosity..but it will still be an answer. ~ Kal'Stang
My mind and my heart are saying I'm in my twenties. My body is pointing at my mind and heart and laughing its ass off. ~ Kal'Stang