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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.
 
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.
 
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The hereditary lottery, in many democracies, has effectively been replaced by a system in which talent, grit, and ability are meant to determine success. Yet, amidst income inequality and legacy of racism, many wonder whether meritocracy works. Critics point to generational wealth and networks that lead to lucrative jobs and fancy educations. Those…
 
You know the drill. Someone does, or says, something offensive. A public backlash -- typically on Twitter -- ensues. Then come the calls to "cancel" that person, brand, or institution. That usually means the loss of cultural cache, political clout, and often a job or career. Some see "cancelling" as a modern-day means of holding people to account, …
 
The boosters are rolling out. In places likes the U.S., Britain, and Israel, authorities are providing additional Covid-19 vaccines with the goal of bolstering immune systems and shoring up their economies. Though vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have proven highly effective against the virus, efficacy wanes after six months, rendering …
 
With cyber threats and ransomware on the rise globally, the Biden administration has enlisted America’s tech titans to help blunt their effects. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, are all in discussions with Washington over how to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure defenses against a growing array of both private and state-sponsored attack…
 
Nine justices hold tremendous power. Advocates on the left see a Supreme Court out of touch with the electorate, obstructed by partisan interests, and rendered illegitimate by years of controversial appointments. But those opposed believe dramatically changing one of the three core pillars of American government would undermine the court’s legitima…
 
As world attention descends on the United Nations General Assembly, Intelligence Squared U.S. casts a critical lens on this nearly 76-year-old global organization. In light of recent controversies in places like Haiti, and its recent absence in places such as Afghanistan -- where the Taliban has regained control -- questions are mounting as to whet…
 
The Biden administration wants to spend big. Its $4.5 trillion "Build Back Better" plan includes hefty investments in infrastructure, unprecedented spending on the labor force, and funding for a host of Democratic policy priorities. But just what would this mean for the American economy? As Washington takes up this historic plan, we ask: Should Con…
 
As more and more Americans become vaccinated, schools, employers, and health care facilities are facing a tough decision: Will they require students, employees, and care givers to get the jab? Those who say “yes” cite safety concerns – particularly when dealing with vulnerable populations – and call it a necessary step to return to normal. Those wh…
 
The Taliban have won. Twenty years after the 2001 invasion, the U.S.-backed government in Kabul has fallen. The Afghan president has fled. Taliban leadership, which ran the country in the late 1990s, is now firmly in place within the presidential palace. But after two decades of war, tens of billions spent, hundreds of thousands of lives lost – inc…
 
Gun violence is surging. Despite lockdowns and social distancing, 2020 ended up as one of America’s most violent years in decades. 2021 is following a similar path. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has laid out his strategy. In this special debate, we review three gun debates that still have relevance today. 1.) The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms …
 
What's happening at The New York Times? The paper of record is under fire. Critics argue it has sacrificed journalistic and intellectual balance in favor of correcting historic inequalities. In the process, they say, that effort has stifled dissent and promoted social justice above all else. Not so, say its defenders. The paper has indeed evolved, …
 
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 system, expanding our social safety nets, and inve…
 
As more and more Americans become vaccinated, schools, employers, and health care facilities are facing a tough decision: Will they require students, employees, and care givers to get the jab? Those who say “yes” cite safety concerns – particularly when dealing with vulnerable populations – and call it a necessary step to return to normal. Those wh…
 
Generally, it is good practice for any individual or organization to occasionally step back and evaluate a few big picture items. But when that review is sparked by a pandemic and real uncertainties about the state of western democracy, that little exercise often becomes existential. In that spirit, and in this special season review, Intelligence S…
 
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 approac…
 
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…
 
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 Isr…
 
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 geopolitica…
 
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 b…
 
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 ascert…
 
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 ar…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 th…
 
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