July 10, 2020
From Brexit to “America First,” Modi in India, Erdoğan in Turkey, and Bolsonaro in Brazil, nationalism – or allegiance to a nation-state over other group affiliations – has been on the rise. Now, borders around the world are closed and the coronavirus pandemic is sparking staunch debate about the future of global governance and political identity. The nation-state has been praised for securing the needs of its citizens and serving as the most efficient form of political organization, while also criticized for being insular and inciting anti-immigration policies. Nationalism has been credited for both uniting disparate communities under a common culture and identity, as well as promoting violence based on race and ethnicity. As global problems continue to mount, does the 21st century require international leadership, or is nationalism a force for good? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 26, 2020
MOTION: Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies from Themselves President Trump posted similar content on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter flagged it. Facebook did not. Both have come under fire for those decisions. Just how should social media companies police user content? Revisit our debate on social media content moderation policies and whether the U.S. Constitution should be the guiding light in a new era of political speech.  FOR THE MOTION: David French - Senior Writer, National Review Corynne McSherry - Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation AGAINST THE MOTION: Nathaniel Persily - Professor, Stanford Law Marietje Schaake - International Policy Director, Stanford's Cyber Policy Center & Fmr. Member, European Parliament We're funded by our listeners. To support our debates, donate online at A message from our sponsor: Get an extra 3 months Free on a one year package. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 12, 2020
How might coronavirus reshape geopolitics? For some, the answer is clear: China is on the rise. While Washington embraces “America First” and abdicates its global leadership role, they argue, Beijing is stepping up to fill the void. But others see a global future where Beijing’s standing is diminished, not bolstered. Panelists Kurt M. Campbell, Kishore Mahbubani, Minxin Pei, and Susan Thornton.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 29, 2020
DEBATE: Has The Electoral College Outlived Its Usefulness? Five American presidents — two in the last 20 years — have assumed office without winning the popular vote. As the nation gears up for another contentious presidential election, some are calling for an end to the Electoral College. They argue that the college subverts the will of the American people by unfairly prioritizing rural and swing states over the nation’s majority. But others say the Electoral College, which the Founders established in the Constitution, is necessary to ensure voters in less populous states have a voice in picking our president. Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness? This debate is presented in partnership with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law as part of the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series.   Motion: The Electoral College Has Outlived Its Usefulness For the Motion: Jamelle Bouie - Columnist, New York Times Kate Shaw - Law Professor & Supreme Court Contributor, ABC News Against the Motion: Tara Ross - Author, "Why We Need the Electoral College" Bradley A. Smith - Law Professor & Former Chairman, Federal Election Commission A note from our sponsor: Get an extra 3 months Free on a one year package. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 15, 2020
More than a decade ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the world witnessed one of the worst financial crises in global history. In January 2019, Intelligence Squared U.S. hosted a debate on the motion “Ten Years After the Global Financial Crisis, the System Is Safer,” to assess how resilient markets would be in the future. With the emergence of a global pandemic, this has put the debater’s arguments to the ultimate test – whose claims have been vindicated by this unprecedented event? Cast Your Vote: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 24, 2020
As health professionals and leaders around the nation rush to procure the supplies Americans need to combat coronavirus, we ask: Is the Defense Production Act being underutilized? This little-known law, which dates back to the Korean War, gives the president vast authority to compel private companies to act in the interest of national defense. While President Trump has invoked the act in recent weeks, many across the nation are calling on his administration to use its powers much more broadly. Cast Your Vote: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 3, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, the World Health Organization is warning of the spread of something else – an information epidemic or “infodemic.” And while diligent consumers of the news are inundated with stats, graphs, press conferences, and think-pieces, so too are they exposed to dubious data, miscredited quotations, and outright harmful claims. In this episode, John Donvan sits down with two leading experts in the spread of information, journalist and editor-in-chief of PolitiFact Angie Drobnic Holan and computer scientist and associate professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington Kate Starbird, for a discussion on how to be discerning communicators during a time of crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 20, 2020
The targeted killing of General Qassim Suleimani sent shockwaves around the world and sparked staunch debate about the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign. Supporters argue that this strategy, which includes leaving the JCPOA and imposing harsh economic sanctions, will safeguard American interests, quell Tehran's human rights abuses, and halt the state's support of terrorist networks. But opponents see "maximum pressure" as dangerously misguided. They argue that abandoning the hard-fought JCPOA and undermining the Iranian economy has promoted violence, isolated allies, and fueled anti-American sentiment. Is the maximum pressure campaign against Iran working?  Presented in partnership with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University Motion: The Maximum Pressure Campaign Against Iran Is Working For the Motion: Victor Davis Hanson - Military Historian & Author, “The Case for Trump” H. R. McMaster - Retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army & Former National Security Advisor Against the Motion: Martha Crenshaw - Terrorism Studies Expert & Author, “Explaining Terrorism” Abbas Milani - Iranian Studies Program Director, Stanford University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 6, 2020
Zionism, or the belief in the Jewish right to self-determination in the land of Israel, has been the topic of contentious global debate for decades. And while the United States government is making moves to strengthen its special relationship with Israel, such as relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, scrutiny of Israel and its government looms large in American politics. Is it possible to distinguish anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism? For the Motion: Bret Stephens - Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times Einat Wilf - Former Member, Israeli Parliament Against the Motion: Peter Beinart - Journalist & Author, “The Crisis of Zionism” Yousef Munayyer - Executive Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 21, 2020
As the nation gears up for the 2020 presidential election, we ask: Is the two-party system good for democracy? Does relying on two hugely powerful political bodies drive division and push voters to the extremes? Or does the two-party system moderate the electorate and make the nation governable?  Keynote Conversation: Joanne Freeman - Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University For the Motion: Yascha Mounk - Author, "The People vs. Democracy" Norman Ornstein - Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute Against the Motion: Lee Drutman - Author, "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop" Katherine Gehl - Entrepreneur & Political Reformer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 7, 2020
