227 episodes

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.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates IQ2US Debates

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 1.8K Ratings

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.

    Changing Your Mind

    Changing Your Mind

    How do you know that you’re right? Modern business, politics, and even culture, tend to favor strident opinions and decisive action. To “flip flop” may then be construed as ineptitude, or even weakness. So it behooves us to “stick to our guns, “stay the course,” and adhere to other well-trodden idioms of the English language. Of course that approach may be limiting. And what if you are actually wrong? How will you know? What means testing can be involved in your thinking when to waver or even change your mind might undermine what you are ultimately trying to accomplish? Ray Dalio, an American investor, billionaire and the founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, has spent a lot of time thinking about this quandary. Countering its pitfalls is something he actively encourages, not only in business, but also in his personal life. In this wide ranging interview, Dalio sat down for a conversation with Intelligence Squared host John Donvan to examine what it means to being open to changing your mind, precisely how to do it, and what’s at stake if you don’t.
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    • 51 min
    Bitcoin Is More Than a Bubble and Here to Stay

    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?
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    • 54 min
    Is Anti-Zionism the New Anti-Semitism?

    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 Times
    Einat Wilf - Former Member, Israeli Parliament

    Against the Motion:
    Peter Beinart - Journalist & Author, "The Crisis of Zionism"
    Yousef Munayyer - Executive Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
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    • 53 min
    Taiwan is Indefensible

    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.
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    • 53 min
    Agree to Disagree COVID Series: Do We Need Vaccine Passports?

    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.
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    • 53 min
    Legalize Psychedelics

    Legalize Psychedelics

    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?
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.8K Ratings

1.8K Ratings

ripalt ,

Concise Analysis

Tommy and Ben provide a great service! Concise analysis of the days international events.

2092015 ,

Informative squared

Love this podcast due to the breadth of topics discussed and the ability to learn and hear viewpoints that are in opposition to my own. The opportunity to kick the tires on your current beliefs or viewpoints is a great way to ensure the “I reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than I am today” mantra.

HughsRonin ,

What happened?

I initially loved this podcast. It offered intellectually stimulating and honest arguments on important relevant topics. However, recently the podcast centers around a group of leftists who agree with each other. I’ll arguments that diverge from leftist doctrine seem to be poorly delivered and defended. At least join us in the center, please. Have real debates and stop creating strawman scenarios.

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