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America is more divided than ever—but it doesn’t have to be. Open to Debate offers an antidote to the chaos. We bring multiple perspectives together for real, nonpartisan debates. Debates that are structured, respectful, clever, provocative, and driven by the facts. Open to Debate is on a mission to restore balance to the public square through expert moderation, good-faith arguments, and reasoned analysis. We examine the issues of the day with the world’s most influential thinkers spanning s ...
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Smart, witty, and thoughtful political conversations that break from the limits of the 24-hour news cycle and the 280 character limit. Listeners will come away with a deeper understanding of the history and implications of the issues that shape us and our environment, anchored in discussions about public policy, and supported by research. Open to Debate is a space for agreeable disagreement based on the belief that such exchanges are essential to the health of our democracy.
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President Biden continues to dismiss concerns about seeking re-election. But after a disappointing debate performance, some Democratic leaders are increasingly concerned about whether he’s still fit to lead. Those in support of Biden argue his withdrawal would fragment Democrats and they don’t want to risk losing undecided voters to Trump. Those ca…
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Canada has passed a law preventing federally-regulated businesses from using scab workers. Bill C-58 passed in June and marked a significant milestone in the progress of worker’s rights. That it passed is notable; that it passed unanimously in an era of increasingly toxic polarization is quite remarkable, and speaks to the moment that labour is hav…
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From AI to the political climate during an election year, our modern world is constantly changing and facing more polarization than before. How can we combat it and adapt to a changing America? CNN host and bestselling author Fareed Zakaria says you have to be open-minded and embrace compromise. In this conversation with John Donvan, Zakaria discus…
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What George Carlin jokes would be deemed offensive today? What makes us laugh has come under scrutiny. Old jokes or skits are often off-limits in today's context, leading to public apologies and cancellations. Some argue political correctness stifles comedic creativity, thus affecting their ability to tackle tough subjects. Those who disagree say c…
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Marriage has long been considered a goal to aspire to and a conventional path to happiness. But over the last few decades, the traditional view of marriage as the cornerstone of adult life has been questioned. Changes in economic conditions, gender roles, and cultural values have fueled a reevaluation of whether marriage is still desirable or neces…
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Though they share similar values, guidelines, and principles, Islam and Judaism have a long, complicated relationship that has led to tension recorded within the Quran that might engender antisemitism. Those who agree argue that certain Quranic verses could be used to justify some people’s hostility towards Jews. Those who disagree say that referen…
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The Supreme Court will soon decide on a case whether government interference on social media is coercive and suppresses free speech. Those who argue legitimate cooperation say that where misinformation threatens public health or safety, they are justified to protect the public. Those argue coercion believe that increased content moderation could le…
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Prostitution remains heavily stigmatized and legally complex globally, ranging from full decriminalization to controlled regulation like the Nordic Model, where only purchasers of sex, not sellers of sex are penalized. This model has been implemented in eight countries, including Sweden, Iceland, Canada, and France, as well as in the U.S. state of …
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China recently conducted two days of military exercises around Taiwan as a “punishment” for “separatist acts” by Taiwan’s new president. Beijing sees Taiwan as territory that needs to be “reunified” with the mainland, while the U.S. is Taiwan’s strongest backer. Some argue that China’s military presence is too large to stop and the island nation is…
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Universities are medieval, risk averse institutions. Some like to think of them as bastions of radicalism, but they’re actually quite conservative by nature – and in desperate need of modernization, a process of technological development that would serve students, faculty, and administrators alike. If there was ever any doubt about the need for pos…
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Two days. Four questions. Ten judges and high school students participating in the national championship run by Incubate Debate, the U.S.’s fastest-growing high school debate league. This is what civil debate in the public square looks like — and what it can be across the country. Join us as we follow eight students who debate the following questio…
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Happiness is a complex emotion and mental state that can be achieved through virtue or pleasure. But should it be for the good of the individual or society? Those in favor of virtue point to the Stoics and the Founding Fathers, saying you should strive for a life of moral virtue and rationality. Those in favor of pleasure say everyone should be abl…
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This week, we have good news and bad news. The bad news, you know already. Climate change is catching up to us. We’re feeling its effects and they stand to get worse. We’re not doing enough, and what we are doing, we’re not doing as quickly as we ought to. Moreover, the hidden costs of climate change are also adding up. The good news? We are making…
