280 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 • 2K 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.

    Should We Eat More Processed Foods?

    Should We Eat More Processed Foods?

    Processed food is bad for you, right? Well, there’s more to this story. As new technologies create foods that can’t be made in home kitchens, such as plant-based meats and dairy products made with plant proteins, the question of whether we should all be consuming more highly processed foods is up for debate. Advocates say a substantial increase in food processing is the best way to feed growing human populations while also reducing food waste. We should trust – and invest – in food technology that can make our global food supply healthier and more sustainable, including highly or ultra-processed foods. Opponents argue that these kinds of foods are often less nutritious, and are commonly linked to adverse health indices, particularly when it comes to ultra-processing. As this debate blooms, Intelligence Squared partners with the Institute of Food Technologists to debate this question: Should We Eat More Processed Foods?  
    Arguing in favor of the motion is Amy Webb and Michael Gibney. Arguing against the motion is Kevin Hall and Marion Nestle. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min
    Is Public Radio Still Relevant?

    Is Public Radio Still Relevant?

    Many Americans grew up with a transistor radio somewhere in the home. Out of it emanated the commentaries, stories, news, and analysis. Public radio was a key means of getting information. But between podcasts, satellite radio and on-demand streaming, some argue that signal is fading. Nimble upstarts and emerging technologies have created wildly successful new platforms, enabling a broad diversity of creators to broadcast their views. What does this mean for the future of public radio? Intelligence Squared host and moderator John Donvan moderates a debate between two media luminaries, who zero in on this existential question: Is Public Radio Still Relevant? 
    Arguing "No" is Kmele Foster, political commentator and Co-Founder of Freethink. Arguing "Yes" is podcast creator and Co-Founder of Magnificent Noise, Eric Nuzum. 
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    • 1 hr
    Unresolved: Information Disorder

    Unresolved: Information Disorder

    The age of “information disorder” is upon us. Deep fakes, false political narratives, and flawed COVID rumors are all rampant online, threatening America’s national security, as well as democracy itself. Though bad actors have always had the capacity to deceive, the ease, speed, and degree to which anyone can create misleading information has engendered a dangerous new world. And yet many solutions can also run directly against longstanding western principles, such as free speech and a lack of censorship. Prescriptions, some argue, can be as dangerous as the disorder itself. So, what can be done? In partnership with the Homeland Security Experts Group, Intelligence Squared U.S. debates how to combat this dangerous new phenomenon, termed “information disorder.” Our expert panel takes a look at what the private sector should do, what the public sector can do, and how political actors who spread false information should be handled. 
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    • 53 min
    Is Taiwan Indefensible?

    Is Taiwan 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
    Are Primary Elections Ruining Democracy?

    Are Primary Elections Ruining Democracy?

    The U.S. Constitution has a lot to say about elections. But nowhere is there any mention of political primaries, the process by which candidates are winnowed down ahead of a general election. Though they may seem integral to the U.S. system, primaries in fact are a relatively new phenomenon, borne of the turn of the 20th century when reformers sought to wrangle power from political party bosses. Of course, quite a lot has changed since the days of Tammany Hall. Gerrymandering has greatly reduced competitive districts, while the urban-rural divide has grown exponentially. Divisions run deep, with social media capable of dramatically shifting the political landscape at unprecedented speed. Many see primary elections as a principal culprit of what they consider an undermined democracy, fueling extremism, hindering compromise, and lending too much power to partisans. Others argue that primaries are an important bulwark against political corruption and a hedge against elitism. In this context, we ask: Are Primary Elections Ruining Democracy? 
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    • 53 min
    Is It Time to End Qualified Immunity for Cops?

    Is It Time to End Qualified Immunity for Cops?

    How does one balance two important, though at times competing, public interests? In this case, it’s the need to hold public officials accountable versus the need to shield those officials from harassment and legal liability. In 1967, the US Supreme Court lay the foundations of an answer during a case involving two police officers, sued over civil rights violations carried out at a segregated bus stop in Jackson, Mississippi. The court effectively ruled that if unconstitutional arrests were made in good faith and with probable cause, officers then enjoyed a degree of legal immunity.  That case then served as bedrock for a legal doctrine that later came to be known as “qualified immunity;” a concept that effectively provides government officials with immunity from civil suits in certain circumstances. In 1982, the court went further, codifying qualified immunity for officials and rendering subjective intent of the official immaterial. In other words, whether or not a defendant was acting in good faith was effectively considered irrelevant. Under the revised doctrine, cases could proceed to trial only when there was a clear violation of “established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Since then, critics have argued that this doctrine stands as a central barrier to substantive police reform, allowing officers to more easily to kill or injure with impunity. But advocates say it’s a necessary protection, shielding police officers – who are tasked with making split-second life-and-death decisions – from bankruptcy and vindictive personal lawsuits. In this context, we debate this question: Is It Time to End Qualified Immunity for Cops? 
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

Nickelous208 ,

Usually a productive back and forth of relevant topics

Kmele Foster’s comments on Public Radio Relevancy and how DEI initiatives are causing it to miss the mark are incredible.

Guy Gallo ,

Negative Reviews Are Bots

This is the pinnacle of podcasting. If we’re not using this medium to have healthy, fair discussions, then what are we doing here?

Each debate is excellent. If everyone listened to these discussions, the world would simply be a better place.

AZ Voter ,

Primary Elections "Debate"

A debate should include opposing sides. Having two radical Democrats debate this issue and spend most of t he time trashing President Trump was shameful for this podcast. The moderator didn't challenge them so this was not a "debate". Such a disappointment!

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