Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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

#102 - Should The U.S. Adopt The Right To Be Fo...
With Paul Nemitz, Andrew McLaughlin, Eric Posner, and Jonathan Zittrain.
50 min
#101 - Are Liberals Stifling Intellectual Diver...
With Greg Lukianoff, Angus Johnston, Kirsten Powers, and Jeremy Mayer.
50 min
#100 - Should The World Bet On America?
With Josef Joffe, Chrystia Freeland, Peter Zeihan, and James Rickards
50 min
Tribute To David Carr
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.
6 min
#99 - Is Amazon The Reader's Friend?
With Joe Konrath, Franklin Foer, Matthew Yglesias, and Scott Turow
50 min
Retrospective On The Freedom Of Speech
Thinking back to a 2006 debate in the context of the Charlie Hebdo attack
11 min
#98 - Should We Genetically Modify Food?
The debaters are Robert Fraley, Charles Benbrook, Alison Van Eenennaam, and Margaret Mellon.
51 min
#97 - Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?
With Peter Singer, Andrew Solomon, Baroness Ilora Finlay, and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy
51 min
#96 - Does Income Inequality Impair The America...
With Elise Gould, Edward Conard, Nick Hanauer, and Scott Winship.
51 min
#95 - Mass Collection Of U.S. Phone Records Vio...
With Alex Abdo, Elizabeth Wydra, Stewart Baker, and John Yoo
51 min
#94 - Will Flexing America's Muscles In The Mid...
With Aaron David Miller, Paul Pillar, Michael Doran, and Bret Stephens
51 min
#93 - Should We Embrace The Common Core?
With Carmel Martin, Michael Petrilli, Carol Burris, and Frederick Hess
51 min
Retrospective On Hamas And Israel
Revisiting a debate from 2006
16 min
#92 - Is There A Constitutional Right To Unlimi...
With Floyd Abrams, Nadine Strossen, Burt Neuborne, and Zephyr Teachout
51 min
#91 - Is Death Final?
With Dr. Eben Alexander, Dr. Raymond Moody, Sean Carroll, and Dr. Steven Novella
50 min
#90 - Do Millennials Stand A Chance?
With Binta Niambi Brown, W. Keith Campbell, David D. Burstein, Jessica Grose
51 min
The Controversy Over Ayaan Hirsi Ali At Brandei...
 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...
13 min
#89 - More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: Is The Lecture...
With Anant Agarwal, Ben Nelson, Jonathan Cole, and Rebecca Schuman
51 min
Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm ...
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...
50 min
#88 - Is Russia A Marginal Power?
With Ian Bremmer, Edward Lucas, Amb. Robert D. Blackwill, and Peter Hitchens
50 min
Does The President Have Constitutional Power To...
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...
50 min
Was Snowden Justified?
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...
50 min
Is Obamacare Beyond Rescue?
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...
50 min
Reconsidering The Minimum Wage
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...
12 min
Don't Eat Anything With A Face
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...
50 min
Does Spying Keep Us Safe?
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...
50 min
Has The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms Outli...
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...
50 min
Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere
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...
50 min
For A Better Future, Live In A Red State
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...
50 min
Should We Break Up The Big Banks?
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....
50 min
Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovern...
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...
14 min
Is The Two-Party System Making America Ungovern...
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...
14 min
Healthcare Retrospective
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...
17 min
Is The U.S. Drone Program Fatally Flawed?
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...
50 min
Does The U.S. Have A Dog In The Fight In Syria?
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...
50 min
Is Cutting The Pentagon's Budget A Gift To Our ...
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...
50 min
The FDA's Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health
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...
50 min
The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die
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...
50 min
Should The U.S. Abolish The Minimum Wage?
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...
50 min
Does America Need A Strong Dollar Policy?
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...
50 min
Should We Prohibit Genetically Enginereed Babies?
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...
50 min
Can Israel Live With A Nuclear Iran?
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.  ...
50 min
Science Refutes God
Can science and religion co-exist?
50 min
Legalize Drugs
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...
50 min
Are The Rich Taxed Enough?
How can America's economy recover? By taxing the 1% or extending tax cuts to all?
50 min
Should The Government Ration End Of Life Care?
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...
50 min
Are Elected Islamists Better Than Dictators?
Reuel Marc Gerecht, Brian Katulis, Daniel Pipes and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser debate the motion: "Better elected Islamists than dictators."
50 min
Are Super PACs Good For Democracy?
It's free speech versus possible corruption in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
50 min
The Natural Gas Boom: Doing More Harm Than Good?
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...
50 min
Should College Football Be Banned?
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.
50 min
Is The Internet Closing Our Minds Politically?
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...
50 min
Does China Do Capitalism Better Than America?
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,...
50 min
Is Obesity The Government's Business?
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...
50 min
Should The U.N. Grant Palestine Full Membership?
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...
50 min
#57 - Would The World Be Better Off Without Rel...
A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar face off over religion in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
50 min
Should Congress Pass Obama's Jobs Bill In Pieces?
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...
50 min
Do Too Many Kids Go To College?
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...
50 min
Do Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future?
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...
50 min
Are Men Finished?
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...
50 min
Is It Time To End The War On Terror?
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.
50 min
Does Freedom Of The Press Extend To State Secrets?
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.
50 min
Should We Stop Taking The World's Huddled Masses?
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...
50 min
Is It Time To Clip America's Global Wings?
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...
50 min
Can Clean Energy Drive The Economic Recovery?
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.
50 min
Is The Two-Party System Making The U.S. Ungover...
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.
50 min
Should The Obama Health Care Law Be Repealed?
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
50 min
Should Airports Use Racial And Religious Profil...
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....
50 min
Is Afghanistan A Lost Cause?
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.
50 min
Is Big Government Stifling The American Spirit?
On Oct. 26, a team of experts argued the issue "Big Government is Stifling the American Spirit" during the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
50 min
Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?
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.
50 min
Are Terrorists Criminals Or Enemy Combatants?
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...
50 min
Has The Cyberwar Threat Been Exaggerated?
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...
50 min
Does Obama's Foreign Policy Spell America's Dec...
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...
50 min
Is Organic Food Stuffed Full Of Marketing Hype?
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...
50 min
Are Teachers Unions To Blame For Failing Schools?
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...
50 min
Should The U.S. Scale Back Relations With Israel?
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.
50 min
Is California The First Failed State?
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.
50 min
Is America To Blame For Mexico's Drug War?
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 —...
50 min
Are Obama's Economic Policies Working Effectively?
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...
50 min
Good Riddance To Mainstream Media?
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.
50 min
Will 'Buy American' Policies Backfire?
"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.
50 min