On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on voters’ responsibility for politicians, charity to strangers, quitting or waiting to be fired, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 19 October 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.
This week’s questions are:
- Question 1: Voters’ Responsibility for Politicians: To what extent are voters responsible for the actions of politicians? Suppose that a candidate announces his plans and actions for next term before the election. Are the people who vote for that candidate morally sanctioning and/or responsible for those actions, for better or worse? For example, you vote for a candidate who supports de-regulation and ending social welfare programs, even though he’s completely against abortion in all circumstances, even when that might result in the woman’s death. Since you, as a voter, knew his position when you voted for him, aren’t you partially responsible for any deaths of women caused by his anti-abortion policies?
- Question 2: Charity to Strangers: Is charity to strangers virtuous? In a recent podcast, you answered the following question: “Does providing voluntary, non-sacrificial help to innocent, unfortunate poor people qualify as virtuous? In a free society, would such charity be a moral obligation?” You said that it’s not a moral obligation, and I agree with that. You also said that you think it’s a “great thing to do.” But why? I’d evaluate it as such if the person you’re helping is a good friend or a close relative. In that case, the act would be an expression of integrity, or of loyalty to one’s personal values. But I don’t understand why it’s a “great thing” to provide charity to people you don’t know, even if you’re contextually certain that they didn’t bring their hardship upon themselves and you don’t view it as a moral duty. I’d think that such an act is morally neutral, or at best slightly positive. Can you explain your evaluation a bit more, please?
- Question 3: Quitting or Waiting to be Fired: Should a person quit or wait to be fired from an increasingly intolerable job? I have been employed with a large company for 26 years, and it has been a mildly satisfying career until recently. Since a new CEO took the helm, working conditions have degraded exponentially. Some changes were necessary. Others are arbitrary and designed to intimidate employees to the point of resignation. For example, I recently phoned to report in sick, and I had to argue for an hour and a half before they would show me unavailable. The actuarial value of my pension at this point is about $400,000. If I stay for six more years, that amount will double. I believe that the shareholders have a right to fire me if I don’t toe the line. But I believe that management is violating my rights by blatantly circumventing my contract. (For example, time off depends on manpower available, but they’ve laid off 20% of the workforce.) So should I quit now – or should I hang on and wait to be fired?
After that, we’ll tackle some impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”
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The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Responsibility of Voters, Charity to Strangers, Leaving a Bad Job, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:
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