If someone says, "I respect you.", but they say it while stealing from you, do they really mean it?
If someone demands respect, and acknowledges that lying to you is disrespectful, and that they can't very well expect respect from you if they lie to you, but lies to you anyways, are they technically deserving of respect?
What if someone lied to you to save their own skin? Does that open a can of worms? Are you then allowed to lie/cheat/manipulate them for your own ends without any moral issues? Basically, can you really be found guilty of steal from a thief?
Is it racist for African-Americans to solely protest police brutality against against other African-Americans, and yet not be as outraged by the government murdering innocent people in the Middle East
(or simply discriminating against Middle Eastern folks in the U.S.)?
Do people in societies with higher degrees of freedom often convince themselves, and allow others to convince them, that violations of the rights of others are not really their problem? I used to ask many people if they would help protest for gay marriage. After all, those same people are paying in taxes to a system which discriminated against gays, denying them full rights, and taxed gays the same as all other citizens regardless. I noticed that people would consistently state they had no intention of getting involved with the issue because they were not gay. If I asked them if they would protest for issues which they regarded as related to themselves, they immediately said, "Yes, of course I would protest for issues which affect me."
This essentially means that people consistently go to the argument that they deserve human-rights, and their rights are no different from the rights of others. They staunchly defend that their rights are not-separate-but-equal, and there is but one set of rights: Human Rights. But they will also readily jump ship, and start claiming that the rights of other people are not their issue. African-Americans will protest when a African-American is murdered in a racially-motivated attack. But they do not feel that the denial of human-rights for gays qualifies as a human rights abuse. Latino's feel that it's wrong to deny folks from South America to immigrate to save the lives of their families, be it from malnutrition, gang violence, etc. People would not want the U.S. government to take away their right to a fair trial, with all supposed evidence against them being available for their examination. Yet I consistently meet people who think tactics like gang-stalking are fair, and "just".
If you take any issue, the average person will say that they deserve rights and security from injustice. Yet the average person will just as quickly claim they have no social responsibility to make sure society does not violate the rights of others, that they have no responsibility to ensure they do everything within their power to make sure the system they support does not harm others aside from themselves.
If the average person claims they have no need to make sure a government they support** (regardless if they support ideologically, or solely financially), at whatever level (be it local, state, or national), does the right thing by others, do they really deserve security, freedom, or even simply "respect"? Can we justly claim we have no social responsibility to keep our society in check, and yet hypocritically say it's needs to keep our interests in mind before it acts?
** You do not have to ideologically support a group in order to support it at all. You didn't have to agree with Nazi Germany to support Nazi Germany. You could have simply provided Nazi Germany with the means for carrying out it's attacks on human rights. This could mean that you never mentally supported concentration camps, but you continued doing business with the Nazi's. Continuing to do business with the Nazi's would have provided them with the financial capability to carry out their operations. You would have directly enabled them to carry out their attacks against other people.
I don't think the answer to that question is as obvious as you seem to think it is.
If they really need what they're stealing, and you don't, then they very well could have a great deal of respect for you while still stealing what they desperately need.
You have to define precisely what you mean by "respect", because it's one of those loaded words - like "faith" - that people interpret in a lot of different ways. Do you mean reverence? Or courtesy? Or just acknowledging their basic dignity as a person?
No, you're not.
No, it doesn't open a can of worms. It's quite simple: it is always immoral to use another moral agent as a tool for your own purposes without their knowledge and consent.
There is no possible situation where someone, of their own volition, would have to lie to you to save themselves... unless you're a dangerous and violent lunatic, of course. If you're a sane and reasonable person, and they are in danger of harm, there is no reason whatsoever that they couldn't just be up front and tell you that. If they need help, and you can provide it, why wouldn't you?
The only conceivable situation where someone would have to lie to you to save themselves is of some psycho is forcing them to - and watching to make sure they do it. But in that case, they're hardly responsible for anything they do. They're being forced, after all. You can't hold someone morally accountable for something they did under threat.
Of course you can.
If it were, then wouldn't it also be racist for people in the Middle East to only care about their situation, and not give a shit for African-Americans?
Once you start playing that game, there is no end to it. You just end up in a mass of contradictory accusations of "racism", none of which make any sense.
This is a game often played by opponents of activism - whether a specific kind or activism in general. They point to activists focusing on one problem and accuse them of ignoring all the other problems in the world in favour of that one problem, which a) is absurd, and b) even if it were true it doesn't undermine the work the activists are actually doing. You don't accuse an emergency room doctor who is struggling to treat a stab wound in someone's chest of being uncaring because they're not also treating the bullet wound in the patient's abdomen.
The human brain is limited. We are not evolved to process things beyond our very small, very localized environment. Simply put: we did not evolve to be globally-conscious creatures.
The fact that we can still manage, even partially, to accomplish that, at times, is frankly remarkable. The fact that we often don't quite manage is no big shock, and hardly something we can be blamed for. That would be like blaming a fish for not coming out of the water often enough.
Very few people ever sit down and really think about morality or justice. Even fewer attempt it seriously, with the courage to toss away their convictions and start from scratch to see if reason leads them back to their prior beliefs.
To make matters worse, we - as a society - don't properly teach kids how to reason, either in general or about specific things like morality and justice. In fact, we don't teach morality or justice at all. We have an entire society full of people with the balmy idea that, while you need years of education to figure out math and language skills, any old ****** can figure out justice and morality on their own with no training whatsoever - just trusting whatever bullshit first happens to pop into their head (or whatever their parents or religious leaders told them).
How can anyone be surprised that most people are morons when it comes to morality and justice? What do you think would happen to most people's grasp of science or math if we didn't teach those things in schools? Most people would be dribbling idiots in those topics too. (In fact, we do teach those topics, and most people are still pretty dumb about them. But that's more because we don't teach them well.) In a society that doesn't properly teach morality or justice as part of the education process, how can anyone be surprised that most people have stupid and confused ideas about these things?
Yes, they do.
One of the simplest but most true of the playground rules of morality is "two wrongs don't make a right". Just because a group of people are ignorant and selfish, that doesn't mean they deserve to suffer. An eye for an eye is not justice; it is barbarism.
You are not talking about people who have consciously chosen to inflict suffering on others. You are talking about people who - like self-absorbed children - are hurting others because they lack the capacity to broaden their worldview enough to empathize with the victims. You are not talking about people who are cruel. You are talking about people who are ignorant, narrow-minded, self-absorbed, and scared. Those qualities are not "good", of course... but they're hardly qualities that warrant inflicting suffering on the people that have them.
If you truly want to fix the problem, the correct solution is not vengeance. It is not to punish the people who are only looking out for themselves and ignoring the impact it has on others. It is to educate them. Go ahead and force them to face the results of their selfishness. Go ahead and show them the pictures, and tell them the names, of the people who are suffering because they aren't taking an active part in stopping their government's evil actions. Go ahead and treat them like dimwitted puppies, rubbing their noses in the shit they create. Most humans are essentially good. If they see the suffering, and cannot find a way to easily block it out, they won't be able to help themselves from empathizing, and wanting to do something to help. Activists know this quite well - that's why one of the most common goals of activism is simply "raising awareness". If you raise awareness of a problem enough, people will move to fix it.
But trying to solve the problem of one group of people stomping on the rights of another... by taking away the rights of the first group?!? How does that even make sense? If you already have a problem with human rights not being respected enough in the world... how in the hell do you fix that by taking away more people's rights? That's like trying to cure a disease by infecting more people. It's absurd.