Intelligence Squared US

Intelligence Squared US We are America's Debate Series, as heard on public radio, television and Apple podcasts. Cast your vote and join the debate at http://iq2us.org.

A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) was founded in 2006 to restore civility, reasoned analysis, and constructive public discourse to today's often biased media landscape. IQ2US has presented more than 120 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From clean energy and the financial crisis, to the Middle East and the death of mainstream media, IQ2US brings together the world’s leading authorities on the most important issues of the day.

Mission: To raise the level of public discourse; to provide a new forum for intelligent discussion, grounded in facts and informed by reasoned analysis; to transcend the toxically emotional and the reflexively ideological; and to encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.

Operating as usual

A new wave of protests erupted in Philadelphia on Monday, after police officers fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. We recen...
10/28/2020
Unresolved: American Policing

A new wave of protests erupted in Philadelphia on Monday, after police officers fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. We recently asked five experts to tackle pressing questions on the history and future of policing in the U.S. –– here's how they responded:

Historic protests calling for police reform have erupted across the nation. But just what could these reforms mean? And how should we see the criminal justice system today? Staged in our “Unresolved” format, this debate brings together five experts to tackle pressing questions on the history and...

Water has been uncovered on the moon by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Which global power (or ent...
10/27/2020

Water has been uncovered on the moon by NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Which global power (or entrepreneur) will access it first?

Don't miss our upcoming "That's Debatable" –– we're talking all things space race with IBM and Bloomberg Television. Learn more: http://ibm.com/debatable

The federal government ran a budget deficit of $3.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020. Now, a growing number of economists ar...
10/27/2020

The federal government ran a budget deficit of $3.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020. Now, a growing number of economists are arguing we should stop worrying about that figure. Do you agree?

Submit your argument for our next "That's Debatable" with IBM Watson and Bloomberg Television: https://ibm.com/debatable

Supreme Court justices can serve judicial terms that last decades –– for example, Justice Douglas was appointed at age 4...
10/26/2020

Supreme Court justices can serve judicial terms that last decades –– for example, Justice Douglas was appointed at age 41, and served for nearly 37 years.

Last month, House Democrats introduced new bill for Supreme Court term limits. Is it the right move for American democracy?

What does Amy Coney Barrett mean for the future of the high court? And should justices be appointed for life? In this we...
10/25/2020
This Week In Debate – Judgement Day

What does Amy Coney Barrett mean for the future of the high court? And should justices be appointed for life? In this week's Intelligence Briefing, we're diving into just how the nation's highest court has become one of our nation's biggest political lightning rods ––

Well, that's not going to happen. Tomorrow, the Senate will likely confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. It will solidify the court's 6:3 conservative majority, a hallmark of the Trump legacy. But it won't be a unanimous vote -- not even close. Nothing like in 1993, when Ruth Bader ...

Do  things like court packing and term limits have any merit to reform our court system? John Donvan asks two of the nat...
10/25/2020
Amy Coney Barrett & The Supreme Court

Do things like court packing and term limits have any merit to reform our court system? John Donvan asks two of the nation's most esteemed constitutional law scholars ––

The nation's highest court is about to change, in a big way. But just what does that mean for you? And for the future of American Law? In this episode of Agree to Disagree, John Donvan moderates an incredibly timely debate between two of the nation's most esteemed constitutional law scholars. It's a...

Both nations and private companies have jockeyed for a spot in the sky in the decades since Sputnik's launch into orbit....
10/24/2020

Both nations and private companies have jockeyed for a spot in the sky in the decades since Sputnik's launch into orbit. Who will be the next rising power?

The Senate is expected to vote on the SCOTUS confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett this Monday. But just what does that mean...
10/23/2020
Amy Coney Barrett & The Supreme Court

The Senate is expected to vote on the SCOTUS confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett this Monday. But just what does that mean for you? And for the future of American Law?

Our latest episode of "Agree to Disagree" is available now:

The nation's highest court is about to change, in a big way. But just what does that mean for you? And for the future of American Law? In this episode of Agree to Disagree, John Donvan moderates an incredibly timely debate between two of the nation's most esteemed constitutional law scholars. It's a...

Nationwide, first-year enrollment has dropped 16% at four-year colleges, and 23% at community colleges (according to Nat...
10/22/2020
More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete

Nationwide, first-year enrollment has dropped 16% at four-year colleges, and 23% at community colleges (according to National Student Clearinghouse.)

What does the future hold for higher education?

Is the college of the future online? Does the traditional classroom stand a chance? Will online education be the great equalizer, or is a campus-based college experience still necessary?

