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Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

207 Episodes
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Joe Biden delivered a victory speech. His team is planning to take power. But rather than concede, President Trump has instead turned to the courts, with election lawsuits in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona. It's a historic moment, and for many an unsettling one. But could these lawsuits actually be good for democracy? Two competing legal minds weigh in, with Intelligence Squared host and moderator John Donvan at the helm.      Arguing "YES," is Rebecca Roiphe, a Manhattan prosecutor and law professor who focuses on ethics and the history of the legal profession.  Arguing “NO” is Ian Bassin, a former attorney in the Obama White House and the co-founder of Protect Democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
China is ramping up its national space industry with huge investments in next-generation technologies that promise to transform military, economic, and political realities. Against this backdrop, we ask: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? Michio Kaku, Avi, Loeb, Raji Pillai, and Bidushi Bhattacharya join us for a debate on the potential U.S.-China space race in our second episode of “That’s Debatable," our new series presented in partnership with Bloomberg Media and sponsored by IBM. A note from our sponsor: There’s nothing to lose from gaining a fresh perspective. IBM Watson® was built to help us look at an issue from all sides—from cultural debates to customer reviews. Using advanced natural language processing, Watson is making sense of data from a range of topics to help give us more informed perspectives, so we can make more informed decisions. See how Watson informs a human debate at ibm.com/debatable Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this special post-election podcast – amidst record mail-in voting, lawsuits, social unrest, and partisan polarization – we’re asking a simple question: Was the 2020 run for the White House as unprecedented as we might think? Those in favor of the motion often point to the tech influence, and Silicon Valley’s hand in everything from echo chambers to political advertising to conspiracy theories. Those against often nod to America’s track record of polarization. In 1860, after Abraham Lincoln’s electoral win, for instance, seven states decided to secede. It would be hard, some say, for even 2020 to compete with that. And so in this podcast, Intelligence Squared U.S. brings you those two perspectives: One focused on the past, and one focused on today’s tech, and its future.  Amy Webb, CEO, Future Today Institute  Amy Webb is among the nation’s leading futurists and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute. She is an adjunct assistant professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, a nonresident senior fellow at Atlantic Council, and author of “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity.”   Michael F. Holt, History Professor, University of Virginia  Michael F. Holt is a professor of American History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of six books, including the award-winning “The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party and By One Vote: The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In these final days of the race for the White House, some nations are paying especially close attention. Two men with competing visions of America’s place in the world are vying for the nation’s top job, and the balance of global power is in play.  In this episode of Discourse Disrupters, John Donvan sits down with Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, to examine the U.S. elections from a foreign policy perspective, the politics of the process itself, and what it all means for a global audience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What would a Justice Amy Coney Barrett mean for American law and politics? Should Democrats try to reform the Court? Two of the nation's top constitutional minds weigh-in, with John Donvan as your intellectual referee in this special episode of Intelligence Squared.  Erwin Chemerinsky - Dean, University of California Berkeley School of Law Saikrishna Prakash - Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia Love to argue? We want to hear from you. Submit your opinion on national deficits to IBM Watson now, and you may be featured in our next Bloomberg television show. More here: ibm.com/debatable Consider making a donation: iq2us.org/support Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Robert Reich, Yanis Varoufakis, Lawrence Summers and Allison Schrager join us for a debate on economic inequality in the premiere episode of “That’s Debatable," our new series presented in partnership with Bloomberg Media and sponsored by IBM. As nations around the world grapple with the financial impacts of the pandemic, we ask: Is it time to redistribute the wealth? A note from our sponsor: There’s nothing to lose from gaining a fresh perspective. IBM Watson® was built to help us look at an issue from all sides—from cultural debates to customer reviews. Using advanced natural language processing, Watson is making sense of data from a range of topics to help give us more informed perspectives, so we can make more informed decisions. See how Watson informs a human debate at ibm.com/debatable Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Historic protests calling for police reform have erupted across the nation. But just what could these reforms mean? And how should we see the criminal justice system today? Staged in our “Unresolved” format, this debate brings together five experts to tackle pressing questions on the history and future of policing in the U.S. including: Should we defund the police? Do police unions do more harm than good? And has policing become too militarized?  Cast your vote: https://smarturl.it/AmericanPolicing A Message from Our Sponsor Subscribe to The Jordan Harbinger Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you listen or at jordanharbinger.com/subscribe Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This Episode Originally Aired on August 3rd, 2018 MOTION: Globalization Has Undermined America's Working Class Globalization 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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
What does the father of American presidential debate think about modern electoral politics? In this episode, Newt Minow offers a first-hand account of some of the nation’s biggest political moments and just what role debate should play in our future.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Is Big Tech having its own "big tobacco moment"? As Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon face antitrust probes from state and federal investigators alike, we dive into the debate that will shape the tech industry for generations. Join John Donvan and two esteemed debaters for this special episode of our new series, "Agree to Disagree." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Introducing "Agree to Disagree," a new series from Intelligence Squared U.S. In this episode, two guests join John Donvan to debate Broadband for All, the internet as a public utility, and just who should make sure you have the connection you need. A message from our sponsor: Get an extra 3 months Free on a one year package. Expressvpn.com/debate Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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? A message from our sponsor: Get an extra 3 months Free on a one year package. Expressvpn.com/debate Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 iq2us.org/support A message from our sponsor: Get an extra 3 months Free on a one year package. Expressvpn.com/debate Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
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. Expressvpn.com/debate Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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: www.iq2us.org/vote Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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: https://smarturl.it/DefenseProdAct Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (23)

