Bankruptcy Law, Transgenderism, Prisons, and More
Webcast Q&A: 30 October 2011
I answered questions on the purpose of bankruptcy law, restrooms for the transgendered in transition, private versus state prisons, revealing atheism to religious parents, and more on 30 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: 30 October 2011
Question: What is the proper purpose of bankruptcy laws? When should a person renegotiate his debt with lenders, if ever? Should a person be able to wipe his debt clean by going into bankruptcy? In your 10 July 2011 webcast discussion of strategic default on mortgages, you suggested that a person shouldn't be able to do that, but shouldn't lenders be responsible for who they lend money to?
Answer, In Brief: The purpose of bankruptcy law not to give people a fresh start, but rather to peacefully and fairly resolve conflicts that arise between the debtor and his creditors when the debtor is truly unable to pay his debts.
Question: Which bathroom should a pre-operative transgendered person use? The brutal attack at McDonald's on a transgendered person in April 2011 was apparently started because that person used the ladies restroom, which was already occupied by a 14 year old. Was the transgendered person wrong to use that restroom?
Answer, In Brief: Transgendered people deserve to be treated with respect, just like everyone else! As for restrooms, they should use whatever restroom matches their outward appearance.
Question: Should prisons be run by the state or private companies? After reading this Huffington Post article, I wonder whether prisons should be run by private companies or the state. I tend to think private is almost always better than anything state-run, but the current system of private prisons seems to be corrupt at best. More generally, what would a prison system look like in a free society?
Answer, In Brief: Private prisons aren't more or less of a problem than state-run prisons, since any prison must be either run by or funded and overseen by the government. The crucial problem is that far too many people in prison are innocent of any real crime.
Question: How much should I tell my parents about my beliefs, given that I'm still financially dependent on them? I'm in college, and if I told my parents that I'm an atheist, they'd probably stop paying my tuition. Should I tell them now, or wait until I'm done with college?
Answer, In Brief: A person in college is not obliged to tell his parents everything, but to live a lie or seek values from others under false pretenses is self-destructive.
Rapid Fire Questions (51:15)
- Does the Bible condemn abortion, as many Christians say?
- Doesn't Christianity deserve praise for introducing individualism into Western culture?
- Can a person be an honest deist?
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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 email@example.com.