This discrepancy in the view of the origin of rights is in my opinion the primary difference between the conservative and liberal philosophies, and continues to drive political debate around the world.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the difference between conservatives and liberals is a difference in understanding the origins of the rights of man. The conservative view of the Bill of Rights is that it is designed to protect the preexisting inalienable rights of man. It was also the position of the Founding Fathers that all men are endowed "with certain unalienable Rights," and that "among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Conservatives view rights as something that cannot be taken away from an individual, and that no matter what the ruling government says, the rights remain the same. Governments cannot eliminate rights if rights are inalienable; they can merely repress them and deny them.
Liberals on the other hand seem to believe that rather than protecting our rights, the Constitution grants them. They seem to believe that if the government were to, say, repeal the First Amendment, we would lose our right to free speech. In the same situation, conservatives would say that our right to free speech was being denied. I believe that this comes from the liberals' dim view of humanity. They deny that we could possibly be endowed with natural rights. Because they deny natural rights, they believe that government acts as the final arbitrator of individual rights. This is why they turn to the government to solve their problems, because they believe that since the government has granted them rights, then naturally it is the only entity capable of properly overcoming humanity's challenges.