For decades, the development of nuclear power has sparked staunch debate among scientists, politicians, and activists alike. Proponents claim that nuclear energy is the most effective way to combat climate change while still meeting the world's growing demand for energy. But its critics argue that expanding nuclear energy is dangerous, costly, and ill-advised. Should nuclear energy fuel our future? Keynote Conversation: Bill Nye - Scientist and CEO of the Planetary Society For the Motion: Kirsty Gogan - Co-founder and Executive Director of Energy for Humanity Daniel Poneman - Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Against the Motion: Gregory B. Jaczko - Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Arjun Makhijani - President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research A message from our sponsor: Get started and master topics with Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 31, 2020
Is the American political system broken? In his new book, Ezra Klein argues that the system isn't malfunctioning, it's doing exactly what it was designed to accomplish. In this special episode of Discourse Disrupters, John Donvan sits down with one of the nation's most prominent political journalists to ask one critical question: Why are we polarized? A message from our sponsors: Watch or listen to Argumentation – and any of The Great Courses Plus’ thousands of lectures - Free for an Entire Month! Get started now Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 10, 2020
Does capitalism need saving? In this special episode, Intelligence Squared partners with Foreign Affairs to take a nuanced look at the state of the capitalism debate in America, and the potential problems facing our economic system. Joining host John Donvan is Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz with recent Intelligence Squared alum and Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward. A message from our sponsors: Watch or listen to Argumentation – and any of The Great Courses Plus’ thousands of lectures - Free for an Entire Month! Get started now A message from our partner: Go to and enter the promo code faiq2 for a discounted issue. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 27, 2019
Now legal in nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia, physician-assisted suicide has a growing contingency that want to legalize the practice. Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy, the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity? FOR THE MOTION: Peter Singer - Philosopher & Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University Andrew Solomon - Author, "Far From the Tree" & Prof. of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University AGAINST THE MOTION: Baroness Ilora Finlay - President, British Medical Association & Member, House of Lords Dr. Daniel Sulmasy - Prof. of Medicine and Ethics, University of Chicago & Member, Presidential Bioethics Commission Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 13, 2019
In this special episode of Intelligence Squared U.S., host and moderator John Donvan sits down with our newly appointed CEO Clea Conner to pull back the curtain on how we make our debates, choose debaters, and talk about what happens off the stage. The World Is Better Off Without Religion Get 20% off your first purchase by going to and entering promo code DEBATE. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 29, 2019
Capitalism has always had its critics. But now, a new generation of political leaders, scholars, and activists are calling the free-market system into question. Has capitalism been a force for good? And should it be the economic model of the future? FOR THE MOTION: John Mackey - Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market Katherine Mangu-Ward - Editor-in-Chief, Reason AGAINST THE MOTION: Bhaskar Sunkara - Founding Editor, Jacobin Richard D. Wolff - Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst GETQUIP.COM/debate for your first refill free! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 15, 2019
How much does our DNA shape who we become? Four experts in science and psychology debate the classic "nature versus nurture" question with a eye toward recent breakthroughs in genetic science and DNA testing. FOR THE MOTION: Robert Plomin - Professor of Behavioral Genetics, King’s College London Nancy Segal - Professor of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton & Director, Twin Studies Center AGAINST THE MOTION: Paige Harden - Psychology Professor, University of Texas Ann Pleshette Murphy - Author & Parenting Expert Cast your vote at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 2, 2019
Should we look to Europe for the future of big tech regulations? Four leading thinkers in tech, governance, and law debate the state and future of big tech, and whether it's time to impose greater regulations on companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. For the Motion: Roslyn Layton - Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute Berin Szóka - Founder and President, TechFreedom AGAINST THE MOTION: Marietje Schaake - International Policy Director, Stanford's Cyber Policy Center & Fmr. Member, European Parliament Ramesh Srinivasan - Director, UC Digital Cultures Lab & Professor, UCLA Cast your vote at Get 20% off your first order at and entering promo code DEBATE during checkout. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 18, 2019
Students for Fair Admissions just challenged Harvard's affirmative action guidelines in federal court, and lost. But the advocacy group is gearing up to make their case again – this time, in the Supreme Court. In this episode, we revisit this timely and contentious debate: Does the Constitution allow racial preferences in university admissions? Use code Friends30 for 30% off tickets to upcoming live debates: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 4, 2019
As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Democrats are promising bold new changes to the American health care system, including scrapping private health insurance and adopting “Medicare for All.” Is this a bold and effective way to repair health care in America? Or will it inflate the already swelled federal deficit?Learn more about upcoming debates at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 20, 2019
Saudi Arabia and Iran are vying for regional dominance. Turkey is cozying up to Russia and China. And instability, conflict, and proxy wars have engulfed Syria, Yemen, and beyond. How should the United States respond to shifting power in the Middle East? Five leading national security experts debate.Learn more about the upcoming season and buy tickets to a live debate at more about your ad choices. Visit
September 6, 2019
In this special episode, host John Donvan sits down with two of America's leading thinkers on politics and foreign policy: Susan Glasser and Yascha Mounk. They discuss the rise of authoritarian leaders around the world and their featured articles in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Go to and enter the promo code faiq2 for a discounted issue.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 30, 2019
How do good ideas and persuasive arguments change the world? In this episode, host John Donvan speaks with TED curator Chris Anderson about how bringing people together to share new and innovative ideas will shape our collective future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 23, 2019
Are recent U.S. policies toward China tough and focused enough to achieve key economic and strategic objectives? Or will U.S. policy escalate tensions too much, ultimately reducing the chances that the world’s two major powers can achieve a sensible accommodation? Join four leading experts for a debate on the motion, “The Recent U.S. Policy Toward China Is Productive.” Learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. and cast your vote to decide the winner at Charles Duhigg's "How To" podcastLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 16, 2019
Can focusing on science and technology transform how Americans think about the economy and the future of the nation's working class? In this episode of Discourse Disrupters, former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson joins host John Donvan for a conversation about his new book, "Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 9, 2019
What happens when an economist walks into a brothel? In this episode, economist and author Allison Schrager talks with host John Donvan about her new book, “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel,” and how you can use reason to assess risk in your everyday life.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 26, 2019
In this episode of Discourse Disrupters, two of America’s top legal minds tackles one of the most pressing questions of the day: what should we do about "hate speech."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 12, 2019
