Dec 142010

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on responding to beggars, responsibility for cultural change, toleration as a virtue, violent sports, punishment of government officials, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 12 December 2010

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Podcast Segments: 12 December 2010

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


My News of the Week: Let’s get started!

Question 1: Responding to Beggars

Question: What is the proper way to respond to a beggar? How should one respond when approached on the street by strangers asking for money? Do you have any suggestions for dealing with aggressive beggars?

My Answer, In Brief: Just because someone asks for money doesn’t mean that you’re obliged to give them anything, even your attention.

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

Question 2: Responsibility for Cultural Change

Question: Are Objectivists obliged to work to change the culture? Do you think that it is morally necessary (most of the time, in most cases) for an Objectivist to do something to enact cultural change?

My Answer, In Brief: Freedom not optional value, since your very life depends on it, but you should find some way to help promote a free society that meshes with your life and values.

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

Question 3: Toleration as a Virtue

Question: Is toleration (or tolerance) a virtue?

My Answer, In Brief: Contrary to the modern idea of tolerance, we should always judge and act on those judgments – but in so doing, we need to keep the broader context too.

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

Question 4: Violent Sports

Question: What is the proper judgment of very violent sports and people’s enjoyment of them? By “very violent sports,” I mean ultimate fighting, boxing, etc. – where the objective is to draw blood or beat your opponent senseless. Is this proper entertainment for a rational person?

My Answer, In Brief: Purpose of even violent sports is not harm or injury per se but rather a test of skills, knowledge, and capacities.

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

Question 5: Punishment of Government Officials

Question: Should government officials be punished for rights violations committed via their office? Should the constitution of a rational government in a capitalist society mandate punishment of those in positions of governance who use the power of government to violate individual rights? For instance, McCain-Feingold represents a massive individual rights’ violation; that of free speech and association. McCain and Feingold violated their oath to defend the Constitution as did all those who voted for it; George W. Bush explicitly abdicated his oath in his signing statement. Should such people be punished for legalizing such an encroachment? Currently, only Treason is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as a criminal act requiring punishment

My Answer, In Brief: Such structural tweaks to our political system cannot compensate for culture-wide lack of concern for rights – and they might even be used against us.

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To comment on this question or my answer, 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: 58:24

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