Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

30 November 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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29 November 2012

Right to Die: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on right to die that might be of interest. The question is:

Is there a right to die and/or a right to be killed? Does a person have a right to die? If so, under what conditions? Moreover, does a person unable to kill himself (due to illness) have a right to be killed by a willing person?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Radio: Moral Luck, Adult Children, Promised Pensions, and More
  • When: Sunday, 2 December 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover moral luck, parental support of adult children, guaranteed pensions for government employees, right to die, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 2 December 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 2 December 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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19 November 2012

Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends

By Diana Hsieh

From College Humor: Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends:



In response, the straight men of America yell, "OH NOES!"

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16 November 2012

The Deadly Effects of Abortion Bans

By Diana Hsieh

Hospital Death in Ireland Renews Fight Over Abortion:

The woman, Savita Halappanavar, 31, a dentist who lived near Galway, was 17 weeks pregnant when she sought treatment at University Hospital Galway on Oct. 21, complaining of severe back pain.

Dr. Halappanavar was informed by senior hospital physicians that she was having a miscarriage and that her fetus had no chance of survival. However, despite repeated pleas for an abortion, she was told that it would be illegal while the fetus's heart was still beating, her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, said.

It was not until Oct. 24 that the heartbeat ceased and the remains of the fetus were surgically removed. But Dr. Halappanavar contracted a bacterial blood disease, septicemia. She was admitted to intensive care but never recovered, dying on Oct. 28.

Mr. Halappanavar, in an interview with The Irish Times from his home in India, said his wife was told after one request, "This is a Catholic country."
On Facebook, I've seen some advocates of abortion bans claim that her death cannot be definitively proved to have been caused by the failure of the doctors to abort her dying fetus. That's true, but utterly beside the point.

Very little in medicine is cut and dried. The human body is immensely complex, and doctors mostly deal in probabilities, not certainties. That's part of why it's so important for each person -- guided by the advice of her doctors -- to make her own decisions about her medical care.

People differ in their values, and hence, in the risks they're willing to accept or not. For a person to be free to live her own life requires that she be free to decide what risks to take with her own body and health -- without interference from the government.

For the government to dictate or outlaw certain kinds of medical treatments means subjecting people to risks contrary to their own best judgment of their own interests. That's a violation of their rights, plain and simple. That's true for all medical care, including abortion.

That's why laws banning abortion violate rights, even when they allow for exceptions to save the life of the mother. All pregnancy is risky: the maternal death rate in the United States is 16 out of 100,000. Many women are unwilling to undergo that risk, not to mention all the other complications and risks of pregnancy -- and rightly so. Because the embryo/fetus is not a person with the right to life, a woman has the right to decide, based purely on her judgment of her own best interests, that she's not willing to bear the risks of pregnancy, and hence, to terminate her pregnancy.

In contrast, under laws that permit abortion only to save the life of the mother, doctors would be constantly subject to second-guessing by police, prosecutors, and courts -- and perhaps, subject to very serious criminal charges for murder or manslaughter. That's why women die under abortion bans, regardless of provisions that permit doctors to act to save the the woman's life. The doctor cannot afford to be blind to the risk to his own life and liberty of performing an abortion, even to save a woman's life.

The advocates of abortion bans seek to evade the consequences of their own policies when confronted by these kinds of cases by claiming that the woman might have died anyway, even if she'd been able to terminate the pregnancy. That might be true, but that should have been her decision to make. Instead, she was preventing from acting based on her own best judgment in service of her life. That's a major violation of her fundamental rights.

Ultimately, as Savita Halappanavar's husband said, "It was all in their hands, and they just let her go. How can you let a young woman go to save a baby who will die anyway?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again: opposition to abortion rights is not "pro-life."

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14 November 2012

The 2012 Election Results: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 11 November 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed the 2012 election results, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, how can intellectuals, activists, and others effectively promote individual rights over the next four years?
My Answer, In Brief: Advocates of free markets need to stop despairing and start thinking about how to make progress over the next four years.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Alcohol/Drugs, America, Apocalypticism, Democratic Party, Elections, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Politics, Republican Party, Rights Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread. A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on the 2012 election results, explaining a break-up, keeping contact with questionable family, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 11 November 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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13 November 2012

Colorado Supreme Court on to Answer Questions on Campaign Finance

By Diana Hsieh

This press release from the Center for Competitive Politics -- Colorado Supreme Court to Rule on Federal Judge's Questions -- is awesome, awesome news for the Coalition for Secular Government's challenge to Colorado's campaign finance laws.

