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Protecting Privacy, Gay Marriage, Chinese Goods, and More

Q&A Radio: 31 March 2013

I answered questions on replying to intrusive inquiries, changing minds on gay marriage, dealing with overzealous ideologues, buying from chinese companies, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 31 March 2013. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download the podcast below.

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  • Duration: 1:12:02

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Segments: 31 March 2013


Question 1: Replying to Intrusive Inquiries (3:12)

Question: How should a person respond when pressured to reveal private information? Some people think themselves entitled to know about the private lives of their co-workers, acquaintances, family, or friends. They won't take a hint, and they might even demand the information in front of other people or in a public forum. How should a person who wishes to protect his privacy respond to such invasive inquiries? Is lying justifiable?

Answer, In Brief: A person can protect his privacy by identifying his limits in advance, as well as cultivating his social skills and better habits. Dishonesty is not necessary to protect privacy, but instead exacerbates the problem of "snoopers."

Tags: Communication, Conflict, Ethics, Habits, Honesty, Privacy, Rationality, Relationships

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Question 2: Changing Minds on Gay Marriage (18:11)

Question: How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio, recently decided to openly support gay marriage after his son came out to him and his wife. What can be done to help other conservatives see gay marriage in a new light – as a matter of liberty and individual identity?

Answer, In Brief: The way the change more minds on gay marriage is by exposing people to the facts about gays and gay marriage, then integrating that experience with core American values. Most conservatives will come around in the next decade or two.

Tags: Activism, Culture, GLBT, Marriage, Politics

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Question 3: Dealing with Overzealous Ideologues (34:58)

Question: How can a person deal with overzealous ideologues? Suppose that an overzealous follower of a particular belief system constantly monitors and polices the behavior of other followers. When he sees what he believes to be a failure by someone to live up to their ideals, he attacks that person publicly, trying to shame him into proper behavior. What is the proper response if I am attacked by this overzealous follower in public? What if the attacks are private? Should I respond if my friends and acquaintances are attacked?

Answer, In Brief: The problem of overzealous ideologues is part of a broader conflict between openness and quality control in advocacy movements. Understand that – and then exclude such people from your life as much as possible.

Tags: Activism, Communication, Friendship, Integrity, Justice, Objectivist Movement, Paleo, Rationality, Relationships

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Question 4: Buying from Chinese Companies (58:05)

Question: Is it moral to buy products from Chinese companies? Recently I discovered several online companies based in China that sell clothing of reasonable quality for very low prices. I've made a few purchases, and I am happy with the items received. But I wonder: is it moral to purchase goods made in a communist country? Granted China has changed a lot in the past two decades, but the communists still rule in a totalitarian fashion. Am I supporting that kind of regime by sending my money there, or am I supporting the entrepreneurial class which might exist in China?

Answer, In Brief: In today's global economy, it's not possible to avoid Chinese-made goods – and it's perfectly moral to buy them because China is not a communist dictatorship or other enemy.

Tags: Business, China, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Politics

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:03:35)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What do you think about conservatives being upset at Google's "doodle" for today (Easter Sunday)?
  • Why do so many people accuse Ayn Rand of being an Nietzsche wannabe?
  • How does one distinguish evil from mere madness?

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Conclusion (1:10:26)

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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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