"If there hadn't been an Electoral College, but we had the opportunity to create one, now, would we want to have an Elec...
10/21/2020

"If there hadn't been an Electoral College, but we had the opportunity to create one, now, would we want to have an Electoral College?"

John Donvan asked the question earlier this year – now we're honored to have been awarded The w3 Awards for that very debate. Stream it in full: https://smarturl.it/ElectoralCollege

China's economy grew nearly as fast this summer as it did before the pandemic. Here in the U.S.? A record-breaking econo...
10/20/2020
Coronavirus Will Reshape the World Order in China's Favor

China's economy grew nearly as fast this summer as it did before the pandemic. Here in the U.S.? A record-breaking economic recoil.

How might coronavirus reshape geopolitics? For some, the answer is clear: China is on the rise. While Washington embraces “America First,” they argue, Beijing is stepping up to provide material assistance to struggling nations and convening global leaders. But others see a global future where Ch...

Since the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch in 1957, nations and private companies have jockeyed for their spot in the sky. ...
10/19/2020

Since the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch in 1957, nations and private companies have jockeyed for their spot in the sky. Now, there are over 2,700 in orbit around Earth.

Exactly our place in that sky is up for debate in this week's Intelligence Briefing: https://bit.ly/37lepRz

In our inaugural episode of "That's Debatable," we asked you, is it time to redistribute the wealth that has deepened Am...
10/18/2020
It's Time to Redistribute the Wealth

In our inaugural episode of "That's Debatable," we asked you, is it time to redistribute the wealth that has deepened America's income gap?

That gap between America's richest and poorer families has more than doubled since 1989 (via Pew Research Center.) Stream the full episode now:

Economic inequality has become a linchpin of modern politics. As nations around the world face a reckoning on racial and social justice and work to combat the economic impacts of the pandemic, we ask: Is it time to redistribute the wealth? Should we address growing inequality by overhauling our tax....

Roughly four-in-ten eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. While most of the world does not ...
10/17/2020

Roughly four-in-ten eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. While most of the world does not have compulsory voting, some countries, like Belgium and Australia, do. Should the U.S. make voting mandatory?

Last night, Joe Biden and President Donald J. Trump held competing town halls after Trump declared virtual debates a was...
10/16/2020
Intelligence Squared US

Last night, Joe Biden and President Donald J. Trump held competing town halls after Trump declared virtual debates a waste of his time.

We respectfully disagree. See what real, virtual, debates look like below –

It's a potentially multi-trillion dollar question: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity?  The possibil...
10/15/2020

It's a potentially multi-trillion dollar question: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity?
The possibilities are limitless – your character count is not. Make your case in 36 words or less: http://ibm.com/debatable

"Audiences can be very tricky for me in that I randomly call on people to raise their hands and ask a question of the de...
10/15/2020
IBM showcases latest A.I. advancements on Bloomberg's "That's Debatable" TV show

"Audiences can be very tricky for me in that I randomly call on people to raise their hands and ask a question of the debaters, and to be honest I have to throw out a large number of the questions because they are repetitive, or they are off in outer space, or they are just not well articulated. [IBM Watson] helps with that challenge." – IQ2US moderator, John Donvan

The software, which IBM hopes to sell to business, can extract key points from thousands of disparate opinions and analyze which views are most common

Should the U.S. embrace third parties? Take a look at the handful of times when an alternative earned Electoral College ...
10/14/2020

Should the U.S. embrace third parties? Take a look at the handful of times when an alternative earned Electoral College votes:

Income growth has been most rapid for the top 5% of families in the U.S. since the 1980s (according to Pew Research Cent...
10/14/2020
It's Time to Redistribute the Wealth

Income growth has been most rapid for the top 5% of families in the U.S. since the 1980s (according to Pew Research Center).

Is it time to redistribute that wealth? Stream our series premiere of "That's Debatable" now, with Bloomberg Television & IBM.

Economic inequality has become a linchpin of modern politics. As nations around the world face a reckoning on racial and social justice and work to combat the economic impacts of the pandemic, we ask: Is it time to redistribute the wealth? Should we address growing inequality by overhauling our tax....

George Washington generally wasn’t a fan, using his farewell address to warn that the “will of a party” might supplant t...
10/13/2020
Two Cheers for Two Parties

George Washington generally wasn’t a fan, using his farewell address to warn that the “will of a party” might supplant the “will of the nation.” Yet Thomas Jefferson later concluded that “men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties.’’

Is a two-party system actually good for the country?

As the nation gears up for the 2020 presidential election, we ask: Is the two-party system good for democracy? Does relying on two hugely powerful political bodies drive division and push voters to the extremes? Or does the two-party system moderate the electorate and make the nation governable?

