Saturday, October 15, 2011

Objectivist Links

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 a link to The Objectivist Roundup. 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.

Rational Jenn hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

Also, my next live Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be on 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 www.RationallySelfish.com.

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

  • Question 1: Judging Young Adults: How ought I to judge my college-age peers, given the upbringing they've had? I know that we are ultimately responsible for our actions and our character, yet character is also heavily influenced our culture, education, and upbringing. I was raised roughly the same way as my peers, and I went through the same standardised, state-school education system. Yet I did not end up like them -- largely due to the fact that I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I had an alternative to the ideas offered to me, unlike most of my peers. Without that, I could have ended up just like anyone else. Knowing that, I try to treat my peers gently -- meaning not taking the bad ideas they hold seriously, showing a benevolent warmth to them, and not focusing too hard on negatively judging their characters. But am I doing right, or should I really be harsher in my judgment and treatment of them?

  • Question 2: Voting With Your Wallet: Is it wrong to "vote with your wallet"? A liberal friend of mine recently said that he won't vote for political candidates based on his own economic interests, e.g. that Candidate A promises to raise taxes on his income bracket, while Candidate B promises to cut taxes for that bracket. What's wrong with doing that, if anything?

  • Question 3: Objective Evidence for Free Will: Is there objective evidence for free will? After doing some research on free will and determinism, the existence of free will seems pretty unlikely to me -- even though the thought of free will is comforting. An argument often used to refute determinism is that the determinist says that we should accept determinism, since on his view, he only advocates determinism because he's determined. That seems unsatisfying, however, since that doesn't prove the existence of free will. Also, even if each person can say of himself, "I have free will," how do you determine whether others have free will? How would you know whether a toddler, a teenager, a person with a brain tumor, or a person with dementia has free will or not?

  • Question 4: The Morality of Armed Rebellion: When is a person (or group) justified in taking up arms against the government? In other words, how despotic must a government be for violent revolution to be morally justified? Before that point, is a person just engaged in "terrorism"?
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.

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