Podcast #962: The Case for Minding Your Own Business

Attend the graduation of a college senior, and the commencement speech is likely to include a few themes: Do something big. Make a name for yourself. Change the world.

My guest is not a fan of this advice, and says that rather than focusing on solving large-scale problems, we ought to concentrate on making things better in our own backyards.

Brandon Warmke is a professor of philosophy and the co-author of Why It’s OK to Mind Your Own Business. Today on the show, Brandon explains why what he calls “commencement speech morality” distorts our moral vision by emphasizing one version of the good and valuable life, at the expense of the value and good of a life marked by “ordinary morality.” Brandon first unpacks the dangers of intervening in other people’s business, including becoming a moralizer and a busybody. He then makes a case for the benefits of minding your own business and putting down roots, creating a good home, and living in solitude, and for how a smaller, quieter life can still be generous, important, and noble.

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Podcast: Minding Your Own Business

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