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Female Genital Mutilation, Anarcho-Capitalism, and More

Radio Q&A: 28 October 2012

I answered questions on circumcision versus female genital mutilation, why anarcho-capitalism is wrong, duties to the government, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 28 October 2012. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download the podcast below.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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  • Duration: 1:14:15

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Segments: 28 October 2012


Question 1: Circumcision Versus Female Genital Mutilation (4:06)

Question: Is circumcision on par with female genital mutilation? Many people decry female genital mutilation, but they regard circumcision as the right of parents. Is that wrong?

Answer, In Brief: Male circumcision is wrong, yet it's nowhere near the horror of most female genital mutilation, which attempts to utterly destroy a woman's sexuality.

Tags: Children, Circumcision, Ethics, Medicine, Parenting, Rights

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Question 2: Why Anarcho-Capitalism Is Wrong (16:42)

Question: What's wrong with anarcho-capitalism? Libertarian anarchists – such as Murray Rothbard, Roy Childs, and Stefan Molyneux – claim that anarcho-capitalism is the only political system compatible with the "non-aggression principle." Is that right? Must any government initiate force by excluding competing defense agencies, as anarchists claim? Should governments be abolished in favor of private markets in force?

Answer, In Brief: Anarcho-capitalism's ideal of a "market in force" is no way to protect rights. In such a market, force – not just retaliatory force but also initiatory force – will be available for a price. As a result, the wealthy, power-lusting, and violent will be able to impose their will on the rest of us.

Tags: Anarchism, Free Society, Government, Law, Politics, Rights, Vigilantism

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Question 3: Duties to the Government (1:04:22)

Question: In a free society, would people be obliged to support or obey the government? Ayn Rand defined government as "an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area." She said that a government has – and must have – "a monopoly on the legal use of physical force." Given that, must a person support the government – morally or financially – in order for his rights to be protected? Would a person have to swear loyalty, pay taxes, vote in elections, or serve in the military? What would be the status of an anarchist – meaning someone who regards all government as illegitimate – in such a society?

Answer, In Brief: In a free society, your only legal obligation is not to violate rights. So you can refuse to participate in civic life entirely, and the government will leave you alone, so long as you don't violate rights.

Tags: Anarchism, Free Society, Government, Law, Politics, Rights

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:10:40)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Isn't binding arbitration a form of private government?

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Conclusion (1:12:19)

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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 Sunday mornings and most 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 chat about a topic of interest.

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