Populism is on the rise. Relations between American and European leaders are often tense. Is the transatlantic relationship beyond repair? Four of the brightest foreign policy minds gather in Brussels for this timely and thoughtful debate. This debate is presented in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 28, 2019
Team IQ2US is busy in Brussels, getting ready to bring you our next debate, “The Transatlantic Relationship Has Been Irreparably Damaged.” This one will be presented in partnership with the German Marshall Fund. In this episode, get ready for the debate with a special episode of “Out of Order,” created by our partners. In this podcast, the German Marshall Fund's president Karen Donfried sits down with senior fellow Peter Sparding to discuss the future of the transatlantic relationship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 14, 2019
A decade ago, Facebook and Twitter promised a digital revolution that would bolster democratic values and empower users around the world. Did that work out? In this episode, we take a look back at one of our most important debates to date. Join four leading thinkers in tech, policy, and media for spirited and timely debate on the motion, "Social Media Is Good For Democracy."Cast your vote on the motion at iq2us.orgLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 31, 2019
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today. In a divided and contentious political climate where immigration is a key issue for voters across the ideological spectrum, what should happen to these individuals? This episode, we take a look back at our debate on the motion, "Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 17, 2019
Presidential contender Andrew Yang wants to give every American a monthly check from the government, just to cover the basics. And he's not alone. Business leaders, particularly those in Silicon Valley, and some Democratic politicians are warming up to the idea of a universal basic income as a means to offset the impacts of automation in the workforce. In this episode, we take a look back at our debate on the motion, "The Universal Basic Income Is the Safety Net of the Future."Receive your free 7-day trial at more about your ad choices. Visit
May 3, 2019
Right now, climate engineers are working on new technologies that would reflect the sun’s rays away from earth. For some, it’s a bold new plan to combat climate change. For others, it's a dangerous attempt to meddle with Mother Nature. Join four leading climate scientists for a debate on the motion, “Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea.” Learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. and cast your vote to decide the winner at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 19, 2019
What if the next car you buy or taxi you hail drives itself? Join four leaders in autonomous vehicles for a timely debate on whether society should embrace driverless cars or approach these new, controversial vehicles with caution. Learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. and cast your vote to decide the winner at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 5, 2019
Former Senator Jeff Flake and the New York Times’ Bret Stephens team up to argue the motion, “The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump.” They face Kris Kobach, a former Trump advisor and former Kansas Secretary of State, and Fox New’s Liz Peek, who are rooting for Trump 2020. Learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. and cast your vote to decide the winner at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 29, 2019
In this special episode of Intelligence Squared U.S., John Donvan sits down with one of America's leading political thinkers to discuss a bold premise: loving your enemies. Arthur Brooks is a best-selling author and the outgoing president of the American Enterprise Institute. His new book, "Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt", builds on his decades in politics and challenges Americans to love each other despite partisan differences. Learn more about membership and our upcoming debates at more about your ad choices. Visit
March 22, 2019
With David French, Corynne McSherry, Nathaniel Persily, and Marietje SchaakeHow should the world's largest social media companies respond to a pernicious online climate, including hate speech and false content posted by users? For some, the answer is clear: Take the fake and offensive content down. But for others, censorship - even by a private company - is dangerous in a time when digital platforms have become the new public square and many Americans cite Facebook and Twitter as their primary news sources. Rather than embracing European hate speech laws or developing platform-specific community standards that are sometimes seen as partisan, they argue, social media companies should voluntarily adopt the First Amendment and block content only if it violates American law. Should First Amendment doctrine govern free speech online? Or are new, more internationally focused speech policies better equipped to handle the modern challenges of regulating content and speech in the digital era? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 8, 2019
With Ian Bremmer, Michèle Flournoy, Yasheng Huang, Parag Khanna, and Susan ThorntonPresident Xi Jinping has made it clear: When it comes to big data, advanced weaponry, and other innovations in tech and AI, China has plans to surpass the United States as the world’s next techonomic superpower. But between the trade war with the U.S., the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, and an array of domestic challenges, are China’s goals outpacing its capacity? Or is China building and investing in strategic partnerships that will push the country toward global dominance?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 15, 2019
In this special episode of Intelligence Squared U.S., we partner with IBM for a historic debate that brings AI to the stage. IBM Project Debater is the first AI system designed to debate humans on complex topics using a combination of pioneering research developed by IBM researchers. In this debate, Project Debater faces world-class debater Harish Natarajan on the motion, "We Should Subsidize Preschool". Still curious about AI? Dive into more debates: Past Debate - Don’t Trust the Promise of AI: Debate - All Hail Driverless Cars: more about your ad choices. Visit
February 8, 2019
Motion: Don't Bring Extinct Creatures back to LifeOnce a sci-fi fantasy explored in films like “Jurassic Park,” recent biological and technological breakthroughs indicate that reviving extinct creatures could become a reality. Proponents argue that the benefits include correcting mistakes of the past by bringing back extinct ecosystems and organisms. Others argue it's not ethical, or even feasible. Should humans bring extinct creatures back to life? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 25, 2019
Motion: Ten Years After the Global Financial Crisis, the System Is Safer More than 10 years ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the world witnessed one of the worst financial crises in global history. Has the world learned its lesson and created a more resilient global financial system? Or are we ill-prepared for next time? Join Us Live In New York on January 31st for "Don't Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life" - Affairs Exclusive Discount - Enter the promo code faiq2 at checkoutLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 11, 2019
Announcing our new season! This winter, we’re taking on new issues, including the state of the global financial system, whether we should try to bring extinct creatures back to life, and whether we’re in a techonomic cold war with China. Our debates will feature leading thinkers like Michele Flournoy, Neel Kashkari, Parag Khanna, Stewart Brand, George Church, Jason Furman, Gillian Tett, Ian Bremmer, and more. To get your tickets, visit or text “IQ2” to 79-79-79. To join our Friends Program, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 28, 2018
MOTION: Don't Eat Anything with a FaceFrom the Archive: Are humans meant to be carnivores? Revisit our debate featuring “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart” author Neal Barnard, Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur, nutritional scientist Chris Masterjohn, and farmer and author Joel Salatin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 14, 2018
