Feb 032012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed feigning indifference to attract a man. The question was:

Should I act uninterested in a man to attract him? One common theme in romance advice is that a woman should act aloof and unattainable in order to attract a man or to get him to commit to a relationship. Is that dishonest? Is it counterproductive?

My answer, in brief:

It’s wrong to make people into conquests in romance. If you do, the kind of person that you’ll attract is not the kind of person that you’ll want to be with. And you’ll not be the kind of person that a good person will want to be with.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

If you enjoy the video, please “like” it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

Gay Marriage Versus Theocracy

 Posted by on 2 December 2011 at 8:00 am  LGBT, Love/Sex, Politics
Dec 022011
 

Wow:

I love love love this ad. It shows, so clearly, that the basic bonds and life lived in this gay relationship are exactly the same as for any strong man-woman romance. All that differs is the gender, which isn’t revealed until the very end. To deny marriage to these two men — clearly in love, clearly committed to each other — is nothing but unjust discrimination.

More, that unjust discrimination is rooted in religion, in the idea that God only sanctions marriage between a man and a woman. Government policy, however, should be based on rights, not religious dogma.

Gays have a right to unite their lives in marriage, if they so choose, just like everyone else. The recognition of that right across America — as it surely will happen over the next decade or two — will be a major victory for individual rights and a major defeat for theocratic government. I can’t wait!

Nov 012011
 

In Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed restrooms for the transgendered in transition — and, more broadly, the respect due to the transgendered. The question was:

Which bathroom should a pre-operative transgendered person use? The brutal attack at McDonald’s on a transgendered person in April 2011 was apparently started because that person used the ladies restroom, which was already occupied by a 14 year old. Was the transgendered person wrong to use that restroom?

My answer, in brief:

Transgendered people deserve to be treated with respect, just like everyone else! As for restrooms, they should use whatever restroom matches their outward appearance.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

If you enjoy the video, please “like” it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All my webcast and other videos can be found on my YouTube channel.

Video: State Involvement in Marriage

 Posted by on 25 October 2011 at 7:00 am  Law, Love/Sex, Politics, Videocast
Oct 252011
 

In Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed whether and how the state should be involved in marriage — a crucial question for the debates about gay marriage. The question was:

Should the state be involved in marriage contracts? Many people say that gay marriage shouldn’t be a political issue, because the state shouldn’t be involved in defining marriage at all. Is that right? Why or why not?

My view, in brief:

We ought to separate politics and marriage, by treating marriage like any other contract. The state has a limited but crucial role to play in marriage to ensure that marriage contracts are objective, voluntary, and enforced. However, the state should not play social engineer by deciding who can get married or the terms of that marriage.

Here’s the video of my answer:

If you enjoy the video, please “like” it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All my webcast and other videos can be found on my YouTube channel.

Two Videos on Nudity

 Posted by on 29 September 2011 at 11:00 am  Ethics, Etiquette, Law, Love/Sex, Politics
Sep 292011
 

In Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed two questions on nudity. The first question was:

What’s the proper approach to nudity? Should we all be nude all the time? Should nudity be saved for your lover only? Should children see their parents naked? Should we have clothing-optional get-togethers with friends? Basically, what is your view of the proper contexts for nudity?

Here’s the video of my answer:

The second question was:

Do restrictions on nudity and sex visible to others violate rights? While having a zestful online debate, someone claimed that Ayn Rand contradicts herself in claiming that public nudity should be censored. (See “Thought Control” in The Ayn Rand Letter.) Since sex is a beautiful act, why should people be protected from it? Could a ban on visible pornography or sex be a slippery slope to other intrusions by government?

Here’s the video of my answer:

If you like them, please share them! Also, all my webcast and other videos can be found on my YouTube channel.

Sep 242011
 

In tomorrow’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I’ll answer the following question on public nudity and sex:

Do restrictions on nudity and sex visible to others violate rights? While having a zestful online debate, someone claimed that Ayn Rand contradicts herself in claiming that public nudity should be censored. (See “Thought Control” in The Ayn Rand Letter.) Since sex is a beautiful act, why should people be protected from it? Could a ban on visible pornography or sex be a slippery slope to other intrusions by government?

