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Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
54 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Bitcoin Is More Than a Bubble and Here to Stay
Is Bitcoin here to stay? Cryptocurrencies hold the promise of revolutionizing global finance by placing control in the hands of users, not nations, and making financial exchanges more transparent, efficient, and democratic. But given the yet-another-round of boom and bust cycles seen recently, questions remain: Could cypto ever be considered a safe bet? Proponents say the hype is warranted, with naysayers increasingly jumping on the Bitcoin (block) train. Yet skeptics and critics – like Elon Musk – suggest this highly volatile digital currency offers a platform for illicit activity, including money laundering and trafficking of humans and drugs, free from government oversight and regulation. They argue Bitcoin has no intrinsic value – the price is based on market enthusiasm rather than actual utility. So… in light of renewed attention, Intelligence Squared U.S. sought to resurrect this highly relevant debate: Is Bitcoin More Than a Bubble and Here to Stay? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | May 28, 2021
Is Anti-Zionism the New Anti-Semitism?
In light of the recent Israel-Hamas war, an old debate is gaining new relevance. The nature of the current conflict has again unleashed a wave of antisemitic threats and violence in the U.S., with synagogues and Jewish-owned business having been vandalized and attacked. But as society surveys the damage, it also asks whether the condemnation of Israeli actions can truly be divorced from antisemitic hostilities? In other words, is being an anti-zionist tantamount to being antisemitic? Or is arguing against a state of-and-for the Jewish people just a thinly veiled way of harboring prejudice? In this debate, which first aired in February 2020, and accordingly has a few dated references which we felt were necessary to keep, Intelligence Squared looks to four expert panelists to debate this question: Is Anti-Zionism the New Anti-Semitism?For the Motion:Bret Stephens - Op-Ed Columnist, New York TimesEinat Wilf - Former Member, Israeli ParliamentAgainst the Motion: Peter Beinart - Journalist & Author, "The Crisis of Zionism"Yousef Munayyer - Executive Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
53 minutes | May 21, 2021
Taiwan is Indefensible
The fate of Taiwan is uncertain. As a revanchist China builds up forces near the island, the Biden administration is warning Beijing against an invasion, bolstering its defense with the sale of military hardware. Beijing sees Taiwan as lost territory, which needs to be “reunified” with the mainland. The United States is now faced with a geopolitical quandary: Can the U.S. military defend Taiwan from Beijing, and should it? Or, is Taiwan indefensible? Arguing in favor of the motion is Lyle J. Goldstein of the Naval War College, with Charlie Glaser of George Washington University. Arguing against the motion is former deputy assistant secretary of defense Elbridge Colby, with Elizabeth Larus of the University of Mary Washington. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | May 12, 2021
Agree to Disagree COVID Series: Do We Need Vaccine Passports?
Will you need a digital passport to prove you’ve been vaccinated the next time you try to board a flight or get into a concert? The idea is already being tested in Israel and governments around the world – including the Biden administration – are exploring what vaccine credentials might look like. For some, these digital tools are a golden ticket back to “normal” life. But for others, these tools raise dire concerns about privacy, civil rights, and equitable access. In this episode of Agree to Disagree, John Donvan sits with Peter Baldwin, history professor from UCLA, and Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at ACLU, to debate the future of vaccine passports. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
52 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Psychedelics, in medical terms, is an inexact category of drugs that affect perceptions and cognition. Their proponents say 1960s-era associations have undermined exciting research in the field of neuroscience. Psychedelics should be made much more widely available, they contend, to treat a range of mental and emotional issues, as well as to ascertain a more profound sense of ourselves. People should also be empowered to make their own decisions in its use. Not so fast, say opponents. These are powerful substances. And society does not know enough about the broader consequences of greatly increasing access. Cautionary tales should be heeded. Either way, like cannabis, the movement for wider use is growing. So... here’s our debate: Should society legalize psychedelics? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Should COVID-19 vaccines keep their patent protections?
