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Preview: NPR: Intelligence Squared Podcast

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates bring Oxford-style debate to America – one motion, one moderator, two panelists for the motion and two against. From clean energy and the financial crisis, to the Middle East and the death of mainstream media, Intellig

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A Summer Challenge: Radical Rethinking

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0000

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. 

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The State of Debate on Capitol Hill: The American Health Care Act

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:00:00 -0000

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.

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Your Private Data: Can Tech Companies Keep it from the Law?

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:00:00 -0000

Motion: Tech Companies Should Be Required To Help Law Enforcement Execute Search Warrants To Access Customer Data

Do 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

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Will Video Games Make Us Smarter?

Wed, 17 May 2017 16:00:00 -0000

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. 

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BONUS PODCAST - Unresolved: Trump's First 100 Days

Mon, 01 May 2017 16:00:00 -0000

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.

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Has Walmart Been Good For America?

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0000

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?

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Is Universal Basic Income the Safety Net of the Future?

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:00:00 -0000

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?

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Are Charter Schools Overrated?

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 17:00:00 -0000

Motion: Charter Schools Are Overrated

In 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? 

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Has the U.S.-Saudi "Special Relationship" Outlived its Usefulness?

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:00:00 -0000

Motion: The Special U.S.-Saudi Relationship Has Outlived Its Usefulness

In 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? 

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Should We Give Trump a Chance?

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:16:11 -0000

Motion: Give Trump a Chance

Donald 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? 

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Is Policing Racially Biased?

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:00:00 -0000

MOTION: Policing Is Racially Biased

In 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?

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Should states call a convention to amend the Constitution?

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 12:00:00 -0000

Motion; Call a Convention to Amend the Constitution

Almost 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... 

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Is Obama's foreign policy a failure?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:00:00 -0000

MOTION: Obama's Foreign Policy is a Failure

For 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? 

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Has Gerrymandering destroyed the political center?

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should We Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship?

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:00:00 -0000

Motion: Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship

There 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?

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Is "Big Pharma" to blame for rising health care costs?

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:00:00 -0000

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?

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Are the elites to blame for the Trump phenomenon?

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:18:31 -0000

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?

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Climate Change: Has the EPA Gone Overboard?

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:00:00 -0000

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?

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Bonus Podcast: The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die

Wed, 13 Jul 2016 20:00:00 -0000

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.

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Bonus Podcast: The Supreme Court Considers Racial Preferences In State University Admissions

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:00:00 -0000

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. 

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Has The President Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:00:00 -0000

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?

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Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife?

Wed, 18 May 2016 16:00:00 -0000

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? 

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Eliminate Corporate Subsidies

Wed, 13 Apr 2016 10:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should We Trust The Promise Of Artificial Intelligence?

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 10:00:00 -0000

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?

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Is Free Speech Threatened On Campus?

Tue, 08 Mar 2016 11:00:00 -0000

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?

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Are Lifespans Long Enough?

Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should The U.S. Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees?

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 08:00:00 -0000

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?

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Does The Equal Protection Clause Forbid Racial Preferences In State University Admissions?

Wed, 09 Dec 2015 11:00:00 -0000

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.

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Can Central Banks Print Prosperity?

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:00:00 -0000

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?

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Do U.S. Prosecutors Have Too Much Power?

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 11:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should College Students Be Allowed To Take Smart Drugs?

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 11:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should We Raise The Federal Gas Tax To Fund Infrastructure?

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 11:00:00 -0000

The Highway Trust Fund provides funding for road, bridge, and mass transit projects across the country – and it’s running out of money. Its revenue source, the federal gas tax, has not been raised in over two decades. There are many arguments for a leaner fund, but proponents of the tax say that it still plays a vital role in supporting infrastructure. Should Congress raise the federal gas tax?

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Bonus Podcast: Is Death Final?

Thu, 29 Oct 2015 13:15:00 -0000

If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3% of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there are more plausible, natural explanations, like oxygen deprivation. Is the prospect of an existence after death “real” and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality?

