Robert Rosenkranz: Intelligence Squared US Debate Analysis
U.S. Prosecutors Have Too Much Power
More than 90% of America’s prison population has never had a jury trial. Instead, they are in jail following plea bargains negotiated with prosecutors.
In these negotiations, prosecutors have vastly more bargaining power than the accused. Since plea bargaining saves time for judges, juries, and the entire apparatus of the court system, it is arguably an efficient approach. But does it produce just results?
The compelling new documentary, Best of Enemies, centers around an extraordinary series of debates between William F. Buckley, widely considered the intellectual godfather of the conservative movement, and Gore Vidal, the prolific leftist novelist and polemicist (and cousin to Jackie Onassis).
Ian Bremmer, one of the most charismatic debaters to grace the IQ2US stage, has ignited a national debate about America’s role as a superpower. In his new book, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, he presents a nation in a state of identity crisis, and explores three alternative paths to help us find our way. Bremmer asks, which superpower would you choose: Indispensable America? Moneyball America? Or Independent America?
Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s recent death sentence cast a focused spotlight on the use of the death penalty in the United States. Just last month, in the wake of his conviction, Intelligence Squared U.S. presented the debate “Abolish the Death Penalty.”
While there were many headlines leading up to the debate – botched executions and erroneous convictions – the Boston trial is perhaps the highest-profile death sentencing America has followed in decades. Proponents of the death penalty argued that a crime this heinous is precisely where the death penalty is suitable. They see the death penalty as both moral and just, and a reasonable expression of our societal sense of outrage. Time in prison, even a lifetime in prison, treats the most monstrous criminals no differently from others and hence fails to express our revulsion at the nature of their crimes.
Star rookie Chris Borland’s retirement is causing reverberations this week, leading many to ask, are football’s risks worth its rewards? In 2012, Intelligence Squared U.S. debated the risks of college football with Malcolm Gladwell, Buzz Bissinger, Tim Green and Jason Whitlock. The debate sold out so quickly and garnered so much pre-debate publicity, even we were taken by surprise. Once again, a growing concern over safety has put football’s future back in the spotlight.