MOTION: Smart Technology is Making us Dumb.Smart technology grants us unprecedented, immediate access to knowledge and to each other -- a ubiquitous and seamless presence in everyday life. But is there a downside to all of this connectivity? It’s been said that smart technology creates dependency on devices, narrows our world to echo chambers, and impairs cognitive skills through shortcuts and distraction. Are these concerns an overstatement of the negative effects of high-tech consumption?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 30, 2018
Motion: Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Soul.Silicon Valley once promised to solve many of the world's problems with a technological revolution. But now, the tech hub is the center of much scrutiny, and for many, that scrutiny is warranted. From privacy violations to flawed business models to a lack of diversity and representation, Silicon Valley has seemingly betrayed its idealism. And though technological progress has notably enriched a few, Silicon Valley has failed to deliver its promise to all. Has the prioritization of profits and conformity of thought corrupted its original "do good" agenda? Proponents argue no: Silicon Valley's critics are simply overreacting. After all, it is still the center of innovation, and the tech giants have revolutionized the way we think, shop, communicate, and experience our lives for the better. Do big tech's detractors simply expect too much from lucrative corporations? Or has Silicon Valley lost its soul?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 21, 2018
Last year, our host John Donvan sat down with Ken Stern, the former National Public Radio CEO, to discuss his book "Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right, " which chronicles this lifelong liberal's journey through conservative communities and ideas. Ken sat in on Steve Bannon’s radio show, rallied with the Tea Party, spent Sundays in evangelical churches, and went boar hunting in Texas. The result? A new respect for the conservatives he once demonized and optimism for the state of American partisan politics. Join our host and moderator in revisiting this conversation a year later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 9, 2018
Motion: Trump is Bad for ComedyFrom the opening skit on “Saturday Night Live” to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to the pages of The Onion, President Trump has become the face of comedy. Some comedians and writers argue that in the Trump era, satire has become more challenging and jokes have become cheap. Trump, according to his critics, has normalized the absurd and the nature of political satire in a post-truth world. But others disagree; they argue that the president serves up comedy-gold every day, making their jobs – and the laughs they seek to elicit – easier than ever before. And, they argue, comedy is much more “woke” than it used to be, with late-night hosts and comedians playing a pivotal role in the fight for social justice. Is the president killing comedy? Or is he making the funny business ever more relevant?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 19, 2018
Motion: Progressive Populism Will Save The Democratic PartyAs Democratic leaders and strategists gear up for the 2018 and 2020 elections, the party stands at a crossroads. For progressive populists, the path forward is clear: Democrats must get back in touch with the party’s working-class roots by championing a specific set of policies, including Medicare for all, free public college tuition, a guaranteed federal jobs program, and housing as a human right. They say this strategy is key to winning back disillusioned working-class voters and to regaining power in Washington and beyond. But others view this as a dangerous path. They argue that a handful of high-profile progressive wins have been overhyped by the media and, rather than make promises that may be impossible to execute in this political climate, Democrats should champion centrist, economically viable policies that will win elections and solidify the base. How can the Democratic Party, out of power and outnumbered in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the nation, bring itself out of the political wilderness?Cast your vote on the motion: more about your ad choices. Visit
October 5, 2018
Motion: Retail Alliances – Not Washington – Will Save the U.S. Health Care SystemLast year, Intelligence Squared U.S. and the Mayo Clinic brought to the stage a bold inquiry about whether health care in the United States is terminally broken. And this year, we’re picking up where that discussion left off, against the backdrop of corporate behemoths announcing mergers that, they say, are sure to shake up health care – from the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase venture, to the CVS-Aetna deal, to the Humana-Walgreens partnership, and more. But while these superpower alliances are making a splash in the headlines, will they actually be able to disrupt, and save, U.S. health care? Proponents argue that the bargaining power and data competencies of these retailers will squeeze middlemen out of an inefficient supply chain and bring more transparency to health care pricing. But others argue that the promise of these novel efforts is overstated or misguided, particularly because U.S. health care is so complex and deeply rooted. Will consumer-focused models and employer-led initiatives lead to better and less expensive outcomes?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 28, 2018
The Three Motions: Is NATO No Longer Fit for Purpose? Is the Russia Threat Overblown? Is It Time to Take a Hard Line on Iran?For the United States, tensions are rising with both allies and adversaries. Rogue states are racing to master new technologies and create weapons of mass destruction. And faith in international institutions is seemingly deteriorating. What does this all mean for U.S. national security? Staged in our "unresolved" format, five esteemed foreign policy thought leaders will argue for or against a number of motions revolving around some of America’s most pressing national security issues, including: Is NATO no longer fit for purpose? Is the Russia threat overblown? And is it time to take a hard line on Iran?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 18, 2018
This Thursday, September 20th, we’re launching our fall series with an evening of debate on the state and future of American national security. Set in our “unresolved” format, five debaters will fly solo on the following resolutions:  It’s Time to Take a Hard Line on Iran. NATO Is No Longer Fit for Purpose. The Russia Threat Is Overblown. _____ Tickets available here:  Use code FRIENDS30 for 30% offLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 3, 2018
MOTION: Globalization Has Undermined America's Working ClassGlobalization ushered in an era of free trade, fluid borders, and unparalleled corporate profits. For its proponents, the global integration of states and their economies was a political and economic win that created a wealth of opportunities for workers and consumers around the world. But in the United States, jobs are disappearing. From construction zones to clerical offices to coal mines, the American working class is losing ground. Is globalization to blame? Did the push toward global integration leave our most vulnerable populations behind, making them the losers of this grand experiment? Or is globalization being used as a scapegoat for a wider range of failed public policies and unprecedented advances in technology? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 20, 2018
MOTION: Social Media Is Good for DemocracyBy connecting people across the world for free, platforms like Twitter and Facebook set the stage for a promising digital revolution, providing tools that helped foster global friendships, break down long-standing barriers that kept people and ideas from being heard, and served as the ultimate democratizing force for information. Now, lawmakers in the U.S. and beyond are reeling with questions of how to prevent the spread of digital political propaganda and protect citizens' personal privacy online. Critics argue that rather than uniting and informing, social media deepens social and political divisions and erodes trust in the democratic process. Will the power of social media yet be harnessed and used as an unprecedented force for good in the world? Or do systemic platform flaws pose an irreversible threat to the world's democratic institutions? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 6, 2018
