There was a time in civilization when the only person who had a formal notion of "rights" was the king, but limits were imposed even there. Magna Carta is a major landmark in Western civilization where rights were negotiated between Barons and the King. With the US Declaration of Independence, we see an expansion of the notion of rights. Although not directly derived from Christianity, many of them were influenced by the Bible. For the most part, rights were considered few and precious, but this has been changing in recent times.
Some of what we inherited as a notion of rights is actually an inversion of moral logic. For example, (Saint) Patrick fought against slavery in 5th century Ireland, but his emphasis was that it was wrong to enslave people, but wronger(!) to sell a young Christian girl into slavery to a non-Christian society. I don't quite know where along the time line of history this got flipped around to the notion of a right not to be a slave, but that is the way it is now. Curiously, although today's San Francisco is world famous for rights, it is also notorious for the sex slave trade. Somehow there is a disconnect, but apparently the right to buy and sell young girls and the right to buy their services is also important to a large sector of the city.
What inspired this post was Ecuador's recent constitution which establishes "rights" for nature. The Los Angeles Times says that the new constitution provides for the right to "exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution". Huh? Eventually eating a hotdog is going to become a hate crime against mother nature. When does this get silly? The main thing to note here is that every time a new "right" is contrived, the value of the former rights is necessarily diminished. If the new rights conflict with and have higher legal standing than the former rights, then the former rights are downgraded if not fully eliminated. Rights of the environment, for example, conflict with property rights. Another curious feature, however, is that nature seems to be preserved best where property rights are respected. Communist countries are some of the worst offenders.
It will be interesting to see where this process leads next. Society seems to be getting increasingly disgruntled. The right to solve a grievance by demanding what you want, or maybe just violently taking isn't far from where we are at now.