In an order received today, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to a US District Court judge's request to "provide clear guidance... as to the scope and meaning" of four unclear provisions of Colorado's campaign finance laws that are the subject of litigation under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The request was made by Senior Judge John L. Kane of the United States Court for the District of Colorado in connection with a case brought by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) on behalf of the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG). Allen Dickerson, CCP's Legal Director, said today he is "pleased that Colorado's highest court will provide a definitive interpretation of key provisions in Colorado's campaign finance laws and address the important constitutional issues raised in this case."

The lawsuit challenges whether Colorado can force small educational groups to register with the state before expressing an opinion on or publishing an analysis of a ballot question. Because of vague state laws, confusion as to what constitutes political speech and what is covered under a press exemption, and a refusal by the state to abide by a federal court order, CSG has found it nearly impossible to carry out the activities of a small non-profit group without fear of running afoul of complex Colorado campaign finance laws.

Judge Kane asked the Colorado high court for the interpretation because the "lawsuit raises First Amendment challenges to several provisions of Colorado campaign finance law that remain undefined by the Colorado Constitution, Article XXVIII's implementing legislation, or case law from Colorado courts."

Judge Kane certified four questions, which the Colorado Supreme Court has now agreed to answer. The questions are as follows:
1. Is the policy paper published by the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) in 2010 "express advocacy" under Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(a) of the Colorado Constitution?

2. If the policy paper is express advocacy, does it qualify for the press exemption found at Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(b)?

3. Is the policy paper a "written or broadcast communication" under S 1-45- 103(12)(b)(II)(B), C.R.S.? If not, did it become a "written or broadcast communication" when it was posted to CSG's blog or Facebook page?

4. In light of Sampson v. Buescher, 625 F.3d 1247 (10th Cir. 2010), what is the monetary trigger for Issue Committee status under Art. XXVIII S 2(10)(a)(II) of the Colorado Constitution?

A copy of the court order is available here. The case, over which Judge Kane presides, is Coalition for Secular Government v. Gessler, No. 12-cv-1708. The plaintiff's brief to the Colorado Supreme Court is due December 3, 2012.

Once again, I cannot properly express my gratitude to Allen Dickerson and the rest of the staff at the Center for Competitive Politics for this legal challenge to Colorado's campaign finance laws.

I'm not just grateful for the hope that I'll never have to file campaign finance reports again -- nor even for the hope of striking a solid blow for free speech in Colorado. I'm grateful because my participation in this case has enabled me to see that the rule of law, while not perfect, is a robust institution in America. As a result, I've become far more optimistic about the future over the past few months. I don't share the post-election "Doom and Death Camps" so prevalent among advocates of free markets, for reasons that I explained in Sunday's Radio Show. I'm glad of that, and I'm proud of that.

So if you'd like to assist in the efforts of the Center for Competitive Politics, you can donate here.

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09 November 2012

The 2012 Election Results: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on the 2012 election results that might be of interest. The question is:

What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, many free-market advocates urge us to work harder in spreading the message of individual rights, including via "education" campaigns. Do you think that such efforts will be effective?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Election Results, Default Ideas, Break-Ups, and More
  • When: Sunday, 11 November 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover the 2012 election results, adopting ideas by default, explaining a break-up, keeping contact with questionable family, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 11 November 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 11 November 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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08 November 2012

Link-O-Rama: Election

By Diana Hsieh

  • If Republicans Want to Win, They Must Embrace Individual Rights: Ari Armstrong is right: the GOP was seriously hurt in this election -- and justly so -- by its opposition to abortion rights, immigration, and gay rights. I would add that Romney's support of state-level socialized medicine, strong regulations, the welfare state, and other economic rights-violations didn't make him a credible candidate on economic liberty.
  • Election Results: Amendment 65 - Campaign Finance Limits: Alas, Colorado's toothless pro-campaign-finance amendment passed handily. I think that's because most people don't understand that campaign finance laws destroy free speech. They just think that big money corrupts politics.
  • Slate: The Victory for Gay Marriage Was Bigger Than You Realized: Take note, GOP. Embrace gay rights, or continue to sit at home and cry.
  • Colorado's "Personhood" Candidates Take a Beating by Ari Armstrong: "As I've been pointing out for some time, Colorado demographically tends to be the type of place where people want government out of wallets and out of our bedrooms. Unfortunately, the Republican Party in this state is dominated by a religious right that wants to outlaw all abortion and discriminate against gays--and that explains to a large degree why Democrats now control the entire state government, again."

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02 November 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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