Of course, I have my own views on the substantive questions about the proper limits of the law, and I’ll offer them in the webcast tomorrow.

I’m also interested in the question about Ayn Rand’s views on the topic. Hence, I just re-read her essays, “Censorship: Local and Express” and “Thought Control.” Both essays were originally published in The Ayn Rand Letter, and the former is also reprinted in Philosophy: Who Needs It. I strongly recommend reading (or re-reading) both essays in full before commenting on my question of interpretation below.

In light of Ayn Rand’s strongly principled defense of freedom of speech in those essays, including her rejection of “community standards,” I’m rather puzzled by what she says in these controversial paragraphs from “Thought Control.” (I added an extra paragraph break for readability.)

Only one aspect of sex is a legitimate field for legislation: the protection of minors and of unconsenting adults. Apart from criminal actions (such as rape), this aspect includes the need to protect people from being confronted with sights they regard as loathsome. (A corollary of the freedom to see and hear, is the freedom not to look or listen.) Legal restraints on certain types of public displays, such as posters or window displays, are proper—but this is an issue of procedure, of etiquette, not of morality.

No one has the rights to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately-owned street). The police power to maintain order among pedestrians or to control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of how to drive (in order to avoid clashes or collisions), but cannot tell you where to go.

Similarly, the rights of those who seek pornography would not be infringed by rules protecting the rights of those who find pornography offensive — e.g., sexually explicit posters may properly be forbidden in public places; warning signs, such as “For Adults Only,” may properly be required of private places which are open to the public. This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship, i.e., with prohibiting thought or speech.

I understand Rand’s basic claim just fine. It’s her reasoning that puzzles me. She seems to endorse the general principle that the government can and ought to regulate the actions of private property owners, if that property is open to the public, so as to prevent certain people from being offended. That seems like a terribly dangerous precedent to me, particularly because its application would depend on something like “community standards.”

Hence, I’m wondering if I’ve properly understood Rand’s argument. Any thoughts on that question of interpretation would be most welcome in the comments. What do you think she’s saying — and why?

Jul 152011
 

I refuse to vote for politicians whose votes are determined by prayer. I’m looking at you, Michelle Bachmann!

She’s speaking about the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that denying marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the state constitution. Here’s the transcript:

When that happened, I heard the news on my local Christian radio station in Minneapolis, St. Paul and I was devastated. And I took a walk and I just went to prayer and I said Lord, what would you have me do in the Minnesota state senate? And just through prayer I knew that I was to introduce the marriage amendment in Minnesota.

While we’re here, don’t forget about the varieties of marriage that God sanctions in His Holy Scriptures. (Click to read the fabulous details!)

Maybe, Michelle, if you pray real hard, God will make you some powerful man’s concubine! Alas, that’s one of the better alternatives.

Jul 012011
 

In Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed the morality of homosexuality and gay sex in my experimental “rapid fire questions” segment. (That segment was fun!) Here’s the short video, now posted to YouTube:

Biblical Marriage

 Posted by on 15 June 2011 at 7:30 am  Christianity, Law, Love/Sex, Religion
Jun 152011
 

The religious right claims to advocate “biblical marriage”… but what does that actually mean? Take a look, and be sure to click on the image to read the fine print.

Hooray for family values!

 

Given the upcoming conferences — including the sure-to-be-super-fun-fun-fun AtlosCon next weekend — I thought I’d post a reminder that my 90 minute podcast on finding good prospects for romance and friendship is still available for purchase. As you might recall, I recorded it in June last year, and it’s just as relevant now as it was then.

Originally, the podcast was funded via pledges, and then I sold it via an experimental system of bidding. Now, for the sake of simplicity, I’ve decided to sell it for the flat price of $25.

Update: I’m now selling this podcast for $20. For details, see Podcast for Sale: Finding Good Prospects for Romance and Friendship.

