Government, Empty Threats, Circumcision, and More
Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio



Readings on the Holocaust

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading — or rather, listening to — books on the Third Reich and the Holocaust.  I'm particularly interested in personal narratives: I want to know what it was like to live through that inhuman era, including the warning signs available to ordinary people of the coming disaster.  

It's difficult but rewarding reading.  I'm not just acquiring knowledge: I'm honoring the victims of the Third Reich by listening to their stories.

Here, I'll just recommend three books:

Life and Death in the Third Reich by Peter Fritzsche (Amazon & Audible)

I'd strongly recommend this book as a from-the-ground overview of the Holocaust.  It focuses on people's experiences of the Third Reich — drawing heavily on letters and journals — against the background of major political and military events.  It's also an excellent intellectual history: it looks deeply at the ideology and goals of the Nazis, in order to make sense of their actions.  (Thanks to this book, I understand that so much better than ever before now.)  It includes thoughtful discussions of the moral culpability of ordinary Germans too.

Night by Elie Wiesel (Amazon and Audible

This was a painfully poetic personal narrative — and it's a classic for good reason.  It's short, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust by Lyn Smith (Amazon and Audible)

I just finished listening to this book yesterday morning.  It consists of small stories told by Holocaust survivors, organized chronologically and topically, with the narrator providing an overarching context.  In the audiobook, the stories are just segments of the interviews, and they're often so much more emotionally moving as a result.  I couldn't stop listening.

— DMH


 



October
21

Upcoming Radio Show

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on federal versus state and local government, parenting via empty threats, circumcision versus female genital mutilation, reasons for everything, and more with Greg Perkins. Join us for the live show and text chat at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET in Philosophy in Action's Live Studio. But, if you miss that, you can always listen to the podcastlater.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Government, Empty Threats, Circumcision, and More
  • When: Sunday, 21 October 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

Here are this week's questions:

Question 1: Federal Versus State and Local Government

Is it proper for state or local government to enact laws that a federal government should not? A proper government is one that fulfills and is limited to the role of protecting citizens from initiations of force by other individuals or other nations. However, in a free and proper society, is it proper for local and state governments to enact laws that go beyond the proper functions of a federal government? For example, in a properly-governed United States, could states enact certain laws that regulate behavior beyond what the federal government could enact, perhaps based on the religious or other values held by most people in that community – on the assumption that any person who disagreed could leave the area?

Question 2: Parenting Via Empty Threats

Should parents make empty threats to their children? At the grocery store last week, I heard a mother threaten to throw away her daughter's favorite toys unless the daughter behaved. That seems to be pretty common: parents make empty threats in an attempt to scare their kids into better behavior. They'll say that it works, and perhaps it does. But what are the consequences? Are such empty threats a valid parenting technique?

Question 3: Circumcision Versus Female Genital Mutilation

Is circumcision on par with female genital mutilation? Many people decry female genital mutilation, but they regard circumcision as the right of parents. Is that wrong?

Question 4: Reasons for Everything

Does everything happen for a reason? When confronted with some unwelcome turn of events, many people tell themselves that "everything happens for a reason." What does that mean – and is it true? Is it harmless – or does believing that have negative effects on a person's life?

After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

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: 21 October 2012.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

— Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) 
    Philosophy in Action


 










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