Saturday, August 27, 2011

Objectivist Tidbits

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some fresh links related to Objectivism from around the web for anyone interested in learning more about the philosophy.

The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health. Erosophia hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast.

Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:

  • Question 1: The Validity of Introversion and Extroversion: Are "introversion" and "extroversion" valid as psychological types? Sometimes people classify themselves and others as "introverts" and "extroverts." What does that mean? Is the distinction valid and useful? Why or why not?
  • Question 2: Circumcision and Religious Freedom: Should circumcision be banned? Residents of San Francisco were supposed to vote on a ballot measure that would have banned circumcision, except in cases of medical necessity. (It was stuck from the ballot by a judge due to conflicts with state law.) Since circumcision is an millennia-old religious rite for Jews and regarded as essential to their covenant with God, would a ban on circumcision violate the principle of freedom of religion?
  • Question 3: Lobbying as a Career: Can lobbying be a proper career choice? Lobbying involves asking for various kind of favors from the government. Is that a profession that someone who values free markets should avoid like the plague?
  • Question 4: Working for a Statist Company: Is it immoral to work for a company that uses government to eliminate or hamper the competition? For example, if a company has brought antitrust lawsuits against its competitors, should you refuse to work for them?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you're unable to attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

In last Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed two questions on maintaining friendships despite philosophic disagreements.

The first question was:
How can I maintain my integrity in friendships with people of opposite philosophic views? I struggle to keep good relations with family and friends who support our current political system in which some people are helped at the expense of others, which I regard as slavery. They support ObamaCare, EPA restrictions, and welfare programs. Through years of caring discussions, I realize that they do not hold the individual as sacred but instead focus on what's best for "the group." At this point, I often feel more pain than pleasure being with them, even though we have many other values in common, yet I hate to cut them off. How can I maintain good relationships with them -- or should I stop trying?
Here's the 9-minute video, now posted to YouTube:



The second question was:
Should I terminate friendships with people who steal music and other intellectual property from the internet? I don't know a single person who doesn't steal something off the internet. I used to do this myself, but stopped when I realized it was wrong and why. Normally, I would cut off contact with anyone who violates rights, because that's worse than just holding wrong ideas, but the activity is so prevalent now that doing so would end my social life. Even now, my clear moral position strains my friendships. So what should I do?
Here's the 7-minute video, now posted to YouTube:

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