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Open to Debate

Open to Debate

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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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show series
 
During Black History Month, we reflect on a debate that confronts America’s complex history with racial and social inequality. How can we ensure fair treatment for all in the workplace, on campuses, and in our personal interactions? Is it possible to imagine a future beyond race? As we honor this month of remembrance and celebration, we revisit a c…
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In January, former New Democratic Party leader Ed Broadbent died at the age of 87. Outpourings of grief, respect, and gratitude followed throughout the country, culminating in a state funeral in Ottawa. Broadbent’s legacy is the product of decades of tireless work as an elected representative and as an ambassador for the left at home and abroad. Hi…
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Iran’s regional role has changed post-October 7, but is Iran a bigger global threat than we think? In partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, National Security Council and State Department veterans will debate in our Unresolved format Biden’s Iran diplomacy, Iran's use of proxies in the Middle East, its nuclear ambitions, and whether Ira…
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Couples have arguments over many topics. However, it’s through resolving conflict that both people in the relationship feel heard and seen. Psychotherapist, relationship expert, and New York Times-bestselling author Esther Perel says conflict when navigated skillfully can lead to growth, resilience, and a stronger bond. In this conversation with Jo…
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Whoever wins the 2024 election will soon face a critical decision about extending four trillion dollars in tax cuts expiring next year. Whether taxes will be raised, or cut is in question, against the backdrop of 34.1 trillion dollars in federal debt. For the past few decades, the Republican Party has embraced the belief that lower tax rates and le…
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Everybody loves a quadrilogy. In March of 2020, host David Moscrop and guest Amanda Watson discussed how we were managing our lives during the early days of the pandemic. Twice more the two discussed the pandemic, anxiety, and managing life during what felt like the end times. Now, Watson is back for a fourth time, at the dawn of 2024, to ask “What…
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Right now, climate engineers are working on new technologies, called solar geoengineering, that would reflect the sun’s rays away from Earth as a way to cool the planet. Those in favor argue it would be inexpensive and effective, and could buy us time to get carbon emissions down before the worst impacts of climate change. But others argue it would…
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The American Dream – the idea that anyone can achieve success in the U.S. through hard work and determination – is under scrutiny, and some worry it’s no longer achievable for the broader population. Those who agree say increasing healthcare, education, and housing costs create difficulty in having financial stability. Those who disagree argue that…
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Debate is a form of conflict that is played out through civility, and the capability to exchange ideas with people we disagree with. But what leads leaders and countries to fall into conflict? In this conversation with Retired U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus and historian Lord Andrew Roberts, guest moderator Xenia Wickett speaks with them about…
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After the 2020 election, former President Trump discredited the election results. The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s federal indictment on four charges are tied to his claims. The defense claims proof is needed he had planned to commit a crime and he conducted himself under legal advice. The prosecution argues his actions showed c…
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With polarization rising within our society and two wars encouraging division, people are feeling more afraid to engage with people who have differing perspectives. How can we solve that issue, build deeper connections, and get to know someone? New York Times columnist David Brooks says you help them feel seen and understood. John Donvan sits down …
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Today, humanity is thriving, but there are fears the good times will not last. Will tomorrow be better than today? Those arguing “yes” say people have better access to resources and technological advances are making us more prosperous. Those arguing “no” say there are widening socio-economic disparities, our globalized world is bound to collapse, a…
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In response to a surge in migrants and asylum seekers at America’s borders, the Secure the Border Act of 2023 aims to enforce stricter limitations on immigration, migrants, and more. Those arguing for passage say it is a necessary response to improve national security and modernize border security infrastructure. Those against it are concerned abou…
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From AI-generated paintings to writing scripts and novels, AI is challenging our endeavor to create, innovate, and connect. Will the human touch be obsolete? Those arguing yes say since AI-created art can’t experience human emotions, it will lack depth, and it will come at an economic cost for human artists. Those arguing no say it’s another tool i…