Debate: Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces are DangerousLong hailed as bastions of intellectual development and ground zero for the free and spirited exchange of ideas, today's universities have come under attack by those who argue that a new generation of students and administrators are trading in academia's most cherished values for political correctness and inclusion. At the heart of this debate is the question of safe spaces, how we define them, and whether they aid or hinder intellectual inquiry. Deeply rooted in social justice movements of the past, these spaces promise a reprieve from bigotry and oppression by allowing today's students - the most culturally and racially diverse in history - the opportunity to express themselves in an empathetic environment. But to their critics, safe spaces pose a dire threat to free speech and undermine the resilience of a generation. Are safe spaces dangerously coddling young minds? Or are they a legitimate and necessary component of modern education? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 25, 2018
MOTION: Automation Will Crash DemocracyAround the world, technology is disrupting the workforce, with automation poised to displace humans in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and beyond. Will the rise of robots fuel a new wave of “us versus them” populism capable of undermining democracy?For some, the answer is yes. They argue that as people lose jobs to robots, the gap between the rich and poor widens, distrust in government and democratic institutions grows, and populist ideas become more attractive to those who feel left behind. The importance of work trumps the importance of democracy, leaving a clear path for authoritarians to rise under nationalist messages that pit groups of people against one another. But others paint a different picture: They argue that humans have adapted to – and benefited from – new innovations for centuries. From the advent of water and steam power to computers, work has changed, but never disappeared. And as automation drives higher productivity growth, humans can reach their full potential and pursue societal innovation, allowing more citizens to feel fulfilled and strengthening democracy on the whole.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 11, 2018
Motion: Negotiations Can Denuclearize North KoreaWill all of the recent goodwill gestures between North and South Korea lead to the one thing Washington wants most? Can a deal be struck that denuclearizes North Korea? And what will they want in exchange for giving up that leverage? Presented in partnership with Georgetown University, LIVE at the first Georgetown University Women’s Forum.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 4, 2018
Motion: Bitcoin is More Than a Bubble and Here to Stay.Is Bitcoin here to stay, or is it a bubble waiting to pop? Less than a decade old, Bitcoin is worth billions. The cryptocurrency promises to revolutionize global finance by placing control of currency in the hands of users, not nations, and make financial exchanges more transparent, efficient, and democratic. And it seems to be taking hold: Earlier this year both the Cboe and CME debuted Bitcoin futures. But is Bitcoin really a safe bet? Proponents say the hype around the cryptocurrency is warranted, and previous critics – including executives at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs – are increasingly jumping on the Bitcoin (block)train. On the other hand, skeptics suggest this highly volatile digital currency offers a platform for illicit activity, including money laundering and trafficking of humans and drugs, free from government oversight and regulation. And, they argue, Bitcoin has no intrinsic value – the price is based on market enthusiasm rather than actual utility. This debate is presented in partnership with the Adam Smith Society. The Adam Smith Society — a project of the Manhattan Institute — is an expansive, chapter-based network of MBA students, professionals, and business leaders who work to foster debate about the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 27, 2018
Motion: Preserve Net Neutrality: All Data is Created Equal.What if a single policy could impact American democracy, culture, and competitiveness? What if that policy might either empower citizens and consumers, or burden them?  And what if the decision on that policy sparked a frenzy of legislative proposals, judicial challenges, and citizen outrage, all across the country?The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end net neutrality regulations has fueled a national debate about the future of the internet.  Adopted in 2015, net neutrality promised to preserve the democratic spirit of the web by ensuring that all data would be treated equally, regardless of where it originated. Under these regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, the corporate giants who deliver the internet into our homes, could supply web infrastructure, but could not preference how data passed through it.  Denying them that power, supporters argue, remains critical to ensuring that users and content-creators can discover ideas and information without censorship, or charges, from these prospective gatekeepers.  After all, no person should have to pay for every video streamed on YouTube; no startup should be hobbled against established companies who buy faster access to consumers; and no minority voice should have its ideas throttled by wealthier interests.On the other hand, net neutrality opponents argue that the genius of the Internet has been its individually driven, organic development, free from the heavy hand of so-called net neutrality.  These burdensome regulations constitute dangerous governmental overreach, stifle innovation, and spike costs for both consumers and providers.  The result, they maintain, will be a less interesting, less democratic, less innovative web.  Moreover, Americans will enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite sites – without net neutrality – because ISPs make more money from an open, rather than closed, internet.  Consequently, the backlash against the FCC’s decision is overblown, and ending net neutrality is the right policy for the future of America’s internet.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 6, 2018
Motion: The More We Evolve The Less We Need God.Does God have a place in 21st century human affairs? Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, and cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin team up to argue for the motion, "The More We Evolve, The Less We Need God." On the other side is integrative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra and ER physician Dr. Anoop Kumar.To buy tickets to our live show in Chicago on April 17th, visit more about your ad choices. Visit
March 23, 2018
Motion: Humanitarian Intervention Does More Harm than Good.The international community currently faces a global refugee crisis and mass atrocities in Iraq, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, and beyond. How should the West respond? Proponents of humanitarian intervention – the use of force to halt human rights abuses – argue that the world’s most powerful militaries have a responsibility to protect innocent civilians around the world. Beyond saving lives, they argue, intervention deters would-be abusers and ensures global stability, thereby strengthening the liberal world order. But opponents argue that military intervention is thinly veiled Western imperialism, and subsequently, an assault on state sovereignty. And, it’s ineffective: the West, with its military might, increases the death toll and worsens the conflicts it sets out to solve. Further, given recent waves of populism in the U.S., France, and U.K., they suggest that Western nations should spend their time looking inward rather than policing activity around the world. This debate is presented in partnership with The German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, broadcast live from Brussels, Belgium.The More We Evolve, The Less We Need God: more about your ad choices. Visit
February 14, 2018
Motion: Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed RomanceEvery day millions of people turn to dating apps to find love. To date, more than 49 million Americans have given digital dating a try and the companies facilitating these matches are raking in billions. But are dating apps really designed to promote long-lasting romance? Apps like Tinder and Bumble make finding a date as easy as swiping right, while digital platforms like and OkCupid use specialized algorithms to help users find the perfect partner, regardless of age or personal preferences. Further, a range of niche sites connect people with highly specific interests, whether it’s single parenthood, a gluten-free lifestyle, or a devotion to Ayn Rand. But some argue that online dating is rife with sexism, racism, and misogyny, and that dating apps ultimately create a culture that prioritizes sex over committed and lasting love. After all, why settle on one match when there may be someone better just a swipe away? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 24, 2018