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Are China And The U.S. Long-Term Enemies?

Wed, 21 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0000

Is China’s ascendancy a threat to the U.S.?  China’s rise as an economic and military power, coupled with its aggression in the South China Sea, have led some to call for a major re-balancing of U.S. policy and strategy. Can China be trusted to act as a responsible global stakeholder?  And will they be a long-term ally, or adversary?

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Should Courts Or Campuses Decide Sexual Assault Cases?

Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0000

High-profile cases have recently put campus sexual assault in the spotlight. One question that has repeatedly come up: why are these cases being handled by campuses at all? Campus investigations may serve a real need, forcing schools to respond to violence and protecting the interests of victims in ways that the criminal justice system may fail. Can schools provide due process for defendants and adequate justice for victims?

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Bonus Podcast: Should We Abolish the Minimum Wage?

Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0000

This is a special podcast for Labor Day. The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933’s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents—$4.07 in today’s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention?

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Does The U.S. Need To Defeat ISIS, Or Is Containment Enough?

Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:00:00 -0000

The region under the control of ISIS continues to expand, despite airstrikes and the deployment of U.S. military advisers. Should the U.S. goal be containment, or can ISIS be defeated?

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Bonus Podcast: Israel Can Live With A Nuclear Iran

Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0000

The U.S., Iran, and other world powers have reached a final deal to limit Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon.  According to President Obama, "every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off." But to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, this deal will go down as "a historic mistake". In 2013, Intelligence Squared U.S. debated whether "Israel can live with a nuclear Iran." Would a nuclear Iran pose an existential threat to Israel? What role does it play in Israel's condemnation of this historic pact?

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Bonus Podcast: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0000

With the recent Supreme Court ruling that upholds the Affordable Health Care Act, President Obama seems to have secured the legislative cornerstone of his Presidential legacy. But is Obamacare now finally on the road to permanence or is the recent Supreme Court ruling just a setback for a still steady opposition to repeal the law? We'd like to take a moment to look back at a debate we held in January, 2014 just four years after Obamacare was signed into law in 2010. The motion being debated that night was: OBAMACARE IS NOW BEYOND RESCUE.

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Bonus Podcast: Men Are Finished

Fri, 19 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0000

More women than men are enrolling and graduating from college and their participation in the labor force has grown. So on this Father's Day, alongside the many deserving gestures of love and appreciation, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on what could lie ahead for dear old Dad. The central question arising, are we now at a place where women will achieve in the futurethe same sort of dominane that men have held in the past, or will it always be a man's world?

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Should States Be Required To License Same-Sex Marriages?

Tue, 09 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0000

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides: “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” And now, the Supreme Court is poised to answer the question of whether this clause requires States to license marriages between two people of the same sex. Does the Equal Protection Clause require States to license same-sex marriages, or will marriage be defined as between a man and a woman?

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Is Obama's Iran Deal Good For America?

Tue, 02 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0000

In April 2015, the P5+1, the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, negotiated an interim nuclear accord with Iran. Among the key parameters: Iran’s enrichment capacity, enrichment levels, and stockpile would be limited; its Fordow site converted into a research center; and the Arak heavy water reactor redesigned. In return, the IAEA would gain greater access for inspections, and U.S. and EU sanctions would be lifted. Many in the U.S. fear that a deal as outlined would not go far enough and, instead of being a benefit, would strengthen Iran’s hand in the Middle East. Not to mention the important question of trust. Is this agreement a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to halt nuclear proliferation, or does President Obama have this wrong?

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Bonus Podcast: Too Many Kids Go To College

Fri, 29 May 2015 10:00:00 -0000

It's graduation season, a time for high school seniors to look backand celebrate their formative years before embarking on the next stepon their academic journey: college. But not every graduating senior attends college and perhapsnot every student should. With enemployment for those with bachelor's degrees still at an all-time high and student loan debt surpassing credit card debt, it begs the question whether its really worth it? And calls to mind a debate we had on October 12th, 2011 where the motion being debated was: Too Many Kids Go To College

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Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb?