The basic structure of podcast is:

  • Opening remarks
  • A bit of theory:
    • Types of social relationships, visualized as a target
    • Major axes of compatibility in relationships
  • Practical advice:
    • Make yourself a good prospect
    • Expand your social network
    • Engage with other people
    • Cultivate your social skills
  • Questions and answers from pledgers:
    • How can a person get better at evaluating other people’s characters when meeting them?
    • When should I reveal a psychological problem like bipolar disorder to someone I’m dating?
  • Closing remarks

Notably, the podcast doesn’t just concern finding good prospects for romance but also for friendship. So even if you’re happily attached, you might find the techniques that I recommend of use.

If you’d like to download and listen to the podcast, please fill out the form below, then send your payment of $25. You can pay via PayPal to paypal@philosophyinaction.com. Or you can pay by check or money order, sending it to “Diana Hsieh; P.O. Box 851; Sedalia, CO 80135.” (Please make the check out to “Diana Hsieh” and write “Romance Podcast” in the memo field.)

I’ll send you the URL to download the podcast once I receive your payment. You’re welcome to share the podcast files with members of your household — but no one else.

Purchase Now!

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments or e-mail me.

Endorsements

In case you might be on the fence, I’m please to report that I’ve gotten very positive feedback about this podcast, including the following comments:

I can’t tell you how valuable I’ve found your podcast on romantic relations! To start, and as you mentioned yourself, it was just as applicable and valuable to more ‘ordinary’ relations. Simply thinking of the relations you have with people in terms of acquaintances/friends/close friends and whether the time and effort you spend is in line with your values is a powerful tool.

You mentioned the danger of limiting judgement in romance to a purely ‘sense of life’ level, and I think you struck on the biggest problem most people, myself included, have with romance! Really analyzing your own values and how they mesh, or clash, with others is vitally important in even casual friendships, and not carrying that over to romantic relationships leads, well, nowhere!

And the simplest advice of all, “doing nothing is a recipe for getting nothing!” It’s good to be reminded that identifying ourselves as Objectivists doesn’t automatically make us immune from the dangers of following our guts over our heads, or being passive! We still have to act, so thank you for your work in applying excellent principles to the actions all too many of us leave to chance!

And:

Since downloading Diana’s podcast on Finding Romantic Prospects, I’ve listened to it no less than four times. It’s so inspiring and motivational – I love it!! What’s really cool for me is that it’s about way more than finding romantic prospects (I’m married, so that’s not an issue).

I am an introvert who happily coasts along in her comfort zone by hiding in the background at social gatherings, listening to conversations without jumping in, reading email lists and blog posts without commenting, avoiding speaking with people I don’t know — kind of a more passive take on the world, more observing and less engaging. Once in awhile I try to break out of my shell – and Diana’s podcast has given me great motivation to break out of my shell, take some risks, challenge myself, put myself “out there” and get out of my comfort zone! Now I’m implementing ways to push myself to be more outgoing and connected — like signing up for Toastmasters, working on my introduction emails for the OLists, approaching and talking to strangers at parties and in various settings, jumping in on OList discussions and various blogs.

Diana’s podcast is the best kick-in-the-butt I could have imagined to expand my social network, improve myself to get myself together, take control of my and get out there!! That’s is worth so much more than what I paid, and I’m looking forward to her next one!

And:

I found this podcast very useful in my life. I put it to work at OCON [in 2010] and found that I had Diana’s voice in my head many many many times throughout the conference. OCON was FILLED with social situations where I was surrounded by new people (I have always been an introvert when in comes to environments like that) but instead of feeling awkward, I practically instantly felt camaraderie with so many of the people there. Now I am sure a large part of this simply had to do with the nature of the people attending OCON to begin with, but whenever I was standing in conversation with a group of people, I continually would catch myself doing the things Diana points out NOT to do in this podcast and would immediately correct what I was doing. Usually this was involving my body language such as having my arms crossed in front of me when talking to people.

Additionally, I very much noticed OTHER OCON attendees putting Diana’s advice in this podcast to work as well and I took note of how effectively it worked for them too! I guess the secret is out!

Once I get some lingering projects completed — like my update to Explore Atlas Shrugged — I hope to start producing more podcasts like this one for Rationally Selfish. So watch for that!

Update: I’m now selling this podcast for $20. For details, see Podcast for Sale: Finding Good Prospects for Romance and Friendship.

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