I think that some of the differences in view in your conversation might amount to the use of terms.
“ Entitlements in America at least could be summed up I suppose as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
I see that as natural right… confident that most would quickly agree.
Entitlement, however, might have a distinct difference. I suggest that entitlements are those “granted” by man’s law, generally. The term is not absolutely clear, but I believe in general usage… it points to man’s law… perhaps there is another, better term?
I would seek to differentiate true rights from entitlements on that basis.
For clarity, one might talk about “my natural right” or “God-given right” on the one hand, and then a “state granted entitlement” on the other.
Ex: If you pay for police, you are entitled to their protection…
If you exist, you have a natural right to live.
That’s generally how I differentiate anyway.