Wed, 20 May 2015 10:00:00 -0000

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?

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Should We Abolish the Death Penalty?

Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:00:00 -0000

A recent Gallup poll found that Americans are still largely supportive of the death penalty, with 6 in 10 in favor as punishment for murder. At the heart of the debate are many complicated questions. Within a flawed criminal justice system, is it possible to know every person’s guilt with a sufficient degree of certainty? Does the fear of death reduce crime? Are there race and class biases in sentencing? Are some crimes so heinous in nature that punishment by death is the only appropriate measure, or is capital punishment always immoral?

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Has The President Exceeded His Authority By Waging War Without Congress?

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:00:00 -0000

The President has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But did he have constitutional power to do so? The Constitution carefully divides the war powers of the United States between Congress and the President. Article II provides that “The President shall be Commander in Chief.” But Article I provides that “The Congress shall have Power … To Declare War.” Did the President exceed his authority and violate the Constitution?

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Should The U.S. Adopt The Right To Be Forgotten Online?

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:00 -0000

In 2014, the European Union’s Court of Justice determined that individuals have a right to be forgotten, “the right—under certain conditions—to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.” It is not absolute, but meant to be balanced against other fundamental rights, like freedom of expression. In a half year following the Court’s decision, Google received over 180,000 removal requests. Of those reviewed and processed, 40.5% were granted. Largely seen as a victory in Europe, in the U.S., the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative. Was this ruling a blow to free speech and public information, or a win for privacy and human dignity?

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Are Liberals Stifling Intellectual Diversity?

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:00:00 -0000

What is college for? For many, it’s a time for personal and intellectual growth, to meet new people, and to explore ideas and philosophies that challenge their beliefs. Or is it? Recent cancellations of conservative speakers, rescinded honorary degrees, and scrutiny of certain campus groups have heightened perceptions that there is pervasive liberal intolerance on campuses. Are liberals shutting down speech and debate on campus? Or is this theory a myth, based on the preponderance of liberals at universities rather than intentionally discriminatory actions?

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Should The World Bet On America?

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 11:00:00 -0000

America owes $6 trillion to China, our sprawling military complex often appears helpless against disparate threats abroad, and the War on Terror has stripped us of the moral high ground. Washington is paralyzed by bitter partisanship, our children are falling behind their international peers, and our middle class is no longer the world’s most affluent. But we’ve been warned about America’s decline before. Remember Sputnik? Yes, times are tough, but America is recovering from the Great Recession faster than almost any other advanced country, an energy boom could add billions to the GDP, we’re still a leader in technological innovation, and our military strength and geopolitical advantages remain unrivaled. Are our best days behind us, or should the world still bet on America?

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Tribute To David Carr

Sun, 15 Feb 2015 20:18:00 -0000

Upon hearing the news of the sudden passing of The New York Times's David Carr on February 12th, 2015, we assembled this rememberance. David appeared on our stage on October 27, 2009 arguing against the debate motion: Good Riddance to Mainstream Media.

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Is Amazon The Reader's Friend?

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:00 -0000

In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon’s view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author’s advance to a book’s production. The conflict, resolved for now, has only raised more questions about the value of books, Amazon’s business practices, and the role of publishers. Is book publishing an oligopoly, a dinosaur in need of disruption? Is Amazon, which accounts for 41% of all new book and 67% of all e-book sales, a monopoly? Who is doing right by readers and the future of books?

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Retrospective On The Freedom Of Speech

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 03:30:00 -0000

With the world outraged by the attacks on satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, last week in Paris, we think back to our debate from 2006 on the motion: Freedom of Expression Must Include the License to Offend. The debaters were Philip Gourevitch, David Cesarani, Christopher Hitchens, Daisy Khan, Signe Wilkinson, and Mari Matsuda. The complete debate can be heard at

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Should We Genetically Modify Food?

