Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates bring Oxford-style debate to America – one motion, one moderator, two panelists for the motion and two against.
Do Liberals Hold the Moral High Ground?
Dec 13 • 53 min
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…
Guns, Bibles, & Breaking Bread: A Thanksgiving Podcast
Nov 22 • 38 min
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.
Should College Athletes Be Paid?
Nov 1 • 53 min
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…
Is Western Democracy In Danger?
Oct 11 • 53 min
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…
Is the U.S. Healthcare System Terminally Broken?
Oct 4 • 53 min
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.…
Face-Off with China: Foreign Policy in the Trump Era
Sep 20 • 53 min
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…
How to Debate… Yourself.
Aug 30 • 23 min
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…
A Summer Challenge: Radical Rethinking
Aug 9 • 31 min
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…
The State of Debate on Capitol Hill: The American Health Care Act
Jun 27 • 28 min
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…
Your Private Data: Can Tech Companies Keep it from the Law?
Jun 14 • 56 min
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?…
Will Video Games Make Us Smarter?
May 17 • 55 min
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…
BONUS PODCAST - Unresolved: Trump’s First 100 Days
May 1 • 60 min
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…
Has Walmart Been Good For America?
Apr 12 • 56 min
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…
Is Universal Basic Income the Safety Net of the Future?
Mar 29 • 55 min
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…
Are Charter Schools Overrated?
Mar 8 • 57 min
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…
Has the U.S.-Saudi “Special Relationship” Outlived its Usefulness?
Feb 15 • 55 min
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…
Should We Give Trump a Chance?
Feb 7 • 55 min
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…
Is Policing Racially Biased?
Jan 18 • 55 min
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…
Should states call a convention to amend the Constitution?
Dec 14, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Is Obama’s foreign policy a failure?
Dec 7, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Has Gerrymandering destroyed the political center?
Nov 23, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Should We Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship?
Nov 2, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Is “Big Pharma” to blame for rising health care costs?
Oct 19, 2016 • 58 min
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…
Are the elites to blame for the Trump phenomenon?
Sep 21, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Climate Change: Has the EPA Gone Overboard?
Sep 14, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die
Jul 13, 2016 • 8 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: The Supreme Court Considers Racial Preferences In State University Admissions
Jun 24, 2016 • 48 min
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…
Has The President Usurped The Constitutional Power Of Congress?
Jun 15, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife?
May 18, 2016 • 57 min
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…
Eliminate Corporate Subsidies
Apr 13, 2016 • 56 min
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…
Should We Trust The Promise Of Artificial Intelligence?
Mar 23, 2016 • 53 min
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…
Is Free Speech Threatened On Campus?
Mar 8, 2016 • 53 min
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…
Are Lifespans Long Enough?
Feb 10, 2016 • 55 min
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…
Should The U.S. Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees?
Jan 20, 2016 • 52 min
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…
Does The Equal Protection Clause Forbid Racial Preferences In State University Admissions?
Dec 9, 2015 • 54 min
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…
Can Central Banks Print Prosperity?
Nov 25, 2015 • 55 min
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…
Do U.S. Prosecutors Have Too Much Power?
Nov 17, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Should College Students Be Allowed To Take Smart Drugs?
Nov 9, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Should We Raise The Federal Gas Tax To Fund Infrastructure?
Nov 4, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: Is Death Final?
Oct 29, 2015 • 48 min
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…
Are China And The U.S. Long-Term Enemies?
Oct 21, 2015 • 57 min
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…
Should Courts Or Campuses Decide Sexual Assault Cases?
Sep 23, 2015 • 54 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: Should We Abolish the Minimum Wage?
Sep 4, 2015 • 50 min
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,…
Does The U.S. Need To Defeat ISIS, Or Is Containment Enough?
Aug 18, 2015 • 52 min
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?
Bonus Podcast: Israel Can Live With A Nuclear Iran
Jul 20, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue
Jul 14, 2015 • 49 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: Men Are Finished
Jun 19, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Should States Be Required To License Same-Sex Marriages?
Jun 9, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Is Obama’s Iran Deal Good For America?
Jun 2, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Bonus Podcast: Too Many Kids Go To College
May 29, 2015 • 50 min
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…
Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb?
May 20, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Should We Abolish the Death Penalty?
Apr 22, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Has The President Exceeded His Authority By Waging War Without Congress?
Apr 7, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Should The U.S. Adopt The Right To Be Forgotten Online?
Mar 18, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Are Liberals Stifling Intellectual Diversity?
Mar 3, 2015 • 52 min
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,…
Should The World Bet On America?
Feb 18, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Tribute To David Carr
Feb 15, 2015 • 8 min
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.
Is Amazon The Reader’s Friend?
Jan 22, 2015 • 52 min
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…
Retrospective On The Freedom Of Speech
Jan 11, 2015 • 13 min
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…
Should We Genetically Modify Food?