Blue Heron

Gas tax is just a way to disproportionately put the burden of taxes on poor working people so rich people who don't even drive can pay less in taxes

Jul 22nd
Reply

Blue Heron

Intelligence Squared is fun, but ridiculously easy to rig. All you have to do is get a half a dozen people or so in the audience who are on your side to agree to vote undecided and then change their vote. I have no doubt the honor system is disregarded in these debates

Jul 22nd
Reply

Kathleen Fuller

The opposing side is correct: patriotism is not the same as nationalism. https://twitter.com/TammyforIL/status/1281415977536815105?s=19

Jul 10th
Reply

David Chavanes

What a horrible debate 2 people arguing 2 sides of the same coin. A waisted crisis with just short term gains, and getting shorter still.

May 6th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Whose science - kudos to the Politifact researcher who understood that the vast majority of Bible believers are NOT anti- science, rather they are cognizant that there are different viewpoints even among scientists and that scientific truth evolves with new discoveries. 🙂

Apr 5th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Seems like you consistently interview liberals. How about interviewing some thoughtful conservatives. Luke Goodrich from Becket on religious liberty would be a good choice.

Feb 4th
Reply (1)

Linda Susan Erickson

Seems like you 5 consistently interviewing liberals. How about interviewing some thoughtful conservatives. Luke Goodrich from Becket on religious liberty would be a good choice.

Feb 4th
Reply

MrMajk898

No!

Oct 21st
Reply

Sandro Bircher

Well, as far as the result goes, little surprise there given the venue. The one comment that stood out to me was made by the Italian debater: 'they[The US] still see the european union as a different entity, as an economical one.' Well that was how it was marketed when the european peoples consent was still required.

Aug 16th
Reply

MrMajk898

brainwashed

Jul 15th
Reply

Suzette LT

Great debate! Also, something to consider. Tristan Harris told "60 Minutes" earlier this year that companies have a "whole playbook of techniques" to keep people glued to their apps as long as possible, ( https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chamath-palihapitiya-former-facebook-executive-social-media-ripping-apart-society/ ). Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time, ( http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/ )

Jun 19th
Reply

Jeremy Dixon

@12 minutes... did this guy just start his opening statement about how Ubi violates basic arithmetic and then go on to state that redistribution creates an equal number of losers to winners? if Joe mcmoney is taxed and $100 is moved from his account and split among 100 people the only way those numbers are equivalent is if you count dollars not people.. how can a dollar be a winner?

May 17th
Reply

Daniel Coleman

In all these debates, why is there not one on the topic of abortion????

May 14th
Reply

Geo wise

Conservatives only concern is winning, regardless of how they do it.

May 13th
Reply (1)

samuel gebru

A very boring topic to test something historical like this!

Apr 21st
Reply

Xavier Jackson

It wasn't until the end that the opposition made a really compelling point for me. It's always worth double checking a study everyone's citing for an agenda where big money is involved. I can't help but wonder why she waited until she couldn't be refuted though...

Apr 20th
Reply

Mike Easley

I also began in favor of the motion and concluded against. I think that compassionate immigration reform is sorely needed. I do not like the idea of dividing families. I think reducing the amount of time that people must wait to reapply for reentry might be a step in the right direction.

Jan 12th
Reply

MrMajk898

Good thing this isn't called intellectual squared...

Oct 23rd
Reply

Peter DeBoer

Should have had tech people debate this, and not nutty libertarian tech people.

Sep 8th
Reply

Nitesh Surana

it was so informative!!

Aug 9th
Reply
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