The Three Motions: Is deregulation driving the booming economy? Can the Republican tax bill spur economic growth? And is the stock market too high? By most accounts, the American economy is booming — manufacturing is at a 13-year high, unemployment is at a 16-year low, and both the stock market and consumer confidence are soaring. But just what is driving this upturn? And can Americans trust that current economic conditions will hold up in the months ahead? In our season premiere, five esteemed economic thinkers debate the state of the American economy, from tax cuts to trade policyLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 13, 2017
Motion: Liberals hold the moral high ground.Do conservative or liberal philosophies lead to more just outcomes? Opposing moral philosophies have long fueled debate about America’s policy goals and national identity. For conservatives, morality is grounded in ideals such as patriotism, including a respect for order and authority; fairness and liberty in the sense that an individual’s actions yield just rewards, or consequences; and reverence for the sanctity of religious and moral tradition. Liberals place moral emphasis on caring: for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized; on fairness in the sense of redressing both historic wrongs and current inequalities of outcome; and on generosity extending beyond the bounds of nations or cultures. In today’s divisive political arena, which side best embodies the nation’s most cherished virtues? Morally speaking, is the left right?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 22, 2017
John Donvan sits down with Ken Stern, the former CEO of NPR, to discuss America's partisan politics and how to talk across the aisle -- and your Thanksgiving table.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 1, 2017
Motion: Pay College AthletesCollege sports is a big-money business, with football and basketball programs generating millions of dollars in revenue every year. While coaches and athletic directors in Division I programs routinely score seven-figure contracts, student-athletes are currently prohibited from sharing in the profits. Is it time to rewrite the rules in college sports and allow athletes their fair share of the profits? Or would providing monetary incentives -- above and beyond existing scholarships and career supports -- spoil the sport?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 11, 2017
Motion: Western Democracy is Threatening SuicideDo populist and nationalist uprisings signal Western democracy’s certain decline? Or can recent events be seen as part of a healthy and regenerative antidote to policies that have challenged liberal institutions and marginalized the middle class? Some predict that a resilient liberal world order will rally to triumph over fear, xenophobia and fractured political parties – others say that support for autocratic alternatives is on the rise. Four leading thinkers debate the future of Western democracy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 4, 2017
MOTION: The U.S. Healthcare System is Terminally BrokenCriticized by patients, providers, and politicians alike, the United States healthcare system is hardly a crowd-pleaser. Is the most expensive health care system in the world beyond repair? FORDr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of the Permanente Medical GroupShannon Brownless, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and PoorerAGAINSTDr. Ezekiel Amanuel, a bioethicist and an architect of the Affordable Care ActDr. David T. Feinberg, CEO of Geisinger Health SystemLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 20, 2017
Special: "Unresolved" Debate FormatAgainst the backdrop of North Korea's nuclear advances and escalating regional tensions, we ask: How should the U.S. respond to its most urgent national security threats? In a wide-ranging evening of debate, General David Petraeus joins military historian Max Boot for a keynote conversation and broad look into the most pressing global challenges of the Trump era. Then, four of the world's most prominent foreign policy voices zero in on the most important strategic relationship of the twenty-first century: the United States and China. Staged with our new "Unresolved" debate format, these debaters argue for or against a number of motions including: Is Donald Trump making China great again? Is China destined for regional dominance? And can we strike a deal with Beijing to contain North Korea’s nuclear program? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 30, 2017
Think about your most strongly held political belief. How did you arrive at your position? What experiences, information, or opinions influenced you? In the final installment of our summer podcast series on the state of political discourse today, we dive into an increasingly important skill: the ability to debate yourself.Our host John Donvan sits down with Yale Law professor Peter Schuck to discuss his new book, One Nation Undecided: Clear Thinking About Five Hard Issues That Divide Us, which takes on five hot-button topics — poverty, immigration, campaign finance, affirmative action, and religion in public life — and shows us why there’s a legitimate case to be made for differing opinions.After all, thinking about hard issues shouldn't be easy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
August 9, 2017
Here at Intelligence Squared U.S., we love a good argument – almost as much as we love an audience willing to change its mind. So when the New York Times’ David Leonhardt challenged Americans to do just that this summer, we took notice. In an op-ed entitled, “A Summer Project to Nourish Your Political Soul,” David asked readers to, "pick an issue that you find complicated, and grapple with it." But he didn’t stop there: David then advised readers to, “consider changing your mind, at least partially."In this episode, David joins our host John Donvan to discuss the urgency of engaging with people and ideas that challenge closely held orthodoxies. He cites immigration, abortion, and education as examples of contemporary issues that defy easy answers, and says it’s ultimately the right and responsibility of every citizen in a democracy to wrestle with nuances and complexities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 27, 2017
Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress for 16 years, and vice president and program director at the Aspen Institute, recalls a more civil time in American politics, when both Democrats and Republicans were more likely to engage in debate on Capitol Hill. In this episode, he speaks with Intelligence Squared U.S. host John Donvan about the ways in which Congressional deliberation has changed over the past 40 years, and paths to restoring open discourse in Washington.To support the show, visit more about your ad choices. Visit
June 14, 2017
Motion: Tech Companies Should Be Required To Help Law Enforcement Execute Search Warrants To Access Customer DataDo you have a secret that no one else knows? What about Apple, Google, Facebook, Verizon, or Uber?  Are you sure they don’t know your secret?  Digital data – emails, text messages, phone records, location records, web searches – contain traces of almost every secret.  They also contain traces of almost every crime.  Tech companies may promise to protect our data from prying eyes.  But should that promise yield to law enforcement and national security? To support the show, visit more about your ad choices. Visit
May 17, 2017
MOTION: Video Games Will Make Us Smarter.As video games gain prominence, some game creators are turning to global issues, such as poverty alleviation, international diplomacy, and combating climate change, for inspiration. Playing these socially minded games, they argue, allows users to build tangible skills in combating crisis and solving critical problems. But others see the multibillion-dollar gaming industry, dominated by portrayals of crime and war, as a threat that desensitizes its users to violence and encourages anti-social behavior. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 1, 2017