United States Space Force vice commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson recently warned that both China and Russia have improve...
10/12/2020

United States Space Force vice commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson recently warned that both China and Russia have improved their potentially satellite-threatening tech considerably in the past 10 years. A space race may be brewing, but would it be good for humanity?

Submit your argument for our next "That's Debatable" – presented with Bloomberg Television & IBM 🚀 ibm.com/debatable

10/12/2020

Do police unions enable reform? Or fight it? Here's what you said when we polled our live audience:

President Donald J. Trump's recent experimental "drug cocktail" has rehashed the debate over a patient's right to try tr...
10/10/2020

President Donald J. Trump's recent experimental "drug cocktail" has rehashed the debate over a patient's right to try treatments yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A bill giving Americans that very right was passed under the Trump administration –– but is it accessible to all Americans, in reality? And should patients actually have the "Right to Try"?

10/09/2020

Featuring former Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and AI from IBM Watson –– join us on Bloomberg Television tonight at 7pm E.T.

Is it time to redistribute the wealth?The wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled fro...
10/09/2020

Is it time to redistribute the wealth?

The wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled from 1989 to 2016, according to a recent analysis by Pew Research Center. Tonight, we'll debate shrinking that very wealth gap – on Bloomberg Television at 7pm E.T.

10/08/2020

Americans are debating the role of law enforcement in towns and cities across the nation. Should we defund the police? Here's what you said when we polled our audience last week ––

10/07/2020

In light of the pandemic and President Donald J. Trump's recent COVID-19 diagnosis, should future presidential debates go remote?

No podiums, no stage, no audience. It's been done before:

Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? The U.S. has maintained its status as the world’s leading nation...
10/06/2020

Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? The U.S. has maintained its status as the world’s leading nation in space since the historic Apollo 11 mission. But now, China is ramping up its national space industry with huge investments in next-gen tech that promises to disrupt that status quo.

Now's your chance to submit your argument for our next "That's Debatable" – presented with Bloomberg Television & IBM 👉 ibm.com/debatable

10/05/2020
Have the police become too militarized?

As of June 2020, nearly 8,200 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from 49 states and four U.S. territories have received surplus military equipment, including weapons. Have the police become too militarized, or should these materials be repurposed for security?

What should policing look like in the future? Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at impr...
10/05/2020
The Intelligence Briefing: Policing In America

What should policing look like in the future? Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at improving law enforcement operations, while the Biden campaign has released a plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice.

In this week's Intelligence Briefing, we explore two perspectives on one of the nation's biggest debates:

Nearly 60% of Americans say we need “major changes” in American policing. While President Trump signed an executive order aimed at improving law enforcement operations, the Biden campaign has released a plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice. What should policing look like in t...

Tuesday’s presidential debate left us deeply disappointed. Let us remind you what real debate – the true competition of ...
10/04/2020
Unresolved: American Policing

Tuesday’s presidential debate left us deeply disappointed. Let us remind you what real debate – the true competition of ideas – can look like in our country. Stream our season premiere on policing and criminal justice in America:

Historic protests calling for police reform have erupted across the nation. But just what could these reforms mean? And how should we see the criminal justice system today? Staged in our “Unresolved” format, this debate brings together five experts to tackle pressing questions on the history and...

The Justice Department might be looking to chip away at a decades-old law that effectively gives legal immunity to onlin...
10/03/2020
Agree to Disagree: Should Washington Break Up Big Tech? - Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

The Justice Department might be looking to chip away at a decades-old law that effectively gives legal immunity to online platforms for how they host and moderate user-generated content. Are the pitchforks coming for Big Tech?

Is Big Tech having its own "big tobacco moment"? As Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon face antitrust probes from state and federal investigators alike, we dive into the debate that will shape the tech industry for generations. Join John Donvan and two esteemed debaters for this special episode of....

In 2018, roughly 90% of federal criminal defendants plead guilty rather than going to trial, and the remaining 8% of cas...
10/02/2020
U.S. Prosecutors Have Too Much Power

In 2018, roughly 90% of federal criminal defendants plead guilty rather than going to trial, and the remaining 8% of cases were dismissed. What does this say about the criminal justice system today?

Do prosecutors abuse their power through excessive plea bargaining? Or is this an efficient and effective means of ensuring justice? Comment below.

Prosecutors, endowed with both autonomy and immunity, hold immense power within this system. They control secret grand jury proceedings, who will be prosecuted, and the specifics of charges. Yet there can be no justice without empowered prosecutors. And is abuse really endemic? Do prosecutors have t...

