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)

Eric Daniels on Why Small Government Isn't the Answer

Radio Interview: 31 July 2013

I interviewed Eric Daniels on "Why Small Government Isn't the Answer" on 31 July 2013. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.

Is "big government" the fundamental problem of American politics? Historian Eric Daniels will explain why this common formulation is misleading, wrong, and even dangerous to liberty.

Dr. Eric Daniels teaches history and works on curriculum development at the LePort Schools in Irvine, California. He has previously taught at Clemson, Georgetown, and Duke Universities. He has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin.

Tags: Activism, America, Anarchism, Crime, Culture, Epistemology, Government, History, Law, Libertarianism, Politics, Racism, Rights, Self-Defense, Sexism


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  • Duration: 1:15:05
  • Download: MP3 File (25.8 MB)

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About the Podcast

The topics covered in this episode were:
  • The problem with "big government" versus "small government"
  • The proper debate: individual rights
  • The two axes of size versus rights
  • Big government like judicial activism
  • Three categories of government action
  • Violating rights versus failing to protect rights
  • The Founders' view: not size but the proper ends of government
  • The failure of the Articles of Confederation
  • 19th century rights violations
  • The rights of women
  • Violations of rights by local governments, particularly based on race
  • The real-life effects of failing to protect rights
  • Judges riding the circuit, too small criminal justice system
  • Measuring the size of government
  • Measuring the growth of government
  • The problem of the inessential
  • Skewing the political debate toward anarchism
  • The appeal to Somalia
  • The terms "limited government" and "minarchism"
  • Advice for activists
  • Eric's new job at LePort Schools

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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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