Differences with Family, Sales to Minors, Worthy Charities, and More
Q&A Radio: 14 December 2014
I answered questions on managing differences with family, forbidding the sale of dangerous goods to minors, worthy charities, and more on 14 December 2014. 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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Segments: 14 December 2014
Question: How should a young adult manage persistent differences with his family? As I grew up, I turned out radically different from what my family expected. They think college is necessary for success in life. I didn't, and I dropped out. They eat the Standard American Diet and hate fat. I eat Paleo, and I glorify fat. And so on. Basically, we diverge on many points. I've never committed the mistake of attempting to preach to my family in order to persuade them, but many of them grew unduly concerned with these differences between us. They would argue with me on the subject for months, if not years, no matter what good results I had to show them. Assuming that the relationship is otherwise worth maintaining, how should an older child or young adult handle such contentious differences with his family? How can he best communicate his point of view to them – for example, on the question of college, after they've saved for two decades for his college education?
Answer, In Brief: Persistent differences with your family are to-be-expected for a thinking, independent adult. Discuss them in a rational way to air your differences, then make your own choice. If the other family members won't let it go, kindly but firmly refuse to discuss the matter with them any further.
Question: Should minors be forbidden from buying dangerous goods? Under current law, minors are often restricted from buying goods regarded as dangerous, such as cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks, or firearms. In a free society, should those restrictions be abolished or upheld? Should parents be allowed to permit their children to buy such goods?
Answer, In Brief: The default for adults should be that they're competent to buy dangerous goods, but that can be overridden. Minors should be assumed incompetent, although that can be overridden too, most obviously by parental consent.
Question: What kinds of charities are worthy of support? Many people laud donating to charities, but they don't seem particularly concerned with which charities they support. However, I'd like my charitable dollars to do some good in the world – and do me good in return. So when is it proper to donate to charity? What kinds of charities are worthy of support or not? How can I judge the effectiveness of a charity? Are local charities better than national or international charities?
Answer, In Brief: The worthiness of charities can and should be judged by the worthiness of their cause, their effectiveness at achieving their goals, and their efficiency in the use of money.
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase 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 radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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