India and South Africa have petitioned the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. These nations – along with a coalition of scholars, activists, and nonprofit organizations – argue that developing nations are at risk of waiting years to get full access to the vaccines unless these protections are lifted. But their opponents say suspending patent protections will do little to speed up the manufacturing process. Instead, undermining these protections will ensure that the next time the world needs an emergency vaccine, governments and pharmaceuticals will be unable to act as swiftly. It’s a debate emblematic of the uneven vaccine rollout, and strikes at the core of society’s ability to act quickly. In this episode of Agree to Disagree, John Donvan sits with Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations and Brook Baker, law professor at Northeastern University and senior policy analyst at Health GAP, to debate the future of vaccine patents. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
53 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Forgive Student Debt
In the year since the pandemic forced us to cancel, the federal student loan debt has grown $100 billion. The stakes have risen for student borrowers, making it high time we rescheduled our debate on the motion: Forgive Student Loans.Facing growing discontent over the rising cost of higher education, many prominent Democrats – and some Republicans – are calling on Washington to cancel the approximately $1.7 trillion Americans currently owe in student loan debt. Supporters see debt forgiveness as a necessary step to safeguarding the nation’s financial future and combating inequality in the education system. But others argue that this blanket policy would balloon the federal deficit, reward irresponsible borrowers, and waste taxpayer money on those who are not actually in need. Is it time for a student loan bailout? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
47 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Agree to Disagree: Kill the Filibuster
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51 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Agree to Disagree: Slavery Reparations
Between 1525 and 1866, more than 12 million Africans were shipped to the New World as slaves. After some 200 years, slavery was abolished, and yet another century of Jim Crow, coupled with discriminatory housing and lending policies, contributed to its legacy. Dealing with the relics of that stain on American history is part of the national dilemma. But exactly how to do it is our question; something lawmakers in Washington are also now debating. A top aide to President Joe Biden recently said that the White House will ‘start acting now’ on reparations for African Americans. Some say it’s long over-due. Reparations, they say, are important to start to address the moral injury slavery inflicted. Others say direct payments to African Americans will divide the black community, exaggerate racial tensions and prove impossible to administer. Arguing that reparations are the way to go is Cornell William Brooks, former president and CEO of the NAACP.Arguing that direct payments to African Americans are not the most effective means of addressing the legacy of slavery, and that they could have unintended consequences is Randall LeRoy Kennedy is an American law professor and author at Harvard University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
The GOP Has Lost Its Way
What should the Republican party look like after Donald Trump? For many prominent establishment figures, including those behind The Lincoln Project, the GOP has lost its way. The only way back, they say, is to purge the forces that brought Trump to power. But others warn that rejecting the millions of voters who supported the former president is the wrong call for the American right. Rather, the GOP should instead double down, focus on bridging the establishment and grassroots factions of their party, and find a way to move forward together. In light of shifting political sands, we ask: Has the GOP lost its way? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
Agree to Disagree: Sex with Robots
As robots and artificial intelligence reached new heights, the relationship between humans and machines is getting closer. The sex tech industry is worth $30 billion annually and growing, as sex with synthetic companions is becoming far more widespread. But should it be? What are the social consequences? Some argue that sex robots will encourage bad behavior, perpetuate misogyny, and reinforce pornographic depictions of the opposite sex. Others say it can serve as a societal good for those who struggle with traditional relationships, and be employed as a safe outlet for otherwise toxic behavior. So in this episode of Agree to Disagree, we debate sex robots and their place in society. Arguing “YES” is Kate Devlin, computer scientist specializing in AI and human-computer interaction, author of "Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots." Arguing "NO" is Joanna Bryson, PhD, professor at the Hertie School in Berlin, scholar of AI and ethics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
63 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
Agree to Disagree: Are Identity Politics a Way to Win?
The public and pundits alike are still processing the recent election, but this much we know: 2020 marks the most diverse Congress in American history, and President Trump garnered record numbers of minority voters. The takeaway is split. Were identity politics a way to prevail? Two experts on race and identity in America sit with Intelligence Squared host and moderator John Donvan to debate.Arguing “YES” is Michael Eric Dyson, an author, New York Times contributing opinion writer, contributing editor of The New Republic, and professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.Arguing "NO" is John McWhorter, an author, host of Lexicon Valley, contributing writer at The Atlantic, and professor of Linguistics at Columbia University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
52 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
For the Last Four Years, America Got The Middle East Right
Joe Biden’s approach to the Middle East will likely be very different than Donald Trump’s. But should it be? For some, the Trump legacy was the right approach: A transactional style that resulted in a host of political and diplomatic victories, including normalizing relations between Israel and several Arab states. But others, including many prominent members of Biden's transition team, see the last four years as a failure of strategy and leadership. So, as the Biden team gets going, we debate whether Trump got the Middle East right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
58 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
America is No Longer a Model for the World
When Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and halted the Electoral College certification, European leaders decried the violence and called on the president to allow the peaceful transfer of power. Meanwhile, China, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran issued swift condemnations with not-so-subtle jabs at the legitimacy of Western democratic values. In the wake of this, can America remain the world's model for democracy? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
Do Genes Affect Your Vote?
