May 132013

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on taxes versus slavery, infanticide after abortion, emergency medical care, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 12 May 2013

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Podcast Segments: 12 May 2013

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: I attended the hearing of the Colorado Supreme Court regarding the Coalition for Secular Government‘s lawsuit in federal court. The main question discussed whether a single sentence of express advocacy in our policy paper makes the whole paper a policy paper or not. I’m still working on editing the galley proofs of soon-forthcoming book, Responsibility and Luck (a.k.a. my dissertation). Of course, that’s taking longer than I’d like.

Question 1: Taxes Versus Slavery

Question: Are high taxes comparable to slavery? On Facebook, some friends suggest that America is becoming more like Nazi Germany. Others share images comparing Americans workers to slaves picking cotton in the antebellum south due to our ever-higher taxes. I think these comparisons go way too far: Americans are still some of the freest people the world has ever known. No doubt, our freedom is being chipped away, but are we really like slaves?

My Answer, In Brief: Advocates of free markets discredit their cause by likening taxation to slavery. Slavery is the complete and utter violation of the rights of persons. It’s a far worse horror than taxation, with differences in kind, not just degree.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Infanticide After Abortion

Question: Is killing a baby born after an abortion a form of murder? Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial for murder, due to accusations that he killed infants who were delivered in abortions at his clinic. If the facts are as reported, should he be convicted of murder? What should be done when a baby is born alive during an abortion? What are the likely cultural and political implications of this trial?

My Answer, In Brief: According to the testimony at the trial, Kermit Gosnell did not merely perform abortions: he killed born babies, i.e. persons with a right to life. A person who does that is guilty of murder, and he should be prosecuted and punished.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Emergency Medical Care

Question: Do people have a right to emergency medical care? EMTALA (a.k.a. the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) is a federal law that requires emergency rooms to stabilize any patient with an emergency medical condition, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. Is that proper? Is that the same as a right to medical care?

My Answer, In Brief: EMTALA violates the rights of doctors, based on the false premise of a “right” to health care. In practice, it’s a disaster for doctors, hospitals, and the working poor. Ultimately, only scammers and advocates of government-controlled medicine benefit by it.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Is taxation a form of racket?
  • Does your house have dignity?
  • Have you ever noticed people mixing up a right to something and eligibility for it?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 59:42
  • Duration: 7:05
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:06:48

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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