Nobody has a clue as to what “rights” are. Government-run schools and an ignorance-peddling media have done their jobs well. People are (at best) stupid on the subject and (at worst) willfully malicious.
Most people think of “rights” as getting something for free. They think they have a “right” to free college; to health care; to a house; to retirement pensions; to child care; the list is endless. Note that everything deemed a “right” today is to be paid for by another (or by a Federal Reserve which inflates the currency to pay for its massive spending and borrowing).
You don’t have a RIGHT to anything other than sovereignty over your own life. What you do with that life is YOUR choice and YOUR responsibility. If you need or want help from someone, it’s your job to obtain it — through charity, persuasion, trading or any other VOLUNTARY means. You have no “right” to hire an armed gunman to get money or property from someone else just because you need it or want it, or just because they have more. But that’s what government has become in America, as in every prior collapsing civilization in human history. America is no longer special; our government has become a glorified Mafia.
You do not have a “right” to enslave another person. When you claim you have a right to “free” anything, then by definition you are authorizing the government to impose force to make that other person pay for it. That is NOT your right.
Ayn Rand, decades ago, gave a great description and definition of what a “right” actually is. Note how her framework is the utter opposite of the attitude now prevalent in America under America’s Marxist-fascist hybrid horror show.
Rand wrote: A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)
The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.
Michael J. Hurd/Ayn Rand