Say you had a next-door neighbour named Sam who abuses his dog. Sometimes his dog comes to your property to seek refuge, but he just crosses right over the property line, retrieves his dog, and keeps beating it. When you confront Sam about his behaviour, he claims it’s justified because he fed and trained the dog when it was a puppy. Also, he says, there’s ten more dogs at the pound waiting to be adopted, and if his ungrateful dog runs away he’ll just get a replacement and it’s no skin off his back. In fact, Sam says, he’s a hero because those dogs at the pound might die if they don’t get adopted.
Well sure, I guess Sam is right about one thing: he’s unlikely to suffer much harm if his dog runs away. But you can’t seriously argue that Sam’s ability to abuse his dog without repercussions makes that abuse moral. And that assessment doesn’t change whether the pound has a hundred dogs waiting for adoption, or a thousand dogs, or no dogs at all.
And clearly this argument holds a fortiori when we are discussing the relationship of free human beings to the governments they institute, rather than dogs to their masters. But Homelanders often like to pretend that their country’s large population or high number of immigrants & naturalised citizens make it perfectly acceptable to abuse emigrants and renunciants, or to ignore their concerns. A fairly typical example is this recent comment by a law professor trying to “justify” the U.S. government’s violation of American emigrants’ fundamental right to renounce citizenship:
A bit of picking and choosing of numbers to made things sound dramatic. In 2013, 750 Americans renounced citizenship. That’s 1/3 of 1% of the traffic through LAX (LA International Airport) on a single day. At that rate, assuming no births or deaths or in-migration, we’ll run out of Americans in 4 million years.
Then Sam threatens the neighbours’ dogs too
Next, emboldened by the lack of response to his beatings of his own dogs whether on his own property or his neighbours’ properties, Sam claims the right to beat your dogs too on the theory they’re really his dogs, because your dog was a puppy of a dog adopted from Sam or your dog’s mother hid under Sam’s porch when it was giving birth, and you never paid Sam $2,350 to get a formal notification certificate proving that your dogs don’t belong to him.
However, Sam says he won’t actually need to beat your dogs if he can just look in your window to keep an eye on them. He says steaks are going missing from his house, and he just wants to make sure his dogs aren’t misbehaving and stealing his steaks.
Should you let Sam look in your windows, even if he promises he’ll just check up on the dogs and not peep at your daughter in the shower? Of course not. Anyone with the slightest bit of self-respect would press charges. If Sam’s earlier actions of beating his dogs weren’t already criminal, invading his neighbours’ privacy definitely is, and someone with that little respect for his neighbours is a menace to everyone on the street.
And once again, the morality of Sam’s actions has zero relation to the number of dogs at the pound waiting for adoption, or the number of people who want to buy a house on your street, or how good-looking people think Sam is, or any other such irrelevancies.
At what point does it become the fault of all the dog owners on the street for not stopping Sam?
But suppose you don’t call the police. Not only that, you foolishly lend your lawnmower to Sam, because if you don’t he might let his lawn get overgrown and then property prices in the whole neighbourhood would suffer, and besides that he offers to pay you couple of bucks every time he uses your lawnmower.
Next, Sam catches an animal that really was stealing steaks from his house. It turns out he wasn’t lying about the thefts. Of course, the animal Sam caught was one of his own home-grown fat cats, rather than his neighbour’s dog, but that doesn’t matter in Sam’s logic: now he says if you don’t let him into your house any time he wants to check up on your dog or beat it, he won’t give you back your lawnmower.
At this point, it’s your own fault and you should write off your lawnmower entirely. If you’re lucky, maybe your dogs will bark at Sam next time he comes by, and scare him away. It might take them a few tries before they succeed, of course. But the fact that they’re even making an effort just proves that the dogs have more dignity than their human protector.