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.”

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

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:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics!

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Dead Orchid Haiku

 Posted by on 14 October 2014 at 2:00 pm  Funny, Personal
Oct 142014
 

Innocent orchid
Gift from a crazy woman
Sorry not sorry

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 12 October 2014 at 7:00 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 122014
 

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

Follow the Coalition for Secular Government on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Despite the defeats of “personhood” measures in 2008 and 2010, Colorado voters will once again vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to grant all the rights of born persons to zygotes, embryos, and fetuses in November 2014.

The Coalition for Secular Government is pleased to announce an updated and expanded paper on the “personhood” movement by Ari Armstrong and myself, titled “The ‘Personhood’ Movement Versus Individual Rights: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception.” The paper is currently available for download as a PDF or for reading as an HTML page.

Formats: HTML / PDF

Please share it with friends and on social media!

Here’s our media release on it:

New Paper Criticizes “Personhood” Movement and Colorado’s Amendment 67
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Coalition for Secular Government: http://www.SecularGovernment.us

A new paper criticizes the “personhood” movement and Colorado’s Amendment 67, a measure that would treat abortion as murder under the law; outlaw abortion even in cases of rape, incest, risks to a woman’s health, and severe fetal deformity; outlaw some types of birth control; outlaw common forms of in vitro fertility treatments; and ban embryonic stem-cell research.

The 54-page paper, coauthored by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong, offers extensive historical and scientific background on the “personhood” movement, abortion, and related matters. The paper also offers philosophic arguments supporting a woman’s right to seek an abortion.

“Amendment 67 is extremely misleading in its language,” Hsieh said. “The proponents of the measure apparently want voters to believe that it is about protecting pregnant women from vicious criminal attacks, but the reality is that the measure would treat women as murderers for getting an abortion or even for using certain types of birth control or in vitro fertility treatments.”

Amendment 67 seeks to extend full legal protections to “unborn human beings,” which its sponsors define as all embryos from the moment of conception.

As the new paper discusses, Colorado law already establishes criminal penalties for harming a pregnant woman’s embryo or fetus against her consent.

If you have any questions about the paper, please email me.

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on psychics in a free society, fear of leading a worthless life, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Psychics in a Free Society, Fear of a Worthless Life, and More

Listen or Download:

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: Friday’s trial in federal court – where the Coalition for Secular Government challenged Colorado’s campaign finance laws thanks to the fine attorneys of the Center for Competitive Politics – went very well. Also, I’ve been extremely busy updating Ari Armstrong’s and my paper on abortion rights, which will be published early next week.

Question 1: Psychics in a Free Society (9:04)

In this segment, I answered a question on psychics in a free society.

In a free society, would psychics be prosecuted for fraud? How would the government in a rational, free-market system handle people and businesses, such as the Psychic Friends Network, which claim to have psychic powers (such as being able to talk to the dead) and charge the gullible hundreds of dollars in fees for “spiritual consultations”? Would the government prosecute such people for fraud? Or would the government have a “caveat emptor” attitude and say, “If people want to waste their money on that nonsense, that’s their rightful prerogative”?

My Answer, In Brief: For psychics to peddle goofy metaphysics, plus worthless goods and services, is not fraud. It’s your job as a human to grasp that. It’s only fraud when they’re knowingly and deliberately lying to con you of your money. Ultimately, the government should probably only prosecute psychics for very prosaic cases of clear fraud in money-dealings, such as unauthorized billing.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Fear of Leading a Worthless Life (31:22)

In this segment, I answered a question on fear of leading a worthless life.

