Jan asks, "Why do people recognize rights?" He offers three possible answers: 1) People have an innate moral tendency or capacity to do so; 2) People are socialized to recognize rights; or 3) People can see the benefits of recognizing rights and act accordingly.
Jan dismisses 1) as irrelevant or "awfully dodgy," and 2) as too vague. He opts for 3), arguing that people can see the net benefits of buying into a regime where everyone's rights get equal respect.
I'm not wholly convinced. For one thing, I don't know why we have to choose between these reasons. They might all play some role in explaining why people respect rights. Indeed, I can imagine other reasons that we might add to Jan's list. Rights offer functionally useful social coordination devices, for instance, in a way that mere appeals to utility do not.
For another thing, Jan's third and favored reason surely cannot alone suffice to explain why people respect rights. In that event, the poor would have tend to have less respect for property rights than the rich, and even the rich would tend to steal whenever they could get away with it. Though I recognize it as a question of fact, I don't think that the available evidence supports that result. Rare malefactors notwithstanding, most folks appear to take rights pretty seriously.