Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)

Anti-Discrimination Laws, Cultural Change, and More

Q&A Radio: 10 February 2013

I answered questions on the wrong of anti-discrimination laws, Objectivism's potential to save the culture, declining to socialize at work, and more on 10 February 2013. 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: I've been working on house repairs, planning for SnowCon 2013, and finalizing Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame for publication.


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Segments: 10 February 2013


Question 1: The Wrong of Anti-Discrimination Laws

Question: What's wrong with anti-discrimination laws? Most people support anti-discrimination laws, even though such laws violate the freedom of association. Have such laws done genuine good by making racism, sexism, and homophobia unacceptable in the culture? Have such laws had negative side-effects? Should they be abolished – and if so, why?

Answer, In Brief: However well-intentioned, anti-discrimination laws violate every person's right of free association and encourage systems of racial quotas. They also drive racism underground, cast unjust doubt on their supposed beneficiaries, and promote a race-focused culture.

Tags: Culture, Discrimination, Ethics, Freedom of Association, Free Society, Law, Race, Racism

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Question 2: Objectivism's Potential to Save the Culture

Question: Can Objectivism save the culture? Advocates of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism often claim that the philosophy is necessary for substantially changing the culture for the better. That seems presumptuous to me. Is it true? Also, is the philosophy sufficient for saving the culture? Or is more needed?

Answer, In Brief: Objectivism is important resource and guide in work of cultural change, but it's not sufficient and only partly necessary. The goal must be to actively apply and circulate its core values – including secularism, rationality, egoism, virtue, individual rights.

Tags: Activism, Culture, Objectivism, Philosophy

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Question 3: Declining to Socialize at Work

Question: How can I politely tell my co-workers that I'm not interested in socializing? I have always struggled with the pressure to form friendships at work. Personally, I don't want to hang out with my coworkers after work. I don't want to chit chat during work. I won't want to celebrate birthdays or other personal events. This is always interpreted as me being snobbish, aloof, and worst of all "not a team player." It's so annoying. I just want to do a good job and then leave, not join a social club. How can I communicate that without being offensive?

Answer, In Brief: A person can be friendly and pleasant at work while declining to participate in social activities outside of work.

Tags: Communication, Friendship, Personality, Productivity, Psychological Visibility, Psychology, Relationships, Work

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:03:12)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What do you think the DiSC personality types of Ayn Rand's heroes would be?
  • What do you think of the proposed Idaho bill that would require school children to read "Atlas Shrugged"?

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Conclusion (1:08:43)

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio! If you enjoyed this episode, please contribute to contribute to our tip jar.


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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 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.

You can listen to these 362 podcasts by subscribing to the Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

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.

You can also read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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