Come join my next live Rationally Selfish Webcast! This week, I’ll answer questions on moral standards for public figures, friendships with people of opposite philosophy, friendships with intellect property thieves, joining professional groups, and more.
As always, it’s on Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can watch the webcast and join in the text chat via www.RationallySelfish.com. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers will be my audio co-host, as usual.
Each week, I answer questions on practical ethics and the principles of living well. I select the most popular and interesting questions from the ongoing queue of questions. Please submit your questions, as well as vote and comment on questions that you find interesting!
Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week:
- Question 1: Moral Standards for Public Figures: Should public figures be held to higher moral standards? Public figures — like actors, politicians, and athletes — are often lambasted in the media for committing commonplace wrongs like dishonesty and hypocrisy. Is that fair? If Michele Obama is an outspoken opponent of childhood obesity and lists the things my children and I shouldn’t eat, is she a hypocrite for indulging in her Shake Shack? Should I not value Tiger Woods as a professional golfer with exceptional talent because he screwed around on his wife?
- Question 2: Friendships with People of Opposite Philosophy: How can I maintain my integrity in friendships with people of opposite philosophic views? I struggle to keep good relations with family and friends who support our current political system in which some people are helped at the expense of others, which I regard as slavery. They support ObamaCare, EPA restrictions, and welfare programs. Through years of caring discussions, I realize that they do not hold the individual as sacred but instead focus on what’s best for “the group.” At this point, I often feel more pain than pleasure being with them, even though we have many other values in common, yet I hate to cut them off. How can I maintain good relationships with them — or should I stop trying?
- Question 3: Friendships with Intellect Property Thieves: Should I terminate friendships with people who steal music and other intellectual property from the internet? I don’t know a single person who doesn’t steal something off the internet. I used to do this myself, but stopped when I realized it was wrong and why. Normally, I would cut off contact with anyone who violates rights, because that’s worse than just holding wrong ideas, but the activity is so prevalent now that doing so would end my social life. Even now, my clear moral position strains my friendships. So what should I do?
- Question 4: Joining Professional Groups: Is it proper to join non-mandatory professional groups? Many professional organizations provide great benefits to their members, such as educational opportunities, professional conferences, networking, journal subscriptions, insurance, and product discounts. However, many also engage in lobbying of government officials on issues both related to the profession’s direct interests and on issues only loosely associated (i.e. funding for political candidates). While some of this lobbying can be viewed as professional self-defense in an immorally regulated industry, where does one draw the line? Is there a point where joining professional associations is providing sanction to activities you believe are wrong?
After that, we’ll do a round of totally impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”
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However, I hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more exciting and lively than the podcast. People chat merrily amongst themselves while watching the webcast. And I love the immediate feedback of a live audience — the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!
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I hope to see you on Sunday morning!