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:00:00 -0000

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been around for decades, and they are developed for a number of different reasons—to fight disease, enhance flavor, resist pests, improve nutrition, survive drought. Across the country and around the world, communities are fighting the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Are they safe? How do they impact the environment? Can they improve food security? Is the world better off with or without GM food?

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Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:00:00 -0000

In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. 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 debaters are Peter Singer, Baroness Ilora Finlay, Andrew Solomon, and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy.

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Does Income Inequality Impair The American Dream?

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:00:00 -0000

Income inequality has been on the rise for decades. In the last 30 years, the wages of the top 1% have grown by 154%, while the bottom 90% has seen growth of only 17%. As the rungs of the economic ladder move further and further apart, conventional wisdom says that it will become much more difficult to climb them. Opportunities for upward mobility—the American dream—will disappear as the deck becomes stacked against the middle class and the poor. But others see inequality as a positive, a sign of a dynamic and robust economy that, in the end, helps everyone. And contrary to public opinion, mobility has remained stable over the past few decades. If the American dream is dying, is it the result of income inequality? Or is disparity in income a red herring where more complex issues are at play? The Debaters are Elise Gould, Edward Conard, Nick Hanauer, and Scott Winship.

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Mass Collection Of U.S. Phone Records Violates The Fourth Amendment

Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:55:00 -0000

Some say that the mass collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy. Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe. But what does the U.S. Constitution say? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Is collection of phone records a “search” or “seizure"? If so, is it “unreasonable”? Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause? These are among the most consequential—and controversial—constitutional questions of our time.

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Will Flexing America's Muscles In The Middle East Make Things Worse?

Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:00:00 -0000

The disintegration of Iraq, Syria’s ongoing civil war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the promise and peril of the Arab Spring...  What role should America play in the Middle East? For some America’s restraint has been a sign of disciplined leadership. But for others, it has been a sign of diminished strength and influence.  Are we simply recognizing the limitations of our power, or does this embattled region require a bolder, more muscular, American presence? The debaters are Aaron David Miller, Michael Doran, Bret Stephens, and Paul Pillar.

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Should We Embrace The Common Core?

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:00:00 -0000

In K-12 education, there is nothing more controversial than the Common Core State Standards, national academic standards in English and math. Adopted by more than 40 states, they were developed, in part, to address concerns that American students were falling behind their foreign counterparts. Has the federal government overreached and saddled our schools with standards that have been flawed from the start? The debaters are Carmel Martin, Carol Burris, Michael Petrill, and Frederick Hess.

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Retrospective On Hamas And Israel

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:56:00 -0000

Rising tensions between Israel and Hamas have come to a head this week with a dramatic eruption of conflict along the Gaza strip, making a debate we held back in 2006, less than a year after Hamas won a majority vote in the Palestinian parliament, all the more relevant today. The motion being debated that night was: Is A Democratically Elected Hamas Still A Terrorist Organization. The debate, held in front of a live audience in New York City, lasted well over an hour. We’ve culled a sample from each teams’ opening statements to give you a sense of their core arguments. 

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Is There A Constitutional Right To Unlimited Spending On Political Speech?

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:00:00 -0000

Is independent political speech the linchpin of our democracy or its Achilles' heel?   For democracy to work, some say, citizens (and corporations, and unions, and media outlets, and other voluntary organizations) must be allowed to express their views on the issues, candidates, and elections of the day. This proposition, they say, is exactly why the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech and of the press. On this view, restrictions on independent political speech undermine and subvert our constitutional structure.  But others take a different view: If everyone can spend as much money as they like to express their political views, then some voices will be amplified, magnified and enhanced — while others will be all but drowned out. On this view, it is this inequality of influence that subverts our constitutional structure — and restrictions that level the playing field actually enhance rather than abridge the freedom of speech.

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Is Death Final?

Wed, 14 May 2014 10:00:00 -0000

If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? Is the prospect of an existence after death “real” and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality? The debaters are Dr. Eben Alexander, Sean Carroll, Dr. Raymond Moody, and Dr. Steven Novella.

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Do Millennials Stand A Chance?

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:00:00 -0000

Millennials—growing up with revolutionary technology and entering adulthood in a time of recession—have recently been much maligned. Are their critics right? Is this generation uniquely coddled, narcissistic, and lazy? Or have we let conventional wisdom blind us to their openness to change and innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired? The debaters are Binta Niambi Brown, David D. Burstein, W. Keith Campbell, and Jessica Grose.

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The Controversy Over Ayaan Hirsi Ali At Brandeis University

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:01:00 -0000

Women's rights activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, became the center a media firestorm last week, when Brandies University reversed its decision to grant her an honorary degree. While they commend her for being "a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights," many of her past statements against Islam have offended students and faculty at the Massachusetts institution. In this podcast, we hear some of these past statements in the form of an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate from 2010, where she argued against the motion, Islam is a Religion of Peace.

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More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: Is The Lecture Hall Obsolete?

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:42:50 -0000

Is the college of the future online? With the popularity of MOOCs (massive open online courses) and the availability of online degree programs at a fraction of their on-campus price, we are experiencing an exciting experiment in higher education. Does the traditional classroom stand a chance? Will online education be the great equalizer, or is a campus-based college experience still necessary?

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Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm Than Good?

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 21:09:43 -0000

Affirmative action, when used as a factor in college admissions, is meant to foster diversity and provide equal opportunities in education for underrepresented minorities. But is it achieving its stated goals and helping the population it was created to support? Its critics point to students struggling to keep up in schools mismatched to their abilities and to the fact that the policy can be manipulated to benefit affluent and middle class students who already possess many educational advantages. Is it time to overhaul or abolish affirmative action? 

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Is Russia A Marginal Power?

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:15:42 -0000

Disarming Syria. Asylum for Edward Snowden. Arming Iran. Deploying troops to Crimea. Is Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles, while our own president fades into the background of world politics, or is it all a global game of smoke and mirrors? Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and has the power of veto on the U.N. Security Council, but it remains an authoritarian state, rife with corruption and economic struggles. Is our toxic relationship something to worry about, or is Putin’s Russia fading in importance?

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Does The President Have Constitutional Power To Target And Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad?

Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:43:37 -0000

With the drone strike on accused terrorist and New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, President Obama has tested the limits of the executive branch’s powers. Does the president have constitutional authority under the due process clause to kill U.S. citizens abroad, or is it a violation of this clause to unilaterally decide to target and kill Americans?

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Was Snowden Justified?

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 22:36:17 -0000

Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?

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Is Obamacare Beyond Rescue?

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 20:22:37 -0000

With the disastrous launch of the website, critics of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” were given more fuel for the fire. Is this political hot potato's inevitability once again at stake? And is the medical community really on board with the law, or resisting (rewriting?) it from the sidelines?

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Reconsidering The Minimum Wage

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:22:00 -0000

Although widespread retail-worker strikes failed to enact a rise of the federal minimum wage in 2013, on the state level, the tide is turning. Last week 13 states started the New Year by raised their minimum wage, and as many as 11 states, and Washington, D.C., are considering  passing similar legislation in 2014. To shed light on the evolving public debate surrounding wage gaps in the US we are revisiting a debate we staged last Spring “Abolish the Minimum Wage.” That evening James Dorn of the Cato Institute and popular economist Russ Roberts argued for the motion, and faced Jared Bernstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Karen Kornbluh, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. 

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Don't Eat Anything With A Face

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:35:00 -0000

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?

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Does Spying Keep Us Safe?

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:56:21 -0000

The NSA collects data on billions of phone calls and internet communications per day. Are these surveillance programs legal? Do they keep us safe? If not for the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, most Americans would be unaware of the vast amounts of information their government is secretly collecting, all in the name of national security. But whether you believe leakers are heroes or traitors, an important public conversation has finally begun, and we should ask ourselves: What tradeoffs are we willing to make between security and privacy? As Benjamin Franklin might have asked, "Are we giving up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, and thus deserving of neither?"

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Has The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Outlived Its Usefulness?

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:11:00 -0000

Recent mass shooting tragedies have renewed the national debate over the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership and homicide rates are higher in the U.S. than in any other developed nation, but gun violence has decreased over the last two decades even as gun ownership may be increasing. Over 200 years have passed since James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, the country has changed, and so have its guns. Is the right to bear arms now at odds with the common good, or is it as necessary today as it was in 1789? The debaters are Alan Dershowitz, David Kopel, Sanford Levinson, and Eugene Volokh.

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Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:15:00 -0000

If we value a free market in goods and free movement of capital, should we embrace the free movement of labor? Reciprocal treaties would allow citizens of the U.S. and other countries to work legally across borders. Would the elimination of barriers in the labor market depress wages and flood the marketplace with workers? Or would the benefits of a flexible labor supply be a boon to our economy, all while raising the standard of living for anyone willing to work?

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For A Better Future, Live In A Red State

Thu, 31 Oct 2013 16:53:00 -0000

While gridlock and division in Washington make it difficult for either party or ideology to set the policy agenda, single-party government prevails in three-quarters of the states. In 24 states Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature, and in 13 states Democrats enjoy one-party control. Comparing economic growth, education, health care, quality of life and environment, and the strength of civil society, do red or blue states win out?

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Should We Break Up The Big Banks?

Wed, 23 Oct 2013 18:15:12 -0000

To prevent the collapse of the global financial system in 2008, The Treasury committed 245 billion in taxpayer dollars to stabilize America’s banking institutions. Today, banks that were once “too big to fail” have only grown bigger. Were size and complexity at the root of the financial crisis, or do calls to break up the big banks ignore real benefits that only economies of scale can pass on to customers and investors? The debaters are Richard Fisher, Simon Johnson, Douglas Elliott, and Paul Salzman.

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Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovernable?

Sun, 13 Oct 2013 13:42:21 -0000

The government shutdown is a dramatic display of the growing strife not only between the Republican and Democratic parties, but also, among the GOP itself.  For some, the shut down has even called into question the effectiveness of the American political system, which makes a debate we held back in 2011 all the more relevant today. The motion was “The Two-Party System is Making America Ungovernable”. The team arguing for the motion included Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, and NYTimes Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks. The team arguing against the motion, and in support of the two-party system, included political satirist PJ O’Rourke and author and columnist Zev Chafets.

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Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovernable?

Sun, 13 Oct 2013 01:54:00 -0000

The government shutdown is a dramatic display of the growing strife not only between the Republican and Democratic parties, but also, among the GOP itself. For some, the shut down has even called into question the effectiveness of the American political system, which makes a debate we held back in 2011 all the more relevant today. The motion was "The Two-Party System is Making America Ungovernable". The team arguing for the motion included Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, and NYTimes Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks. The team arguing against the motion, and in support of the two-party system, included political satirist PJ O’Rourke and author and columnist Zev Chafets.

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Healthcare Retrospective

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 19:01:00 -0000

Although President Obama signed it into law in March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act remains one of the nation’s most divisive issues. Over the past nearly four years, House Republicans  have voted 40 times to repeal the law in part or in whole. Just this week, Senator Ted Cruz spent hours on the Senate floor speaking against the healthcare law, while President Obama took the stage at the Clinton Global Initiative to explain intricacies of the healthcare overhaul. So, how has it come to this point? Why does healthcare remain such a contested issue nearly 6 years into Barack Obama’s presidency?  To shed light on the evolving public debate surrounding healthcare, Intelligence Squared US is recapping a debate it held in 2011, just 9 months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The controversial motion up for debate was: "Repeal Obamacare."

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Is The U.S. Drone Program Fatally Flawed?