The latest jobs data, coupled with recent market volatility and grim outlooks from the Board of Governors of the Federal...
10/01/2020
The Global Financial System Was Better Prepared for the Pandemic Than 2008

The latest jobs data, coupled with recent market volatility and grim outlooks from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and analysts at Goldman Sachs, suggest that the summer’s economic rebound is losing steam.

More than a decade ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the world witnessed one of the worst financial crises in global history. In January 2019, Intelligence Squared U.S. hosted a debate on the motion “Ten Years After the Global Financial Crisis, the System Is Safer,” to assess how resilient mar...

How many justices should sit on the Supreme Court? Since 1869, the number has stayed steady at nine. But before that, Co...
10/01/2020

How many justices should sit on the Supreme Court? Since 1869, the number has stayed steady at nine. But before that, Congress often changed the size of the court for its own political aims. Should lawmakers consider expanding the bench once again?

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I love the show. It's one of my favorites. But after each show, I always wonder what would happen if the same debaters took the stage to discuss common ground solutions to the debate question. Maybe there should be a spin-off show called Intelligence Cubed. It takes the same debaters but has them build upon common ground and discuss solutions they can agree upon. Often I hear them say they agree on certain points in the debate, but they don't dwell on those agreements because it's a debate, and they are making arguments to win and sway the audience. Not sure this would ever happen, but I'd love an Intelligence Cubed show.
This discussion about breaking up big tech is partly due to other big corporations trying to eliminate competition from new sources of information. Much of the information has largely been cut off from the American people. Either Zephyr Teachout has been suckered into a position that limits itself to only big tech or she actually represents the alternative, older and well-established big, corporate media sources. For many years the American people have been limited to the monopolized Print Press, where many towns and cities have been limited to one or two big newspapers owned by corporations that sit in the same boardrooms and are financed by the same big banks that control and regulate our big political parties. Probably the largest of these are the New York Times. They were then joined by electronic radio and television media that were similarly owned and controlled by big media corporations that have become monopolies. For many years these sources were the only access the American people had to information around the world. Even the book publishers have been large, monopolized corporations. Because of digitization, computers and the internet, new companies that themselves have become monopolistic have emerged to challenge the old monopolized information industries. The emergence of these new corporations has brought new sources of information to the American people -- a good thing. The tech companies shouldn't be touched until there's been action against all of these old sources of information. The old sources today simply spew out propaganda and little real information.
This is an extremely important case, and the court will review it in the middle of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic:
Hey, is your website hacked? Tried on several separate devices and i keep getting redirected to a Japanese office chair.
The electoral vote is by definition voter discrimination. Period every person who casts a vote should be counted . The candidate with the most wins . All politicians who do not agree just want to take advantage of this discrimination. Everyone wants there counted otherwise what’s the point .
I am a fan of your podcast, but the debate "Two Cheers for Two Parties" was disappointing: - The panel was composed of credentialed theorists, but no representation from the Libertarian Party? Independents? Anyone who has the experience of leading other political parties or running for office as a third party? The arguments from the panelists came across as hypothetical instead of realistic from the perspective of those with direct experience - I am very happy that ranked choice voting was discussed, but nobody was aware of Approval Voting when the complexity of ranked choice was expressed by an audience member? Any discussion of alternate voting systems that excludes Approval Voting is illegitimate Having more choices is completely separable from proportional representation. Both sides presented arguments that suggested one necessitates the other. Wrong! This panel of theorists apparently could not escape the trap they put themselves in. Those with practical experience know that proportional representation is completely independent from alternate voting systems and the efforts by those in power to restrict choice through punative fees on third parties and other ballot access restrictions. The fact that the status quo motion won despite the panelists and the audience saying they opposed the status quo reveals that the panel needed better representation and different arguments. I hope these comments are taken in the spirit of constructive critique
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I come to you with questions. Please help me understand what the principles or standards of behavior are that Donald Trump upholds that some people believe in? Is it his ethics? His moral code? His behavior? Rules of conduct? His high standards? "Values" is generally defined as a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life. Jesus says, ‘I was a stranger. How you treat the stranger is how you treat me. How you treat the sick is how you treat me. How you treat the poor is how you treat me,’” These are the most important people to Jesus and appear to be the least important to this administration. Was Jesus's message transactional? There is a conflict between the politics of Jesus and the politics of Trump. Racial bigotry is a deal breaker for the Gospel. White nationalism, which Donald Trump embraces and champions, isn’t just racist — it’s anti-Christ. Dehumanizing immigrants isn’t just racist — it’s anti-Christ. Demeaning women isn’t just sexist — it’s anti-Christ. At some point, do Christians have to ask themselves: Are the teachings of Christ going to be followed or not?
This is a job for Intelligence Squared: