On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on the justice of defamation laws, pursuing justice at great personal cost, the cultural effects of superhero movies, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 27 July 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Discrimination

  • Q&A: Proposals to Ban Muslim Immigration: 8 Jun 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Does the lack of respect for rights among some Muslim immigrants justify banning all Muslim immigrants? Sometimes, I hear people say that immigrants from Muslim countries are so illiberal (in the classical sense) that they ought to banned from entering the United States and Western Europe. The anti-immigrationists say that when people from Muslim countries are allowed to reside in the West, such immigrants remain committed to political Islam, honor-kill their own daughters, rape native-born women, and plot to impose sharia law on the West through "stealth jihad." Is the illiberalism of some (or even many) Muslim immigrants grounds for limiting immigration from Muslim countries? What is the proper response to this problem?

    Tags: Conservatism, Crime, Discrimination, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Islam, Justice, Law, Politics, Religion, Security, Terrorism

  • Q&A: Favoritism for the Genetically Engineered: 20 Oct 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Once some children are genetically engineered, wouldn't discrimination against natural children be inevitable? Assume that humanity has advanced to the technological capacities of the movie "Gattaca," where the best possible genes for each child could be (and mostly would be) chosen before implantation of the embryo. In that case, how could society prevent discrimination against people who were conceived naturally? Those chosen genes would include genes for determination, the desire to learn, motivation, and more, such that engineered people would always win out based on merit. The movie "Gattaca" shows a natural child rising above his engineered counterparts because of his great determination and spirit. The movie's tagline is even "there is no gene for the human spirit." But if there is such a thing as a human spirit, then there surely must be a gene for it. So would discrimination against natural children be inevitable? If so, would it be unjust?

    Tags: Comparative Advantage, Discrimination, Economics, Freedom of Association, Free Society, Genetic Engineering, Rights

  • Q&A: Hate Crime Laws: 8 Sep 2013, Question 4
  • Question: Are hate crime laws just? Hate crime laws impose additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred for or bias against the victim for his group membership, such as religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or ethnic background. Do such laws protect or violate individual rights? Should such laws be maintained, modified, or repealed?

    Tags: Crime, Discrimination, GLBT, Hate Crimes, Justice, Law, Racism, Sexism

  • Q&A: Moral Judgments of Obese People: 14 Apr 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Obviously, obese and morbidly obese people have made mistakes in their lives. Are they morally culpable for those mistakes? How should other people judge their characters? If I see an obese person on the street, should I infer that he is lazy and unmotivated? Should I refuse to hire an obese person because I suspect he won't work as hard as a non-obese person? Is obesity a moral failing – or are there other considerations?

    Tags: Culture, Discrimination, Ethics, Food, Health, Judgment, Justice, Medicine, Nutrition, Obesity

  • Q&A: The Wrong of Anti-Discrimination Laws: 10 Feb 2013, Question 1
  • 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?

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

  • Q&A: Solutions to Widespread Racism: 20 Jan 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Should the government intervene when widespread racism makes life impossible for some people? Given that the effect of strictly respecting the rights of private property owners in the South was that blacks could not find accommodations, health care, transportation, food, and other basic necessities of life, shouldn't the government have intervened? Didn't civil rights legislation help eliminate racism – and wasn't that a good thing – even if that meant violating the right to property of racists?

    Tags: Activism, Capitalism, Culture, Discrimination, Economics, Ethics, Free Society, History, Law, Race, Racism

  • Q&A: Sex-Selective Abortions: 19 Aug 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Are sex-selective abortions wrong? In Canada, some hospitals refuse to tell prospective parents the sex of their fetus when discovered in a second-trimester ultrasound, because the members of many immigrant groups will selectively abort girls. Apparently, such sex-selective abortions are common enough that the birth demographics in some areas are clearly skewed. Are such abortions wrong? Should doctors withhold information about the sex of a fetus in an effort to stop the practice? Could a doctor legitimately choose to perform abortions for any reason at 8 weeks, but refuse to do so at 21 weeks simply because the parents don't want a girl? If so, what's the moral difference between those two situations?

    Tags: Abortion, Children, Culture, Discrimination, Ethics, Medicine, Parenting, Pregnancy, Rights, Sexism

  • Q&A: Racism in Dating: 17 Jul 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is it racist to refuse to date people of a certain ethnic background? Recently, black singer Jill Scott said that she felt her soul "wince" whenever a black man married a white woman. Many people have denounced that as racism, and I agree with that. However, I was shocked to see a black man (known to me only via Facebook) say that he'd never date a white woman due to the history of slavery in America. He even suggested that Tiger Woods was some kind of traitor to his race for marrying blonde beauty Ellen Nordegren. Is that racist?

    Tags: Dating, Discrimination, Marriage, Race, Racism, Relationships

  • Q&A: Cultural Pride: 30 Jan 2011, Question 6
  • Question: Is it wrong to be proud of or obtain your pride from your culture, family and ancestors? Is it correct to have pride in one's culture, family and ancestors? For example in Samoan society a Pe'a is a traditional male Samoan tattoo. According to my friend the pe'a tells him that the wearer has pride in their culture, their family and their ancestors. It is not just a physical marking but an indicator of his/her soul according to him.

    Tags: Body Modification, Culture, Discrimination, Multiculturalism, Pride, Race, Relativism, Tradition

  • Q&A: Discrimination and Rights: 23 Jan 2011, Question 6
  • Question: In the essay "Racism" in The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand mentions that public institutions and government agencies should not discriminate against or on behalf of individuals. In her talk of private property, however, she says that government should not attempt to prevent private racism in private establishments and that a man's rights are not violated by a private individual's refusal to deal with him. My question is: How are his rights not violated if the owner discriminates against him?

    Tags: Business, Discrimination, Gender, Justice, Law, Property, Race


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