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:50:11 -0000

Remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, have been the centerpiece of America’s counterterrorism toolkit since the start of the Obama presidency, and the benefits have been clear.  Their use has significantly weakened al Qaeda and the Taliban while keeping American troops out of harm’s way.  But critics of drone strikes argue that the short-term gains do not outweigh the long-term consequences—among them, radicalization of a public outraged over civilian deaths.  Is our drone program hurting, or helping, in the fight against terrorism?

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Does The U.S. Have A Dog In The Fight In Syria?

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 20:30:38 -0000

Is there a clear course of action the U.S. could take to help the Syrian people that would lead to a better outcome for the country? Or is greater U.S. involvement likely to do little good in the end? The question has taken on a new sense of urgency following a recent attack near the Syrian capital Damascus that left hundreds dead. The Syrian opposition says it was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, a charge the government denies. The Obama administration is now weighing possible responses. A group of experts took on the Syria question Aug. 9 in an Oxford-style debate for Intelligence Squared U.S., in partnership with the Aspen Strategy Group. They argued two against two on the motion: "The U.S. Has No Dog In The Fight In Syria."

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Is Cutting The Pentagon's Budget A Gift To Our Enemies?

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:40:00 -0000

Political gridlock in Washington triggered across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, in March. As a result, the Pentagon was given six months to eliminate $41 billion from the current year’s budget, and unlike past cuts, this time everything is on the table. In 2011, America spent $711 billion dollars on its defense—more than the next 13 highest spending countries combined. But the burdens it shoulders, both at home and abroad, are unprecedented. Could the sequester be a rare opportunity to overhaul the armed forces, or will its impact damage military readiness and endanger national security?

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The FDA's Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health

Tue, 14 May 2013 14:13:00 -0000

The Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government, is charged with protecting the public health.  Under this mandate, it regulates drugs and medical devices for their safety and effectiveness.  But is it a failing mandate?  It’s long been argued that the FDA’s long and costly approval processes stifle innovation and keep life-changing treatments from the market.  But the question remains: when it comes to public health, is it ever okay to sacrifice safety for speed?

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The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:55:00 -0000

2012 was a disappointing year for Republicans. The failure to win key swing states in the presidential election and surprising losses in the House and Senate have prompted some reflection. Was their embrace of small government, low taxes, and a strong conservative stance on social issues at odds with shifting American demographics? Or did the GOP embrace the right platform, but the wrong candidates?

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Should The U.S. Abolish The Minimum Wage?

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 14:55:00 -0000

The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933’s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents—$4.07 in today’s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention?

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Does America Need A Strong Dollar Policy?

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:32:10 -0000

It’s often taken for granted that America needs a strong dollar.  When the value of the U.S. dollar is strong relative to other currencies, it becomes attractive to investors and allows Americans to buy foreign goods and services cheaply.  But in times of recession, are we better off with a weak dollar that stimulates U.S. manufacturing by making our goods cheaper and more competitive?  Or will the loss of purchasing power and currency manipulation abroad, offset the potential gains?

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Should We Prohibit Genetically Enginereed Babies?

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 17:26:19 -0000

Imagine a world free of genetic diseases, where parents control their offspring’s height, eye color and intelligence.  The science may be closer than you think.  Genes interact in ways that we don’t fully understand and there could be unintended consequences, new diseases that result from our tinkering.  But even if the science could be perfected, is it morally wrong?  Would it lead to eugenics and a stratified society where only the rich enjoy the benefits of genetic enhancement?  Or would the real injustice be depriving our children of every scientifically possible opportunity?

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Can Israel Live With A Nuclear Iran?

Tue, 22 Jan 2013 21:26:02 -0000

Over the summer of 2012, despite increased international pressure and economic sanctions, Iran doubled the number of nuclear centrifuges installed in its underground Fordow site, stopping just short of the capacity to produce nuclear fuel.   President Obama has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call to draw a “red line” that would trigger U.S. military action.  But what would the costs and benefits of military action be?  Can Israel live with a nuclear Iran, or could the time be near for a pre-emptive strike?

