Rights are self-evident? Harsh criticisms started as early as 1791!
“However, despite the tremendous appeal of the idea of human rights, it is also seen by many as being intellectually frail — lacking in foundation and perhaps even in coherence and cogency. The remarkable co-existence of stirring appeal and deep conceptual scepticism is not new. The American Declaration of Independence took it to be ‘self-evident’ that everyone is ‘‘endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights’’, and 13 years later, in 1789, the French declaration of ‘the rights of man’ asserted that ‘‘men are born and remain free and equal in rights’’. But it did not take Jeremy Bentham long to insist, in Anarchical Fallacies, written during 1791–1792, that ‘‘natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights [an American phrase], rhetorical nonsense, nonsense upon stilts’’ (Bentham, 1792/1843, p. 501)”
Human Rights and Capabilities AMARTYA SEN