Natural rights are universal in scope and binding on human behavior just like the physical laws of nature. The concept of natural right can be compared to that of legal right. A natural right is one that is deemed to exist even when it is not enforced by government or society, while a legal right is specifically enforced by government or society (Wikipedia, 2007). The question of which rights are natural and which rights are legal is important in philosophy and politics. Critics of natural rights argue that all human rights are legal rights and that natural rights do not exist, whereas the proponents of natural rights state that the founding documents like the American Declaration of Independence make natural rights valid by implication (Wikipeda, 2007).
The question of whether there are natural rights is debatable since there are various perspectives on this subject. There have been different philosophers who have created different lists of rights which they consider to be natural. For instance, John Locke, a prominent Western philosopher, stated that a man’s natural rights are life, liberty and property. On the contrary, Thomas Paine emphasized that rights cannot be granted to an individual because in that case they can also be revoked, making them privileges (Wikipedia, 2007).
Private property is any property that does not belong to the public. It can be under the control fo a single individual or by a group of individuals. John Locke advanced one of the most popular natural rights definitions of property rights. He stated that natural right to property is acquired by an individual who mixes his labor with nature, and gains ownership of that part of nature with which the labor is mixed subject to the condition that there is enough left in common for others (Wikipedia, 2007).
Locke believed that the only reason for the existence of government is to preserve natural rights and, by extension, man’s happiness and security. John Locke provided one of the...