How can I overcome my fear of leading a value-less life? Ever since I was young, I’ve had an overwhelming fear of leading a valueless life. I saw my parent and other adult role models live this way. There was nothing in their life: they never strived for anything, never had dreams, and tended to discourage dreams from others. I always thought that I would be different. I always thought that I could live in a fulfilled way. But slowly I noticed that I was falling into their path. I didn’t start college till 23 because of student aid issues. Until then I worked minimum wage, and I went without food some days. Now at 26, I have a 2 year degree. Even with my new job I still live in a drug and prostitution infested ghetto in Philadelphia because this is the only place I can afford. After calculating how long it will take me to get my career off the ground, I could graduate with a MS by 30 or 32. But noticing the patterns that I see in other people, I have this overwhelming fear that all attempts at achieving a value will slowly slip my grasp. I constantly needed to push values off till tomorrow until I get today straightened out. I am scared that tomorrow will never come. I have so many goals and dreams and values but I might never get to achieve them. I see it so clearly sometimes: 45, divorced, alone, with nothing to show for my hard work, debt, a giant mortgage or even worse perpetual renting, and my only outlet going to the pub with other Philly white trash middle-agers. How can rational philosophy help me gain perspective on this fear that I have had since a kid?

My Answer, In Brief: If you want a different life than the path of the people around you, then you need to make that happen. I recommend that you (1) move to a new city, (2) surround yourself with better people, (3) make a meaningful life for yourself now, (4) be disciplined about spending, and (5) seek out therapy if needed. You can do it!

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (52:05)

In this segment, I answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • What does your political/intellectual donations portfolio look like, in approximate percentages for the major organizations you support? Would you keep the same percentages if expanded to $100,000 per year?
  • Is the Prime Directive a rational rule in its context?
  • Is it possible that human beings have a hard wired soft spot for altruism? It would make sense from a genetic point of view; many altruistic behaviors are evolutionarily advantageous.
  • Can you name a minor virtue apart from courage?

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:06:02)

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


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 5 October 2014 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Oct 052014
 

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

Follow the Coalition for Secular Government on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

 

My latest Forbes column was posted on 9/29/2014, “Who Decides What Medical Care You Receive At End of Life?

I discuss how some patients in the socialized medical systems of Canada and the UK have been put on DNR (“do not resuscitate”) status without their knowledge or consent and how that ties to the current debate over government-funded end-of-life counseling here in the US.

As I’ve said before: If you expect “somebody else” to pay for your health care, then “somebody else” will ultimately decide what care you may (or may not) receive.

I also discuss how free-market reforms for health insurance can allow patients to retain control over their end-of-life medical decision making and protect Americans from those gut-wrenching problems faced by patients in Canada and the UK.

And for some excellent practical advice on how patients can plan for such eventualities, check out this interview with Dr. William Dale by Diana.

 

 

Campaign Finance Trial on Friday

 Posted by on 2 October 2014 at 9:00 am  Campaign Finance, Free Speech, Law
Oct 022014
 

This Friday, the Coalition for Secular Government? will be in federal court, arguing that Colorado’s campaign finance regulations on “issue committees” violate our free speech rights. (Our case is being argued by the fine attorneys of the Center for Competitive Politics.)

Basically, I don’t want to have to do the equivalent of filing taxes every two weeks just so that Ari Armstrong and I can publish a very wonkish policy paper on abortion rights. Our policy paper isn’t like a campaign ad, yet it’s treated like one by the law… which sucks. (For details, read my December 2011 testimony to Colorado’s Secretary of State.)

If you want to see litigating for liberty in action, the trial will be held on Friday, starting at 10 am, in the federal courthouse at 901 19th Street in Denver. We’re before Judge Kane.

We have a good shot at making a dent in these unjust laws… and I’m very excited!