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The Supreme Court will soon decide on a case surrounding a medication used for abortion, mifepristone, and whether the drug should continue to be available based on claims of safety and ethical considerations. Those in favor of restrictions argue that the FDA fast-tracked its approval without considering health impacts. Those against restriction ar…
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Artificial intelligence means different things to different people. As an amorphous set of technologies deployed in countless applications, AI is tricky to understand, regulate, and integrate into our social and economic lives. This is especially true when conversations about it, even among experts, may be premised on misunderstandings – or multipl…
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Many colleges during the pandemic decided to make their applications test-optional, but new research has elite colleges rethinking that policy. Those in favor of reinstating say the SAT is the best way to bring talented students from all socioeconomic levels into the fold. Those against it say it favors the affluent and argue that admissions decisi…
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Tensions have been ramping up at universities across the country as students continue to protest the war in Gaza. Reports of antisemitism, islamophobia, and harassment have led to concerns that some students have crossed a line into hateful and threatening speech that requires intervention. Others contend that efforts to clamp down on protests in t…
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A few weeks back, we spoke with Tiffany Balducci about the Alberta NDP leadership race. This week, we’re keeping on theme, but instead of looking ahead, we’re looking back. You may have forgotten Jason Kenney. After his dismal leadership review, the Harper-era Cabinet minister resigned as premier of Alberta and left politics. But Kenney’s legacy co…
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Former criminal offenders in the United States face challenges reentering the job market after incarceration and so-called “Ban the Box” policies aim to fix this. This criminal justice initiative calls for removing questions about criminal history from job applications and delaying background checks. Those against "the box" argue former offenders s…
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There’s no sharper way to assess the state of life in the early 21st century than through a lens of “enshitification,” a term this week's guest coined. It’s described as the slow and steady worsening of each and every bit of our daily existence, and as Cory Doctorow has argued, particularly as it pertains to the work of technology companies that ha…
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The U.S. has provided more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Some Congress members question whether we have done enough to help, and they say increased funding sustains strategic interests and demonstrates support of democratic values. Those who say we should stop funding the war, argue that Ukraine can’t win and additio…
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Religion has long shaped human civilization, and many have wondered whether it’s good for society. Those who argue “yes” say it offers a sense of identity and belonging and provides a moral compass to do good acts. Those who argue “no” say that religious beliefs are a source of historical and conflict and discrimination and can hinder social progre…
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new guidelines to address childhood obesity, affecting over 14 million children, including recommendations for weight loss medications and surgery. Those who consider the guidelines good medicine say that it is a step forward in recognizing obesity as a condition requiring a range of medical inte…
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With one billion active users across more than 150 countries, TikTok is by many measures one of the world’s most successful video apps — and half of Americans use it. The House of Representatives has passed a bill that could ban the social media company in the U.S. if its parent company, Bytedance, does not divest from it and requires TikTok to be …
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The Alberta New Democratic Party leadership race is underway. In June, the party membership will select a new leader to replace Rachel Notley and square off against United Conservative Party premier Danielle Smith. Let’s meet the candidates and get a sense of what they’re about as we ask: Who wants to lead the Alberta NDP? On this episode of Open t…
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Taylor Swift achieved her billionaire status because of her talent, work ethic, and support from her fans. But some question whether any individual should be able to accumulate so much wealth. Those arguing they should point to philosopher Robert Nozick, who says if someone acquires wealth through just means, they are entitled to it. Those arguing …
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American women are, on average, paid 84 cents for every dollar men make, according to the Department of Labor. This wage gap has persisted despite near-record rates of women’s participation in the labor market, with wage gaps even larger for women in minority populations, and it’s estimated that pay parity will not be achieved until 2052. Should po…
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Trans rights are under attack throughout Canada. Policy changes in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have already constrained rights and other provinces, most notably Ontario, may be set to follow. At the same time, the Conservative Party is set to go all-in on the culture war ahead of the next federal election, and to throw trans people und…
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In a high-stakes presidential election year, in partnership with the Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Open to Debate is taking a look at more than a decade of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. The 2010 landmark decision that ruled the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government…
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