Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast

For centuries the human race has been grappling with how to life a moral life. In this conversation we hear from scholars who think deeply about moral philosophy and helping others. David Brooks suggests that, “We have words and emotional instincts about what feels right and wrong,” yet questions the criteria we use to “help us think, argue, and decide.” New Yorker author Larissa MacFarquhar profiles a number of do-gooders whose deep, even extreme moral commitment leads as frequently to criticism as to admiration. Columbia philosophy professor Michele Moody-Adams believes that we find our best selves through serious self-examination and constant scrutiny. And Stanford political philosopher Rob Reich engages us all in deep exploration of these questions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 19:45

Throughout history, young people have been at the center of activism: the Civil Rights movement, Black Lives Matter, the labor movement, and now gun violence. What barriers do young people have to overcome to get adults to listen? What tactics must they employ to get people in power to take them seriously? We hear from young student activists working on issues of racism, inequity, and transgender rights. One recent movement, the #MeToo effort, has mobilized people across the globe in a short period of time. In the second part of the show, Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center, speaks with journalist Jay Newton-Small about how to keep the energy of #MeToo going.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 20:30

Why do people do evil things? We hear from Yale psychologist Paul Bloom and journalist Graeme Wood about the nature of evil. Bloom studies morality in babies, children, and adults. Wood immersed himself in ISIS, readings the terror group’s propaganda and conversing with its members, in order to write the book The Way of Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State. Graeme explains that ISIS members aren’t crazy but are driven to do horrific evil deeds, like murder and rape. Why do they carry out these evils? And what about smaller-scale evil acts like cheating a lying? Is it enough to define evil as having a sense of right and wrong? Bloom and Wood’s conversation touches on philosophy, religion, and politics.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 16:15

The debate around gun laws is resurfacing in the wake of the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Can America’s shared sorrow inspire a consensus that gun violence should be tackled as a public health issue? For years former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has labeled gun deaths this way. “Whenever you have large numbers of people who are dying for preventable reasons,” he says, “that constitutes a public health crisis.” Murthy is a supporter of gun laws. In fact, his confirmation in 2014 was delayed a year because of his stance on the issue. In this episode, he speaks with Judy Woodruff, managing editor of the “PBS Newshour,” about what he thinks needs to be done to prevent another mass shooting.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 21:45

Historian Jon Meacham has written extensively about the presidency, with acclaimed books on Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, and most recently, George H. W. Bush. What does his research into these presidents suggest about the nature of the office? What might we learn from the past about the current state of politics, the White House, and perhaps more broadly, democracy in America? He speaks with John Dickerson, co-host of "CBS This Morning."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 17:00

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