On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on net neutrality, rescuing other people's pets, too big egos, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 7 September 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Welfare

  • Q&A: Responsibility for a Sibling: 4 May 2014, Question 3
  • Question: Is a person responsible for his incapable sibling? Imagine that your brother (or sister) is not capable of taking care of himself: he makes poor choices, he has poor work habits, and he is emotionally immature. Are you thereby responsible for him? Should you try to help as much as possible, so long as you don't drag yourself down? Or should you refuse to help on the principle of "tough love," even though that won't help him take care of himself? If you take the latter approach, doesn't that mean that you're foisting the care for your sibling on society? Wouldn't that be shirking your responsibilities as a sibling? Also, does your responsibility depend on whether your brother is incapable due to his own choices, as opposed to merely bad luck?

    Tags: Benevolence, Duty Ethics, Egoism, Ethics, Family, Finances, Obligation, Responsibility, Rights, Sacrifice, Self-Sacrifice, Siblings, Welfare

  • Q&A: Accepting Government Welfare: 10 Nov 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Should a person without other options accept welfare from the government? I've had generalized anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. I live in Sweden, and my government has so many labor regulations that no business can hire me, and charities don't exist to help me. Is it wrong, in such a case, to accept government assistance? I don't have any savings, and it seems like my only other options are criminal activity and suicide.

    Tags: Career, Ethics, Meaning, Mental Health, Purpose, Welfare

  • Q&A: The Speed of Free Market Reforms: 3 Nov 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Should free-market reforms be gradual or instantaneous? Many advocates of free markets concede that reforms toward capitalism should be gradual. For example, Yaron Brook said recently about abolishing Social Security, "There is no way to eliminate it tomorrow. There is no way to eliminate it... cold turkey." But why not? What's wrong with the "cold turkey" approach? Is the concern simply that the only way to get people to accept reforms is to make them slowly? Or would it be somehow unjust to cut off people's entitlements suddenly, given that they've come to depend on them?

    Tags: Charity, Disability, Economics, Ethics, Government, Justice, Law, Politics, Welfare

  • Q&A: Risking Welfare by Having Children: 1 Sep 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Should a person forgo having children to avoid the risk of needing welfare? I know that accepting government welfare is wrong: it's a kind of loot stolen from taxpayers. For a person to accept welfare is damaging to his life and happiness. However, I would like children, but in today's economy, particularly with my spouse's frequent job turnover, I'm not sure that's possible without ever relying on welfare. If I had children, I don't know if I would be able to resist becoming a looter to care for them. What if the only alternative is for the state to take charge of them? I couldn't allow that. Wouldn't accepting welfare be better than that?

    Tags: Children, Ethics, Parenting, Responsibility, Welfare

  • Q&A: Welfare Reform Versus Immigration Reform: 24 Feb 2013, Question 3
  • 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?

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

  • Q&A: Mandatory Child Support: 27 Jan 2013, Question 4
  • Question: Isn't mandated child support basically just welfare for needy children? What is the moral difference between compelling parents to support their children and compelling all people to support the needy in society? Many critics of the welfare state believe that parents should be compelled to support their children with basic levels of physical sustenance and education, such that failing to provide these constitutes violating children's rights. But how is that different from compelling people to support other needy or vulnerable people? Is the blood relationship what creates the obligation to support the child – and if so, how?

    Tags: Abortion, Adoption, Children, Child Support, Ethics, Fatherhood, Free Society, Government, Law, Parenting, Pregnancy, Welfare

  • Q&A: Manipulating Finances to Qualify for Welfare: 6 Jan 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Is it wrong to manipulate your finances to qualify for welfare? An acquaintance of mine – who is moderately wealthy – feels justified in manipulating her finances to get government aid whenever possible on the grounds that it is "getting back" some of what she has paid. For example, she had her elderly mother buy a new car for her own use, in order to have her mother deplete her savings faster and qualify for Medicaid. However, while she had paid much in tax, her mother collects more in social security every month than she ever paid in taxes. Is it rational to view this as "getting back" money that was taken inappropriately, or is it actually immoral and self-destructive?

    Tags: Ethics, Government, Honesty, Integrity, Law, Welfare

  • Q&A: Guaranteed Pensions for Government Employees: 2 Dec 2012, Question 3
  • Question: Should pensions to government employees be guaranteed? Many cities and states are running into fiscal trouble and are reneging on promises to pay pensions to retired government employees, such as policemen. Should those promised payments be guaranteed, even if that means raising taxes or cutting back elsewhere? After all, those payments are part of a contract made between the employer and the employee. Or if money is tight for the city/state government, should the retirees have to share the same risk of default as anyone else the government owes money to?

    Tags: Contracts, Ethics, Free Society, Government, Law, Pensions, Retirement, Welfare

  • Q&A: Working for the IRS Versus Collecting Welfare: 14 Oct 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Is it wrong to accept Social Security disability benefits when I could work? I'm blind. Although I can work, my recent job at the IRS seemed to be so soul-draining and vexing that I determined to look elsewhere for employment. However, jobs are limited right now, and I am not sure what else I want to do at this point. Was it right for me to quit my job before having the next one lined up? In the meantime, is it moral for me to receive Social Security? Have I gone from being a maker to a taker?

    Tags: Career, Disability, Ethics, Government, Integrity, Welfare, Work

  • Q&A: Filial Responsibility Laws: 4 Sep 2011, Question 4
  • Question: How should a person deal with filial responsibility laws? In your April 10th webcast, you discussed the morality of taking care of elderly parents. Some states have filial responsibility laws, which would force people to take care of indigent elderly parents. How should a person would cope with such laws in practice?

    Tags: Adult Children, Ethics, Family, Family, Finances, Law, Responsibility, Welfare

  • Q&A: JK Rowling's Welfare Payments: 7 Aug 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Should JK Rowling repay the British government for welfare payments made to her? She famously wrote the first Harry Potter novel while "on the dole." She has been fabulously successful since then, but she likely could not have written that first book without state support. Should she now pay back all the government welfare paid to her during that period?

    Tags: Ethics, Government, Justice, Literature, Statism, Taxes, Welfare

  • Q&A: Deflating Bragging Looters: 19 Jun 2011, Question 5
  • Question: What is the best way to handle "proud" looters? What is the safest and most effective way to deal with the people who ignorantly brag about the fact that they are free-loaders on others, including using government programs and "public" funds?

    Tags: Communication, Ethics, Judgment, Justice, Moral Wrongs, Politics, Welfare

  • Q&A: Terminal Cancer and Disability: 31 Oct 2010, Question 3
  • Question: I have a terminal illness (cancer) that's getting in the way of my daily life, which includes a full-time job and college. Is it moral to stop working and go on disability?

    Tags: Ethics, Government, Health, Welfare, Work


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