Were you an adventurous baby? Or were you risk averse? According to Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who studies genopolitics, your answers to those questions might also inform your politics. Host, John Donvan digs into the debate surrounding genes and early nurturing, and examines how they both might inspire a natural predilection to skew left or right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
52 minutes | Dec 26, 2020
Intelligence Squared Year-Ender
Looking back at 2020, it’s been interesting. Intelligence Squared, like the rest of the world, went virtual as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that upended business models and accelerated trends far beyond what most experts could envision. (“To zoom” no longer just means “to move quickly.”) And so, as the world waits this thing out, we decided an appropriate holiday gift would be a compilation of our favorite debates of 2020. From Iran, China and the Electoral College, to policing and whether society should redistribute the wealth, we hope you enjoy this special year-ender from Intelligence Squared. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
53 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Essential Workers or Elderly? Larry Brilliant on the Vaccine Debate
As the first rounds of the Covid-19 vaccines become available, a growing debate has emerged as to who should get it first. CDC guidance prioritizes essential workers and those in long-term care, but a growing chorus of voices say authorities should instead focus on the elderly. It’s a profound debate with broad ethical implications that dig into the question of preserving first-responders and society’s first line of defense versus rising morbidity and mortality rates among at-risk populations. Host and moderator John Donvan examines it all in a wide ranging interview with Dr. Larry Brilliant, physician, epidemiologist, and CEO of the Pandefense Advisory, who was also a part of the World Health Organization team that eradicated smallpox. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
64 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
Agree to Disagree: Are Identity Politics a Way to Win?
The public and pundits alike are still processing the most recent election, but this much we know: 2020 marks the most diverse Congress in American history, and President Trump garnered more minority voters in 2020 than in 2016. As Georgia faces two runoff elections, which will determine which party controls the Senate, gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and other voting-rights advocates have focused on identity politics as a way to prevail in the electoral process. Is it a winning strategy? Two experts on race and identity in America sit with Intelligence Squared host and moderator John Donvan to debate. Arguing “YES” is Michael Eric Dyson, an author, New York Times contributing opinion writer, contributing editor of The New Republic, and professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.Arguing "NO" is John McWhorter, an author, host of Lexicon Valley, contributing writer at The Atlantic, and professor of Linguistics at Columbia University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Dec 5, 2020
#187 - Should We Stop Worrying About National Deficits?
Governments around the world have spent unprecedented sums — trillions of dollars — to combat the economic impacts of coronavirus. But just what does rising government debt mean for our future? A new crop of economists – adherents to Modern Monetary Theory – have a bold proposition: Don't worry about it. Stephanie Kelton, James Galbraith, Todd Buchholz, and Otmar Issing join us for a debate on national debt in our third episode of "That's Debatable," our new series presented in partnership with Bloomberg Media and sponsored by IBM. A note from our sponsor:There’s nothing to lose from gaining a fresh perspective. IBM Watson® was built to help us look at an issue from all sides—from cultural debates to customer reviews. Using advanced natural language processing, Watson is making sense of data from a range of topics to help give us more informed perspectives, so we can make more informed decisions. See how Watson informs a human debate at ibm.com/debatable Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
51 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
Agree to Disagree: Are Election Lawsuits Good For Democracy?
Joe Biden delivered a victory speech. His team is planning to take power. But rather than concede, President Trump has instead turned to the courts, with election lawsuits in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona. It's a historic moment, and for many an unsettling one. But could these lawsuits actually be good for democracy? Two competing legal minds weigh in, with Intelligence Squared host and moderator John Donvan at the helm. Arguing "YES," is Rebecca Roiphe, a Manhattan prosecutor and law professor who focuses on ethics and the history of the legal profession. Arguing “NO” is Ian Bassin, a former attorney in the Obama White House and the co-founder of Protect Democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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