The first 100 days of the Trump administration have been filled with a whirlwind of new policies and challenges to Washington orthodoxies, and the country is sharply divided. But if we are open to it, we might find that there are reasonable arguments being made by both sides on many issues.  And those conversations can start by considering: President Trump’s “America First” policy, and what it means to different people; the administration’s impact on the health of the stock market and our economy; the team that the president has assembled; and whether it’s the media, or the president, that’s under attack. In one night we embark on a radical departure from our Oxford-style format, asking five debaters, from across the political spectrum, for their views on four key issues under the new Trump presidency.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 12, 2017
Walmart has long been a target for critics of corporate expansion, but does the company really deserve the scrutiny? Some say that the big-box retailer devastates small communities by pushing out locally-owned businesses, mistreats its workers through low pay and restrictive work hours, and forces American companies  to use cheap foreign labor to produce goods at low cost.  Others point to the fact that Walmart provides countless jobs to low-skilled American workers, sells affordable goods, has increasingly become a leader in sustainability, and attracts new consumers and businesses to its neighborhoods.  Has Walmart been good for America?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 29, 2017
Imagine getting a check from the government every month. $600 guaranteed. It's happening in Finland, where a pilot program is being launched to test what's known as a "universal basic income". As technology transforms the workplace, jobs and income will be less reliable. The idea is that a universal basic income could serve as a tool to combat poverty and uncertainly in a changing society, and provide a cushion that empowers workers, giving them latitude to take risks in the job market. But some argue a guaranteed income would take away the incentive to work, waste money on those who don't need it, and come at the expense of effective programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Is the universal income the safety net of the future?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 8, 2017
Motion: Charter Schools Are OverratedIn the 25 years since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, these publicly funded but privately operated schools have become a highly sought-after alternative to traditional public education, particularly for underserved students in urban areas. Between 2004 and 2014 alone, charter school enrollment increased from less than 1 million to 2.5 million students. Many charter schools boast of high test scores, strict academic expectations, and high graduation rates, and for some, their growth is evidence of their success. But have these schools lived up to their promise? Opponents argue that charters, which are subject to fewer regulations and less oversight, lack accountability, take much-needed resources from public schools, and pick and choose their student body. Are charter schools overrated? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 15, 2017
Motion: The Special U.S.-Saudi Relationship Has Outlived Its UsefulnessIn 1945, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia met onboard the USS Quincy. A close relationship between the two countries has been maintained ever since, with oil and military and intelligence cooperation at its foundation.  But the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. shale revolution, human rights concerns, and diverging interests in the Middle East, have all put strains on this relationship.  Has this special relationship outlived its usefulness, or is it too important to walk away from? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 7, 2017
Motion: Give Trump a ChanceDonald Trump assumes office having won the Electoral College, but having lost the popular vote. His opponents argue that he gave voice and legitimacy to extremists, and that his unpredictable, autocratic style is a threat to both democratic ideals at home. But others argue that Trump’s election represents the will of the American people, who--hungry for change--repudiated the status quo. In their view, we must find areas of common ground to work together. Should we give President Trump a chance? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 18, 2017
MOTION: Policing Is Racially BiasedIn 2014, the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, set off a wave of protests and sparked a movement targeting racial disparities in criminal justice. Since then, there have been other controversial deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement that have captured the public’s attention, from Tamir Rice, to Philando Castile.  But there are some who say that these encounters, many of them recorded, have fed a narrative of biased policing that the data does not back up, vilifying people who are trying to do good in a difficult job that often puts them in harm’s way.  What are the statistics, and how should we interpret them?  How have recent incidents shaped our view of policing?  Does crime drive law enforcement’s use of force, or is there racial bias?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 14, 2016
Motion; Call a Convention to Amend the ConstitutionAlmost everyone can think of something they would like to change in the U.S. Constitution. Some would like to update it to fit new technologies and evolving social mores. Others think the Supreme Court has illegitimately “updated” it too much already, and would like to restore its original meaning. Either way, it is always tempting to invoke Article V to amend the Constitution—to “fix" it, or “restore" it, or “improve" it... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 7, 2016
MOTION: Obama's Foreign Policy is a FailureFor many, Obama’s presidency will be defined by its accomplishments. Taking out Osama bin Laden, disengaging from fights in the Middle East that America cannot win, defusing the threat of a nuclear Iran, and refocusing our attention and resources to Asia, where our greatest opportunities and biggest long-term challenges are located. But for others, it has been marked by missteps and retreat—pulling back where action and leadership was needed, and presiding over policies that strengthened our adversaries and disheartened our friends. Has Obama’s foreign policy been a success? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 23, 2016
MOTION: Gerrymandering is destroying the political center. It is alleged that the practice of gerrymandering—dividing election districts into units to favor a particular group—subverts democracy by making congressional districts “safe” for one party or the other. As a result, only those voting in primaries are in effect choosing our representatives. Are primary voters more extreme in their views, and therefore pulling democrats to the left and republicans to the right? Or is the impact of gerrymandering actually overblown, while other more divisive contributing factors like the emergence of ideologically charged TV and radio outlets, the role of the Internet and social network “echo chambers,” and campaign finance practices are in fact the real drivers of increasing partisanship? If gerrymandering is a major problem, is there policy or constitutional principles that might be part of the solution?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 2, 2016
Motion: Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to CitizenshipThere are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and the question of what to do with them has sparked years of fierce debate, but no significant action. In 2013, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” managed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, only to get it dropped by the House.  And in 2016, a deadlocked Supreme Court decision stalled President Obama’s executive actions, DACA and DAPA, which would have saved 5 million from deportation.  For voters, on this issue, the choice between presidential candidates could not be clearer.  Should we give these immigrants a chance to earn citizenship through a process that would include paying a penalty, passing a security check, and getting in the back of the line? Or are we rewarding them for breaking the rules, and encouraging more of the same?  Do they make positive contributions to the economy and complement our workforce, or do they burden taxpayers and create unwanted competition for jobs?  Should we give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
October 19, 2016
