Apr 022012

On Sunday, 1 April 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

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We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy 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!

The Podcast: Episode: 1 April 2012

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    Duration: 1:02:45

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The Segments: Episode: 1 April 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

My mother has been visiting, so we’ve been having all kinds of fun. On Wednesday, I’m speaking at Liberty on the Rocks in Denver on luck and responsibility. Also, I plan to finally complete the move of NoodleFood to Philosophy in Action.

Question 1: Statutory Rape Laws (2:31)

Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn’t know (or couldn’t reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?

My Answer, In Brief: As currently written, statutory rape laws are unjust. The law can and ought protect sexually mature minors by focusing on consent, using shifting burdens of proof, and allowing parents to use restraining orders.


Question 2: Outing Anti-Gay Politicians as Gay (27:45)

Is it wrong to “out” a hypocritical anti-gay public figure who is secretly gay? Some conservative politicians have taken strongly anti-gay positions, but are secretly gay themselves. If one learns of this, is it wrong for gay activists to publicly “out” them? What if they don’t engage in public hypocrisy, but are just quietly “in the closet”? Should activists respect their privacy in that case?

My Answer, In Brief: People who publicly advocate meddling in other people’s private choices should not expect others to respect their private hypocrisy. They should be exposed, as a matter of justice.


Question 3: Potential Employers Demanding Facebook Logins (34:58)

Should employers ask applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords? More employers are asking job applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords as part of a background check. Of course, applicants can decline, in which case they might not be considered for the job. Should employers be asking for this information? Is it proper to want to check on the online activities of potential employees? Is that an invasion of privacy? How should someone respond if asked by a potential employer?

My Answer, In Brief: For an employer to ask for your Facebook login and password is a serious invasion of privacy, breach of security, and display of distrust. An employer concerned about the online activities of its employees can and should use other methods.


Question 4: Enjoying Fantasy and Theology Literature (46:12)

Is an interest in fantasy and theology literature proper? I’m fascinated with fantasy as a literary genre. I find it easier to get excited about a fantastic story rather than about a realistic one, and I’m also really interested in fantasy with a certain sophistication: the extremely well-constructed world of Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, for example, or the mythological background of vampire stories and so on. Along the same lines, I am also fascinated with theology. For example, I found it extremely interesting to read Paradise Lost, and to read up on the many theological questions it raises and answers. Is such an interest proper – or am I indulging in some kind of evasion or escapism from reality? Does it matter that I want to become a writer? I find inspiration for my own potential stories this way.

My Answer, In Brief: A person can have wholly good reasons for an interest in fantasy, science fiction, and theology. Mostly, a person should approach such preferences not by focusing on judging himself, but rather on understanding himself.


Rapid Fire Questions (54:07)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • How do you know that God doesn’t exist?
  • What do you think of the idea of “guilty pleasures”?
  • Isn’t life meaningless without God?
  • If the government didn’t own the roads, who would set and enforce traffic laws?
  • What’s the proper meaning of the word “greedy”?
  • What does it mean to be selfish versus selfless?
  • What is the role of a proper government in regards to the unlicensed spectrum?
  • Happy April Fool’s Day!

Conclusion (1:01:48)

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