Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

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Exiles

Imagine a man who washes up on a desert island. He has all he needs, but then new people arrive on what he thinks of as ‘his island’. We can identify at least 4 different kinds of cases that each demand a different response: Colonists -…

Imagine a man who washes up on a desert island. He has all he needs, but then new people arrive on what he thinks of as ‘his island’. We can identify at least 4 different kinds of cases that each demand a different response: Colonists - people who come to take over. He would reject any rights they claimed absolutely if he understood that they came to take ownership away from him. Holiday-makers - people who come, but not to stay. They would be his guests, but he would want them to behave appropriately. They can go home - they are here for their pleasure (not to build a world) their rights would be limited. Migrants - people who want to leave their old home, and who want to live with him - to build a world with him - although they still have a home. They should be made welcome as equals (ceteris paribus) - after all, they must judge that they can build a better world here than where they used to call home. Exiles and Refugees - a man with no home, no one to go home to, no power and no rights is automatically at home when he lands on the island. His rights are as strong as the first man’s rights - in fact the first man is under a powerful obligation to help him settle - at his own expense. The exile is our equal - a complete stranger to the land - has no other home than our home - and so is our complete and utter equal in rights and citizenship.