On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on voters’ responsibility for politicians, charity to strangers, quitting or waiting to be fired, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 19 October 2014

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Podcast Segments: 19 October 2014

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been trying – without much success – to catch up with work after that crazy few weeks of updating and publishing the paper on abortion rights, CSG’s campaign finance trial, and more.

Question 1: Voters’ Responsibility for Politicians

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: As a voter, you are not responsible for the wrong programs of politicians, provided that you chose the better candidate (based on the principle of individual rights), didn’t whitewash the dangers, the perhaps even took active steps to mitigate them.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Charity to Strangers

Question: Is charity to strangers virtuous? In a recent podcast, you answered the following Rapid Fire 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?

My Answer, In Brief: If you want to live in a benevolent, helpful culture – and you should – then you should cultivate that attitude toward others, including strangers. Helping others out in small ways when you’re able is of benefit to you!

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Quitting or Waiting to be Fired

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: Whatever the money that you might gain thereby, it’s not worth making yourself miserable for years in an awful job. So try to make the job work – and if that doesn’t work, leave!

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Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Does the ebola crisis have an implication for public healthcare (i.e. how do we respond to people who say that the ebola epidemic proves the case for socialized medicine)?
  • How much interaction with your (and Paul’s) personal Facebook page is appropriate? I sometimes feel like I’m over doing it with the likes and I stop myself from commenting.

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 55:51
  • Duration: 9:24
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:05:15


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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