Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at and download our weekly podcasts every Tuesday and Friday.

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Debate: Cancel Culture is Threatening Our Freedoms

JK Rowling, Scarlett Johansson, Kanye West. All have been ‘cancelled’ – denounced on social media for doing or saying something considered wrong or offensive, often on matters to do with race or gender. In this week's episode Ayaan Hirsi Ali and J...



China's Good War, with Rana Mitter and Gideon Rachman

For most of its history, the People’s Republic of China limited public discussion of the war against Japan. It was an experience of victimization—and one that saw Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek fighting for the same goals. But now, as China grows more ...



A Secret History of Stars, with Jo Marchant and Helen Czerski

Jo Marchant and Helen Czerski take us on a journey through humanity’s relationship with the heavens. The stars have shaped who we are - our religious beliefs, power structures, scientific advances and even our biology. But over the last few ce...



The Spies Fighting Communism During the Cold War, with Scott Anderson and Hugo Lindgren

At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world militarily, economically, and in moral standing – seen as the victor over tyranny and a champion of freedom. But it was clear – to some – that the Soviet Union was already executing a pl...



Journeys to Freedom After the Holocaust, with Rosie Whitehouse and Edward Lucas

Support this show ------ One summer’s night in 1946, over 1,000 European Jews waited silently on an Italian beach to board a secret ship. They had survived Auschwitz, hidden and fought in forest...



Clive, Capitalism and The East India Company, with William Dalrymple and Kavita Puri

Support this show ------ We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. For it was not the British government that began seizing chunks of I...



Taming Covid and Preventing the Next Pandemic, with Mark Honigsbaum and Sir David King

Support this show ------ In this week's episode we brought together two of Britain’s most esteemed experts on global pandemics to discuss what we got wrong about the virus and how we can le...



Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, with Jess Hill and Ros Urwin

Every week in England and Wales, two women are killed by a current or former partner. And still we ask the question: 'Why didn't she leave?' According to author award winning Jess Hill, we should be asking 'Why did...



BONUS EPISODE: Shinzo Abe's Life and Legacy

As Japan's longest serving premier, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, steps down due to health concerns, we examine his life and legacy in a special bonus episode. We were joined by Tobias Harris, author of the new book 'The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe a...



Rutger Bregman and Helen Lewis on Human Kindness in a Frightened World

Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. From Hobbes’ theory about the state of nature to Richard Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’, the roots of this belief are deeply ingrained in Western thought. But historian Rutger ...