How much do we really listen when someone voices an opinion that differs from our own? That’s among the matters discussed today as we’re joined by special guest Peter Schuck, the author of “One Nation Undecided,” which takes an honest, thought-provoking look at the state of decision-making, opinion-forming and discourse-sharing in America.
When it comes to the hard issues, such as poverty, immigration and affirmative action, Schuck laments, people hold views that are so polarized that they don’t even want to look at each other, never mind take the time to try and understand what the other side has to say. To improve the state of discourse among Americans, he argues, we need to cultivate a sense of respect for the people that dare disagree with is. In doing so, we learn to listen, to question our own beliefs and, possibly, even take a fresh viewpoint on something we thought we felt strongly about.
These days, there is little that occurs without leaving some type of electronic trail. Cameras appear in buildings and on street corners, catching every move of passersby, and emails, text messages and other forms of electronic communication carry critical messages, and in some cases, details about wrongdoings, threats and crimes.
Most Americans enjoy a sense of safety and privacy when communicating via their home computers and personal cellphones, but what happens when the information contained in such communications has the capacity to cause harm to the general public? Should tech companies have to help law enforcement execute search warrants to access customer data as a matter of public safety and national security, or would doing so infringe upon the very freedoms upon which this nation is based?
Just how strong are our personal convictions, and are we willing to change them, or to at least give genuine, thoughtful consideration to the other side?
New York Times Columnist David Leonhardt sits down with our host John Donvan to discuss this and his recent column, where he challenges members of society to pick a divisive issue, grapple with it, and then consider changing their minds.
Few American businesses are as polarizing to the nation’s people as Walmart, which many believe is pushing out smaller businesses and dominating the marketplace while paying its workers low wages and relying on cheaply made foreign goods, as opposed to those manufactured on American soil. With the brick-and-mortar retail industry in its entirety now facing diminishing sales as Americans increasingly shop and spend online, however, some believe Walmart provides critical job opportunities to low-skilled workers while encouraging commerce and growth in rural or under-served areas.
Robert Rosenkranz introduces the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Video Games Will Make Us Smarter
Video games have long received blame in the media for promoting violence and desensitizing players to it, but in recent years, many video game creators have begun developing games that focus on critical social issues facing mankind, such as climate change, poverty and so on. The video game industry continues to experience considerable growth, but is this growth benefiting players and making them more in-tune with the modern social plights of humankind, or is this growth contributing to antisocial behavior among players while making them increasingly numb to extreme violence?