Dec 10, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?
Nov 20, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Does Income Inequality Impair The American Dream?
Oct 29, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Mass Collection Of U.S. Phone Records Violates The Fourth Amendment
Oct 14, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Will Flexing America’s Muscles In The Middle East Make Things Worse?
Oct 7, 2014 • 53 min
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.…
Should We Embrace The Common Core?
Sep 19, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Retrospective On Hamas And Israel
Jul 11, 2014 • 18 min
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…
Is There A Constitutional Right To Unlimited Spending On Political Speech?
Jul 2, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Is Death Final?
May 14, 2014 • 52 min
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…
Do Millennials Stand A Chance?
Apr 16, 2014 • 53 min
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…
The Controversy Over Ayaan Hirsi Ali At Brandeis University
Apr 14, 2014 • 15 min
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…
More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: Is The Lecture Hall Obsolete?
Apr 10, 2014 • 53 min
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…
Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm Than Good?
Mar 26, 2014 • 52 min
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…
Is Russia A Marginal Power?
Mar 19, 2014 • 52 min
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…
Does The President Have Constitutional Power To Target And Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad?
Mar 12, 2014 • 52 min
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.…
Was Snowden Justified?
Feb 18, 2014 • 52 min
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.…
Is Obamacare Beyond Rescue?
Jan 22, 2014 • 52 min
With the disastrous launch of the HealthCare.gov 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…
Reconsidering The Minimum Wage
Jan 8, 2014 • 14 min
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,…
Don’t Eat Anything With A Face
Dec 11, 2013 • 52 min
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,…
Does Spying Keep Us Safe?
Nov 27, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Has The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Outlived Its Usefulness?
Nov 21, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere
Nov 6, 2013 • 52 min
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…
For A Better Future, Live In A Red State
Oct 31, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Should We Break Up The Big Banks?
Oct 23, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovernable?
Oct 13, 2013 • 16 min
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…
Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovernable?
Oct 12, 2013 • 16 min
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…
Healthcare Retrospective
Sep 26, 2013 • 19 min
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…
Is The U.S. Drone Program Fatally Flawed?
Sep 17, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Does The U.S. Have A Dog In The Fight In Syria?
Aug 28, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Is Cutting The Pentagon’s Budget A Gift To Our Enemies?
Jun 24, 2013 • 52 min
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…
The FDA’s Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health
May 14, 2013 • 52 min
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…
The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die
Apr 23, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Should The U.S. Abolish The Minimum Wage?
Apr 9, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Does America Need A Strong Dollar Policy?
Mar 22, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Should We Prohibit Genetically Enginereed Babies?
Feb 22, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Can Israel Live With A Nuclear Iran?
Jan 22, 2013 • 52 min
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…
Science Refutes God
Dec 11, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Legalize Drugs
Nov 24, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Are The Rich Taxed Enough?
Oct 29, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Should The Government Ration End Of Life Care?
Oct 16, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Are Elected Islamists Better Than Dictators?
Oct 9, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Are Super PACs Good For Democracy?
Oct 2, 2012 • 52 min
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…
The Natural Gas Boom: Doing More Harm Than Good?
Jul 17, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Should College Football Be Banned?
May 15, 2012 • 52 min
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.
Is The Internet Closing Our Minds Politically?
Apr 23, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Does China Do Capitalism Better Than America?
Mar 20, 2012 • 52 min
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,…
Is Obesity The Government’s Business?
Feb 13, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Should The U.N. Grant Palestine Full Membership?
Jan 18, 2012 • 52 min
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…
Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion?
Nov 21, 2011 • 52 min
A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar face off over religion in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Should Congress Pass Obama’s Jobs Bill In Pieces?
Nov 21, 2011 • 52 min
Supporters say if lawmakers do nothing, the U.S. economy may fall into another recession. But critics say the jobs package just recycles policies that have failed in the past. A group of experts argue the merits of the president’s proposals in the latest…
Do Too Many Kids Go To College?
Nov 21, 2011 • 52 min
Getting a college degree is often touted as a way to increase your income and your ability to compete in the job market. But are too many unprepared students being pushed into taking on large amounts of debt? A team of experts faces off in the latest…
Do Grandma’s Benefits Imperil Junior’s Future?
Oct 12, 2011 • 52 min
The debate over entitlement programs has a generational component that can’t be overlooked: Is helping seniors make ends meet only generating mountains of debt that will hamper future generations? A team of experts chewed over that topic in the latest…
Are Men Finished?
Sep 26, 2011 • 52 min
Last year, women made up the majority of the U.S. workforce for the first time ever. There are more women earning college degrees than men. Are women taking over the position of power in society, or are things just balancing out after years of male…
Is It Time To End The War On Terror?
Sep 14, 2011 • 52 min
Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks and months after the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is it time to move on? Or is it important to maintain the open-ended conflict? Experts take on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Does Freedom Of The Press Extend To State Secrets?