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Science Refutes God

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:19:00 -0000

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

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Legalize Drugs

Sat, 24 Nov 2012 17:04:07 -0000

It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs." $2.5 trillion dollars later, drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago, and thousands of offenders are successfully diverted to treatment instead of jail. And yet, 22 million Americans-9% of the population-still uses illegal drugs, and with the highest incarceration rate in the world, we continue to fill our prisons with drug offenders. Decimated families and communities are left in the wake. Is it time to legalize drugs or is this a war that we're winning?

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Are The Rich Taxed Enough?

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 22:41:06 -0000

How do we fix the economy? The U.S. government's budget deficit is nearing a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year and unemployment remains high. With the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, what is the best move for continued economic recovery? Are the nation's wealthiest paying their fair share, or should tax cuts be extended to everyone in the name of job creation? Debaters include Romney's economic supervisor, Glenn Hubbard, economist Arthur Laffer, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and economist Mark Zandi.  

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Should The Government Ration End Of Life Care?

Tue, 16 Oct 2012 14:13:00 -0000

Just because we can extend life, should we? Two teams of debaters are arguing for and against this motion. The U.S. is expected to spend $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012. If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care? In other words, how much is an extra month of life worth?

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Are Elected Islamists Better Than Dictators?

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 14:53:00 -0000

The popular uprisings of the Arab Spring have left a leadership void that Islamist parties have been quick to fill. A longtime supporter of former strongmen like Egypt's Mubarak and Tunisia's Ben Ali, the U.S. now faces the uncomfortable result of Arab democracy - the rise of Islamist parties that are less amenable to the West than their autocratic predecessors. Will the Islamists, who once embraced violence, slowly liberalize as they face the difficulties of state leadership? Or will it mean the growth of anti-Americanism and radicalization in the region? Reuel Marc Gerecht, Brian Katulis, Daniel Pipes and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser debate the motion: "Better elected Islamists than dictators." Debate moderated by author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan.

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Are Super PACs Good For Democracy?

Tue, 02 Oct 2012 17:06:00 -0000

Money has been flowing through this election season like never before. Some say unfettered political spending is a necessary part of free speech; others argue that approach drowns out many voices. A panel of experts takes on the topic for Intelligence Squared U.S.

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The Natural Gas Boom: Doing More Harm Than Good?

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:01:30 -0000

Some people are embracing the wave of increased natural gas extraction in the United States. Others, concerned about the risks, are saying no fracking way. A panel of experts weighs the pros and cons of a boom sparked by hydraulic fracturing in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

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Should College Football Be Banned?

Tue, 15 May 2012 14:30:00 -0000

In recent years, college football programs have been hit by a series of scandals. And observers have long raised questions about the risks of head injuries. A panel of experts looks at the state of college football in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S.

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Is The Internet Closing Our Minds Politically?

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 19:12:54 -0000

On the Internet, it's easy to find like-minded people and to frequent sites where you agree with the content. And algorithms are serving up more personalized search content. Are we running the risk of getting trapped in information bubbles? A panel of experts debates for Intelligence Squared U.S.

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Does China Do Capitalism Better Than America?

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 16:14:57 -0000

As China experiments with its own form of state-run capitalism, the country has managed to maintain a strong economy while many Western countries are faltering. A team of experts faces off in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the motion, "China Does Capitalism Better Than America."

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Is Obesity The Government's Business?

Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:40:44 -0000

In the U.S., more than 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese, prompting some to argue that it's in the government's interest to combat the problem. But others say the government should stay away from people's personal habits. A group of experts takes on the topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S.

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Should The U.N. Grant Palestine Full Membership?

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 21:50:58 -0000

In the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held Jan. 10, four experts on the Middle East face off on the motion "The U.N. Should Admit Palestine As A Full Member State." Could this approach help resolve or exacerbate the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine?

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