Marriage, Last Names, Green Cards, Love, and More
Webcast Q&A: 23 October 2011
I answered questions on state involvement in marriage, last names in marriage, marrying someone for a Green Card, being too much crazy in love, and more on 23 October 2011. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 23 October 2011
Question: Should the state be involved in marriage contracts? Many people say that gay marriage shouldn't be a political issue, because the state shouldn't be involved in defining marriage at all. Is that right? Why or why not?
Answer, In Brief: We ought to separate politics and marriage, by treating marriage like any other contract. The state has a limited but crucial role to play in marriage to ensure that marriage contracts are objective, voluntary, and enforced. However, the state should not play social engineer by deciding who can get married or the terms of that marriage.
Question: Should women adopt the last names of their husbands? In today's culture, some newly-married women adopt the family name of their husbands. Some keep their own last name. Some hyphenate their names together. Some use their maiden name for work, but their married name in their personal life. Some couples adopt a wholly new name for themselves. What do you think of these various options? Should the possibility of divorce affect a woman's decision? Should the husband have a say in the woman's decision? Should men be more willing to change their own last name to that of their new wife?
Answer, In Brief: A married couple has a wide range of options in last names, and they ought to choose whatever suits them best... except hyphenation.
Question: Is it moral to marry someone just to obtain a green card? Given the difficulties of immigrating to the United States, is it immoral to circumvent those bad laws by marrying someone solely to obtain a green card? Would it matter if the person were a good friend?
Answer, In Brief: America's current immigration laws systematically violate rights, so it's not immoral to break them per se. But in this case, the sacrifice required would likely be too great.
Question: Is it irrational to be "crazy in love" with your boyfriend or girlfriend – such as wanting to keep an old shirt and other discarded items? Does it matter whether the relationship is in an early or later stage?
Answer, In Brief: Everything depends on what, how, and why is done, but people shouldn't invent attachments that don't yet or might never exist.
Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:32)
- Can it be written in the marriage contract that anyone can end their marriage at will?
- What should you do to defuse an e-mail conversation that has gotten too heated?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. 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 second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.