Libertarianism, Mental Illness, Rights, and More
Q&A Radio: 9 June 2013
I answered questions on Objectivism versus libertarianism, bad ideas as a cause of mental illness, doctors refusing to perform abortions, and more on 9 June 2013. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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My News of the Week: I had a great time visiting my sister earlier this week! I resumed the tedious work of editing the galley proofs of my soon-forthcoming book, Responsibility and Luck (a.k.a. my dissertation). Last night, I gave my talk on "Moral Amplifiers" to the Great Lakes Objectivists. We did it remotely via Skype, and that worked remarkably well!
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Segments: 9 June 2013
Question: Are Objectivism and libertarianism allies in the struggle for liberty? Libertarians have long claimed that Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism (or just its politics) is a form of libertarianism, but Objectivists rejected that. More recently, however, notable Objectivist John Allison assumed the presidency of the thoroughly libertarian Cato Institute with the support of the Ayn Rand Institute, and he claimed that "all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists." Is that true? What is the essence of libertarianism? When, if ever, should Objectivists ally or collaborate with libertarians?
Answer, In Brief: Objectivists are not libertarians: the libertarian movement is premised on philosophical relativism and merely wanting "smaller government." Objectivists should work with libertarians just as they do with liberals and conservatives – meaning, on an ad hoc basis.
Question: Can the consistent practice of wrong ideas lead to mental illness? Often, the most consistent practitioners of an ideology – such as Naziism or Islam – seem to become increasingly unhinged over time. Does fully embracing a fantasy-based ideology entail or encourage mental illness, such as paranoia and delusions? If so, are such people then not responsible for what they say or do?
Answer, In Brief: A person can damage his mind severely by consistent practice of evasion and irrationality, and religion and other fantasy-based ideologies can help a person do that.
Question: Does a doctor violate a woman's rights by refusing to perform an abortion? Many people on the left claim that a doctor who refuses to perform an abortion – or a pharmacist who refuses to dispense Plan B – is thereby violating the rights of the woman. Those doctors and pharmacists, however, claim that they're exercising their own freedom of religion. Who is right?
Answer, In Brief: A doctor does not violate a woman’s right to abortion by refusing to perform an abortion, and a doctor’s freedom of religion does not entitle him to renege on the terms of his employment.
Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:42)
- Do you believe "inductive" and "inductively" have become generic positive modifiers (i.e., used merely to lend positive connotation without specific denotation) in Objectivist circles, when used outside the context of speaking of the process of induction proper - for example, when used in a statement such as: "X organization engages in inductive advocacy"?
- Would you support the admission of Puerto Rico to the U.S. as a state given the results of the last year controversial referendum (54% against current status, 61% of valid votes for statehood)?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].