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Bad Parents, Destructive Siblings, and More

Webcast Q&A: 4 September 2011

I answered questions on common mistakes with parents, severing ties with one's parents, enablers of destructive siblings, filial responsibility laws, and more on 4 September 2011. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life... far and wide. That's why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.

My News of the Week: This weekend, I was supposed to speak at the Chicago Objectivist Society's Weekend Conference, but that was cancelled at the last minute due to Paul's hip dislocation and fracture.

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Segments: 4 September 2011

Question 1: Common Mistakes with Parents

Question: What are some common mistakes that adults make in dealing with their parents? Why do they make those mistakes? And how can they do better?

Answer, In Brief: Accept your parents for who they are, flaws and all. Don't compromise on your values under pressure. Don't fall back into your childhood patterns.

Tags: Adult Children, Compromise, Conflict, Ethics, Family, Parenting, Relationships, Tolerance

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Question 2: Severing Ties with One's Parents

Question: When should a person maintain a relationship with his parents – or not? When, if ever, should an adult child distance himself from his parents – or cut them off completely? Does it matter if the parent was awful years ago, but since then, he's seemed to reform his ways?

Answer, In Brief: If a parent does a serious-enough wrong, such that mutually beneficial relationship is impossible, then an adult child can and should sever ties.

Tags: Adult Children, Conflict, Ethics, Family, Justice, Moral Wrongs, Parenting, Relationships

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Question 3: Enablers of Destructive Siblings

Question: What should a person do with destructive family members and their enablers? One of my brothers, diagnosed with a mental illness, is causing serious problems for my parents. My parents invited my brother to live with them. This brother is 26 years old, he does not hold a steady job, and he has been emotionally abusive and physically violent with my parents. At this point, my parents will not kick him out for fear of being hurt. I don't live at home, but I'm deeply worried for my parents. What should I do?

Answer, In Brief: You can't force your parents to see the facts of the situation, but you might be able to help them. Get legal advice!

Tags: Adult Children, Conflict, Ethics, Family, Family, Parenting, Relationships, Siblings

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Question 4: Filial Responsibility Laws

Question: How should a person deal with filial responsibility laws? In your April 10th webcast, you discussed the morality of taking care of elderly parents. Some states have filial responsibility laws, which would force people to take care of indigent elderly parents. How should a person would cope with such laws in practice?

Answer, In Brief: If this might be a problem for you, consult a lawyer to find out whether and how you can protect yourself!

Tags: Adult Children, Ethics, Family, Family, Finances, Law, Responsibility, Welfare

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Rapid Fire Questions (41:17)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • How should you respond to religious in-laws who repeatedly comment that you are going to hell, and they are unable to be civil towards you?
  • Should you cut ties with a parent who is a flaming communist/socialist?
  • Is it moral to take government work (as a contractor) if on projects you don't think the government should do?
  • Do you support ideological restrictions (e.g. Islam) on immigration as some conservatives want on national security grounds?
  • What should a person do if sexually assaulted by a TSA worker?
  • What was the cause of the media obsession with the Casey Anthony trial?
  • Is it wrong to be attracted to unhealthy physical characteristics, like fat people?
  • Would you want to live in a society where people routinely armed themselves?
  • Why carry a concealed weapon, rather than carry openly?

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Conclusion (1:00:00)

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The vast majority of Philosophy in Action Radio – the live show and the podcast – is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because my mission is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as I do every week to thousands of listeners. I love producing the show, but each episode requires requires the investment of time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value my work, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, regular contributors enjoy free access to my premium content.


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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