James just said "Utilitarians don't believe in rights." Glen and I just grunted in unison. It may be that utilitarians don't believe in natural rights, but one can be a utilitarian, in the broadest sense, and still argue that a particular set/bundle of rights will lead to the greatest good, or put better, will have consequences that (virtually) all will think are good. Or put somewhat differently, it may be that a system in which individuals have very strong rights is a system that generates the best consequences (i.e., is best from a utilitarian point of view). The rights, and their strength, are derived from the consequences they generate, which requires significant dollops of empirical/historical evidence about what "works" and what doesn't.
James just got pretty close by saying that utilitarians might believe that people should act "as if" they have natural rights if such rights, empirically, lead to the maximization of happiness. Why not just say people have "rights" (strong rights) rather than pretend "as if" they are natural?