On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on ambition as a virtue, happiness without close friends, refusing involvement in a biological child's life, responsibility for a sibling, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 27 April 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Free Speech

  • Q&A: Buying Books with Military Secrets: 6 Apr 2014, Question 3
  • Question: Is it wrong to buy a book containing sensitive military information? The Pentagon claims that the new book No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Bin Laden reveals some potentially sensitive details about the operation. I'd really like to read about the mission, but I'm worried that the Pentagon's concerns are valid, and I'd rather not contribute to a work that that puts our soldiers at risk. However, given that the book has already been released, does it matter whether I buy it or not?

    Tags: Crime, Ethics, Free Speech, Law, Military, Secrets

  • Q&A: Free Speech of Government Officials: 19 Jan 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Does freedom of speech apply to government officials? In August 2013, Rolling Stone caused a furor by putting accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. In response, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote to the publisher of Rolling Stone, telling him that doing so "rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment" – treatment the magazine should have given to the survivors. Other government officials were similarly critical of Rolling Stone. My first reaction was that these government officials had no place saying anything about a publication. But then I wondered, doesn't the First Amendment still apply to them? In other words, do government officials have freedom of speech?

    Tags: Free Society, Free Speech, Government, Law, Politics, Rights

  • Interview: Robert Garmong on Censorship in China: 18 Sep 2013
  • Summary: How does censorship work in China? What can ordinary people access or not? What is the Chinese government most concerned to conceal? What are the consequences of speaking out? What do ordinary people think of the censorship? Robert Garmong, an American living and working in China, will answer these questions and more.

    Tags: Academia, Censorship, China, Culture, Education, Free Speech, Government, History, Rights, Technology

  • Interview: Paul Sherman on Free Speech in Elections: 9 Jan 2013
  • Summary: Many people support restrictions on spending in elections, particularly by corporations, in the name of "transparency" and "accountability." Institute for Justice attorney Paul Sherman takes a very different view. He argues persuasively that any restrictions on campaign spending are violations of freedom of speech. He has successfully argued that view in courts across the country.

    Tags: Activism, Campaign Finance, Elections, Free Speech, Government, Law, Politics, Rights

  • Q&A: Advertising to Children: 12 Aug 2012, Question 3
  • Question: Should the government regulate advertising to children? Most people think that advertising products to children is morally wrong, if not coercive. They say that the government should regulate or even ban such advertising to protect children and parents from pushy advertisers. In the case of junk food, for example, people claim that children are not old enough to understand the damage that junk food does to their health. Therefore, they claim, children must be protected. While I can understand forbidding advertising drugs or liquor to children, to forbid food advertisements seems like a violation of individual rights. So should the government have any role in regulating advertisements directed at children?

    Tags: Children, Food, Free Speech, Government, Parenting, Rights

  • Q&A: Stealing Valor: 15 Apr 2012, Question 3
  • Question: Should "stealing valor" be a crime? Rencently, a man was arrested by the FBI in Houston and charged with "stolen valor." This is the charge made against someone who falsely poses as a decorated soldier. Is it proper to make this a crime? Why or why not?

    Tags: Constitution, Ethics, Fraud, Free Speech, Government, Law, Rights

  • Q&A: SOPA and Online Piracy: 15 Jan 2012, Question 1
  • Question: Should SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) be supported or opposed? SOPA was recently introduced to the US House of Representatives, then shelved temporarily, and many people are urging businesses and their representatives to oppose it. Would the bill promote prosperity and creativity by protecting copyright? Or does it justify internet censorship and cripple free access of information through online media?

    Tags: Ethics, Free Speech, Internet, Law, Politics, Technology

  • Podcast: December 2011 Testimony on Campaign Finance: 20 Dec 2011
  • Summary: On December 15th, 2011, Ari Armstrong, Paul Hsieh, and I testified at the Secretary of State's hearing on the proposed changes to Colorado's campaign finance rules. This podcast includes all our testimony.

    Tags: Activism, Campaign Finance, Coalition for Secular Government, Free Speech, Government, Politics, Rights

  • Q&A: Public Nudity and Rights: 25 Sep 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Do restrictions on nudity and sex visible to others violate rights? While having a zestful online debate, someone claimed that Ayn Rand contradicts herself in claiming that public nudity should be censored. (See "Thought Control" in The Ayn Rand Letter.) Since sex is a beautiful act, why should people be protected from it? Could a ban on visible pornography or sex be a slippery slope to other intrusions by government?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Free Speech, Law, Nudity, Nuisances, Pornography, Rights, Sex

  • Podcast: May 2011 Testimony on Campaign Finance: 9 May 2011
  • Summary: On May 3rd, 2011, I testified in a hearing before Colorado's Secretary of State about the burdens of Colorado's campaign finance regulations. This podcast contains the full audio from my testimony, plus my answers to questions from the panel.

    Tags: Activism, Campaign Finance, Coalition for Secular Government, Free Speech, Government, Politics, Rights

  • Podcast: Preview of Eric Daniels Webcast on Free Speech: 3 Jan 2011
  • Summary: This is the teaser for Eric Daniels' webcast on the foundations of free speech. (That webcast is no longer available for sale.)

    Tags: Free Speech, Politics, Rights


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