Motion: Blame Big Pharma for Out-of-Control Health Care Costs. Health care costs in the U.S. are some 18 percent of GNP, nearly double what other rich countries spend. We read of drug therapies that cost $100,000 a year or more, and of drug price increases that are 6 times the rate of inflation, on average, and often much more when mergers reduce competition in the industry. Is this a major driver of excessive health care costs? Or is it a by-product of the huge costs of getting new drugs approved? Has big pharma delivered drugs that reduce the need for costly surgeries, which extend life and improve its quality? Or do they deserve the blame that has been leveled against them?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 21, 2016
Motion: Blame the Elites for the Trump Phenomenon. The elites of both parties have expressed contempt for Donald Trump, and Trump has succeeded in part by channeling his voters’ contempt for the elites. Does support for Trump reflect an uninformed populism and misplaced anger by a large swath of the American electorate? Or have the elites failed to empathize with their struggles, and failed to craft effective policies to help them cope?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
September 14, 2016
Reducing carbon emissions is clearly good for the environment but often imposes substantial costs. The costs are most obvious when coal companies go bankrupt, but can affect everyone indirectly through higher energy costs, slower economic growth, reduced employment, and lower business profits. Has the Environmental Protection Agency considered the costs and benefits of its regulatory mandates fairly and appropriately? Is its Clean Power Plan a bold initiative to reduce carbon pollution at power plants, or an unconstitutional usurpation of power?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
July 13, 2016
In April of 2013 we held a debate on the motion: The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die. At the time, the debaters could not have predicted Donald Trump’s candidacy or imagined the force of its impact on the 2016 election cycle. In this special podcast, we listen to excerpts of this 2013 debate and consider how times have changed.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 24, 2016
With the Supreme Court ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas being handed down on Thursday, June 23, 2016, We consider both sides of the issue of race-conscious university admissions. We listen back to our debate from December 2015: The Equal Protection Clause Forbids Racial Preferences in State University Admissions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
June 15, 2016
Motion: The president has usurped the constitutional power of congress. The Supreme Court is currently poised to decide whether President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions usurped Congress’s power and flouted his duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But some argue that the President is not exercising legislative power; he is simply exercising his well-established executive discretion. Has the President usurped Congress’s legislative power?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 18, 2016
Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife? In 2014, a permit to hunt a single endangered black rhino was sold for $350,000 as part of a program to support its conservation in Namibia. Counter intuitive? Through funds raised from legal hunting—the purchase of permits in Africa, licenses and taxes here in the U.S.—, hunters contribute significantly to wildlife conservation efforts. Hunting has also become an important tool in the effort to control animal populations, to the benefit of humans and wildlife alike. But are big-game revenues really benefiting conservation and local communities? And is hunting a humane way to maintain equilibrium and habitats, or are there better alternatives? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
April 13, 2016
The auto industry, agriculture, the energy sector. What do they have in common? These industries benefit from government subsidies in the form of loans, tax breaks, regulation, and other preferences. Critics from the left and right say that not only do these subsidies transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporations, they distort the markets and our economy. Proponents say that government has an important role to play in launching innovation via strategic investment, and its support helps American companies thrive. Do we need subsidies, or is this corporate welfare?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 23, 2016
As technology rapidly progresses, some proponents of artificial intelligence believe that it will help solve complex social challenges and offer immortality via virtual humans. But AI’s critics say that we should proceed with caution. That its rewards may be overpromised, and that the pursuit of superintelligence and autonomous machines may result in unintended consequences. Is this the stuff of science fiction? Should we fear AI, or will these fears prevent the next technological revolution?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
March 8, 2016
Protests have erupted on university campuses across the country. To many, these students are speaking out against racial injustice that has long been manifested in unwelcoming, sometimes hostile environments. But to critics, their demands have gone too far, creating an atmosphere of intolerance for opposing or unpopular points of view. Are the protesters silencing free speech, or are they just trying to be heard? And are the universities responding by defending free speech, or by suppressing it?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
February 10, 2016
What if we didn’t have to grow old and die? The average American can expect to live for 78.8 years, an improvement over the days before clean water and vaccines, but it's still not long enough for most of us. So researchers around the world have been working on arresting the process of aging through biotechnology. What are the ethical and social consequences of radically increasing lifespans? Should we accept a “natural” end, or should we find a cure to aging?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
January 20, 2016
Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The United States has taken in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start, and the Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
December 9, 2015
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that: "No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet many state universities give substantial preferences to certain races in their admissions decisions. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), the Supreme Court approved such preferences, but the case was close, and controversial, and the question will be back before the Supreme Court this term. One side may argue that these preferences level the playing field, remedy prior discrimination, and enhance diversity within the classroom, thus redeeming the true promise of equal protection. But the other may say that these preferences – in favor of some races, at the expense of others – are racial discrimination pure and simple, the precise evil that the Equal Protection Clause was intended to forbid.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 25, 2015
Central banks all around the world have been printing money. This policy, known as quantitative easing in banker jargon, has driven up the price of stocks and bonds. But will it lead to real and sustainable increases in global growth, or is it sowing the seeds of future inflation?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 17, 2015
Autonomy and secrecy, complex criminal code and mandatory minimums -- in combination, these factors have given prosecutors enormous leverage, and the opportunity to wield it relentlessly and selectively. Do prosecutors have too much power? Would changes reducing the leverage of prosecutors in the criminal justice system weaken their critical responsibility to prosecute crimes and secure equal justice for all?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
November 9, 2015
If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you? Off-label use of “smart drugs” – pharmaceuticals meant to treat disorders like ADHD, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s – are becoming increasingly popular among college students hoping to get ahead. But is this cheating? Should their use as cognitive enhancers be approved by the FDA, the medical community, and society at large? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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