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on psychics in a free society, fear of leading a worthless life, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 5 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: Psychics in a Free Society: In a free society, would psychics be prosecuted for fraud? How would the government in a rational, free-market system handle people and businesses, such as the Psychic Friends Network, which claim to have psychic powers (such as being able to talk to the dead) and charge the gullible hundreds of dollars in fees for “spiritual consultations”? Would the government prosecute such people for fraud? Or would the government have a “caveat emptor” attitude and say, “If people want to waste their money on that nonsense, that’s their rightful prerogative”?
  • Question 2: Fear of Leading a Worthless Life: How can I overcome my fear of leading a value-less life? Ever since I was young, I’ve had an overwhelming fear of leading a valueless life. I saw my parent and other adult role models live this way. There was nothing in their life: they never strived for anything, never had dreams, and tended to discourage dreams from others. I always thought that I would be different. I always thought that I could live in a fulfilled way. But slowly I noticed that I was falling into their path. I didn’t start college till 23 because of student aid issues. Until then I worked minimum wage, and I went without food some days. Now at 26, I have a 2 year degree. Even with my new job I still live in a drug and prostitution infested ghetto in Philadelphia because this is the only place I can afford. After calculating how long it will take me to get my career off the ground, I could graduate with a MS by thirty or thirty two. But noticing the patterns that I see in other people, I have this overwhelming fear that all attempts at achieving a value will slowly slip my grasp. I constantly needed to push values off till tomorrow until I get today straightened out. I am scared that tomorrow will never come. I have so many goals and dreams and values but I might never get to achieve them. I see it so clearly sometimes: 45, divorced, alone, with nothing to show for my hard work, debt, a giant mortgage or even worse perpetual renting, and my only outlet going to the pub with other Philly white trash middle-agers. How can rational philosophy help me gain perspective on this fear that I have had since a kid?

After that, we’ll tackle some impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Psychics in a Free Society, Fear of a Worthless Life, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics!

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the possibility of an atheistic afterlife, the tip jar, concealing a pet from a landlord, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Atheistic Afterlife, Tip Jar, Concealing a Pet, and More

Listen or Download:

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been very busy updating Ari Armstrong’s and my paper on abortion rights, as well as preparing for the trial about Colorado’s campaign finance laws.

Question 1: The Possibility of an Atheistic Afterlife (11:06)

In this segment, I answered a question on the possibility of an atheistic afterlife.

Is it wrong for an atheist to believe in some kind of afterlife? I don’t believe in God, but I hate to think that this life is all that I have. I can’t stand the thought of never again seeing my parents, my children, or my friends again. So is it wrong to think that some kind of afterlife might exist? What’s the harm?

My Answer, In Brief: To believe something that you know to be unjustified is wrong, and that includes belief in an afterlife for an atheist. However, you can and should cope with the very natural feelings of fear and sadness at the prospect of you own demise in a rational way.

Listen or Download:

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

Question 2: The Tip Jar (36:21)

In this segment, I answered a question on the tip jar.

What’s the deal with the tip jar? Why don’t you find advertisers? What do you do with the money?

My Answer, In Brief: I’ve deliberately chosen not to use an advertising model for revenue, and I’ll be offering premium content to contributors soon.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Concealing a Pet from a Landlord (56:00)

In this segment, I answered a question on concealing a pet from a landlord.

It is wrong to keep my pet a secret from my landlord? My fiancee and I own a cat. By the rules of our apartment, we should notify our landlord and pay monthly pet rent and deposits. However, we keep a cleaner apartment than the majority of people without pets. If the cat’s not tearing up carpet and peeing on walls, I don’t feel I should pay more than, say, someone who is disrespectful of the property and causes more damage to the unit. Moreover, I recently heard firsthand from a group of experienced landlords that they prefer cleaner tenants with pets as opposed to straight up dirty tenants. So should I fess up and pay or not?

My Answer, In Brief: It is wrong for you to conceal your cat from your landlord: it’s not your property to use however you might see fit. For your own sake, you should sit down and have a conversation about this matter as soon as you can.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (1:07:13)

In this segment, I answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • Should we outlaw peeping tom technologies for private use? How do you address the fact that if your panties are on the internet the cat is out of the bag?
  • What’s the value and purpose of expressing praise or criticism?
  • Can you suggest any books for 4th-6th graders that promote egoism, rationality, or other virtues which aren’t commonly found in books aimed at kids?

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:15:32)

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


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

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