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Spiritual Values, Political Parties, Immigration, and More

Q&A Radio: Sunday, 24 February 2013

I answered questions on spiritual values, advancing liberty through a new political party, welfare reform versus immigration reform, declining a friend's plans for business partnership, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday, 24 February 2013. 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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Segments: 24 February 2013


Question 1: Spiritual Values (3:11)

Question: What are "spiritual" values? In your recent discussion of "Materialism in Marriage," you talked about the importance of "spiritual values." However, I found that confusing, since I've always associated "spirituality" with religion, often of the woozy variety. So what are spiritual values? How are they different from material values? Why are they important?

Answer, In Brief: Understood rationally, "spiritual values" are values that sustain and nourish the mind. They are objective requirements of a person's life and happiness.

Tags: Art, Ethics, Friendship, Introspection, Pleasure, Spiritual Values, Values

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Question 2: Advancing Liberty Through a New Political Party (24:33)

Question: When would creating a political party advance the cause of liberty? At the moment, creating a new political party might not make sense in the United States because the Republicans and Democrats dominate the elections and the media. But when would be the right time to do so, if ever? In other countries, even tiny parties are discussed in the news, and they can win a few seats. Under those circumstances, does it make sense to create a political party advocating for individual rights? If so, what would be a good name for such a party?

Answer, In Brief: With the two-party system firmly in place in the US, an activist would be wasting his time by creating a new political party. At present, activism outside of political parties is likely most effective.

Tags: Activism, Elections, Government, Politics

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Question 3: Welfare Reform Versus Immigration Reform (39:37)

Question: Is the welfare state a good reason to restrict immigration? Conservatives – and even some Objectivists – claim that immigrants are flocking to the United States for our welfare benefits. They claim that immigration must be restricted until the welfare state is curtailed. Doesn't this view amount to punishing would-be immigrants for our own welfare state?

Answer, In Brief: Restricting immigration due to concerns about welfare evades the core problem of the welfare state, while massively violating the rights of would-be immigrants and everyone else.

Tags: Activism, Conservatism, Immigration, Justice, Law, Politics, Rights, Welfare

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Question 4: Declining a Friend's Plans for Business Partnership (51:03)

Question: How can I say no to a friend's request to become a business partner? Over the past several years, I developed a home craft business. Now that it is successful, one of my friends wants to be involved. She sends messages asking to get together to discuss ideas for new products and expanding the business. However, I am not interested in having a partner. How can I let her know that I don't want a partner – without coming across as mean or hurting her feelings? Also, since I want to support and encourage my friends' interests, I'm struggling with guilt for saying "no." How can I overcome that?

Answer, In Brief: You need to be clear with your friend about the boundaries of your business, in a kind way – and perhaps apologize for any mixed signals sent in the past.

Tags: Business, Communication, Ethics, Friendship, Honesty, Moral Wrongs, Relationships

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Rapid Fire Questions (57:37)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Is there such a thing as "rational religion"?

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Conclusion (1:00:13)

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing 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 Wednesday 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 Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of interest.

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