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Canada’s housing crisis continues with no end in sight. Shelter – a fundamental human need – is unaffordable for millions, and the surge in property value has created two classes, homeowners and non-homeowners. These two classes are often at odds, with competing interests. Those who wish to enter the market often prefer lower housing prices, while …
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The centrist group No Labels is planning a bipartisan nominating convention, leading to speculation that they may promote a third-party candidate for voters who don’t support Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Those who agree say a third-party ticket will affect the election by helping Trump get more votes and diluting opposition. Those who disagree say vo…
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How can you have meaningful conversations in increasingly divided times, whether it’s against the backdrop of American politics or the Israel-Gaza war? To author Mónica Guzmán, it’s by asking yourself, “What am I missing?” John Donvan sits down with Guzmán to talk about her work at Braver Angels, staying hopeful in times of conflict or during world…
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Artificial intelligence is already shaping the way we work, consume, and communicate with one another. It’s also shaping the way we govern ourselves – or, perhaps more accurately, the way we are governed. While we might imagine ways AI could shape better democratic processes, right now experts are worried about how such technologies can be used to …
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Are we the true authors of our actions – or are we guided by a preordained fate? From the days of Greek philosophers to the present, the notion of free will and the question of whether humans can make their own choices is as captivating as ever. Those who think that free will exists consider it foundational to a rules-based society since it holds i…
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What Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, or Eddie Murphy jokes would be deemed offensive by today’s standards? From comedy specials to TV shows and movies, what makes us laugh has come under scrutiny. Some old jokes and racy skits are considered off-limits in today's context, leading to public apologies, cancellations, and backlash. While society wants mor…
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More American colleges are adopting DEI as a core value, affecting professors' tenure, hiring, and promotion. Has what was intended as solidarity turned into a “loyalty oath”? Those who agree say evaluations based on DEI statements harm professors who may not embrace an agenda, affecting academic freedom. Those disagreeing say the statements aren’t…
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Zionism — the belief that the Jewish people have a right to statehood in Israel — has been debated for decades. But facing increased anti-Semitic violence around the world, some argue that criticizing it is anti-Semitic and Israel has a historical and political right to self-determination. Others say their concerns about Israel’s actions— particula…
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Around the world, democracies are on the back foot. For years, experts, commentators, politicians, and other practitioners and observers have discussed a global democratic recession. Several countries are of interest as case studies in decline, but the United States stands out. As an established democracy and global hegemon, the retreat of American…
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Economic growth is a central goal of many economies, but there are questions about how sustainable relentless growth is. Those arguing “yes” say the right measurements aren’t being used for societal well-being and how much it costs the environment, and call for a new economic model for more equitable and sustainable futures. Those arguing “no” say …
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Foreign policy might not win elections, but it shapes domestic politics – and the world. Recent months have seen external affairs intersect with internal affairs, hitting the headlines and shaping the country’s agenda. Foreign electoral interference has been top of mind for quite some time. India’s alleged assassination of a Canadian on Canadian so…
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Modern art, runway fashion, and music today are in the middle of a cultural reckoning, where artists must find a balance between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Those in support of borrowing say placing restrictions on what artists can be inspired by may stifle artistic expression. Those against it say doing so erases a tradition’…
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After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, economic sanctions led to frozen Russian assets abroad inaccessible and could be relocated to Ukraine. Those arguing yes say it would serve as restitution for Russia’s aggression and compensate for damages and economic disruptions. Those arguing no say relocating the frozen assets could set a …
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In June, Olivia Chow was elected mayor of Toronto. She faces an all-too-often complacent city with a hefty budget shortfall and a series of longstanding policy challenges, and failures. Affordable housing, transit, public safety, taxes, and parks spring to mind, but there’s plenty more. Chow’s performance may be evaluated on its own merits or demer…
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Under prime minister Narendra Modi, pro-Hindu nationalism and civil rights issues have led to India’s downgrade to an electoral autocracy (according to V-Dem Institute), and many question whether better times are ahead. Those who agree with Modi’s leadership highlight the new strong economic growth as well as his efforts to improve India’s global i…
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