Jun 16, 2011 • 52 min
Does the public’s right to know interfere with the government’s ability to protect citizens? Four experts go head to head on the issue in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Should We Stop Taking The World’s Huddled Masses?
May 9, 2011 • 52 min
The U.S. is often referred to as a nation built by immigrants. But in recent years, the debate over the country’s immigration laws has reached a boiling point. Do immigrants help the economy? Or do they take jobs away from Americans? Four experts recently…
Is It Time To Clip America’s Global Wings?
Apr 13, 2011 • 52 min
As the United States grapples with a struggling economy and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some argue that it’s time to scale back its role in the world. A team of experts discusses the pros and cons of this proposition in the latest…
Can Clean Energy Drive The Economic Recovery?
Mar 14, 2011 • 52 min
President Obama and other leaders have called for investment in cleaner energy sources as a way to create jobs and spur U.S. economic recovery. But can it really work? A team of experts takes on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Is The Two-Party System Making The U.S. Ungovernable?
Feb 23, 2011 • 52 min
Some argue that Americans have been locked into evaluating every issue through a prism of left and right. A team of experts tackles the topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Should The Obama Health Care Law Be Repealed?
Jan 19, 2011 • 52 min
As Republicans now in control of the House move to repeal the new health care law, a team of experts takes on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate
Should Airports Use Racial And Religious Profiling?
Nov 30, 2010 • 52 min
The recent furor over screenings and pat-downs has catapulted airport security back into the spotlight. Should airports be targeting their limited resources differently? A team of experts examines the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S.…
Is Afghanistan A Lost Cause?
Nov 18, 2010 • 52 min
After nearly a decade of fighting, Americans are still debating the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, its toll on the military and its financial cost. A team of experts goes head-to-head on the topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Is Big Government Stifling The American Spirit?
Nov 2, 2010 • 52 min
On Oct. 26, a team of experts argued the issue “Big Government is Stifling the American Spirit” during the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?
Oct 14, 2010 • 52 min
That’s how former President George W. Bush characterized it, but some take a different view. A panel of experts takes on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Are Terrorists Criminals Or Enemy Combatants?
Sep 22, 2010 • 52 min
Some view a law enforcement approach to terrorism as dangerous, while others argue that denying suspects the ability to defend themselves in court runs counter to American values. Four experts recently went head to head on the issue in the latest debate…
Has The Cyberwar Threat Been Exaggerated?
Jun 18, 2010 • 52 min
As succeeding presidential administrations and leaders in the Pentagon devote increasing resources to cybersecurity, some observers are questioning whether the threat of cyberwar has been overstated. A panel of experts debates the latest Intelligence…
Does Obama’s Foreign Policy Spell America’s Decline?
May 18, 2010 • 52 min
When it comes to foreign policy, some argue that President Obama is alienating the United States’ allies as he seeks to make accommodations for nations with whom America has more uncertain relationships, such as China and Russia. And, they say, the…
Is Organic Food Stuffed Full Of Marketing Hype?
May 10, 2010 • 52 min
Is paying extra money for organic food worth it? Some argue that the label confers real value, while others claim that organic food has not been proven healthier and that it comes with its own environmental trade-offs. A panel of experts faces off on the…
Are Teachers Unions To Blame For Failing Schools?
Mar 23, 2010 • 52 min
In the quest to remake America’s public schools, teachers unions have frequently been blasted as an obstacle to improvement. But do unions really deserve more of the blame than shrinking budgets and other problems? A group of experts takes on that…
Should The U.S. Scale Back Relations With Israel?
Feb 18, 2010 • 52 min
Does the United States’ special relationship with Israel come at too high a cost in the Middle East? A panel of experts takes on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Is California The First Failed State?
Jan 28, 2010 • 52 min
California is in the midst of a budget nightmare. Will the Golden State find a bailout, or has it become the first failed state of the union? A group of experts takes on the topic in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Is America To Blame For Mexico’s Drug War?
Dec 9, 2009 • 52 min
In Mexico, thousands of people have died in drug-related violence in the past three years as the government has ramped up its war on drug cartels. But is the United States — with its market for illegal drugs and flow of guns south of the border — to…
Are Obama’s Economic Policies Working Effectively?
Nov 24, 2009 • 52 min
As the economy slowly begins to recover from the financial meltdown, should the Obama administration get credit for turning things around? Or has the administration failed to do what it takes to really help the economy? A panel of experts takes on the…
Good Riddance To Mainstream Media?
Nov 4, 2009 • 52 min
As newspapers go under, the network newscasts lose viewers and the mainstream media in general see more and more of their audience shift online, are we as a society better or worse off? A panel of experts debates.
Will ‘Buy American’ Policies Backfire?
Sep 30, 2009 • 52 min
“Buy American” provisions included in legislation such as President Obama’s stimulus package have touched off a heated debate. A panel of experts argues whether they help or hurt the United States in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.