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.
Illustration by Thomas James for Intelligence Squared U.S.
In his recent piece in The Daily Beast “Obama’s Iran Nuke Deal: Winners & Losers,” Les Gelb’s overview of the recent Iran negotiations argues that “the emerging arrangements on Iranian nuclear programs announced Thursday are a clear plus/plus for both sides. Only those who don’t want any deal see it otherwise.”
The implication is that only ideologues will oppose the agreement. But is the matter that clear?
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.
Ridicule, ostracization, a failing economy – The Economist admits that regarding Putin “as a success might seem bleakly comical.” But is the West misjudging him? There are two Intelligence Squared U.S. debates that have explored Russia’s power struggle in depth over the last decade: “Russia Is Becoming Our Enemy Again” (2007) and “Russia Is A Marginal Power” (2014).
This evening, Intelligence Squared U.S. will celebrate a tremendous milestone: we will present our 100th debate. That includes about 465 debaters. We’ve presented debates in 7 cities, and on dozens of stages, totaling more than 10,000+ minutes of rigorous public discourse and reaching millions along the way. Thanks to our brilliant staff who made it all possible, and to our loyal community for watching, listening, and, most of all, for being open to debate.