Intelligence Squared

Tuesday, January 2 at 2:00 pm

Liberals Hold The Moral High Ground

Do conservative or liberal philosophies lead to more just outcomes? Opposing moral philosophies have long fueled debate about America’s policy goals and national identity. For conservatives, morality is grounded in ideals such as patriotism, including a respect for order and authority; fairness and liberty in the sense that an individual’s actions yield just rewards, or consequences; and reverence for the sanctity of religious and moral tradition. Liberals place moral emphasis on caring: for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized; on fairness in the sense of redressing both historic wrongs and current inequalities of outcome; and on generosity extending beyond the bounds of nations or cultures. In today’s divisive political arena, which side best embodies the nation’s most cherished virtues? Morally speaking, is the left right?

The Debaters:
Howard Dean
Former DNC Chairman & Governor of Vermont
Gov. Howard Dean is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, presidential candidate, six term governor, and physician. During his tenure at the DNC, Dean created the 50-State Strategy, which was credited with helping Democrats make historic gains in 2006 and 2008. Dean now works as a part time independent consultant focusing on the areas of health care, early childhood development, alternative energy and the expansion of grassroots politics around the world. He serves on the Board of the National Democratic Institute, a democracy building organization chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and teaches a course at the Jackson Institute at Yale.

Melissa Harris-Perry
Maya Angelou Presidential Chair, Wake Forest University
Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. There she is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and the executive director of the Pro Humanitate Institute. She is also the co-host of Freedom on Tap and an editor-at-large for From 2012 to 2016, Harris-Perry hosted the television show Melissa Harris-Perry on weekend mornings on MSNBC. She is the author of the award-winning books Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.  Previously, she taught at the University of Chicago and Princeton University.

David Brooks
Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times
David Brooks has been an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times since 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly and is currently a commentator on PBS NewsHour, NPR’s All Things Considered and NBC’s Meet the Press. He is the author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense, and The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, which was a No. 1 New York Times best seller. Brooks also teaches at Yale University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Robert George
Political Philosopher & Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
Robert P. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. He has served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the President’s Council on Bioethics. He was a Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.  He is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal and the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland.

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